When you’re applying to attend a Russian school or work for a Russian company, you may well find that you need to have passed the Test of Russian as a Foreign Language (TORFL). This provides an official certificate of your Russian proficiency, which is recognized by the Russian state and in compliance with European quality standards. Passing it requires preparation and training of all your Russian language skills, and we advise that you work with an expert tutor to achieve the necessary fluency.
Below, we’ll go through the levels of proficiency certified by the TORFL test as well as some basic information about the exam format and how to apply.
How to Apply
You can apply to take the TORFL by filling out the online form provided by the assessing universities. The price varies depending on which level you’re taking, with the lower levels being cheaper and the higher ones more expensive. Generally, you can expect to pay between 60 and 100 USD.
The TORFL test is offered at six proficiency levels, which correspond to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFRL) levels, numbered A1 (elementary) to C2 (native or near-native).
Elementary Level (TEL/A1): Certifies that the candidate can perform elementary communication tasks in a limited number of everyday situations.
Basic Level (TBL/A2): Certifies that the candidate can perform basic communication tasks in a limited number of everyday situations and cultural spheres.
First Level Certificate (TORFL-I/B1): Certifies that the candidate can communicate in everyday, cultural, educational, and professional spheres to the standard stipulated by the State Standard of Competence in Russian as a Foreign Language.
Second Level Certificate (TORFL-II/B2): Certifies that the candidate has a high level of competence in Russian and can communicate well in a wide range of cultural, educational, and professional situations.
Third Level Certificate (TORFL-III/C1): Certifies that the candidate has a high level of fluency in all communicative contexts.
Fourth Level Certificate (TORFL-IV/C2): Certifies that the candidate has a near-native level of Russian proficiency.
The TORFL test is divided into five parts: Writing, Vocabulary/Grammar, Reading, Listening, and Speaking. The exam usually takes place on two separate days: Writing, Vocabulary/Grammar, and Reading on the first day, followed by Listening and Speaking on the second day.
To pass the TORFL test at any level, you must obtain at least 66% in every part of the exam. If you get 63% in Reading, you’ve failed even if your mark is 100% in every other section. However, for an additional fee, you can retake individual or multiple sections of the exam.
To avoid expensive and time-consuming retakes that can delay your plans and put a dent in your budget, the ideal situation with the TORFL is to pass each subsection on first testing. To maximize your chances of success, you should practice all your skills with a tutor until you reach or surpass the skill level required for each subsection. That way, you can go into the exam feeling fully prepared and confident that you’ll fulfill your potential.