Something Swedish

S.F.I _ v s _ S.A.S


I started my next step towards Swedish fluency this week – Svenska som Andra Språk, S.A.S. (Swedish as a Second Language)

All throughout my S.F.I (Svenska for Invandare/ Swedish for Immigrants) classes I’ve heard about this awesome next level of learning and how much better and more helpful it is.

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The difference between the two schools is bigger than I expected, but I wouldn’t say one is better than the other – just different approaches for different levels.

S.A.S is sort of an extension of S.F.I,  only because you must finish S.F.I first and your ability in S.F.I determines your level in S.A.S.  Confused yet?

I knew SAS would be more formal and different from SFI as soon as we had to sign rules and a study contract during the orientation:

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SFI ranges from levels A – D, and SAS has levels E – H.

SFI covers the basics of the language so that you can function at an Elementary level, while SAS is considered Middle School level.

At orientation most people (about 25) went to the “E” level and a few of us (5) skipped ahead to “F” or “G” because of recommendations from our SFI teachers – I started in “F” – which means I am skipping 10 weeks of SAS!  The “normal” pace means that class takes 10 weeks, but you can take your time or work faster, since you have the whole schedule of assignments. If you work at the “average” pace, SAS takes a total of 40 weeks, I should be done in 30, but I’m aiming for sooner!

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The biggest difference in SAS is the amount of structure – every level focuses on specific chapters of the same book, has a weekly and daily plan, with pages of assignments and  goals.

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This type of structure is not found in SFI because so many people are at so many different levels and learn at such different speeds. Until you get the basics of the language, it’s hard to work on your own, which is 90% of SAS.

My schedule went from having 4 hour long classes to 2 hour classes, which consist of a lot of “egen arbete tid” – “own work time.” It’s easy to stay on track and know what you are supposed to be doing by following the study plan, where as in SFI it was common to switch between topics, assignments, and difficulty levels from day to day in an effort to include everyone and give a wide base knowledge of the language.

SAS is more specific and more like an actual class. Instead of talking about vocabulary and spending 10 minutes explaining one word for one or two students, we read on our own and discuss “why?” and “what do you think?” together.

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We are responsible for making our own study time plan, keeping track of books we read, listing words and definitions, using given verbs in sentences, and other things that are updated daily, along side with the homework assignments. It’s my second day of SAS and I’ve already finished 4 assignments and 7 out of the 59 check points there are required to complete level F. It feels good to have an organized work plan to follow.

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Within the next three weeks we will all be reading the same book, “Marie Curie”  and discussing it on Tuesdays – with a book report at the end. My “F” class is very focused on writing, which might be the teachers method or each level focuses on a different aspect of the language (speech, hearing, reading, writing). I think reading this book will be the hardest part of the class, but I’m pretty excited to start reading something other than children’s books.


Test – Prov

Grades – Betygen

School – Skolan

Study – Studera

Learn – Lär

35 thoughts on “S.F.I _ v s _ S.A.S

  1. Wow, you are a quantum leap beyond me already. Is SAS held at Sture like SFI was? Lycka till!

    • I’m sure I’m not that far ahead! Yep, it’s in Sturegymnasiet men i huset K istallet av O – samma huset med biblioteket. So, it’s very seperate, with completely different teachers etc.

  2. I just recently found your blog and I just had to say that I love it. It’s so interesting to see Sweden through your eyes when I’m born and raised here.
    Lycka till med svenskan 🙂

  3. Too funny…I also started SAS here in Västerås. I’m in SAS Grund, which is actually a step below the SAS programs you hare taking. Mostly it is because when I finished SFI-C , I did not go on to D (for the reasons you described above…the class didn’t really have a regular schedule so as to try and accommodate all the different levels in the class. It was hard for me to learn that way.) SFI Grund is for those who aren’t quite ready for all the reading required for regular SAS but more structured than SFI-D. At least that’s my opinion.
    Well…lycka till min vän!

  4. You go girl! 🙂

  5. Sounds great! Good luck with the new book! I know I was really excited when I started reading “regular” books, too!

  6. You always were a good student. Keep up the good work. Hope you feel better.

  7. I would like to practise some more Svenska med dig 🙂

  8. Not surprised I always knew you were a very smart girl. Just don’t forget English or we will have to use weird sign language!!!

  9. Wow, my SAS studies weren’t organized like this at all! I guess it really varies. Good luck! Personally I think it is hilarious that having finished SAS B means I am supposed to have the same level of competency in Swedish as a high school grad. Yeah…

  10. Hej, just wondering if SFI and SAS run term-time? With Christmas and summer hols, or are they just all year round? Tack 🙂

    • Hej Lily,

      SFI is all year round with a two weekish Christmas and New Year break. Our SFI stayed open throughout the summer, however the classes really thin out during the summer as many teachers and students go on vacation (As is expected in Sweden). We had a lot of substitutes and mixed level classes for a few straight weeks. It’s still available, but not as good during mid June – mid August. I would assume the same goes for SAS, however I only just started and don’t know yet! Lycka till!!

