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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What's the best french language certificate for high-level professionals in France? I'm a project manager in financial IT and need something on my CV ahead of a move to Paris next year.

Having had a brief look I can see there are a few on offer. Can anyone with experience shed light on these?:





Ministry of Education Certificates

Diplôme Approfondi de Langue Française (DALF)
Diplôme d'Études en Langue Française (DELF)
Test de Connaissance du Français (TCF)


Alliance Franaise Certificates

Diplôme Supérieur d'Études Françaises Modernes (DS)
Diplme d'Aptitude l'Enseignement du Franais Langue trangre (DAEFLE)
Diplôme Supérieur d'Études Commerciales (DSEC)
Diplôme de Langue (DL)
Diplôme Supérieur de Langue et Culture Française (DSLCF)
Diplôme de Hautes Études Françaises (DHEF)
Certificat d'Études de Français Pratique2 (CEFP2)
Certificat d'Études de Français Pratique1 (CEFP1)


Paris Chamber of Commerce (CCIP) Certificates

Certificat de Franais Juridique (CFJ)
Certificat de Français du Secrétariat (CFS)
Certificat de Français Scientifique et Technique (CFST)
Certificat de Français du Tourisme et de l'Hôtellerie (CFTH)
Diplôme de Français des Affaires 1er degré (DFA 1)
Diplôme de Français des Affaires 2ème degré (DFA 2)
Diplme Approfondi de Franais des Affaires (DAFA)
Test d'Évaluation de Français (TEF)


University Certificates

Diplôme de Langue et Littérature Françaises – 2e degré
Diplôme Supérieur d'Études Fançaises - 3ème degré
Certificat Pratique de Langue Française – 1e degré


More Certificates

UNIcert French
BULATS - French (Business Language Testing Service)
Euroqualifications
Test de Franais International (TFI)
 

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Like all things in Life, "it depends."

Some employers will want a certificate specific to your line of work - in which case the CCIP certificates are about as good as it gets. The university certificates are probably more all-encompassing, but do you really want to go to the trouble to get a degree in French language and literature just to be able to work here in a technical field?

Depending on the job, you may also get away with simply listing your level of French - using the accepted French terms ("notions" "lu, ecrit, parlé" "couramment" etc.) and let them "test" you during the interview.

Normally, it's only in specific cases where a certificate is required - entry to a French university, working for the government or similar type circumstances.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Ah, many thanks. I haven't got the time to go to great lengths to get it but from what I've read on here it seems some form of certification will serve one better in getting a job!
 

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If you are truly fluent in French, this is easily demonstrated during your interview (which will presumably be in French), the quality of your French CV and your telephone conversations/emails whilst firming up your job application. If you French is adequate but not perfect, then qualifications will help your potential employer to give you the benefit of the doubt. The French government standard qualification levels are the DELF (at levels A1,A2,B1,B2) followed by the DALF (C1 C2). It was only at B2 that I could describe myself as reasonably fluent and C1 is the level needed for University entrance or for a job. If you are planning to work as a project manager, then I imagine that you will need to be able to prepare reports, presentations and papers quickly and accurately in French. As the diplomas focus on fluency in written and spoken French, they are very practical and will serve you well. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks very much!

I know that once you're in front of someone at interview your fluency (or lack thereof) will be instantly apparent but suspect that getting past the 'paper sift' as employers go through CV submissions might require some kind of certificate.
 

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Then DELF B2 or DALF C1 would be helpful. Any of the University certificates would of course also fit the bill.
 

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I think the DALF is the way to go. Try for the C1 if you can. I did it in December, it's just a really long exam: listening, reading and writing all in one block, then usually on a separate day the speaking component. There is only a small fee to sit the exam. The good thing about the DALF/DELF qualifications is that they are valid for life.

If you do want to do the DALF C1 though, even if your French is perfect you'll need to be informed about the structure of the test itself - you have to write a synthese (and an argumentative essay) for the written section, so even if your French is flawless you need to know what a synthese is and how they want you to write it. It's not very difficult but it's best to know ahead of time what you're expected to do.
 

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Our children are going through the DELF exams at school and have only just taken their B1 after having been at school in France for four years and obviously they are pretty fluent but in their own environment - language outside the school environment can sometimes still confuse them. Do they just continue to take an exam each year if they continue to pass it? I ask because they noticed this year that not all the children that sat the A2 test were with them for the B1, even though they mostly passed last year's A2.
 

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I'm afraid that I don't know how the language exams work in the school system.

In the language schools for adult learners, the classes are grouped by ability - and they typically use the A1, A2 etc levels as a guide for grouping. However, there is a jump up to B2 and particularly C1 in terms of analytical thinking and essay writing skills. I observed that some of my language class struggled to come up with opinions and ideas to express on the discussion topics (written or spoken). I believe that in Switzerland they say that B2 is suitable for 15 years upwards and C1/C2 for 17 years upwards or something like this - which in my view is about the ability to quickly express a point of view on a topic in an orderly manner.
 

