France is one of the most beautiful countries in the world and is home to almost 370,000 international students. That is quite a big number and the main reason behind it is that France offers great educational opportunities and scholarships to students from all around the world. It has some of the world’s best institutes that are famous for their research and development. So if you are looking to study abroad for your undergraduate or postgraduate degree, you should definitely give France a chance.

French is the number one spoken language in France followed closely by English. To study in any of the breathtaking cities of France, each international student needs to have some prerequisites among which your language abilities play a considerable role. In this article, we will take you through all the language tests needed in France for international students like you!

Language Proficiency Tests Needed in France

Usually in non-English countries, they require basic knowledge of their official language and the English language because, without these, it would be very hard for the student to survive. The student can find some of his native people there who can help him out but they will not be around always. Globally, it is also a standard practice that any international student who plans on going to any other country must know a considerable amount of the English language and if not that, then he must know the official language of that country.

French Language Tests for International Students

There are various types of French language tests that non-French students can take but the DELF or DALF and the TEF are the most prestigious tests and are issued by the French Ministry of Education.


DELF stands for Diplôme d’Études en Langue Française and DALF stands for Diplôme Approfondi de Langue Française. These language tests in France differ only in the level of proficiency in the French language and collectively have six levels:

  • DELF A1: Breakthrough or beginner
  • DELF A2: Waystage or elementary
  • DELF B1: Threshold or intermediate
  • DELF B2: Vantage or upper-intermediate
  • DALF C1: Effective Operational Proficiency or Advanced
  • DALF C2: Mastery or proficiency

The DALF C1 and C2 are the highest forms of French language proficiency tests for any non-native individual. You can select the level of difficulty based on your skills in the language as the test has four modules: listening, speaking, writing, and reading. Each module carries 25 marks so the test is of 100 total marks. There are 900 test centers for these tests in 154 countries so you can select the one which suits you best.

The passing marks for these tests are 50/100. Once you have given the DELF/DALF, the results will be valid for the rest of your life. Almost all universities in France like Sorbonne University and IMT Atlantique accept these tests so once you acquire them, the only thing left for you to do is apply.

2. TEF – Test d’Evaluation de Français

The TEF stands for Test d’Evaluation de Français. This test has four modules: speaking, writing, listening, and reading. The results of this test will last for two years only and are very famous for immigrants that are looking to go either on a student visa or on a work permit to Canada or France. For the French language proficiency requirement, there are three types of TEF:

  • TEF Études
  • TEF Naturalisation
  • TEF Carte de résident
  • Apart from these three tests, the TEF Canada and TEF Quebec are for Canadian immigration only.

For international students, TEF Études is the way to go and it has written comprehension, oral comprehension, written expression, and vocabulary & syntax as the main modules. These tests are accepted in all public and private universities in France like Paris Sciences et Lettres – PSL Research University Paris and the Université Paris-Saclay.

The test has a total score of 699 and you get a grade for whichever pool you lie in. The grades are A1 (100-199), A2 (200-299), B1 (300-399), B2 (400-499), C1 (500-599), and C2 (600-699). To pass this language test needed in France, you should have a B2 level which is between 400 to 499 score.

English Language Tests For International Students

For international students, it is of utmost importance that they have a valid English proficiency test with a good score because this will help them in many ways on their international education journey. The best thing about these tests is that they are easy and do not need much preparation if your previous education was also in the English language.

For English tests needed in France, please use these tests:

1. IELTS – International English Language Testing System

IELTS is the world-famous English proficiency test that comprises four modules: speaking, reading, writing, and listening. The tests are accepted worldwide and also in almost all universities in France like Sorbonne University and Université Paris-Saclay. The scoring of the test is written in bands from 1 to 9 and any band above 5 – 6 is considered good if you are an international student.

There are many organizations that conduct IELTS all around the world like the British Council or IDP. You can opt for any one of them at your own convenience. The test results last for two years from the day that you receive your result. The best thing about this test is that it can be given on a computer and also on paper.

2. TOEFL – Test of English as a Foreign Language

TOEFL is yet another great English proficiency test that is accepted worldwide. It has four modules: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. It is said that it is harder to score well in TOEFL as compared to IELTS but if you believe in yourself, you should go ahead and give your best in TOEFL. The score range of TOEFL is 0 – 120. Anything above or around 90 is considered good.

There are various corporations that conduct TOEFL so select the one that is most convenient for you. You can choose to take a computer-based TOEFL or a paper-based TOEFL test. The TOEFL score is valid for two years only. This language test is highly accepted in France.

3. DET – Duolingo English Test

Duolingo is an online English proficiency test-taking platform. The test has slowly made its way among the widely accepted proficiency tests in the world but still, it is not accepted everywhere. So if you plan on taking the test, please check beforehand whether the university and the country that you are applying to accept this test or not. The ICN Business School and Audencia Business School accept the Duolingo test in France.

If you are not sure about your university, you can go over to this website and search whether your university accepts Duolingo or not. The Duolingo score is reported on a scale of 10 – 160 and a score above 110 is considered good.


Now you know a great deal about the language requirements for international students for French universities and visas. Make sure you prepare well beforehand for these tests. Good Luck!


We hope this article on language tests needed in France for international students is informative and helpful. You can also find more information on different European universities and scholarship opportunities on the Europe Scholarships Page!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hi! I am Hyun, and I am the founder at Global Scholarships. I've received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College and a $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for my undergraduate degree and was offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. You can read more about my scholarship journey here. If you are interested, you can follow me on Linkedin where I regularly write about scholarship opportunities.

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