Mehdi Lahchimi, April 22 2020

Government of Canada French Oral Proficiency Guide - French SLE Test Preparation

In this guide, you will learn tips and techniques to better succeed. Always remember that your French should not appear learned by heart, because your answers will not be considered representative of your true level. Now we will dive deeper into each part.

**Note that the jump from an A level to a B level is easier than the jump from a B level to a C level.

Government of Canada French Levels

Level A

This is the minimal level of the second language. Therefore, the evaluator expects the candidate to understand simple questions and answer with basic sentence structure.

Level B

For this level, the candidate is required to be able to sustain a conversation in the second language. In order to achieve this level, the candidate can have some difficulties with grammar, pronunciation, and vocabulary as long as it does not impede the dialogue. 

The candidate is able to: 

Understand and provide explanations and descriptions using concise and clear ideas  Understand and give information on his or her daily tasks & procedures related to his or her job.Describe events related to his or her workplace.  Explain a situation that happened in the past when answering to questions, the candidate uses the present, past and future tense properly 

Level C

At this level, the candidate has the ability to understand and express subtle, abstract, or complicated ideas. He or she is able to communicate his or her opinion using an enriched vocabulary. The candidate is expected to be at ease and fluent with the language, although there might be some flaws in with grammar, pronunciation, and vocabulary, as long as these mistakes are not significant.

In addition to the requirements for the B level, the candidate is able to: 

Be very fluid when providing the answer  Express abstract ideas  Understand hypothetical questions and therefore uses adequately the « si » clause  Answer questions in great details using complex ideas and an enriched vocabulary  Give his opinion to advise or to negotiate with another person Conduct training sessions 

The test’s main purpose is to evaluate your ability to understand and to speak the second official language. The test is approximately 40 minutes and takes place either at Gatineau’s evaluation center or near Tunney's Pasture for those who work at Health Canada. The test is divided in four different parts. 

Overview Of The French Oral Proficiency Test

Part 1

This part is only 5 minutes and aims to determine whether you have an X or A level. The evaluator asks simple presentation questions in the present, past, and future regarding your workplace, your daily tasks, your social activities at work, and your work experiences. This part of the test requires the candidate to answer in a clear and concise way by using a simple sentence structure. 


Part 2: 

This part is about 6 to 8 minutes and aims to determine whether you have an A or B level. The candidate listens to 4 audio recordings. 2 short vocal messages and 2 short conversations between employees. The candidate is then required to summerize the recordings.


Part 3:

This part is around 15 minutes. It is the most important part, in order to get your level B. The candidate is given 90 seconds to take notes before explaining in detail a situation, an experience, or a project related to his work. After which there will be a series of follow-up questions. 


Part 4: 

This part is around 7 to 10 minutes. It allows the evaluator to confirm that the candidate should obtain his level C. This part includes a long audio recording of a conversation between serval employees. The candidate is, then, asked to summarize the recording and answer to a question related to the topic of the recording. 


P.S: The different parts of the test allow the evaluator to assess the candidate’s French level. Therefore, if the evaluator is certain that the candidate has a level A the test will stop at the second part. However, if the evaluator is not sure whether the candidate has a level B or C, he or she will proceed to the test until the last part.

Evaluation criteria


The following are not directly evaluated during the test, however, by working on these, the candidate will maximize his or her chances to get the level they are looking for, especially those working towards getting their C level.

Speed and Flow


Body language 

Nuanced opinion 

Enriched vocabulary 


Try to practice before arriving at your interview by calling your francophone friends or one of our tutors.

If you start off badly and make some mistakes, don’t get discouraged. Keep doing your best. Errors are not counted and you will receive overall scores for each of the criteria discussed above.

Please consult the Public Service Commission's website for more information.

Don't hesitate to contact us to get a free 1-on-1 assessment by one of our tutors!

Written by

Mehdi Lahchimi


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