TEF vs TCF Canada, Difference Between TEF and TCF Exam

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

If you plan to go to France for studies abroad, it is very important for you to know the difference between the TEF and the TCF. The TEF and TCF exams are organized to check the French skills of students applying to Canadian universities. The reason is that Canada has two official languages, English and French. If you want to immigrate to Canada, you will need to be fluent in English or French. You will need to consult with your center and institution to find out the result of the exam they require. A majority of students around the world give IELTS and TOEFL; however, few universities ask for the results of the TEF and TCF exams to assess French skills. There are no significant differences, apart from the format, the deadline and several questions asked. Let’s discuss what the two tests mean and the differences between TEF and TCF.

Difference Between TEF and TCF Exam in Canada

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

If you want to apply for Canadian citizenship, you can opt for one of two tests. TCF (French Knowledge Test for Canada) and TEF (French Evaluation Test), both exam results are verified and accepted in Canada. If you plan to go to Quebec, there is a different exam format and scoring rules for the TCF and the TEF.
We suggest you consult with your center or institution about which exam they require as some universities prefer one or the other of the two.

Difference between TEF and TCF

Even though both exams aim to check French language skills, the two exams also have different purposes. We have broken down both reviews for you to easily understand.
The 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 exam
  2. Computerized examination

The TCF exam is also the same as the TEF, official proof of French language proficiency and recognized by IRCC for permanent residence (PR). The TCF is also mandatory if you plan to immigrate to Quebec; for this you will need to clear TCFQ.

TCF and TEF Format

TCF Format

Compulsory Test
Sub-section No. of questions Duration
Listening 29 25 minutes
Proficiency in Language Structures 18 15 minutes
Reading 29 45 minutes
Total 76 85 minutes


Optional Test
Sub-section No. of questions Duration
Speaking Three levels of testing 12 minutes
Writing Three tasks 60 minutes
Total 6 72 minutes

TEF Format

Compulsory Test
Sub-section Subjects/Questions Duration
Listening 2 Subjects 15 minutes
Speaking 60 Questions 40 minutes
Reading 50 Questions 60 minutes
Writing 2 Topics 60 minutes
Vocabulary and Syntax 40 Questions 40 minutes

TEF Exam Syllabus

The speaking module checks a candidate's ability to speak French and their communication skills. Section A is about getting information in the test, and section B is about conversing with someone.

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

In the listening module, candidates will have to listen to and understand audio extracts in French. The questions will be asked in the form of multiple choice questions.
The reading module will test a candidate's ability to read, evaluate and understand written materials. The questions are asked in the form of MCQs.
Vocabulary and syntax assess a candidate's ability to use correct punctuation and grammar. The paper is in the form of multiple choice questions.

TCF Exam Syllabus

During the listening test, MCQs are asked on the basis of a video recording. The section tests the aspirant's ability to assess and understand common words and phrases.

To check a candidate's mastery of linguistic structures, grammar and vocabulary are tested. Questions range from identifying lexical errors to choosing the correct language.

In the reading part, a learner is assessed on their ability to read conversations or articles.

The oral exam is optional; the examiner will take your individual interview for approximately 15 minutes. The questions asked will start at level A1 and go to level C2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). The examiner will ask you to talk about an experience, a place or a person, and an experience to analyze your speaking skills.

The written exam is also optional. In this exam, you will have to complete three 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 at least 150 words. For the third exercise, the candidate must write two opinion pieces of approximately 180 words each.

Please note that both tests are equally difficult and easy to solve depending on your preparation. Find sample papers and try to solve them both. Take the exam that appeals to you and your personal cause the most. Validity of TEF and TCF exam results
The exam result for both exams is valid for up to two years. After two years, you will need to reapply for the exam.

How to register for the TEF and TCF Exam?

Both the TEF and TCF exams have hundreds of accredited test centers around the world. Tests are carried out throughout the year. You can apply for the exam by contacting your exam center after discussing the requirements of the institution to which you are applying or according to your professional or personal reasons.
Evaluate both exams and match your case with them accordingly.

What is the review process?

The review process is quite simple. However, there are regulations for appearing in exams. For the TEF and the TCF, there are the same rules and regulations that you must follow. To help you with the process you need to follow, read ahead-
For the exam, check with your supervisor at the exam center. Bring your copy of the exam notification email and your government approved ID card e.g. Aadhar card, passport, pan card or voter ID card. Remember that it is mandatory to bring an identity card. If you do not present the identity card, you will not be allowed to take the exam, regardless of the circumstances.

After verification of the documents, you will be taken to your assigned place to present yourself for the exam. Keep your ID card on the table at all times for further verification; it will save your time.

No additional materials apart from the pen and ID card are allowed to be kept during the exam. If you don't, you will be asked to leave the room.
If you are late and the exam has already started, you will not be allowed to enter under any circumstances.
Candidates who engage in misconduct, fraud and trouble will be prohibited from taking the exams for a fixed period set by the CCI Paris for the TEF and the CIEP for the TCF.

How to check your results after the TCF and TEF exams?

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

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