TCF and TEF French tests

France has developed two standard assessment tests (TEF and TCF) for non-native French speakers. They include obligatory tests that assess knowledge and written and oral understanding as well as grammar and syntax.

The test to obtain a visa
The French Embassy (Consulate or Campus France-CEF office) can request a minimum mark to issue a visa. The consulate or CampusFrance office will tell you which test is required. Don't forget to mention that you are an "n+i" candidate and will have linguistic and methodology Integration lessons in France.
Successful candidates will receive proof of their level. No certificates or diplomas are awarded.
In your country, these tests are usually organised by the cultural department of the embassy, the consulate and by Alliance française.
We advise you to find out when the next French test sessions are scheduled and to take basic French lessons (especially grammar) before you come to France.
Here are the first levels of language proficiency according to the Common European Framework of Reference:
  • Level A1 Beginner:can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very basic phrases aimed at the satisfaction of needs of a concrete type. Can interact in a simple way provided the other person talks slowly.
  • Level A2 Elementary.
  • Level B1 Efficient but limited use of the language.
  • Level B2 can understand the main ideas of complex texts on both concrete and abstract subjects, including technical discussions in his/her field of specialisation.
NB: The results of the tests (TEF, TCF) remain valid for 2 years only, but the DELF and DALF certificates have permanent validity.

The TEF (Assessment of French)
The TEF, which was developed by the Paris Chamber of Commerce has levels from “weak elementary” (the lowest level) to “proficiency” in each of the obligatory papers: written comprehension, oral comprehension, lexis and grammar.

The TCF (French skills test)
The TCF is managed by the International Centre for Pedagogical Studies (CIEP). It comprises six levels of competency ranging from “elementary” (basic French) to “advanced” (excellent proficiency):
Common European Framework of Reference TCF points TEF points CIEP /French Ministry of Education Number of hours
0-199 0-68
DELF A1 150h
200-299 204-360 DELF A2 300h
300-399 361-540 DELF B1 450h
400-499 541-698 DELF B2 600h
500-599 699-833 DALF C1 750h
600-699 834-900 DALF 900h

Table of correspondence between tests and certificates.
For more information se http://www.coe.int/T/DG4/Portfolio/?L=E&M=/main_pages/levels.html