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TEF Vs TCF | Differences, Format, Syllabus Process & More

Updated on 29 January, 2024

If you are planning to go to France for overseas education then knowing the difference between TEF and TCF becomes imperative. TEF and TCF exams are conducted to check the French proficiency of students applying to Canadian universities. The reason for this is that Canada has two official languages-English and French. If you want to immigrate to Canada, you’ll have to be proficient in English or French. You’ll need to consult with your centre and institution to know about the exam result they require. A majority of students around the globe give IELTS and TOEFL; however, few universities ask for TEF and TCF exam results to assess French language skills. There are no significant differences, apart from the format, time limit, and several questions asked. Let’s discuss the significance of the two tests and the differences between TEF and TCF.

Study & Settle in Canada – Know where to start!

Read More: TCF Exam Canada: Format, Structure and Tips


TEF or TCF- which French language test should I opt for?

If you want to apply for Canadian citizenship, you can opt for any of the two tests. TCF (Test de connaissance du français pour le Canada) and TEF (Test d’Evaluation du Français), both exam results are verified and accepted in Canada. If you’re planning to go to Quebec, there’s a different exam format and marking rules for TCF and TEF. 

We will suggest you consult your center or institution about the exam they require as some universities prefer either of the two.

Difference between TEF and TCF 

Even though both exams check French proficiency, both exams serve a few different purposes as well. We have broken down both exams for you to easily understand.

TEF Exam is recognized as an official language proficiency test to apply for permanent residency as approved and accepted by the Ministère de l’Immigration et des Communautés Culturelles du Québec (MICC). The test is available in two different versions-

1. Paper-based exam

2. Computer-based exam

TCF Exam is also the same as TEF, official proof of French language proficiency, and is recognized by IRCC for Permanent Residency (PR). TCF is also mandatory if you’re planning to immigrate to Quebec; for this, you’ll have to clear TCFQ.

Read More: Get Canada PR from India

TCF and TEF Format

TCF Format 

Compulsory Test
Sub-sectionNo. of questionsDuration
Listening2925 minutes
Proficiency in Language Structures1815 minutes 
Reading2945 minutes 
Total7685 minutes 
Optional Test
Sub-sectionNo. of questionsDuration
SpeakingThree levels of testing 12 minutes 
WritingThree tasks60 minutes 
Total672 minutes 

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TEF Format

Compulsory Test

Listening2 Subjects15 minutes
Speaking60 Questions40 minutes
Reading50 Questions60 minutes
Writing2 Topics60 minutes
Vocabulary and Syntax40 Questions40 minutes

TEF Exam Syllabus

The speaking module checks a candidate’s ability to speak French and communication skills. Section A consists of obtaining information in the test, and section B consists of conversing with someone.

The writing module assesses the ability to express a point of view in written format. Section A consists of writing articles, while section B will ask you to express yourself in written form.

In the listening module, candidates will have to listen to and comprehend French audio clips. Questions will be asked in multiple-choice questions format.

The reading module will test a candidate’s ability to read, evaluate and understand written materials. The questions are asked in MCQ formats.

Vocabulary and syntax evaluate a candidate’s ability to use correct punctuation and grammar. The Paper is in multiple-choice question format.

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TCF Exam Syllabus

In the listening exam, MCQs are asked based on a video recording. The section tests the aspirant’s ability to evaluate and comprehend common words and expressions.

To check a candidate’s proficiency in language structures, grammar and vocabulary are tested. The questions will range from identifying the lexical errors to choosing the correct language.

In the reading portion, a learner is evaluated on his/her ability to read conversations or articles. 

Speaking exam is optional, the examiner will take your one-on-one interview for about 15 minutes. Questions asked will start from the A1 level and go to the C2 level of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). The examiner will ask you to talk about any experience, place or person, and experience to analyze your speaking skills.

The written exam is also optional. In this exam, you’ll have to complete three exercises. The first task will require you to write a small message of maximum of 120 words. The second task comprises a small letter/message/note of at least 150 words. For the third exercise, the candidate needs to write two opinion pieces of around 180 words each. 

Please note that both the tests are equally difficult and easy to crack depending upon your preparation. Find sample papers and attempt to solve them both. Appear for the exam that appeals more to you and your personal cause. 

Validity of TEF and TCF exam results

The exam result for both exams is valid for up to two years. After two years, you’ll have to reapply for an exam. 

