If you want to follow a French-taught programme, you will have to prove your French proficiency.
Tests of French as a foreign language
The "TCF" and "TCF-DAP"
These are tests of general language proficiency used by the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research. They are made up of mandatory and optional components.
The TCF-DAP was especially designed for use with the DAP process (admission to first year of university study). It includes the mandatory portions of the TCF plus a test of reading comprehension.
The TEF is a test developed by the Paris chamber of commerce and industry. It measures test-takers' knowledge of general French through the 100-question QCM component, in addition to two supplemental tests, one written, one oral.
Diplomas in French as a foreign language
The "DELF" and "DALF"
The DELF (basic diploma in the French language) and DALF (advanced diploma) are granted by the French Ministry of National Education.
The DELF and DALF curricula are broken down into six separate levels, each of which corresponds to a specific degree of proficiency. The DELF is awarded to candidates who pass the first four levels. Candidates who go on to complete the last two levels are awarded the DALF.
These tests follows a european guideline : The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment and will give you an level in languages that can be understood all around Europe. The Common European Framework divides learners into three broad divisions that can be divided into six levels:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 whilst travelling 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 & ambitions and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans.
- Can understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in his/her field of specialisation.
- 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.
- Can understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts, and recognise implicit meaning.
- Can express him/herself 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 organisational patterns, connectors and cohesive devices.
- Can understand with ease virtually everything heard or read.
- Can summarise 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 tests can be taken in the Alliances Françaises. The next sessions will be held in February 2017. More information on http://alliance-francaise.ie/exams/