Something Swedish

Studying Swedish in Sweden – Comparing EVERYTHING about SFI, SAS Grund and SAS Gymnasiet


SFI vs. SAS Grund vs.  SAS Gymnasiet

This comparison chart is based off of my personal experiences studying in Halmstad 2012 – 2014 and researching information online. Things might vary by town or teacher but most things are regulated by skolverket. If anything has been updated or changed, or if you have anything to add or ask, let me know!


Today is two years since starting Something Swedish, and in two months it will mark two years since I started going to school to learn Swedish.  Since then, I’ve tried to keep my progress in school up to date, without overloading the blog. Catch up here:

Applied to SFI Feb 7, 2012
Started SFI  March 27, 2012
First SFI National test  Sept 20, 2012
(Finished SFI Dec 15, 2012)
Started ground level SAS/Comparing SFI and SAS  Jan 16, 2013
Finished SAS (18 weeks early) June 27, 2013

Being back in High School:

I somehow failed to mention that I started taking high school (gymnasiet)  level Swedish in August. So, here’s an update and an in depth comparison post that I hope helps people just starting out!

Three weeks ago the first level (1/3) of SAS gymnasiet ended. I had mixed emotions about the class, and put in a mixed amount of effort. This was partly because of being tired of studying, being bored with the difficulty level, being busy working, and focusing on a more difficult class (civics/political science) I was taking at the same time. I got an overall grade of B in the class, as well as on the national exam (oral presentation = A, reading comprehension =A, essay = C)

I was excited to start SAS1 because I read that it would be challenging and center around literature, which I love. Finally I would be learning Swedish on a level where other Swedes study! I was a bit disappointed to find out that this first class is a mix between a repetition of SAS Grund and preparation for SAS2. I understand it’s purpose, but I was bored – and unlike all of the other classes I’ve taken, you don’t have the option to go through the material quicker: 20 weeks means 20 weeks. If I had known that, I would have taken a test to be places in SAS2. Thankfully I had a teacher I like and find easy to learn from and understand (and have had before) and was in a class with some people I knew from SAS. Even if it was a bit slower than I would have liked, it fit my schedule perfectly and still challenged me from time to time.

I’ll be updating the chart and writing more in depth about the national exam once I complete the whole course and have more insight – which feels like forever away.

16 thoughts on “Studying Swedish in Sweden – Comparing EVERYTHING about SFI, SAS Grund and SAS Gymnasiet

  1. thanks that is very useful chart and info…

  2. Thank you so much for all your hard work! This mean so much to me in my effort to learn Swedish.

  3. From having gone through SFI, I think that the placement based on previous education level could be improved upon. SFI would achieve higher graduation rates if they grouped people by native languages in some way and had teachers who could explain things in the students’ native languages when needed (which is a lot). In other words, put SFI students who know English or at least some in one class regardless of previous education levels, do the same with Middle Eastern students, students from former Yugoslavia, etc. From my experience, I think the people who start SFI and complete it is way less than 50%, Way less. I think that is due mostly to the fact that the entire class is taught in Swedish from Day One. That makes it tough. It would be better if the teachers could help students a little by speaking some of the time in another language they are familiar with. Lucky for me (and you) everybody in the country speaks English which makes assimilating a lot easier.

  4. Hi, I found your blog and this really informative chart you created while trying to find alternatives to SAS 1. I am an “internet sambo” also, having met my girlfriend through a U2 fan website, meeting up at a show and finding “what I was looking for.” I moved here 2 years ago this month and went through SFI and SAS Grund as recommended. Here’s the thing though… I am (a youthful) 55 years old, and I stubbornly want to spend my remaining years making myself and my girlfriend happy. After 3 classes of SAS, I’ve decided it’s not for me. I want and know I need more development in listening comprehension and speaking but I have little interest in literature analysis and writing book reports at this stage of my life. So I’m looking around for alternatives that will serve me better… if you have any advice or suggestions, I’d be interested.

    • Hi D!

      Getting through SFI and SAS Grund is what most people strive for to “get by” Unless you plan on going to university or are trying to get back into a career position, I don’t think many “bother” with SAS1. Personally, I think it’s helpful regardless. If you’re not up to it though (it’s not for everyone!) the only thing to do is practice your Swedish with Swedes through socializing. Don’t know anyone to practice with on a casual basis? Then try taking a conversation course at folkuniversitetet or join any other type of class at komvux aside from SAS1. I find the best way to train the language is to use it instead of practice it, for example I learned a lot more useful vocabulary when taking my political science class. I don’t know much more about any alternatives, but I hope that helped and that you find the best way to learn for you!

  5. Thank you very much. Actually this detailed information is nowhere to be found in Swedish websites. It is very helpful for me. I will start my SFI on Friday. I am really excited about that.

  6. Thank you so much for this Meg. I am an Aussie married to a Swede and we are making plans to move back sometime in 2015. I have already graduated from Sfi back in 2011 and I can use your chart to learn from Australia until I get there…hopefully skipping over SAS Grund 🙂 Very sweet of you to make this great chart. I will share this around as I run a group for Swauusie couples and I am sure lots of people will find it useful.

  7. Very comprehensive table… thank you! Is there any good material someone can study and hopefully hop-over SAS Grund . I want to give this a shot over the summer … I’m thinking on the same lines as Talitha

  8. Hey,
    I studied in SFI 3 years ago. Now I am writing my thesis about Swedish educational system for migrants. I have a questionnaire which focuses on SFI. Could you please fill in th equestionnaire, it would help me a lot?
    Thank you very much.

  9. okay, nice to see this information. I want to ask you; is it possible to apply for universities after finishing SFI, grund and S.A.S 3 without having regular high school diploma?

    • Hi Jack! All of the university courses/programs have some sort of per-requisite, be it math, English, or whatever subject applies. I’m not entirely sure how it works with a non “regular” diploma (I assume you mean a GED?), but there’s surely an equivalent. If you ARE missing any requirements then you can look into komvux (adult education)classes, which are really common. I wrote this post about sending in transcripts that might be helpful to you, if not only for the links to who to get in touch with:
      Good luck!!

  10. Very helpful!
    I just got assigned to a 3C T and was unsure of what that was and how many “levels” there would be, but I am glad to know there are more programs and that they get more structured as studies get deeper.
    Thank you very much for sharing this.

  11. I just cannot express how happy I became when I found this information. I was confused about the stages of SFI. Have just completed sfi Kurt D and looking forward to SAS Grund. Thank you so much.

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