French is part of the Romance language family branch of Gallo-Romance. Some 60 million people use it as a mother tongue, over 200M use it as a second or foreign language. It is also spoken in regions in Africa, North America, South America, Asia and Oceania. French is the third-large language of the European continent after German and English.
Let’s now see what is the best French language proficiency test.
To begin with, it is important that you know that there are many French language proficiency tests out there. With that said there are two most prestigious proficiency tests in the French language for non-native speakers. These are the tests that are held by the French Ministry of education in collaboration with the Centre international d’études pédagogiques.
These tests are commonly known as DELF, Diplôme d’Études en Langue Française and DALF, Diplôme Approfondi de Langue Française. It is estimated that over 300,000 students appear for the DELF or DALF exam each year. These tests are especially beneficial as we follow the six-level protocol in accordance to the CEFR levels. In fact, these tests give you the freedom of registering and attempting each level on the basis of your own personal proficiency level.
With that said, it is important to keep in mind that these exams are divided age-wise. You have DELF Prim which is specifically designed for children between the ages of 7 and 12. Next up we have DELF Junior which is meant for students who are aged 13 or above.
Next, we have DELF pro. This is the professional version of this test. This is to assess a professional’s communication skills or any student who requires proficiency due to their French-speaking environment. Finally, we have DELF Scolaire. Similar to DELF junior this is also meant for adolescents. The two tests are identical but their differentiating factor is the administration.
So where can you take the DELF or DALF test?
This proficiency test is approved in 154 countries, in a total of 900 different centres. Considering India, these tests are conducted by the Alliance Française network. These are conducted in Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Chandigarh, Bhopal, Coimbatore, Pondicherry, New Delhi, Pune, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Trivandrum, Goa, etc.
So how do you pass a DELF or DALF exam and what is the validity of this exam?
Students must keep in mind that this exam evaluates each individual on the four skills of listening, speaking, writing and reading. Therefore achieving fluency in each is your key to achieving proficiency in the language. Marks wise, each section is marked on a 25 marks basis. You need to score a minimum of 5 marks on each of these 25 scores and a total aggregate of 50 marks on 100. Considering the validity, these diplomas have a lifelong validity. This essentially means that you would never have to re-attempt a test in or to prove your proficiency in the language.
From the 17th century through the mid-20th century, until when English took over, French was the primary language that was used as a diplomatic language. The effect hasn’t completely faded off and thus, it continues to be used in many international bodies, including NATO, the United Nations, EU institutions and the International Trade Organization.