Which Exams to Take: DELF, DALF, TCF or TEF?

By Ma

A French learner may want to demonstrate his linguistic competence at some tests and quizzes. Asians learning français are even more obsessed with assessing their performance to identify what skill level they are at, given the heavily examination-oriented culture. Here comes the question: Which French exams should I take?

It seems that I am not the only one who asks the same question. A friend of mine had also sought the right exam to prove his linguistic capability, as a certificate can help him apply the private culinary school Le Cordon Bleu, renowned for teaching “pâtisserie” (pastry making). Anyway, to demystify the issue, I try to dig into four different types of exams: DELF(DALF), TCF, TEF and Furansugo Kentei (French Proficiency Test).


The Diplôme d’études en langue française (English: Diploma in French Language Studies), or DELF in short, is the certification offered by French Ministry of Education to access the French linguistic abilities of non-native speakers. Fundamentally structured according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, test-takers can take A1, A2, B1 or B2 level of exams based upon the total number of hours they have spent learning the language. Above B2 level, the test is renamed as “The Diplôme approfondi de langue française” (English: Diploma in Advanced French), or DALF in short. A candidate can take either an easier C1 level, or the more challenging C2 getting a past of which means one attains a near-native French proficiency. All the certificates are valid for life.

Official Website: http://www.ciep.fr/en/delf-dalf

2. TCF

TCF (Test de Connaissance du Français), a certification offered by Centre international d’études pédagogiques (CIEP), is another placement test targeted at non-native French speakers. The score of the test is ranked on six level, corresponding to all six levels (A1 – C2), just as DELF/DALF tests. Unfortunately, the results of the test are only valid for two years, so unless you either take it for fun, or you are seriously considering entering a Francophone university (especially those at Quebec) in the imminent future, I won’t recommend you to take it.

Official website: http://www.ciep.fr/en/tcf

3. TEF

TEF, Test d’évaluation du français, is another French exam. Although it is not as widely recognized as DELF/DALF or TCF, it is nevertheless an important certification if you want to emigrate to Canada, particularly Quebec. Please note that some Alliance Française, including Hong Kong, does not offer the test, so you need to check carefully before taking.

Official Website: http://www.lefrancaisdesaffaires.fr

4. Furansugo Kentei (English: French Proficiency Exam)

Furansugo Kentei is specially designed by French learners in Japan, and a candidate can sit any of the seven levels in increasing order of difficulty: Level 5, Level 4, Level 3, Pre-level 2, Level 2, Level 1 and Pre-level 1. Those who pass the level 1 exam is qualified to be a guide interpreter between French and Japanese, without taking further any translation exams.

Official Website (in Japanese only): http://apefdapf.org/

Although I haven’t taken any of the above certifications before, I plan to apply for the DELF exams soon. It’s time for study now, buddies!

[Source of image: https://belgiumstjohn.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/france_flag10.gif%5D




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