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I'm not sure either how these exams have been integrated into the school system that your children are undertaking...I thought they were just voluntary exams that allow you to show your competency in French. There are no prerequisites to sit the exams and you can try for any of them in any order (ie: you can do DALF C1 without doing DELF A1-B2)

Technically levels C1 and C2 are considered to be native-like speaker fluency. I took the DALF C1 after 4 years of high-school French, 2 years of continuing to study it at university, and throughout that time I had spent 3 months in France and I had 2 years of constant contact with my (French) husband. I got the C1 without struggle, though not with a perfect score, as a 20/20 is all but unattainable in the French grading system.

I agree with xkiwi in saying that there is definitely a big step from B2 to C1. In the C1 exam the reading topic was on the evolution of architecture, the synthese and essay were about specialsed youth programs promoting practical skills for entry into the workforce, the listening section involved questions about a 15-minute real-life radio interview only played twice, and in the speaking part I had to talk for 20 minutes about genetically modified foods...

To contrast, I'm taking Italian right now at university, I'm in the B1 class and (though it's not quite B2, but we're at the end of it now) we're still learning all of the tenses and talking about innocent topics such as 'health' and 'work'. Sorry to ramble...I love languages.. :eek:
 

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After reading this thread and others I thought the B1 might be a bit low for their level but I found an equivalency table which says its equal to an A level so that doesn't sound too bad! Reading about the expectations and what my sons did the other day though, it sounds like they did more of the B2 specification since they did a lot of arguing. Their convocation was only for the B1 though. I guess I'll have to make sure they're listed to do the B2 next year if it is possible and don't get missed as the other children seem to have been. I'm wondering if it depends upon what marks they attain at each level.....
 

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After reading this thread and others I thought the B1 might be a bit low for their level but I found an equivalency table which says its equal to an A level so that doesn't sound too bad! Reading about the expectations and what my sons did the other day though, it sounds like they did more of the B2 specification since they did a lot of arguing. Their convocation was only for the B1 though. I guess I'll have to make sure they're listed to do the B2 next year if it is possible and don't get missed as the other children seem to have been. I'm wondering if it depends upon what marks they attain at each level.....
It sounds like you might want to talk to their teachers to establish we're they're at and what's going on.

To actually receive the certificate, you need at least 50/100 and you cannot have a score less than 5/25 in any of the sections.
 

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Yes I saw that on the A2 certificate my youngest got last year - the oldest did the B1 exam along with him this year and its the first he has done. I think when they asked if I wanted them put in for it this year they asked what level had been attained and what did I want to put them in for. I naturally put the next level on from what my youngest had already done for both of them as it seemed silly to put the oldest (who is more talkative and fluent) in for the lower levels. When I asked the teachers about it they didn't seem to know much about it.
 

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Sounds like a bit of lapse in communication on their part maybe. If your sons, or the older one, feel like the class is too easy for them, then take it up with the teachers again.
 

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They don't take a class for it. They are in full time French school studying all subjects in French so they are put in for the exams, assuming they will be at that level by now. My youngest did A1 in primaire and then A2 in 6eme and has just done B1 in 5eme. After I asked why he hadn't done the exams, the eldest joined him for the B1, having not done the earlier exams because I said he should take the same level as his brother this year. Nobody seems to know why the eldest hasn't done one of these exams before this year.
 

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I see now. The exams are not obligatory by any means...in fact why are your sons doing them if they are already completing schooling in the French system? If they are passing each school year we could assume that their French is not holding them back, and so long as they pass their Brevet at the end of college they will be able to go into Lycee.
 

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The teacher said something about how it is good for them to have because they are foreign and if their brevet marks weren't as high as the other (French) children because subjects like history or sciences might be difficult to study in French if it isn't their first language, it showed their level of French and that it is enough to cope in lycee.

Passing the brevet isn't required to enter lycee in my understanding but they do look at the average marks at the end of college. It sounded as if they might get a bit of leeway on the required standards as long as they had the DELF certificates to show that they should be able to cope with further study.

All 'foreign' kids in our schools do the DELF tests. Sometimes they miss those who start from the beginning in French school as they don't realise they are foreign but they catch up with them and send them for them when they realise. They may have missed my eldest because he is quite chatty and people don't realise he is English until he has a reason to speak English.
 

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Ok, I understand. It makes sense, and I suppose there's no harm in doing the DELF exams anyway even if they don't end up needing them. Regarding lycee, I think different schools have varying requirements - for example, students who complete college in the same school as the lycee they'd like to remain in usually get preference over students who did not complete college at that institute.
 

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Bonjour!

For French in a professional environment, there is also the "DELF pro".
The TCF is also good if you want to test your French language skills and need to know where to start to train for DELF or DALF...
For more information about those certificates (DELF/DALF/TCF...), you can visit the following website: DILF - DELF - DALF - CIEP
There you will find everything you need to know (dates, exam centers...) and also samples of exams.
 
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