Boost your Score to the TCF French Exam!
Why Take the TCF?
The TCF – Test de Connaissance du Français is an international language proficiency test and certification aimed at individuals whose mothertongue is not French, and mainly for people who do not live in France
It is used by employers and French universities to certify the language levels of foreign applicants.
The TCF is administered by France Education International (formerly know as the CIEP -Centre International d’Etudes Pédagogiques), which reports directly to the French Ministries of National Education, Higher Education and Research.
What version of the TCF do I need to choose?
The TCF exam is available in different versions, depending on your needs and objectives:
- TCF for the general public (TCF tous publics) is aimed at all non-French-speaking individuals, regardless of their nationality and who wish to have their French level certified.
- TCF ANF (Access to French Nationality): as its name suggests, this test is for people who need to have a certain language level validated, to match the requirements of their immigration procedures.
- TCF DAP (Request for prior admission) is aimed at foreign students who to certify their French level, in order to study in the French higher education system.
- TCF Québec is aimed at individuals who need to validate their French level, as part of the procedures for obtaining the Quebec selection certificate (CSQ) leading to a permanent visa.
The classic TCF (general public) lasts 2 hours and 25 minutes. It’s a multiple-choice test. The difficulty increases as the exam evolves, the initial questions are A1 level and then move on to C1 level.
After passing the test, candidates who succeed at the exam receive a certificate level which is valid for 2 years (contrary to the DELF, whose validity is permanent).
Whether you live in France or abroad, you need to take the test in a recognized TCF centre which will inform you on the dates of sessions; the registration procedure; the location of examinations; the fee. You can find the list of official TCF exam centres here, on France Education International’s website..
How is the TCF structured?
The TCF is composed of three mandatory sections:
- Oral comprehension: this section is used to assess the candidate’s ability to understand spoken French. The candidate listens to audio recordings of conversations in daily life contexts. He must then answer 29 questions in the form of multiple choice questions. This section lasts 25 minutes and is itself divided into 4 parts:
- part 1: understanding statements with an image, photo or drawing medium representing scenes from everyday life
- part 2: understanding minimal exchanges corresponding to real-life situations
- part 3: understanding mini-conversations (two or three exchanges)
- part 4: understanding presentations and radio documents
- Mastering the structure of the language: in this part, the candidate is assessed on his syntactic abilities through questions relating to grammar, syntax, word order, and vocabulary. Overall, the test lasts 15 minutes and includes 18 questions in the form of multiple choice questions
- Written comprehension: The aim of this part is to assess the candidate’s ability to understand familiar names, very simple words and sentences, but also short articles and literary and daily life texts. This means reading and understanding various texts from the French speaking culture, and then answering 29 questions in the form of a multiple choice questions. This test lasts 45 minutes.
You may also have to complete the 2 additional parts of the test:
- Oral expression: this is a maximum 12-minute face-to-face interview with an examiner. This section itself is divided into 3 separate tasks:
- First task: a directed interview which lasts 2 minutes (without preparation). The candidate is rated on his ability to spontaneously exchange in French with a person he does not know
- Second task: an interaction which lasts 5 minute and a half with the examiner (with 2 minutes of preparation). The candidate is assessed on his ability to obtain information in a daily life situation
- Third task: expressing viewpoint without preparation (4 ½ minutes oral). The candidate must demonstrate the ability to speak spontaneously, fluently and in a convincing manner
- Written expression: this test lasts 60 minutes and is divided into 3 tasks
- Task 1 : description, story or explanation written in 60 to 120 words
- Task 2 : writing an article, a letter or a note in the form of an experience report or a story. 120 to 150 words expected
- Task 3 : writing two small comparative texts of 90 words maximum, explaining two viewpoints related to a fact of society
What score do I need to obtain?
The TCF is scored out of 699. The final grade obtained corresponds to the average of the scores obtained in each part. These are also scored on 699
You can’t really fail the TCF. This test is designed to assess the linguistic level of the candidate at the time of taking the exam. The number of points obtained then equals a certain level of skill. Depending on the goal, the number of points obtained at the TCF must be more or less significant.
Here are the equivalences between TCF scores and levels established by the CECRL :
- 100 to 199 points : A1 level (beginner)
- 200 to 299 points : A2 level (elementary)
- 300 to 399 points : B1 level (intermediate)
- 400 to 499 points : B2 level (advanced intermediate)
- 500 to 599 points : C1 level (upper)
- 600 to 699 points : C2 level (upper advanced)
There is no good or bad score at the TCF test. It all depends on your goal.
For example, if you wish to study in a French university, the score requested is at least 400, generally speaking. This score corresponds to the B2 level of the CEFR.
If you take the TCF-ANF to obtain French citizenship, you will then be asked for a B1 level.
How to Prepare for the TCF?
To get a good TCF score, it’s important to prepare several weeks in advance
The goal is not only to revise your grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation in French, but also to be more comfortable with the TCF format, instructions and standard exercises while learning to manage your time. A good preparation phase will allow you to be more efficient and relaxed on D-Day.
Our TCF preparation is available either through in-person classes (in Paris) or through French lessons online via Skype, as per the student’s preference.
Thanks to our TCF preparation classes, you will be able to anticipate certain answers, avoid traps and save time. You will receive a solid preparation including mock examinations or past papers, corrected exercises, and exam tips.
The more you become familiar with the TCF test, the more effective your French language training will be!