French certification: all you need to know about the TCF

The TCF is an exam administered by the French National Ministry of Education. Le Test de Connaissance du Français (Test of French Knowledge) is intended for anyone wishing to obtain French nationality.

It is designed to assess the level of a candidate’s French language skills at a given time.

What is the purpose of the test? 

TCF certification (also known as TCF Tout Public, or TCF TP) assesses candidates’ French language skills for personal, academic and professional purposes. The TCF French diploma allows candidates to apply for French nationality or a long-term resident card on French territory. There are also several other versions of the TCF depending on the candidate’s objective:

  • The TCF DAP to enroll in the first year of a bachelor’s degree or in a school of architecture.
  • The TCF ANF, designed by the French government, for people wishing to acquire French nationality by marriage or naturalization.
  • The TCF Quebec to evaluate the language level of people wishing to settle in Quebec on a long-term basis.
  • The TCF Canada to obtain Canadian citizenship or to complete the economic immigration process.

What does the test involve? 

The content of the TCF exam differs according to the versions listed above. Here are the contents of the five versions of the TCF in detail:

  • The TCF Tout Public is based on three compulsory segments: a listening test, a reading test and a skills test in French language structures, followed by two optional tests in speaking and writing.
  • The TCF ANF consists of four compulsory tests: writing, speaking, reading (multiple choice) and listening (multiple choice).
  • The TCF Quebec consists of two compulsory tests (listening and speaking) and two “optional” tests (reading and writing).
  • The TCF Canada has four compulsory tests identical to those for the TCF Quebec.
  • The TFC DAP has four compulsory tests: competence in French language structures (18 grammar and lexical questions), listening (29 questions), reading (29 questions) and writing.

How long does the test take? 

The TCF Tout Public takes a total of 2 hrs 37 min: the first part lasts 1 hr 25 min and the second 1 hr 12 min.

  • Listening: 25 min.
  • Reading comprehension: 45 min.
  • Competence in language structures: 15 min.

Optional tests :

  • Speaking: 12 min.
  • Writing: 1 hour.

The TCF ANF takes a total of 1 hr 50 min:

  • Listening: 25 min.
  • Reading comprehension: 45 min.
  • Writing: 30 min.
  • Speaking: 10 min.

The TCF Canada tests take 2 hrs 50 min:

  • Listening: 35 min.
  • Reading comprehension: 1 hour.
  • Writing: 1 hour.
  • Speaking: approximately 10 minutes.

The TCF Quebec takes approximately 2 hrs 30 min:

  • Listening: 25 min.
  • Reading comprehension: 45 min.
  • Writing: 1 hour.
  • Speaking: approximately 10 minutes.

The TCF DAP takes about 2.5 hours, including the additional tests: speaking (12 minutes) and writing (1 hour).

What levels can the TCF assess?

The TFC is aimed at all levels from A1 to C2 on the CEFR scale. Unlike some exams, candidates cannot fail. This test provides a “snapshot” of the candidate’s level at a given time: beginner, intermediate or advanced.

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What grading system does the TFC test use? 

Unlike some diplomas such as the DELF, it is not necessary for candidates to know their language level before enrolling. The questions asked are divided into several categories: level A (basic), level B (intermediate or independent) and level C (advanced or higher). The TCF test result is determined by the answers given by candidates in each of these categories.

Reading, listening, writing and speaking are assessed separately, making it possible to obtain a basic level in speaking oral and an intermediate level in writing.

How much does the test cost? Where can you take it? 

To take the TCF, candidates must contact a TCF test center. There are centers in France, Canada, Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria. The registration process differs depending on the center.

It is possible to take the TCF on paper at an approved center or on a computer (TFC SO). The approximate fees for the various TCF exams are as follows: 

  • TCF Tout Public: the compulsory tests cost €100 and the optional tests are €50 each.
  • TCF DAP: €160
  • TCF ANF: €160
  • TCF Quebec: €55 per test.
  • TCF Canada: €220

At a glance: TCF vs. Frantastique (by Gymglish)

PublisherNational EducationFrantastique (by Gymglish)
Name of certificate/diplomaTCFFrantastique Learning Report
Validity periodTwo yearsDoes not expire
Language skills testedReading, listening, writing, speakingReading, listening, writing 
Target level(s)A1 to C2All levels, except beginners (A2 to C2)
PriceBetween € 100 and € 220From € 14 /month
DurationFrom 1 hr 50 min to 2 hrs 50 minTraining + learning report: 6 months
Face-to-face / RemoteAt a test centre / on a computerRemote / online

The TCF is not the only option for French certification.
We provide a personalized learning report at the end of our Frantastique French language training.

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