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What’s the difference between TCF Canada and TEF Canada?

October 18, 2019

What’s the difference between TCF Canada and TEF Canada?

Register for the Test de Connaissance du Français (TCF) Canada test with ATS. The next test date is on January 04, 2020. Candidates are requested to register on or before December 30, 2019. The registration fee is $385. Click here for TCF test FAQs.


There can be several reasons why you may have to take language proficiency tests. The reasons could range from university admissions to immigrating to another country. In this blog, we will discuss the two French language proficiency tests and the main differences between them.

Which French language test should I take for Canadian express entry?

You can take either the Test de connaissance du français pour le Canada (TCF Canada) or the Test d'Evaluation du Français (TEF Canada).

Both TCF Canada and TEF Canada are international assessments of proficiency in the French language. The Citizenship and Immigration Canada accept both the tests for permanent residency and citizenship applications.

Difference between TCF Canada and TEF Canada?

TCF Canada is a test of general French, recognized by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for permanent residency applications.

If you wish to apply for immigration to Quebec, you will need to take the "TCF for Quebec" (TCFQ) to demonstrate your knowledge of the French language.

The TEF Canada is also recognized as official proof of language proficiency by the Ministère de l’Immigration et des Communautés Culturelles du Québec (MICC) for permanent residency applications, certificat de sélection du Québec applications and Canadian citizenship applications.

The TEF Canada is available in two versions: computer-based (reading and listening modules) and paper-based (reading, listening and writing modules).

What is the format of TCF Canada?

TCF Canada consists of 4 modules to test proficiency in oral and written skills:

  • Reading: 35 min – 39 questions
  • Listening: 60 min – 39 questions
  • Writing: 60 min – 3 topics
  • Speaking: 12 min – 3 topics

Registration Fees for TCF Canada at ATS is $385.

What is the format of TEF Canada?

You must take the following tests for a Canadian immigration application:

  • Oral comprehension: 40 min – 60 questions
  • Written comprehension: 60 min – 50 questions
  • Oral expression: 15 min – 2 topics to cover
  • Written expression: 60 min – 2 topics to cover

You must take the following examinations for a Canadian citizenship application:

  • Oral comprehension: 40 min – 60 questions
  • Oral expression: 15 min – 2 topics to cover

Who are the TCF and TEF Canada tests for?

TCF Canada is for anyone who wishes to initiate the process for permanent economic immigration or Canadian citizenship through IRCC.

TEF is for candidates wishing to assess their level of proficiency in French for immigration applications to Canada or Quebec, or Canadian citizenship applications.

TCF or TEF: which is easier?

Both are more or less equal in terms of the duration and format. Attempt sample papers for both the tests and find out the one that appeals to you.

How to register for TCF and TEF?

Both the tests are conducted by accredited test centres and organized throughout the year. For instance, if you wish to take the TCF Canada test in British Columbia, you can contact Ashton Testing Services (ATS) to learn more about the upcoming test session dates, the registration procedure, the exact location of the test centre and the associated fees.

What happens on the day of the exam?

  • For both the exams, you must check in with a supervisor or proctor at the approved centre. Bring with you a copy of the email carrying the official notification of the schedule and your valid passport. If you don’t carry valid identification, you will not be allowed inside the exam hall.
  • After the identity check, your proctor or invigilator will lead you to your assigned seats.
  • You must leave your piece of ID visibly on the table at all times for identity checks that may be performed throughout the test.
  • Unless there’s an emergency or a health condition (carry a medical certificate if that’s the case), you won’t be allowed to exit the examination room until after the test.
  • You will be asked to turn off your cellphones and other electronic devices. You’re also not allowed to carry any dictionaries or reference materials.
  • While the test is underway, communicating with other candidates inside or outside the examination room is not permitted.
  • If the examination has already started and you’re late, you won’t be allowed inside the examination room.
  • Any disturbance, fraud or misconduct caused by candidates will result in immediate removal from the examination room. Moreover, such candidates may be banned from taking the test for a specific period, to be decided by CIEP (for TCF) and CCI Paris (for TEF).

What happens after the test?

The TCF results will be sent to the testing center where you took your exam within 4-8 weeks after the test. Your test centre will contact you when the results are ready to be picked up.

Your TEF results will be sent to the testing centre within 15 business days from the date of receipt of the session materials, and the centre will then send the results to each candidate. May take 4-6 weeks to reach you.

Note that you will only be issued one original copy of your certificate. It is therefore ideal to keep an extra certified copy of your certificate.

What is the validity of the tests?

Both TCF and TEF results are valid for a period of two years.

Good luck with your exams.

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