Most French college education institutions request that the candidate prove his/her level of knowledge in French by presenting the results of an official proficiency examination. Currently, the official proficiency tests in French are:

DELF and DALF are distinct from TCF and TEF because they are French-language diplomas, while the other two are French-language certificates. The DELF exam is designed for intermediate level students of French; whereas DALF is only for advanced level students. The diplomas do not have expiration date, while the certificates have expiration of two years (TCF) and one year (TEF).

DELF and DALF are composed of six separate diplomas that correspond to the language levels of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CECR).

The TCF is a linguistic level test of the French Ministry of National Education administered by the International Center for Pedagogical Studies (CIEP), which certifies the candidate's classification in one of the six levels of the CECR - defined competence scale - level A1 (introductory) to level C2 (mastery of the language). If the candidate judges that his/her test result was unsatisfactory, he/she may retake it, as long as the interval between sessions is respected for at least two months.

Created and managed by the Paris Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIP), the TEF is an objective, accurate and safe assessment test of the language level of candidates whose first language is not French. The results position in one of the six levels of the range of skills defined by the CEFR and include custom comments for each candidate.

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