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  12. Hi! Were you using the Rivstart book by any chance? Those are the ones I am using to study here (I’m not in Sweden yet). I found this post really instructive, thanks!

    • No, I’ve never used Rivstart (although have heard of it) in SFI we didn’t have a book, aside from an extra grammar lesson book that was given to us to keep – mostly we worked from newspaper articles and hand outs. The whole S.A.S was done with a book called På G, which was very helpful, especially with the additional workbook. Before I moved to Sweden I used Rosetta Stone for a couple months to prepare.

  13. Hej Meg! Your blog is so helpful! I’m moving to my boyfriend in Stockholm from NYC in November. It’s exciting to have already seen a bit of the culture through your eyes! I’ve been working on my Swedish before I get there and am wondering if you have any tips on what I should know before taking the SFI/SAS courses. Hopefully I can speed ahead like you once I’m there. 😛 Luckily I get plenty of practice here scaring touring Swedes on the subway with my self-taught Swedish.

    • Hej Lauren!

      So glad you are finding it helpful! How exciting that you’ll be moving here so soon. If you are already practicing, you will be ahead of many people that are in SFI. I enjoyed using Rosetta Stone for the few months before I moved here, but eventually got bored of it – even if it was useful for simple things. I would suggest watching movies in Swedish with the English subtitles on just to get the sound of the language. Once you’re at a good level watching Swedish movies with Swedish subtitles is great to make more connections. I spend a lot of time pouring over grammar and textbooks once I started SAS (not so much in SFI) however, I did find it useful to get a verb book and study it. Lycka till!!

  14. Hej Megalagom !
    I like your article about SAS, I’m myself at SFI level D and passing the test in 5 days (panic panic !)
    Do you know how/when you’re supposed to apply to SAS ? I mean, should you do it yourself or does the school take care of that ?
    Also, I heard that there are different classes, like 20 or so specialisations. Do you know anything about that ?
    Thank you very much =)

    • Hi Laura! Sorry for the late response – I’m sure you will do great on your test! It’s just like the C test, but a little harder. You should talk to kompetens centrum now and tell them that you are looking to apply and that you are about to finish D – they will get the grade after it is processed. Classes only start every 10 or 20 weeks, so it’s best to talk to them ASAP. If you take only Swedish then you are studying 50%, 4 days a week. To be 100% you would take one of those specialized classes. Samhällskunskåp is very helpful for understanding how things work in Sweden (Politics, economy, etc) but you can also study math or science or english – depending on what your school has available. Ask the kompetens centrum at the same time you sign up for the SAS if you are interested. Good luck!

  15. Thanks for this article! It clears up a lot 🙂 I just came from the SFI office in Gothenburg and asked about the classes. I have some Norwegian training, so they aren’t sure where to place me.. somewhere between SFI and SAS they they think, so they had me apply to both. I guess I will receive a letter about taking an exam at some point. I was very curious as to the differences and how SFI could possibly run with so many levels. How do you pass levels in SFI? Do you just take an exam when you feel ready? I really hope I make it into SAS – I like structure! I’ve taken parts of two of the lower level Swedish courses at the university, but they were just too easy.. and I got bored. I will have to checkout your blog some more. Cheers!

    • Hi Aimee!

      Good luck with SAS! If you do get placed in SFI, just ask your teacher if you can take the first possible test to move on. I posted an in depth comparison chart today that you should find useful, take a look!

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  17. Hej!

    I am wondering how to apply the courses in SAS? Do we need to queue for it as we did for SFI? Is it free?


    • It is free and you do need to apply for it just like SFI. When you start SAS 1,2,3 then you need to apply to every individual CLASS – not just the whole SAS course. For SAS e,f,g,h though, you only apply once.

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  19. Hello! I found your blog today, but I wish I found it sooner. I was wondering, are these classes available online or anything equivalent to it? I keep on searching but it just gives me courses IN Sweden (I currently live in Tokyo). Any information will help. Thanks!

    • Have you looked into Lernia? I know they have completely long distance classes, but I know nothing about them personally. If you can’t find any information online I would call them and ask directly It is very possible that you need a personnummer to apply. They might have a recommendation though, if nothing else. Good luck!

  20. Hi,I m new in Sweden.i want to study nursing in Swedish ,I have a high school certificate from Nigeria.i don’t know how to go about it.thanks

  21. I also want to know if SAS can be applied for anytime of the year ?

  22. Hej! thanks for the interesting post . I started SFI two weeks ago and i was taken to the C class. I always heard that finishing it depends on the individual. i did my third test on Tema 3 and now on tema 4.My Question is if ,
    after doing SAS can i be qualified to study nursing ?

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