Test and European Standards Levels

French citizenship

To obtain the French citizenship, you must prove your level in French by taking an accredited test such as the “Test de Connaissance du Français” (TCF).

Alliance Francaise San Francisco is an official test center for the TCF. You can find more information here: http://afsf.com/exam-center/tcf/

Common reference levels

The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) divides learners into three broad divisions that can be divided into six levels; for each level, it describes what a learner is supposed to be able to do in reading, listening, speaking and writing. These levels are:

A1- Breakthrough or beginner – cumulative hours 60/100 – 4/6 classes

  • Tests TCF A1, and DELF A1
  • Can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very basic phrases aimed at the satisfaction of needs of a concrete type.
  • Can introduce him/herself and others and can ask and answer questions about personal details such as where he/she lives, people he/she knows and things he/she has.
  • Can interact in a simple way provided the other person talks slowly and clearly and is prepared to help.

A2 – Way stage or elementary – cumulative hours 160/200 – 10/12 classes

  • Tests TCF A2, DELF A2, and CEFP 1
  • Can understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to areas of most immediate relevance (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography, employment).
  • Can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters.
  • Can describe in simple terms aspects of his/her background, immediate environment and matters in areas of immediate need.


B1 – Threshold or intermediate – cumulative hours 360/400 – 22/24 classes

  • Tests TCF B1, DELF B1, CEFP 2, and TCF ANF (oral B1)
  • Can understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc.
  • Can deal with most situations likely to arise while traveling in an area where the language is spoken.
  • Can produce simple connected text on topics that are familiar or of personal interest.
  • Can describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes and ambitions and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans.

B2 – Vantage or upper intermediate – cumulative hours 560/650 – 34/25 classes
Tests TCF B2, DELF B2, Diplôme de langue, TCF DAP, and TCF for Quebec

  • Can understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in his/her field of specialization.
  • Can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible without strain for either party.
  • Can produce clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects and explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options.


C1 – Effective Operational Proficiency or advanced – cumulative hours 810/950 – 49/60 classes

  • Tests TCF C1, DALF C1, and DSLCF
  • Can understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts, and recognize implicit meaning.
  • Can express ideas fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions.
  • Can use language flexibly and effectively for social, academic and professional purposes.
  • Can produce clear, well-structured, detailed text on complex subjects, showing controlled use of organizational patterns, connectors and cohesive devices.

C2 – Mastery or Proficiency – cumulative hours 1060/1200 – 64/73 classes

  • Tests TCF C2, DALF C2, and DHEF
  • Can understand with ease virtually everything heard or read.
  • Can summarize information from different spoken and written sources, reconstructing arguments and accounts in a coherent presentation.
  • Can express him/herself spontaneously, very fluently and precisely, differentiating finer shades of meaning even in the most complex situations

These descriptors can apply to any of the languages spoken in Europe, and there are translations in many languages.

Alliance Française has stated students can expect to reach CEFR levels after the following cumulative hours of instruction: A1 60–100, A2 160–200, B1 360–400, B2 560–650, C1 810–950, C2 1060–1200.