A standard test to assess your level in French
The French Knowledge Test (Test de connaissance du français or TCF) assesses your skills in written and oral expression as well as comprehension if your mother tongue is not French. In other words, it is a “snapshot” of your level in French, which allows you to certify to companies and universities that you have acquired a certain level of mastery of the language.
The TCF is a standardized test that ensures reliable positioning of all candidates on a scale composed of six levels of knowledge, ranging from “elementary” (A1) to “advanced/superior” (C2). The exception being the TCF for the French resident card which assesses skills up to level B1.
The TCF consists of 5 tests: 3 mandatory tests which assess oral comprehension, mastery of structures (focused on linguistic knowledge) and written comprehension and 2 optional tests: written production and oral production.
Since 2022 the TCF IRN (Integration, Residence and Nationality) offers a new version of the test which specifically addresses foreign people over the age of 16 wishing to validate their level of French for different purposes:
- validation of level A1 as part of the OFII citizen course (French Office for Immigration and Integration).
- Apply for a long-term resident card
- Apply for French nationality
The TCF for studies, work and visas
Working in France usually doesn’t require any test or diploma; however, in a few situations the TCF might be necessary:
- Regulated professions: Certain professions, such as medical, legal and teaching professions, require a specific mastery of French language. The TCF can be used to prove your level of language when applying for one of these positions.
- public service jobs: If you wish to work as a French public servant, a certified level of French may be required. The TCF is one of the exams accepted to prove your level
A TCF scoring 400 pts or a DELF B2 or a DALF is recommended to pursue higher studies in France, especially in the field of human sciences. A TCF scoring less than 350 pts is insufficient to study in good conditions in France and compromises your chances of success.
If you wish to apply for French citizenship, you must prove that you have spoken and written knowledge of the French language at least equal to level B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CERL). The TCF IRN will attest to your level in French when following an administrative procedure.