The Test de connaissance du français (TCF) is a language placement test for non-native speakers of French. It is administered by the Centre international d’études pédagogiques (CIEP) for the French Ministry of Education. It can be used to demonstrate language ability for job applications or for personal use to demonstrate French language skills and is also used in for immigration procedures in France and Canada.

The main parts of the TCF test are listening, proficiency in language structures and reading. Two sections of the TCF test are optional subjects which are Speaking and Writing.

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What are the different score levels of the TCF test?

The TCF exam complies with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) and so the levels are as follows:

  • Level 1 is A1 Lower Beginner for scores of 100-199. At this level candidates should be able to introduce themselves and answer basic questions about their home, family and surroundings.
  • Level 2 is A2 Upper Beginner for scores of 200-299. They should be able to communicate during common daily tasks and do very basic interactions exchanging information on familiar subjects and by using simple words to communicate their immediate needs.
  • Level 3 is B1 Lower Intermediate for scores of 300-399. At this level speakers should understand the main points of clear standard speech on familiar subjects in work, school and in leisure time. They should be able to produce a simple text on familiar subjects and describe their dreams and goals. 
  • Level 4 is B2 Upper Intermediate for scores of 400-499. At this level students need to be able to communicate more spontaneously with some level of fluency during a conversation with a native speaker. They should be able to express clear opinions and talk about the advantages and disadvantages on various topics.
  • Level 5 is C1 Lower Advanced for scores of 500-599.  Candidates at this level need to understand more complex texts and express themselves fluently without hesitation and speak in a clear, organised way about more in depth ideas and make well-structured arguments.
  • Level 6 is C2 Upper Advanced for scores of 600-699. At this level students should speak fluently and understand virtually everything they read or hear. They should be able to summarise descriptions of events and make structures written and oral arguments.

For each of the six levels the skills are broken down into three categories of Understanding (listening and reading), Speaking (interaction and production) and Writing. Find out more information about TCF scoring system.

The level achieved really shows how well a candidate can operate in an employment or educational institution. For academic institutions it provides a reliable assessment of the French language abilities that a student has to see if they are suitable for admission into a university, college or school. For studies in France the lower level required is the B2 level. French university Sciences-Po uses the highest TCF level as the standard for non-native speakers to follow academic discussions and carry out research in the French language.

Discover the TCF levels to prepare yourself for the test.

It’s a good idea for candidates to do a basic placement test with a professional to determine their current level.

What are the fees for the TCF test?

The test fees for the TCF exam are set by the different test centres. Candidates can expect to pay about 200€ for the compulsory test and twice that if students wish to include the other optional sections. There are concessions available for students and for people on unemployment benefits.

How long are the results valid for?

The TCF Test results are valid for 2 years. Candidates wishing to repeat the TCF or TCF-DAP must wait 60 days from the date of their earlier sitting.

You will get your results around 15 days after the exam. They are sent to the test centre where you took your exam. Each skill is given a score level on the CEFR and you also get a score for the whole exam. This is an average of all the individual skills scores. After the exam you will be given a preliminary score and receive an official one later on.

How should I get ready and prepare for the TCF Test?

It’s a good idea to get to know the format of the TCF test and do practise tests to ensure there will be no surprises.  Many students do test preparation courses at a language school or by doing an online course. By doing mock tests regularly before doing the actual one, students will be able to identify their weak areas are and really work on them.  There’s no such thing as too much preparation when it comes to the TCF test!

Some other tips would be to listen to French radio and listen to songs in French to train your ear to make you more comfortable with oral speech at a native speed. Watching and listening to French movies can also help in this way.

Try to grasp the overall meaning of the speech when you’re listening. It is important to try and identify the overall meaning of text or speech by identifying the keywords. You’ll need to do the same in the TCF exam. Get used to different accents as they will also feature in the exam. While you’re listening and reading before the exam, look up any new words in a dictionary and write them in your vocabulary book.

How can GlobalExam help me improve my score for the TCF test?

GlobalExam is an online platform dedicated to test preparation in real exam conditions. Language experts regularly add new content to deliver effective training and provide fresh practice opportunities. The site is very interactive with practise exercises that provide immediate feedback. There are also full mock exams that can be done under timed conditions – just like in the real TCF  test. You can review your results in the statistics tab to check your progress. You can then improve any weak areas with the help of vocabulary and grammar study sheets. 

You don’t need to commit or pay anything at first. All you need to do is try out the free materials and see how you feel. Once you are happy with the quality of the materials, sign up for a premium plan.

Sign up for a free trial version today so you can get working on improving your TCF score.

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