How to Register for the TEF and TCF Exam?

TEF and TCF exams both have hundreds of accredited test centers around the world. Tests are conducted throughout the year. You can apply for the exam by contacting your exam centre after discussing the requirements of the institution you are applying to or according to your professional or personal reasons. 

Evaluate both exams and match your cause with them accordingly.

Read More: Statement of Purpose(SOP) for Canada 

What is the Exam Process?

The exam process is quite simple. However, there are regulations to appear in exams. For TEF and TCF there are the same rules and regulations that you need to follow. To help you with process that you need to follow, read ahead-

For the exam, check in with your supervisor at the exam centre. Bring your exam notification email copy and your government-approved identification card, for example- Aadhar card, passport, pan card, or voter id card. Remember that bringing an ID card is mandatory, failure to produce the identification card means you will not be allowed to appear in the exam under any given circumstances.

After document verification, you’ll be led to your assigned seat to appear for the exam. Keep your id card on the table at all times for further checking, this will save your time.  

No extra material apart from a pen and identity card is allowed to be kept during the exam. Failure to do this, you’ll be asked to leave the room. 

If you’re late and the exam has already started, you won’t be allowed to enter under any circumstances. 

Candidates that are found indulging in misconduct, fraud and disturbance will be barred from appearing in exams for a fixed time period as fixed by CCI Paris for TEF and CIEP for TCF. 

What Happens After The Test? 

After you have taken the TCF test, the results are sent to the testing center where the exam was conducted within four to eight weeks. The test center then contacts the candidate when the results are ready to be picked up.

The TEF results are sent to the testing center within 15 business days from the date of receipt of the session materials, and the center then sends the results to each candidate. It takes around four to six weeks for the results to reach you.

Only one original copy of your certificate is issued to the candidate. Therefore, it is better to keep an extra certified copy of the certificate.


How to Check Results Post TCF and TEF exams?

For the TEF exam result, you’ll get your exam results from the testing center within 15 working days. The testing center sends exam results to each candidate so you don’t have to worry about the same, however, it may take 4 to 6 weeks to reach you. Whereas for TCF exams, you can check your exam results within 8-4 weeks after the test. 

TEF Test Scores & CLB

Here is the table in which all the sections of TEF tests with a range of scores are listed against CLB Level.

CLB LevelTEF ReadingTEF WritingTEF ListeningTEF Speaking

TCF Test Scores & CLB

Here is a table that enlists the sections of Test de Connaissance du français pour le Canada against CLB level :

CLB LevelTCF ReadingTCF WritingTCF ListeningTCF Speaking
10 and above549-69916-20549-69916-20


In conclusion, both TEF and TCF are reputable French language proficiency tests, each serving specific purposes and recognized by various organizations and institutions. Choosing between TEF and TCF depends on the individual’s objectives, whether for immigration, academic, or professional reasons. While TEF is often preferred for economic immigration to Canada and for business and academic purposes, TCF is widely accepted for French nationality, long-term residency in France, and general academic purposes. Despite their differences, both tests accurately assess a candidate's command of the French language across listening, reading, speaking, and writing skills. Ultimately, the decision to opt for TEF or TCF should align with the individual's specific goals and requirements, and both tests offer a valuable certification for French language proficiency in their respective domains.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Which one is better: TEF or TCF?

TEF vs. TCF- TEF and TCF both have equal importance and serve different purposes. Both the exam evaluates your French level and also immigration purposes.

Is TCF Canada accepted for Quebec?

Both TCF Canada and TCF Quebec are different from each other. If your aim is to migrate to Quebec then TCF Quebec is suggested as it is approved by the authorities of Quebec.

How long does it take to get TCF and TEF Canada results?

For TCF and TEF Canada results it might take four to six weeks. The results are usually sent to the testing center which then contacts the candidates to update them on results availability.

What are the fees for the TEF and TCF Canada exams?

The registration fee for TEF and TCF Canada varies as per the country and the test center. In India, it is INR 12,000 to 25,000 and depends on the number of papers one undertakes. The fee is non-refundable after a successful registration.

How many times can I take the TEF and TCF examinations?

The examination can be taken as many times as possible without any restriction but one needs to make sure that there is a gap of two months between two consecutive exams.

Sachi Singh

An avid reader and an aspiring content creator, Sachi is a writer not only by profession but heart. She has also dabbled in the industry as a freelancer for a while now.

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