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2021 CLEP Official Study Guide

Book $24.99

This study guide provides practice questions for all 34 CLEP exams. The ideal resource for taking more than one exam. Offered only by the College Board.

CLEP® French Language Examination Guide

PDF Document $10.00

This guide provides practice questions for the CLEP®  French Language (Levels 1 and 2) Exam only.

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Practice for the French Language exam with the CLEP French Language Study Guide app from examIam. This app includes practice questions and all the same information found in the CLEP Official Study Guide and CLEP French Language Examination Guide. In addition to having the convenience of answering sample questions online and on your mobile device, you can track your progress and identify strengths and areas for improvement through the app dashboard.

To access the full version with sample questions, you need to create an account and purchase the premium app for $14.99.

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The French Language examination is designed to measure knowledge and ability equivalent to that of students who have completed two to three semesters of college French language study. Material taught during both years is incorporated into a single exam covering both Level 1 and Level 2 content. Colleges may award different amounts of credit depending on the test taker's test scores.

The examination contains approximately 121 questions to be answered in 90 minutes. Some of these are pretest questions that will not be scored. There are three separately timed sections. The three sections are weighted so that each question contributes equally to the total score. Any time candidates spend on tutorials or providing personal information is in addition to the actual testing time.

Knowledge and Skills Required

Candidates must demonstrate their ability to understand spoken and written French. The examination tests their listening and reading skills through the various types of questions listed below. The percentages indicate the approximate percentage of exam questions devoted to each type of question.

Section I (15%)
Listening: Rejoinders

Listening comprehension: choosing the best responses to short spoken prompts

Section II (25%)
Listening: Dialogues and Narratives

Listening comprehension: choosing the answers to questions based on longer spoken selections

Section III (60%)

10% Part A. Discrete sentences (vocabulary and structure)
20% Part B. Short cloze passages (vocabulary and structure)
30% Part C. Reading passages and authentic stimulus materials (reading comprehension)

Study Resources

Most textbooks used in college-level French language courses cover the topics in the outline above, but the approaches to certain topics and the emphases given to them may differ. To prepare for the French Language exam, it is advisable to study one or more college textbooks, which can be found in most college bookstores.

Besides studying basic vocabulary, you should understand and be able to apply the grammatical principles that make up the language. To improve your reading comprehension, read passages from textbooks, short magazine or newspaper articles, or other printed material of your choice. To improve your listening comprehension, seek opportunities to hear the language spoken by native speakers and to converse with native speakers. French CDs and tapes are available in many libraries. Take advantage of opportunities to join organizations with French-speaking members, to attend French movies, or to hear French-language radio broadcasts.

Listen to sample questions in the listening sections.


A survey conducted by CLEP found that the following textbooks are among those used by college faculty who teach the equivalent course. You might purchase one or more of these online or at your local college bookstore.

  • Bragger and Rice, Allons-y!: Le Français par étapes (Heinle)
  • Heilenman et al., Voila! (Heinle)
  • Jansma and Kassen, Motifs! (Thompson and Heinle)
  • Maley, Dans le Vent (Heinle)
  • Muyskens et al., Bravo! (Heinle)
  • Oates and Dubois, Personnages: An Intermediate Course in French Language and Francophone Culture(Wiley/Cengage)
  • Pons et al., Points de départ (Prentice Hall)
  • Siskin et al., Debuts (McGraw-Hill)
  • St. Onge and St. Onge, Interaction (Heinle)
  • Thompson and Phillips, Mais Oui! (Heinle)
  • Tufts and Jarausch, Sur le Vif (Heinle)
  • Valdman et al., Chez Nous (Prentice Hall)
  • Valette and Valette, Contacts (Heinle)
  • Weidmann-Koop, Bien Sur! Culture et communication (Prentice Hall)

Grammar Resources

  • Baker et al., Collage: Révision de grammaire (McGraw-Hill)
  • Crocker, Schaum's Outline of French Grammar (McGraw-Hill)
  • Rochat and Bloom, Contrastes, Grammaire du français courant (Prentice Hall)
  • Stillman & Gordon, Reprise: A French Grammar Review Worktext (McGraw-Hill)

Online Resources

These resources, compiled by the CLEP test development committee and staff members, may help you study for your exam. However, none of these sources are designed specifically to provide preparation for a CLEP exam. The College Board has no control over their content and cannot vouch for accuracy.

Score Information

Credit-Granting Scores for French Language

Level 1
ACE Recommended Score*: 50
Semester Hours: 6

Level 2
ACE Recommended Score*: 59
Semester Hours: 9

Each institution reserves the right to set its own credit-granting policy, which may differ from that of ACE. Contact your college as soon as possible to find out the score it requires to grant credit, the number of credit hours granted, and the course(s) that can be bypassed with a satisfactory score.

*The American Council on Education’s College Credit Recommendation Service (ACE CREDIT) has evaluated CLEP processes and procedures for developing, administering, and scoring the exams. The score listed above is equivalent to a grade of C in the corresponding course. The American Council on Education, the major coordinating body for all the nation’s higher education institutions, seeks to provide leadership and a unifying voice on key higher education issues and to influence public policy through advocacy, research, and program initiatives. Visit the ACE CREDIT website for more information.