Free Resources
Chinese Certification
Study Chinese in Taiwan
Sentence of The Day
Skype download
Learning Chinese Online
Home < Chinese Certification < TOCFL < Reading

Test of Chinese as a Foreign Language (TOCFL)

TOCFL Reading Introduction

The Test of Chinese as a Foreign Language (TOCFL) is a standardized language proficiency test developed for non-native speakers of Chinese. It is the result of a joint project of the Mandarin Training Center, the Graduate Institute of Teaching Chinese as a Second Language, and the Psychological Testing Center of National Taiwan Normal University.  The research project started in August 2001, and the tests started to be conducted in 2003.  So far, it has served test takers from over 60 countries.  The new version of TOCFL is developed since 2008, to become available in 2013.

The new version of the TOCFL has three proficiency bands: Band ABand B, and Band C. Each of the bands has two levels. Therefore, there are a total of six levels: Levels 1 to 6. The items on the test of each level are 50 multiple choice items, to be answered in 60 minutes. Test takers can choose the test levels best suited to them based on their Chinese language proficiency and learning background.

In drawing up level descriptions, designing test tasks, testing, and scoring, the TOCFL Reading Test has been standardized and developed under strict scrutiny of researchers and scholars in the field of linguistics, and language teaching and testing.

As a proficiency test, TOCFL Reading Test does not develop its test items based on any specific language textbooks, but extracts the content from language materials in daily life, such as advertisements, public announcements, notices, letters, memos, time schedules, and weather forecasts. The topics cover literature, science, arts, astronomy, history, and so on.


TOCFL test takers who reach the level requirements will receive a certificate. The certificate can serve as a Chinese proficiency credential for:

  • Applying for the “Taiwan Scholarship.”
  • Applying for academic programs at colleges or universities in Taiwan.
  • Serving as a reference of Chinese subject for University Entrance Committee for Overseas Chinese Students.
  • Serving as a job-required proof of Chinese language proficiency.

Currently a lot of undergraduate and graduate programs in Taiwan adopt the certificate of TOCFL as the requirement for admission or as the evaluation of applicant’s Chinese proficiency. In addition, many international businesses in Taiwan, such as LG, adopt TOCFL as reference for their employee dispatch programs. Several overseas companies also refer to candidates’ TOCFL certificates when recruiting.

Conversion table

The following table depicts the proficiency levels of TOCFL in corresponding relationship with CEFR and ACTFL.

Test Levels Certificate Levels CEFR ACTFL
Band A Level 1 A1 Novice-high
Level 2 A2 Intermediate-mid
Band B Level 3 B1 Intermediate-high
Level 4 B2 Advanced-mid
Band C* Level 5 C1 Superior
Level 6 C2 Distinguished
※Level 6 is undergoing development.  Levels 1-5 are available in 2013.


How to Take the TOCFL

Test Instruction

TOCFL Reading Test is a computerized test. Test questions and possible answers are shown on the screen of the computer. Test takers should use the mouse to click on the correct answer. 

Tips for Preparation
• Preparation

1. Be familiar with the test 
Obtain information of the test, including the features, target test takers, test content, test procedures, and test regulations, so that you won’t get agitated when you are at the test.

2. Have a clear study objective 
Constant practice is the key to learning a language. You will certainly have a better chance of passing the test if you have a clear study objective. You can read newspapers, magazines, and books on all topics as much as you can, and also practice writing short messages, cards, or letters. Many good reading materials are prepared in textbooks widely used in Taiwan,  such as: Practical Audio-visual Chinese, Far East Everyday Chinese, Chinese Folktales, Mandarin Daily News, Mini Radio Plays, Newspaper Readings, Ideology and Society, Advanced Chinese Readers, etc. There are extensive materials available for reading practice on higher levels like Bands B and C. You can develop the habit of reading magazines and note the language used in advertisements, announcements, handbooks, etc. This should help you get familiar with the special tones in various genres of writing. If you prepare to take tests on Band B or C, you are advised to study harder on the idioms and some customary fixed expressions as their meaning is much deeper than the superficial literal meaning. 

3. Mock Test 
You can practice taking the TOCFL mock tests, to feel how it is to answer the test items with time pressure.  This also helps you get familiar with the types of test items and sharpen your answering skills.

