TCF Exam Canada: Test Format, Structure, Preparation and Tips

TCF Exam Canada: Test Format, Structure, Preparation and Tips


08 April 2022



The French Knowledge Test, better known as the TCF Canada exam, is an international test taken by non-native French speakers to prove their mastery of the French language. The TCF exam is compulsory for those who wish to pursue their undergraduate or master's studies in a university or college with French as the language of instruction. It can also be taken by those applying for permanent residence in Canada. So, if you are planning to study abroad from Canada, it is important for you to know about TCF.


How long is the TCF Canada Exam Valid for?

The test result is valid for two years and the exam assesses students' language skills on six levels, namely A1, A2, B1, B2, C1 and C2.
There are different types of TCF exams and learners will need to choose one according to their requirements:

  • TCF exam for French nationality (To settle in France)
  • TCF exam Canada for permanent residency in Canada
  • TCF exam for Quebec (For permanent residence in the province of Quebec in Canada)
  • TCF DAP exam to study in France, in the first year of a bachelor's degree
  • TCF exam for professional or academic purposes

TCF Exam Format

Cracking any exam becomes easier if you know its format and structure. The TCF test can be divided into compulsory and optional tests. The mandatory test is further divided into three sections: Listening, Proficiency in Linguistic Structures and Reading. The optional test has two subsections: speaking and writing.

Compulsory Test


No. of questions




25 minutes

Proficiency in Language Structures


15 minutes



45 minutes



85 minutes


Optional Test


No. of questions



Three levels of testing

12 minutes


Three tasks

60 minutes



72 minutes

The Module of the TCF exam is as follows


Multiple-choice questions are asked on the basis of a video recording. The section tests the aspirant's ability to understand common phrases and words.
Proficiency in language structures
Grammar and vocabulary are tested in this section. Questions posed to learners range from identifying lexical errors to choosing the correct language. You will need to use correct grammar and punctuation in complex sentences.



It assesses a learner on their ability to read conversations or articles. He is expected to analyze the article and answer questions based on it.


Speaking Test (optional)

As part of the speaking test, the examiner will take your individual interview for approximately 15 minutes. The questions asked start at level A1 and go to level C2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). The examiner may ask you to talk about any place, person, experience, etc. to analyze your speaking skills.


Writing Test (optional)

In a maximum of 60 minutes, you will have to perform three different exercises. The first task will ask you to write a short message of no more than 120 words. The second task includes a short letter/message/note of up to 150 words. For the third exercise, a candidate must write two opinion pieces of 180 words each.

How to register for the TCF

The TCF registration process is quite simple since you can register online at any time. There are two techniques of registration for TCF exam- online and offline. For offline registration, you will have to go to the center and you can apply for it as many times as you want. However, there must be a 30-day cool-down period between attempts:
Here are some additional things to keep in mind when registering for the TCF:

  • Do a little search for your nearest exam center on the official website to check the exam dates and process.
  • Visit the official TCF website. Find the desired test center and follow the process. Have a good understanding of the type of TCF you want to follow.
  • You will need government ID proof eg. Passport or Aadhar card, Voter card, Pan Card etc. to get registered along with other valid credentials.

Important Tips for Getting a Good Score on Your TCF Exam

Now that we have established what the TCF exam is, let's discuss some tips for getting a good score. The score you need depends on the course you opt for. To know the score you must aim for; consult your establishment or center for more clarity.


Get help from an expert

If you are planning to take the TCF exam on your first attempt, hire a tutor for expert guidance. With an experienced teacher, your chances of passing the language test will increase significantly. Talk to your French teacher to ensure a good command of the language. Focus mainly on your weak points.


Choose the right study material

If you want to prepare from books, here are some of them that may come in handy:

  • Level 3 skills Oral comprehension
  • Level 3 skills Written comprehension
  • Progressive French grammar, and more

When preparing from books, remember that the curriculum may change and different questions may be asked. Therefore, take help from books, but don't depend on them alone. Analyze paper samples and prepare them in the same way. Also, stay up to date with any changes in the program.


Understand the exam format

If you want to pass an exam, you must first try to understand the format. You then have to go through the structure and prepare according to that. Not just hard work, but working smart towards your goal is the key.


Try to learn French online

Take the help of online study materials to learn French and know more about the TCF exam. You can

  • Look on YouTube for tutorials and vlogs that explain all about the test and how to prepare for it.
  • Look for sample papers.
  • Find TCF communities online and join them.


Manage your time and your goal

Manage your time effectively. Poor time management will most likely hinder your success. Create a schedule, stick to it, and plan your sessions accordingly. Take targeted breaks to stay focused.


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