French Exam for Immigration Purposes

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Charles French
April 6, 2017
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French Tests Accepted by Canada or France for Immigration Purposes

Things to know before taking a test


If you wish to apply for permanent residency in Canada or France, you will, in most cases, have to take a French test to demonstrate an upper-intermediate level (B2). After passing the French test, the candidate can demonstrate his or her listening, written and spoken skills in French for work and study purposes. The most common tests are the Test d’évaluation de français (TEF), the Test de connaissance du français (TCF) and the Diplôme d'études en langue française (DELF).
French level B2 is the fourth level of French in the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR), a definition of different language levels written by the Council of Europe.
According to the Teacher's Guide to the Common European Framework here's a brief summary of B2 level:
Listening:
  • Someone can understand extended speech and lectures and follow even complex lines of argument provided the topic is reasonably familiar.
  • Someone can understand most TV news and current affairs programs.
  • Someone can understand the majority of films in standard dialect.
Speaking:
  • Someone can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible.
  • Someone can take an active part in discussion in familiar contexts, accounting for and sustaining their views.
  • Someone can present clear, detailed descriptions on a wide range of subjects related to their field of interest.
The Association of Language Testers in Europe (ALTE), whose members have aligned their language examinations with the CEFR, provides guidance on the number of guided teaching hours needed to fulfill the aims of each CEFR level. The cumulative hours of study to reach level is usually based on a full-time basis.

  • A1 (beginner): 60 - 100 hours
  • A2 (advanced beginner): 160 - 200 hours
  • B1 (intermediate): 360 - 400 hours
  • B2 (upper-intermediate): 560 - 650 hours

What it means?

If you sign up in a language school, let's say in a full-time program of 20 hours per week which is roughly 80 hours per month, then it will take you about 8 months to get B2.


The number of hours needed for different learners varies greatly, depending on a range of factors such as:
  • age and motivation;
  • background;
  • amount of prior study and extent of exposure to the language outside the classroom;
  • amount of time spent in individual study;
  • second language proximity with native language (Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French or Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, etc.)