| Introduction | Target Test Taker | Scoring | Test Levels | Item Types

  • Introduction

Steering Committee for the Test Of Proficiency-Huayu (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 Test Taker

The TOCFL Speaking test 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

The 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. The objective is mainly to assess the competence of the test takers to effectively accomplish the communication tasks verbally in different language contexts.

  • Test Levels

The TOCFL Speaking test 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 they live, people they know, and things they have.
2.Can describe people, places and objects in a simple way with familiar everyday expressions and phrases.
Level 2


1.Can describe their 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


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 briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans.
Level 4 B2 1.Can give clear, detailed descriptions on topics of interest, experiences and events.
2.Can provide personal points of view concerning general or controversial issues and systematically give detailed reasons.
3.Can develop a clear argument, expanding and supporting their points of view with relevant examples.
Band C Level 5 C1

In formal discussion of abstract, complex unfamiliar topics:
1. Can give clear, detailed descriptions and presentations, integrate sub-themes and round off with an appropriate conclusion.
2. Can respond to questions and comments of counter argument fluently, spontaneously, appropriately and convincingly.
3. Can expand and support the points of view at some length with subsidiary points, reasons and relevant examples.

Level 6 C2

In formal discussion of abstract, complex unfamiliar topics:
1.Can produce clear, smoothly flowing well-structured speech with an effective logical structure which helps the recipient to notice and remember significant points.
2. Can hold their own in formal discussion of complex issues, putting an articulate and persuasive argument, at no disadvantage to native speakers.
3. Can adapt the talk flexibly to meet the audience’s needs.


  • Item Types

The TOCFL Speaking test at Band A consists of three sections. The first section has two warm-up items. The second section has four test items in the task type of Answering Questions. The third section includes four test items arranged in two task types: Describing Experiences and Describing a Video Clip. The TOCFL Speaking test at Band B consists of two sections. The first section has two warm-up items. The second section includes six test items arranged in three task types: Describing Experiences, Describing a Picture and Stating Opinions. The TOCFL Speaking test at Band C consists of three sections. The first section has one Stating Opinions item. The second section includes three test items arranged in two task types: Role Playing and Responding to Viewpoints. The third section includes three test items arranged in two task types: Summarizing Articles and Expounding Viewpoints.

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

Test Levels Task Types
Section One Section Two Section Three
Band A Warm-up Answering Questions Describing Experiences, Describing a Video Clip
Band B Warm-up Describing Experiences, Describing a Picture,
Stating Opinions
Band C Stating Opinions Role Playing,
Responding to Viewpoints
Summarizing Articles,
Expounding Viewpoints

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