[HR SOLUTIONS]

The Top 8 Best French proficiency tests for business

2022 Edition

There are a number of different tests that can be taken to assess one's level of proficiency in French. 

Why should you assess your candidates with French proficiency tests?

  1. It’s a way of assessing their language level:

- The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) can be used to identify the level.

- See what is the next level they should aspire to reach

- Evaluate their progress

- Determine their strengths and weaknesses

  1. It’s a way of validating their skills and make a well-informed decision:

- When applying for a job

- During a performance review

- When renewing their professional certification

- When applying for a promotion

  1. It’s a way of benchmarking themselves against their peers:

- Know where they stand in terms of language level

- Compare their results with others in their field

- Get an idea of the average level in their industry

- See how they compare to the general population

For determining the level of proficiency expected, you will want to consider the four main language skills: reading, writing, listening and speaking. Each of these skills will be important in different business contexts. For instance, being able to read and write in French will be important for email or chat correspondence, while listening and speaking proficiency will be key for telephone conversations or in-person meetings.

Many different French proficiency tests exist, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.

Below is a list of the 8 most popular tests and a brief overview of each:

  1. The Pipplet test
  2. The Test de Français International (TFI)
  3. The Diplôme d'études en langue française (DELF)
  4. The Diplôme approfondi de langue française (DALF)
  5. The Test d'évaluation de français (TEF)
  6. The Test d'évaluation de français au Québec (TEFAQ)
  7. The Test de connaissance du français (TCF)
  8. The Test de Français Professionnel (TFP)

1. Pipplet

Cloud-based language testing system Pipplet offers a 30-minute test to check both spoken and written skills for organizations. This makes it easier to find workers who are fluent in more than one language. These scenarios were developed by professionals to classify candidates' ability to communicate in a foreign language. Pipplet offers assessments in French, but also in 40 more languages. 

Key features:

  • Online Tests
  • Customizable Branding
  • Activity Dashboard
  • API
  • Applicant Tracking
  • Candidate Management
  • detecting and preventing fraud with anti-cheat devices
  • Multi-Language (40 languages)
  • Customizable Questions
  • Reporting & Statistics
  • Candidate Comparison
  • Aptitude Testing

Benefits:

  • Human examiners evaluate the tests and give the results within 24 hours.
  • Evaluation is based on the four skills of hearing, speaking, writing and reading.
  • International CEFR-based evaluation

Drawbacks:

  • Tests that have not been finished by applicants are automatically cancelled.
  • Available in online only.

Price:  €25-€40 per test.

2. Test de Français International (TFI)

The Test de Français International (TFI) is a French proficiency test offered by the French Ministry of Education. It is designed for adult learners of all backgrounds and levels, from beginner to advance. The Test is divided into two parts: the written section and the oral section. The written section consists of multiple-choice questions and is graded on a scale of 0 to 500 points. The oral section, which is conducted with a certified examiner, is graded on a scale of 0 to 30 points.

Key features:

  • Offered by the Paris Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIP)
  • 4 skills tested: listening, reading, writing, and speaking
  • 3 levels: beginner, intermediate, and advanced
  • Test can be taken online or in person
  • Results are valid for 2 years

Benefits:

  • Allows test-takers to assess their level in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR)
  • Test results can easily determine the level
  • Employers and widely recognized results institutions

Drawbacks:

  • Only available in France
  • Can be expensive

Price: 160 EUR (online), 180 EUR (in person)

3. Diplôme d'études en langue française (DELF)

The Diplôme d'études en langue française (DELF) is a French language proficiency test that the French Ministry of Education administers. It consists of four independent tests, each focusing on one of the four main language skills (reading, writing, listening, and speaking). The DELF is open to anyone over the age of 16, regardless of their nationality or country of residence.

Key features:

  • Assesses all four language skills (reading, writing, listening, and speaking)
  • Offered at six different levels, from A1 to C2
  • Can be taken by anyone, regardless of their age or nationality
  • Results are valid for life

Benefits:

  • The DELF is recognized by the French Ministry of Education, as well as a number of other organizations.
  • It is one of the most affordable tests.
  • The DELF is offered in a number of different formats, so it can be taken either in person or online.

Drawbacks:

  • The DELF is only offered at specific times throughout the year, so it may not be possible to take the Test on your schedule.
  • The DELF is only offered in French, so if you don't speak/read Frencg, you may find it difficult to understand the instructions.

Price: The cost of the DELF varies depending on the level you are taking and the format you choose, but it is generally around €100.

4. Diplôme approfondi de langue française (DALF)

The Diplôme approfondu en langue française (DALF) is a French language diploma that is jointly administered by the French Ministry of Education and the Centre international d'études pédagogiques (CIEP). It is considered to be one of the most prestigious French language certificates and is recognized by all French-speaking countries. The DALF is divided into two levels, C1 and C2, with C2 is the highest level of proficiency. To take the DALF, candidates must already have completed the DELF B2 level (or equivalent).

