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Understanding the TCF Exam

August 27, 2019

Understanding the TCF Exam

If you are planning to immigrate to Canada, you will have to prove your ability to communicate in at least one of Canada’s official languages: English or French. If you’re planning on demonstrating your language proficiency in French, TCF or the Test de connaissance du français meets the standards of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

Register for the Test de Connaissance du Français (TCF) Canada test with ATS. 

What does the TCF exam consist of?

Before you contact your TCF exam centre to book the exam, it’s important to know what to expect. Like any exam, taking the test at a TCF test centre can feel quite intimidating, and it will help you to relax knowing the format of the exam.

The TCF Canada Exam consists of four mandatory parts, including proficiency in listening, reading, speaking and writing.

There are 39 multiple choice questions for the listening and reading sections with only one correct possible answer; 3 speaking and 3 writing tasks that progressively increase in their difficulty levels. The levels correspond to the benchmarks specified by the European Framework for Language Learning, Teaching and Evaluation as well as the Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB).

There is no pass or fail on the TCF exam. You will receive a certificate with these results after the test is completed and scores are tallied. If you don’t achieve the CLB levels you were hoping for, don’t worry! You can take the exam at a TCF test centre as many times as you like provided you wait for a minimum of 30 days between attempts.

There are several accredited TCF exam centres across Canada with two in Vancouver, British Columbia. It is up to you to contact the exam centre to book the exam and to learn how the exam is structured. It’s strongly recommended that you ask about the rules and expectations of the exam format so there are no surprises when you arrive and you feel comfortable with how the exam is delivered.

Each exam centre will be able to provide information about the test dates, registration process and fees.

Ways to prepare for the TCF exam

Because this exam can be instrumental in helping you immigrate to Canada, it is important to prepare for the test and get the best possible marks. There is a wide range of study tools available, including books and websites, speaking tools and examples of exam questions to help you get to know the format.

  1. Find a list of books and websites that can help you prepare here.
  2. You can find a few recordings here to assist you with the speaking portion of the exam.
  3. Learn more about the format of the exam by visiting this link, which also offers other test preparation tools for you to work with.

Other ways to prepare for the exam include finding French speaking news and current event podcasts, TV shows and other recordings online. Listen to them and make notes; have others ask you questions about the information in the recordings. Interact with your French speaking friends and family.

You will also want to spend time reading books written in or translated to French. By reading regularly, you will begin to absorb the right ways to construct sentences and paragraphs.

Taking a language exam can be a little scary, but with the right preparation and the right knowledge, you’ll be ready to do well.