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Realistically... Can I jump from B1 French to C1 in ~5 weeks?

Hi everyone,

I need to take a French language test (TEF) and I can read/speak/mostly understand moderately, but I'm at a B1 level.

The next test date is in late October, so I'll have around 5-6 weeks of intensive studying/listening/movie watching. I work full time though, so do you think it'd be possible or should I just aim to take it when I feel 'ready'?

Edit: thanks everyone for your responses - will definitely look into a longer study/practice period. I figured it wasn't that easy, but was wondering if anyone's been through a similar situation and got out of it successfully.

September 8, 2017



Well C2 is almost native, C1 is not far behind. Literally you have to become fluent in French, that's what C1 is all about, you can try, but if you also have to work I don't think it's possible.


What is your native language? Do you speak a Romance language?

Keep in mind that learning the language to C1 level is different than preparing for a test C1 level, the test is a lot easier. If you concentrate studying only for the test with the test materials, maybe you could do it. You will need an experienced personal tutor and all the required materials.

If your question is can I speak French from B1 to C1 in 5 weeks, while studying part time, it is unlikely. You can try and do your best. Good luck.


Most likely, no. If French is your only focus in that time, you might have a shot, but it seems unlikely.


Are there any practice tests or preparation programs that you can take? You might try contacting Alliance Française for an assessment if there is one near you.

Going up each level becomes progressively more difficult. Leveling up from B1 to B2 is far more difficult than A2 to B1, and getting to C1 and C2 is exponentially more difficult than getting to B2. Personally, I'd give myself much more time to prepare for the test and I'm not even working full time. You could use the test as a benchmark and way to better determine where your weaknesses may be and what you need to work on.


so, how did it go?


B1 - 2,000 words

B2 - 4,000 words

C1 - 8,000

Better get your vocabulary books ready.


Does that make C2 16,000? Yikes...


I was just thinking the same way. Honestly I don't know if this is what the test requires, I guess I'll look at a few sample tests and decide...


Most French people only use 3,000 words. The 600 words that are used the most in French represent 90% of any text. You can find these 600 words here, with more statistics (in French): http://www.encyclopedie-incomplete.com/?Les-600-Mots-Francais-Les-Plus

I probably know more than 50,000 words, but I guess I only use 3,000 in my daily life, like everyone else.

This shows that vocabulary is not such a big deal. The real difficulty must be grammar and conjugations. Every verb has dozens of conjugated forms. They all count as one word of vocabulary, but you need to know them all (or at least the most common ones). Many can be guessed when you know the rules, but there are thousands of exceptions.


If you stayed in a French-speaking area for that duration and actively practiced the language it would probably be possible hehe.


did you complete TEF? how was it for you? did you achieve what you wanted to achieve?

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