telc or fide test?

telc fide-Test
(Français, Italiano, Deutsch in der Schweiz)
Awarding institution telc GmbH, Frankfurt fide office
on behalf of the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM)
Validity Worldwide Throughout Switzerland
Naturalisation requirement in many cantons.
Candidates Open

Suitable for people who are accustomed to study

Candidates must be 16 or over

Also suitable for people who are not accustomed to study. Literacy not required for participation

  • Candidates register for an exam at a specific level.
  • Candidates pass or fail the exam.
  • The test is progressive: candidates register for the test (without specifying level).
  • The level is determined on the basis of test performance. Candidates who achieve at least level A1 in at least one part of the fide test are issued with a Language Passport by the fide office.
Which levels?
  • A1 – C2
  • Combined exams for migrants: A2/B1 and B1/B2
  • Specific exams for Medical & Care sector and for Business
  • A1 – B1
Scope of examination The exam consists of an oral component (speaking) and a written component (reading, listening and writing).

Candidates must sit the entire exam in order to pass.

From level B1, you may retake part of the exam if you fail.

The test comprises Speaking & Comprehension and Reading & Writing components.

Candidates can register for:
Speaking & Comprehension,
or Reading & Writing
or both parts at the same time.

Retakes The entire exam can be retaken as often as required.

From level B1, candidates can retake parts of the exam (up until end of following calendar year). The result of the retake stands.

  • Candidates can retake the whole fide test, only the oral component or only the written component as often as they need. The exam fee must be paid again each time.
  • After a retake, the Language Passport will be reissued to show the language level achieved.
Examination procedure Oral exam:
The oral exam comprises three task elements and these generally involve a dialogue between two candidates. The candidates hold a conversation while the examiners moderate. From level B1, the candidates are given 20 minutes to prepare.

Written exam:
On receiving the exam papers, the length of time candidates have to complete the exam depends on their level:
A1: 85 minutes
A2: 90 minutes
B1: 2 hours 30 minutes
B2: 2 hours 20 minutes
C1: 3 hours 40 minutes
C2: 4 hours 10 minutes

The test is carried out on an individual basis and begins with the Speaking & Comprehension component:

  • It will begin with a task at level A2
  • Examiners recommend proceeding to Speaking & Comprehension at A1/B1.
  • Candidates can accept or reject.
  • Candidates complete a form to assess their written language skills. Here, too, examiners recommend continuing the test with tasks at level A1/A2 or A2/B1.
  • Candidates can accept or reject

Reading & Writing component

  • Candidates are given the assigned tasks. In the first five minutes, candidates have the option to switch to more difficult/easier tasks. Time: 60 minutes.
Focus of the tasks Reality-based tasks that test the candidates’ capabilities. Language role-play situations that reflect day-to-day life in Switzerland.
Preparatory materials Practice material: (one free mock exam). Model version:
Ideal for
  • Anyone who needs to demonstrate their language level in German to universities or employers or as part of the naturalisation process
  • Anyone who wants to become a naturalised Swiss citizen and whose native language is not German, French or Italian
telc exam
fide test