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Test of Chinese as a Foreign Language (TOCFL)

TOCFL Speaking Introduction

Overview
Steering Committee for the Test OProficiency (SC-TOP) now presents Test of Chinese as a Foreign Language: Speaking (TOCFL Speaking), a communication-oriented test which assesses Chinese learners’ non-academic speaking ability. The test materials are based on authentic situations which are close to everyday life. The purpose of the test is to evaluate test takers’ ability to effectively express themselves by speaking in assorted situations.


Target
TOCFL speaking is a foreign/second language speaking test designed especially for non-native speakers of Chinese. Those who wish to measure their Chinese speaking ability or to study or work in Chinese-speaking areas are all welcome to take the test. Test takers can evaluate their Chinese speaking skills via the test and identify their strength and weaknesses for further improvement.


Scoring
TOCFL Speaking Test adopts the holistic scoring approach, taking into account the content, fluency, and language skills.  The results are presented in the form of scale scores, from 0 to 5.  The objective is mainly to assess the competence of the test taker to effectively accomplish the communication task verbally in different language contexts.

Test Level

The new version of the TOCFL Speaking has three proficiency bands: Band A, Band B, and Band C. Each of the bands has two levels. Therefore, there are a total of six levels: Levels 1 to 6. Test takers can choose the test levels best suited to them based on their oral proficiency levels.

Test Levels Certificate Levels CEFR Descriptor
Band A Level 1 A1 1.Can answer questions about personal details briefly such as where he/she lives, people he/she knows and things he/she has.
2.Can describe people, places and objects in a simple way with familiar everyday expressions and phrases.
Level 2 A2 1.Can describe personal background, daily routines and familiar matters with simple phrases and sentences.
2.Can describe the content of a video clip in a simple way.
Band B Level 3 B1 1.Can give straightforward and coherent descriptions of personal experiences, feelings, dreams, hopes and real or imagined events.
2.Can explain plans or events in sequence and, if necessary, provide brief reasons to support his/her opinions.
Level 4 B2 1.Can give clear, detailed descriptions on topics of interest, experiences and events.
2.Can provide personal points of view and give detailed reasons systematically concerning general or controversial issues.
3.Can develop a clear argument, expanding and supporting his/her points of view with relevant examples.
Band C Level 5 C1 still under development
Level 6 C2 still under development

Item Types

The TOCFL Speaking Band A has two sections. The first section has two warm-up items. The second section has seven test items arranged in three task types: Answering Questions, Describing Experiences, and Describing a Video Clip. The TOCFL Speaking Band B has two sections. The first section has two warm-up items. The second section has six test items arranged in three task types: Describing Experiences, Describing a Video Clip, and Stating Opinions. The Warm-up items are not scored. The other test items are scored on a 0-5 scale.

Please refer to the following table for the types of speaking test items:

Test Levels Task Types
Section One Section Two
Band A Warm-up Answering Questions, Describing Experiences, 
Describing a Video Clip
Band B Warm-up Describing Experiences, Describing a Video Clip, 
Stating Opinions
Band C still under development



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How to Take the TOCFL


Before the test

Practice speaking Chinese to your teachers, classmates, friends or colleagues, and describe in Chinese your likes and dislikes; state your opinions in Chinese.
Familiarize yourself with the test format and content; such information is available on the official TOCFL website.


On the test day

  1. Pay attention to the questions.
  2. Describe experiences familiar to you or related to your life. Note down key words on a piece of paper as talking points. 
  3. Give clear and detailed answers that are to the point; if you hear “Why” in the questions, do provide reasons.
  4. Give examples to support your arguments when answering questions.
  5. Keep track of the time for responses/preparation; try to complete your answers within the allotted time.
  6. Be careful with accuracy in vocabulary and grammar; if you forget or do not know how to say certain phrases, find alternatives to express yourself.

Pointers on answering questions

  1. Have you fulfilled the demands of the tasks?
  2. Is your response clear and sustained?
  3. Is your use grammar correct?
  4. Is your use of vocabulary correct?
  5. Is your response appropriate and well-structured?
  6. Are you able to keep track of the time for preparation and response?
  7. Is your speech well-paced?
  8. Are there too many pauses in your response?

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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.
  • Be sure 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.
  • 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 seating arrangement sheet on the door before entering the test room. Sit in your assigned seat.
  • Personal items other than your Photo ID are not allowed on the desktop. All your personal items must be put away at the front of the test room.
  • There 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. In addition, please check the correctness of your Nationality, Birth date, and the Language in video on the label. If any information is incorrect or missing, inform the invigilators during the roll call.
  2. No breaks are given during the test. Once you leave the test room, you are not allowed to reenter to finish the test.
  3. Please follow the instructions given by the test proctors. Do not use the computer unless you are instructed to do so.
  4. Reference materials and electronic dictionaries are not allowed.
  5. You may use the pen and paper on the desk to take notes. After the test, do not take them with you.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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 the TOCFL test in the next 2 years.
  10. 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. Test takers will not be allowed to re-take/postpone the test or have the test re-scored. Also, no refund will be available.
  11. 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:
  • When the test is over, please remain seated until the test proctors instruct you to leave.
  • After the test, hanging around, discussing or sharing the test content, or giving assistance to other candidates in any form is prohibited.
  • 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.

4. Guidelines for computer operation:
  • Do not use the computer unless you are instructed to do so.
  • You are not allowed to open any webpage or software, such as Microsoft Office, Windows Media Player, or email.
  • Do not take any test items or recording materials out of the test room.
  • 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. Test takers will not be allowed to re-take/postpone the test or have the test re-scored. Also, no refund will be available.
  • If there is a problem with your computer, please raise your hand immediately and the test proctor will help you.


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

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