UKBI Test - Indonesian Language Proficiency

My Experience taking UKBI Test

By Richard Williams

I took the Uji Kemahiran Berbahasa Indonesia (UKBI) Tara in 2017 as one of the selection processes when I competed for Pemilihan Duta Bahasa Provinsi Nusa Tenggara Timur / Language Ambassador Competition of East Nusa Tenggara Province held by Kantor Bahasa Nusa Tenggara Timur. My score was 610 and therefore I got Unggul (III) predicate. I took the test for free because I was the participant of the competition, but normally a person who wants to take the test has to pay. The fee is IDR. 300,000 for Indonesian citizens but for students it is only IDR 150,000 and for WNA (foreigners) it is IDR 1,000,000.

When I took the test, I didn’t study nor prepare myself because I thought the test would be easy. On the contrary, I was surprised because the test was quite difficult and tricky. Generally speaking, I think the most difficult part of the test is listening (and I got low score for this section). Though the Indonesian grammar comprehension and reading section had the hardest vocabulary, the listening section gave me two major problems that the other two sections did not. First off, all were the recordings. The characters in the recording spoke naturally using idioms, daily conversation expressions, and often spoke at the same time. Second of all, each recording was only played once and they could be over 5 minutes long. It was quite hard to pay attention that long while at the same time as I had to remember the information right from the beginning. 

As an Indonesian, I’ve seen that up to now most of the Indonesians still don’t know what UKBI is. It is understandable because the test was just officially launched in 2006 by the Ministry of Education and so far, the Indonesian government hasn’t maximised the application of the test for various purposes compared to TOEFL or IELTS test.