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Test of Chinese as a Foreign Language (TOCFL)

TOCFL Writing Introduction

Overview
Steering Committee for the Test Of Proficiency (SC-TOP) now presents Test of Chinese as a Foreign Language: Writing (TOCFL Writing), a task-oriented test which assesses Chinese learners’ writing 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 writing in assorted situations. In order to accurately measure test-takers’ writing ability from different aspects, all levels of the test require the ability of completing two types of writing. The test will be taken on the computer.


Target
TOCFL Writing is a foreign/second language writing test designed especially for non-native speakers of Chinese. Those who wish to measure their Chinese writing ability or to study or work in Chinese-speaking areas are all welcome to take the test. Note: TOCFL Writing is a computer-based test. Chinese-typing ability (ㄅㄆㄇㄈor Microsoft Pinyin) is a requirement for all test takers.


Scoring
For each level, the test adopts a 0-5 scoring scale with 3 as the minimum passing score.
Assessment for TOCFL Writing consists of primary and secondary criteria. Primary criteria assess content relevancy, i.e. whether the content is relates to the scenario or task; is well developed and well-organized, and demonstrates appropriate syntactic usage, word choice and language variety. Secondary criteria assess the length of the writing and the frequency of erroneous Chinese characters and punctuation within.

Test Level

The test is divided into different levels according to the complexity of the writing tasks. So far three levels of tests have been developed: TOCFL Writing for Level 2, Level 3 and Level 4. Test takers should choose the test level corresponding to their writing proficiency. (Please see Table below) 

TOCFL

CEFR

Description

Level 2

A2

■ Can write short passages, notes, or simple personal letters describing
     personal experiences, using properly connected phrases and sentences.

Level 3

B1

■ Can describe experiences, feelings or reactions of/toward concrete/abstract
      events or topics.
■ Can write personal letters to convey life-related messages in details.

Level 4

B2

■ Can present a pro/con argument by combining different point of views and
      analyzing the advantages and drawbacks of an issue.
■ Can write a letter to provide suggestions/comments to an addressee,
     emphasizing the importance of personal involvement in a particular
     event/experience.


Test Content

Each level consists of two writing tasks. (Please see Table below)

Level

Tasks

Length (Words)

Time

Level 2

Practical Writing (Notes, E-mails, Invitation Cards, Thank You Notes, Apology Letters, Assorted Cards)

70-120

20mins

Narrative Writing (Picture Compositions)

150-200

40mins

Level 3

Practical Writing (Personal Letters)

300-400

50mins

Narrative Writing (Real or Fictional Events)

300-400

50mins

Level 4

Practical Writing (Complaint Letters, Recommendation Letters, Letters of Advice)

500-600

60mins

Argumentation

500-600

60mins




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How to Take the TOCFL


Before the test

  1. Familiarize yourself with Chinese writing styles by practice writing reminders, email, or essays to tell a story, describe personal experiences and feelings. You may also try to express your thoughts regarding an article or news story in the form of written words, so as to improve your writing.
  2. Use Online Writing Practice Platform provided by the Committee to familiarize with exam process and questions. The Practice allows test takers to have their writing reviewed by raters so as to identify and be mindful of their problems.
  3. Familiarize yourself with “Notes” posted on the official website so you may spare the reading and allow yourself more time to complete the task on the actual exam.
  4. Practice frequently Chinese input modes (Phoneticㄅㄆㄇㄈ input or Pinyin) to allow yourself to finish the tasks in time.

During the Test

  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?

Please note the followings when responding to the prompt:

  1. Does my writing fulfill the task requirement?
  2. Is my writing within the designated length?
  3. Did I write in standard Chinese writing format?
  4. Did I use appropriate conjunctions to connect sentences?
  5. Was my grammar correct?
  6. Did I use the collocation correctly?
  7. Did I select the characters correctly when typing?
  8. Did I use the punctuations correctly?

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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. 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. 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. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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:
  • 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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