Key features:

  • Assesses all four language skills (reading, writing, listening, and speaking)
  • Offered by the French Ministry of Education
  • Two levels: C1 and C2
  • C1 level is necessary for admission to a French university

Benefits: 

  • Highly respected and recognized diploma
  • Good way of gauging one's progress
  • Can be used for a variety of purposes, such as job applications or performance reviews

Drawbacks:

  • Can be expensive
  • Requires a significant time commitment
  • May not be necessary for some business contexts

Price: €260-280

5. Test d'évaluation de français (TEF)

Created in 1998 by the CCI Paris Ile-de-France, the Test d'évaluation de français (TEF) is an international reference test that measures your level of knowledge and skills in French.

The results are valid for two years.

The TEF is officially recognized by: the French Ministry of Education, the French Ministry of Higher Education Research and Innovation the French Ministry of the Interior, the Canadian Ministry of Immigration Refugees and Citizenship, the Quebec Ministry of Immigration Francisation and Integration, the Swiss State Secretariat for Migration

The TEF consists of 5 modular tests:

  • Listening comprehension
  • Written comprehension
  • Oral Expression
  • Written Expression
  • Lexicon and Structure  

Depending on your objectives and the formalities to be completed, you may choose one or all of the 5 tests listed above.

This test must be taken in one session.

6. Test d'évaluation de français pour l'accès au Quebec (TEFAQ)

The Test d'évaluation de français pour l'accès au Quebec (TEFAQ) is recognized by the Quebec Ministry of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusion (MIDI) for official immigration applications.

As part of the immigration process in Quebec, the Ministère de l'Immigration, de la Francisation et de l'Intégration (MIFI) requires proof of the applicant's knowledge of French. For these procedures, it recognizes the TEF Québec exam (TEFAQ). The TEFAQ is also recognized by IRCC to apply for Canadian citizenship.

The TEF Quebec (TEFAQ) exam is composed of four tests:

  • Listening: 40 min - 60 questions
  • Oral Expression: 15 min - 2 topics
  • Reading: 60 min - 50 questions
  • Written expression: 60 min - 2 subjects

As a principal applicant, your knowledge of French must be at least level 7 (advanced intermediate) of the Quebec scale of proficiency in French for adult immigrants (in French) or the equivalent (level 2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) to obtain points.

Price: €220

7. Test de connaissance du français (TCF)

The TCF or Test de Connaissance du français is a language proficiency test in French administered by the French Ministry of Education. It is a multiple-choice test that assesses all four language skills: reading, writing, listening and speaking. The TCF is designed for non-native speakers of French who want to study in France or obtain French citizenship. Interested? Here's a preptool by TV channel TV5Monde.

Key features:

  • 4 skills tested: reading, writing, listening, and speaking
  • 4 levels: A1, A2, B1, B2
  • Test lasts 2 hours and 30 minutes
  • Results are available immediately

Benefits:

  • Widely recognized by universities, businesses, and government agencies
  • Can be taken at any of the 800 authorized testing centers around the world
  • Results are valid for 2 years

Drawbacks:

  • Not available online
  • May be expensive (cost can vary depending on the country)

Price: €160 (approx. $180 USD)

8. Diplôme de Français Professionnel (DFP)

The Diplôme de Français Professionnel (DFP), also known as the Business French Diploma, is designed specifically for those who need touse French in a professional context. It assesses all four language skills (reading, writing, listening, and speaking) and is, therefore, an ideal option for those who need to demonstrate a high level of proficiency. The DFP is offered by the Chambre de Commerce etd'Industrie de Paris (CCIP) and is recognized by many different professional organizations.

Key features:

  • Offered by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Paris (CCIP)
  • Assesses all four language skills (reading, writing, listening, and speaking)
  • Four levels of difficulty: A1, A2, B1, and B2
  • Results are valid for two years

Benefits:

  • Widely recognized by employers
  • Can be taken either in person or online

Drawbacks: 

  • Only offered in France

Price: €95

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Conclusion 

There is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to choosing the best French proficiency test for business. The most important thing is to pick a test that suits your needs. For example, if you are looking for an efficient, affordable and modern way to assess your candidates, you should choose Pipplet, but if you are looking for a widely recognized and respected certificate, the DELF or DALF may be your best option. 

However, if you are looking for a more affordable option, the TEF may be a better choice. Ultimately, the best French proficiency test for business is the one that meets your specific needs and requirements. Each of these tests has its own benefits and drawbacks, so it is important to choose the best one for your needs.

Do you need to hire or develop French-speaking talent? When it comes to conducting business in French-speaking countries, it is important to be able to verify one's proficiency in that language, to better serve your company’s clients. Having your candidates or employees takea language proficiency test will help you assess whether or not they have the necessary proficiency to succeed in their future workplace, as non-native speakers. For a lot of working positions with frequent interactions with French-speaking consumers or partners, it is necessary to test your candidates’ language competency in French because that is directly linked to their future productivity and efficiency.The ability to interact practically in French is a good example of a skill that can be easily evaluated by pre-employment testing, even before candidates reach the interview stage. By doing this, you’ll be able to focus your efforts on those who truly have the required abilities.

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