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Understanding TEF, TCF, TCF Canada and TEF Canada: Differences and Preparation Guide

What are TCF, TCF Canada, TEF and TEF Canada? How do they differ? What's the exam format, and how can you prepare?

This comprehensive guide offers detailed insights into TEF (Test d'évaluation de français), TCF (Test de connaissance du français), TCF Canada, and TEF Canada. These proficiency tests in French are pivotal for individuals assessing their French language skills, particularly for Canadian immigration and citizenship applications.

What is TEF and TEF Canada?

TEF (Test d'évaluation de français) is a proficiency test assessing the language skills of non native French speakers, recognized by the French Ministry of Education, Higher Education, and Research. TEF Canada is a specific version tailored for individuals applying for Canadian immigration or Canadian citizenship.

What is TCF and TCF Canada?

TCF (Test de connaissance du français) evaluates the French language skills of non-native speakers, acknowledged by the French Ministry of Education and is widely accepted by French-speaking universities and global institutions. TCF Canada, however, caters specifically to Canadian Immigration applications.

What are the differences between TEF Canada and TCF Canada?

While both TEF Canada and TCF Canada are French language proficiency tests for the same purposes (immigrating to Canada), there are some key differences between them that you need to know:

Purpose: Both tests serve purposes in permanent residency and express entry pool applications.

Structure: TCF Canada and TEF Canada evaluate four skills—speaking, listening, writing, and reading. However, they differ in the number of questions presented for each skill.

Difficulty: Determining which test is easier, TCF or TEF, remains subjective. Both tests hold a similar level of difficulty in terms of duration and format.

Conclusion: To make an informed choice, attempt sample papers for both tests to find the one that aligns best with your strengths and preferences. Additionally, check the current exam fees. Keep in mind that there are more resources available online for TEF Canada.

TEF Canada Exam Format

The TEF Canada exams consist of the following sections:

1. Listening: Candidates listen to audio recordings and answer questions related to the content.

2. Reading: Candidates read passages and answer questions to demonstrate their reading comprehension skills.

3. Writing: Candidates complete writing tasks, such as writing a letter or an essay, to showcase their written communication skills.

4. Speaking: Candidates participate in a face-to-face interview with an examiner to demonstrate their oral communication skills.

New changes to TEF Canada 

There have been recent updates to the type and number of questions for the TEF Exam, effective as of December 11, 2023.

While the speaking and writing tests remain unchanged, both the oral comprehension and written comprehension tests will now feature fewer questions. Watch my video to delve into these updates in detail.


In summary, TEF Canada tests consist of:

  • Oral expression: 15 minutes, 2 topics to cover
  • Written expression: 60 minutes, 2 topics to cover
  • Written comprehension: 60 minutes, 50 questions
  • Oral comprehension: 40 minutes, 40 questions

How can I prepare for TEF Canada?

Preparing for the TCF Canada or TEF Canada requires a comprehensive understanding of the test format and the ability to effectively communicate in French.

Here, I'd like to provide some valuable tips to help you in your preparation:

  1. Familiarize yourself with the test format and requirements. I recommend visiting the "Le français des affaires" website for a Free TEF Canada sample test. Additionally, I share the latest test insights and lessons on my YouTube channel
  2. Practice listening and comprehending spoken French by engaging with podcasts, movies, or having conversations with native speakers. Check out this post to discover effective ways to learn French quickly.
  3. Read French texts, such as newspapers, books, or online articles, to improve your reading comprehension skills. I'm sharing my recommendations in this post.
  4. Practice speaking French by engaging in conversations with native speakers or taking part in language exchange programs.
  5. Practice your writing skills by practicing formal writing, such as composing letters or essays on various topics.
  6. Consider enrolling in a TEF preparation course or working with a language tutor to receive guidance and feedback. I offer both one-on-one and group classes tailored for TEF Preparation. Feel free to check them out.

Good luck! 

TEF Canada Preparation Course 

Join my TEF Canada Preparation classes where we cover the four essential skills needed for the TEF Canada: writing, speaking, reading, and listening. We'll provide test samples and practical exercises to better prepare you for the exam.

Click here to sign up! 

Please note that spots are limited. 

About me

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My name is Umut, a dedicated French Language Teacher with a PhD in French Studies.

With over 7 years of expertise, I've successfully guided hundreds of students in mastering French effectively, taking them from entry-level to confident fluency.

Learning a new language is a rewarding journey, and I'm here to make it enjoyable and manageable for you.

Join my French courses and start achieving your goals!

If you have any questions, feel free to send me a message at

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