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Slightly similar to the ECL language exams, telc tests are a European system of administering unified language exams. Although the telc language exam got its start in 1968 as a test for German proficiency, it is now possible to earn the certificates in ten different languages. The test results are widely recognised in Europe, making TELC a good one-stop-shop for your language certification needs.

In this guide, we’ll introduce the language exams more thoroughly, provide an overview of how and where to take them, and offer a few tips on how to achieve the best results.

TELC – What is it?

Let’s start by clearing up what the acronym “TELC” means. The letters stand for The European Language Certificates, meaning that when written in all capital letters, the word signifies the certificate you can earn after passing one of the corresponding exams. Another common way of referring to this system of standardised tests is “telc language tests” (written in lowercase letters). In addition to the tests themselves, “telc” can also stand for the organisation that develops and administers the language exams – telc gGmbH – a non-profit organisation based in Frankfurt am Main in Germany.

With all of these different meanings, it can get a little complicated to follow, but in this guide, we’ll use “TELC” to signify the certificates, and write about “telc” when referring to the actual exams.

As we mentioned above, telc is a system of standardised tests that measure skills in ten languages: English, German, Turkish, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Polish, and Arabic. All of the tests correspond to CEFR, dividing language speakers among different levels of proficiency from A1 to C2. However, there is an important thing to note: not all levels are available for all languages. For example, in Arabic or Portuguese, you can only earn a B1 TELC right now.

For the most up-to-date info on the variety of available TELC certificates and language exams, the best way is to check the telc gGmbH homepage.

How to take the telc language exams?

To take a telc language exam, you need to find a local testing centre that is licensed to administer the test, and register for it. Before you can sit the test, you’ll also need to pay the exam fee to the specific testing centre. The test times and prices can be set independently by the examination center, so they can vary according to location.

Since there are over 3,000 licensed testing centres, there might be several near to where you live, so it might pay to check out a few to compare the exam prices and times to find the most suitable option. In most cases, the exam pricing is also based on which level of exam you’re looking to take. So, taking an A1 level test will be cheaper than trying to obtain a C2 certificate.

For more accurate info, contact your local telc examination centre.

Keep in mind that TELC are awarded for a specific language level, and independently from each other. You register for a specific level test, and either pass or fail it. So, be sure to find out which level you need (or want) to achieve.

What do telc language exams look like?

The exams consist of a written and oral part. All test takers will be graded on each of the four language skills: reading, listening, writing, and speaking.

The test structure and time varies across the different types of exams you can take. Higher level exams, such as C1 and C2, take more than four hours, but lower levels can be completed in less than three. For higher levels, you will have a short preparation time before the oral exam which is administered individually, while the lower levels will have the oral exam straight after the written part and in a group of up to three people.

To get the most accurate info on what your telc exam will be like, choose the certificate you’re trying to obtain from this list, and click on the corresponding exam.

How to prepare for a telc language exam?

One of the best ways to prepare for your language test would be to make use of some of the practice material offered on the official website. Just choose the exam you want to prepare for and you will see a mock examination you can download for free and use for practice. You can also buy official test preparation workbooks, booklets, or other material from the same website.

You can also take a look at the general tips for test takers they offer.


And don’t forget to sign up for a private teacher:

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