France is a popular destination for foreign students. It has a variety of study programs, the tuition is affordable, and it generates several scholarships and exchange programs. However, international students may have to submit some types of certificates proving they have completed a required international exam.
Exams for studying in France vary on the admission requirements, on the university itself, and on the nature of the study program. The exams may be either language exams or specific skills exams.
What Exams Do I Need to Study in France?
You will need at least one of the following exams if you want to study in France:
- TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language).
- TOEIC (Test of English for International Communication).
- IELTS (The International English Language Testing System).
- TCF (Test de connaissance du français).
- Le TEF (The French Evaluation Test).
- DELF (Diplôme d’études en langue française).
- DALF (Diplôme approfondi de langue française).
- GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test).
- GRE (Graduate Record Examinations).
TOEFL is an English language test that is required for students whose native language is not French or English. Some universities may ask for different English language tests – as long as you have one certificate that is acceptable by the university, you should have no problems.
The test is created and administered by a non-profit organization. You should be able to find exam centers in your country, or even after your arrival in France. However, you will most likely be asked to present the certificate before you leave for France.
You will be tested in four sections; reading, writing, speaking, and listening. TOEFL is scored from 0 to 120. The score you need to consider your test valid will depend on the university.
This is also an English language exam aiming to measure your proficiency level at using the language. The main difference between TOEFL and TOEIC is that while TOEFL is mostly aimed at students, TOEIC targets individuals who need a language certificate for the workplace. This is because TOEIC is mostly focused on assessing your communication level with the language.
However, some universities may require TOEIC. This will mostly depend on the level of your study program and whether you will be working during your studies. The majority of universities will only ask for TOEFL, but those who ask for both will accept either one.
IELTS is an assessment exam for international students whose first language is not French or English. Most international students will follow the lectures in English, and a language certificate proving their language efficiency is mandatory.
IELTS is co-owned and organized by the British Council, IELTS Australia, and Cambridge Assessment English. This exam will also score you on reading, writing, listening, and speaking.
The range score is different from TOEFL, as it ranges from 0 to 9. You typically need a 6 or higher to pass. However, the score requirement is different for each institution.
TCF is another language test that assesses the applicant’s usage of the French language. International students who know French and want to follow the lectures in French will be required to submit a language test. This test is organized by the CIEP (Centre international d’études pédagogiques) for the French Ministry of Education.
The exam follows the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, which means that language proficiency is measured from A1 (basic user) to C2 (advanced user).
TCC has a compulsory part of the examination and an optional one.
The compulsory section includes:
- Grammar and vocabulary.
The optional section includes:
- Spoken interaction.
- Written expression.
TEF is one of the first standardized tests designed to assess the command of the French language. It became acceptable for studies only in 2012, as initially it was used for immigrants and naturalization.
You will be assessed in your reading, writing, and oral skills. There is also a section of glossary and structure. In order to pass, you need to have very high scores in the written compression and oral section and have at least 14/20 for the written expression section (the understanding of complex usage of the language, including metaphors and idioms).
DELF is administered by the International Centre for French Studies on behalf of the French Ministry of Education. It’s an exam to test the French language proficiency of the applicant. It comprises four levels from A1 to B2, and it tests reading, writing, oral, and listening skills.
You will need to score a 50 out of 100 in order to pass. The requirement for this exam depends on whether you want to study while attending the lessons in French and completing school exams in French.
This exam tests French proficiency in the remaining levels according to the Common European Framework for Languages; levels C1 and C2. While the exams are correlated the certificates are separate diplomas and you can apply for whichever level you feel ready for.
This exam is owned and administered by the Graduate Management Admission Council and it evaluates different fields including language, algebra, geometry, and arithmetic. The test also assesses problem-solving skills, analytical skills, and logical skills, which are believed by the administrators to be vital in business management fields.
This test will most likely be required by business schools and similar study fields. You will be evaluated in four sections:
- Analytical writing
- Integrated reasoning
You can take the test 5 times within a year but you must wait 16 days between the dates. The test cannot be taken more than eight times in total.
GRE is very similar to GMAT as they test similar skills such as logical and reasoning skills, in addition to verbal and language skills. However, GRE is usually taken by students in various graduate programs while GMAT is meant for students who specifically went to business school.
Requirements for Studying in France
Some requirements when applying to study in France for international students include:
- Student visa. A student visa for France is required for some international students who are nationals of countries that don’t have a visa agreement with France. The student visa is usually valid for a year. You have to be admitted to a university in order to get a student visa. There is an application process for the visa and the French embassy in your country can help you through this procedure.
- Passport. You should have your passport with you when you apply for the study program. Make sure that the document is up-to-date.
- University application form. Most universities have a specific form you have to fill in initially for your application. You can usually find the form on the university’s official webpage.
- Proof of financial stability. Students are required to submit statements that they can afford to study in France and won’t become financially dependent. This may require you to have a specific amount in a savings account and an allotted monthly spending amount.
- Evidence of paid tuition fee. You have to provide evidence of paid tuition fees. In cases where you haven’t paid the fee then you must submit evidence that you can afford the tuition. If you have a scholarship then submit a certificate proving that your tuition is covered by the scholarship.
Which Are the Entry Requirements for Universities in France?
The entry requirements for international students in French universities are these:
- Campus France authorization. Students have to register on the Campus France platform. The platform will help you during your application process and it will save all the important data in your file.
- Resume. Students have to prepare a detailed CV for their application. In the CV you have to include all your achievements, and arrange them by order of which you accomplished them.
- Letter of purpose. Make sure you include a well-written letter of purpose. In the letter, you must state the reason why you want to study in France and why you chose the particular program, and what are your career goals.
- Reference letter. The majority of universities will ask for reference letters. Some universities may ask for more than one and some may have specific requirements on who you should ask to write the reference letter. Most will ask you to provide letters from a professor in your previous academic institutions or an employer who knows you well.
Study in France Application Process
Here is what you should do when you want to apply for studies in France:
- Choose the university.
- Register at Campus France.
- Apply for a student visa.
Choose the University
Before you head on and apply for any university in France, do research and see which school will suit you. Check the admission requirements for each school and the specific study program you’re aiming for. If they accept any one of the exams mentioned above, and you have a certificate then it will be easier for you since you won’t have to sit for another exam.
Register at Campus France
Etudes en France or Campus France is a type of e-service where foreign students need to register if they want to study in France. You create an account online and you will receive instructions on how to proceed.
The platform will help you all throughout the application process. You can submit the required documents, scanned, in your account and a file with your name will exist.
Some students are not obligated to register at Campus France, this will depend on where you’re from. However, even if you are not required to do so you will be required to submit a preliminary request for admission (Demande d’Admission Préalable – DAP) when you want to register for your first year Bachelor degree.
Apply for a Student Visa
Once you complete your application at the university, you need to apply for a visa. Not every student will need a visa – this varies on which country you’re from. You have to check with a French embassy/consulate in your country and contact the admission officer to be sure.
If you do need a visa, then apply at a local French mission since visas are always issued by the embassies/ consulates.
You have to be admitted to an educational institution first so you can attach a letter of acceptance to your visa application.