• At the test

  1. For the possible option words, it may be helpful to try to put each of them in the sentence to see if it fits the meaning and structure sentence. In general, it is advisable to enlarge your vocabulary when you study.  Don’t just memorize the literal meaning of a word, but also learn its usage in the context of a sentence.  It is also important to learn the synonyms and antonyms of the words.
  2. In reading, you should glance through the passage quickly to locate some keywords and grasp the general meaning of the passage.  Then you can scan the question and the options before you go back to the passage for the clues to the answer.  This should save you some time in reading and responding.
  3. You should note the arrangement of the paragraphs and try to find the transitional words that help build the organization of the passage.  This will help you understand the general content of the whole passage and find the correct answer quickly.
  4. Chinese characters are difficult to most learners. You can enlarge your vocabulary by extensive reading. And when learning new words, don’t try to look them up in the dictionary right away.  You can try to guess the meaning from the particles that constitute the words or from the meaning in the context.  This will help you enhance your understanding of the structure of the words and also develop deeper memory of them.
  5. There are a large number of test items, so please allocate enough time for each section.


Test Regulation
1. Prior to the Examination:

  • A test-taker should present either a valid passport with his/her photo attached or an ARC card at the test room. If a test-taker does not have the forms of identification mentioned above, TWO other forms of photo identification may also be accepted, but the test-taker’s name on these IDs has to be consistent with the registration information. Those who fail to present the valid IDs are not allowed to take the test and will not be able to ask for a refund or reschedule the test.
  • Ensure to enter the test room on time. Admittance is not allowed more than 10 minutes after the test begins(based on the clock in the test center). Those who are late for the test may not request for a refund or reschedule the test.
  • Look up for your seat number on the graph of seat on the door before entering the test room. Sit in your assigned seat.
  • Do not bring anything valuable with you. Test centers assume no responsibility for candidates’ personal belongings.
  • Before entering the test room, please turn off your cell phone, alarm clock settings and any other electronic devices.
  • Look up for your seat number on the setting arrangement sheet on the door before entering the test room. Sit in your assigned seat.
  • Personal items other than Photo ID and stationery(2B pencil, eraser) are not allowed on the desktop. All your personal items must be put away at the front of the test room.
  • here is no smoking, drinking, eating, chewing gum or water in the test room.

2. During the Test Session:

  1. Your photo ID will be checked before you are admitted. The name that you used to register must match the name on the ID you present at the test center and the personal label on the desktop. If any information is incorrect or missing, inform the invigilators during the roll call.
  2. No breaks are given during the test. You are required to finish the test in time even if you are permitted to leave the test room for special reasons.
  3. You may turn in the Answer Sheet or leave the test room only when the listening section is finished.
  4. If your cell phone or any other electronic devices ring, vibrate, or make any noise during the test, you will not receive any scores for this test.
  5. Do not look around, discuss test content, make noise or cause any disturbance during the test session. Or you will not receive any scores for this test.
  6. If you attempt to take the test for someone else or have someone take the test for you, both of you will be dismissed from the test room and will not receive any scores for this test. Moreover, both of you may not be able to attend the TOCFL test in the next 2 years.
  7. It is not allowed to copy the test content by transcribing, recording or any other format during the test. If you do so, you will be dismissed from the test room and will not receive any scores for this test. Moreover, you may not be able to attend the TOCFL test in the next 2 years.
  8. The test center reserves the right, in case of any violation of the above regulations or misuse of computer equipment, to cancel the test scores (Listening/Reading Section). Test takers will not be allowed to re-take/postpone the test or have the test re-scored. Also, no refund will be available.
  9. If you fail to comply with the test administration regulations or the test administrator's directions, you will be dismissed from the test room and will not receive any scores for this test.

3. After the Examination:
  • You must leave the test room immediately once the test is finished. Return your Question Paper and Answer Sheet to the test administrator.  Taking any of these away from the test room is a serious violation of the rule. If you do so, you will not receive any scores for this test and may not be able to attend the TOCFL test in the next 2 years.
  • After the test, hanging around, discussing or sharing the test content, or giving assistance to other candidates in any form is prohibited.
  • Steering Committee for the Test Of Proficiency-Huayu reserves the right to take all actions for disruptive behavior or failure to comply with the test administration regulations or the test administrator's directions during the test session. 

    Quote from The Steering Committee for the Test Of Proficiency-Huayu (SC-TOP)

    Top | Back to News

Online Customer service: Skype:hitutor Contact Us:886-4-37042882 (7 Days a Week, Taiwan Time , Mon. to Sun. 09:00-23:00)

Copyright ©2012 HiTutor. All Rights Reserved.