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Test of Russian as a Foreign Language (TORFL)

The Test of Russian as a Foreign Language (TORFL), started in 1992, is a standardised test managed and overseen by the Russian Ministry of Education and Science.

The test has six levels, adhering to the schema of the Association of Language Testers in Europe, and the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. It is a standard test to test the Russian language skills of the applicants and is mandatory requirement for admissions to Universities in Russia.

Once you have successfully passed the test, a certificate of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation will be issued. This certificate is an internationally accepted certificate in the Russian and European education systems. The test is managed and controlled in universities across Russia and Europe.

The TORFL System- Levels

The TORFL system has six levels of aptitude that are compatible to the structure of the European Language Council (A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, and C2). Each level includes five modules that test the Russian language skills in vocabulary and grammar, reading, listening, speaking, and writing. The minimal passing score for each section in all the levels is 66%.

TEU-Elementary Level

The Elementary Level (A1) of Russian language identifies the capability of a foreign person to deal with native people, at a basic level. This level is of 3 hours and 30 minutes.

Grammar and Vocabulary: This section consists of multiple choice / objective questions with 110 entries about basic grammar. A minimum lexicon of 780 words is required. The duration of this section is 50 minutes.

Reading: Students need to read and indicate the key point of a short simple & easy text. The section consists of multiple choice tasks with 30 entries. The duration of this section is 50 minutes.

Listening: Pupils require interpreting a short dialogue or monologue about daily life, and take the important information out of it. It consists of multiple questions task with 20 items. The duration of this section is 30 minutes.

Writing: In this section, candidates are required to write a short content, greeting card, letter, and answer simple questions. The duration of this section is 50 minutes

Speaking: In this section students are expected to speak in Russian language, about themselves. The examiner asks a few questions which they have to answer verbally in Russian language. Two examiners take a test of one student. The duration of this section is 30 minutes.

TBU- Basic Level

The Basic Level (A2) of Russian language indicates the capability for a foreign person to manage with native speakers in a routine of everyday situations. This level provides the necessary basis for any professional activity or employment. This level is of 3 hours and 30 minutes.

Grammar and Vocabulary: This section consists of multiple choice / objective type questions with 110 entries about basic grammar, such as conjugation and declination. A minimal lexicon of 1300 words is needed. The duration of this section is 50 minutes.

Reading: This section consists of multiple-choice tests with 30 entries. In this section, applicants are asked to study and state the important point of a short text. The duration of this section is 50 minutes

Listening: This section consists of multiple-choice tests with 30 items. In this section, students are required to understand a dialogue or monologue about routine life, and take the important information out of it. The duration of this section is 35 minutes.

Writing: In this section students need to jot down a short content, greeting card, letter, and answer some easy questions. The duration of this section is 50 minutes.

Speaking: This section consists of multiple-choice questions and requires students to speak about themselves and answer questions asked by the examiners. Two examiners take a test of one student. The duration of this section is 25 minutes.

First Certification Level (TORFL 1)-Intermediate Level

The first level (B1) of Russian language certifies that the applicant possesses an intermediate communicative proficiency in several educational, professional, and socio-cultural areas. This credential is mandatory for admission to any university in Russia. The duration of this level is 3 hours and 50 minutes.

Grammar and Vocabulary: This section consists of multiple choice / objective questions with 165 entries and tests a student’s grammatical knowledge. A minimum of 1300 difficult words is required. The duration of this section is 60 minutes.

Reading: This section consists of multiple-choice questions with 20 items. It requires the students to demonstrate their aptitude to read small authentic written content and take important information out of it. The duration of this section is 50 minutes.

Listening: In this section, students are required listening both dialogues and monologues about various topics and answer multiple choice questions of 30 items. The duration of this section is 35 minutes.

Writing: In this section, a candidate is required to read and understand the important information given in the text and creates his/her own write up of no less than 110 words. The duration of this section is 60 minutes.

Speaking: Students have to participate in a conversation with two examiners. They have to speak in Russian language only. The duration of this section is 25 minutes.

Second Certification Level (TORFL 2) - Advanced Level

The second level (B2) of Russian language certifies that an applicant holds a pretty high degree of communicative competency in all arenas and allows a foreigner to exercise a professional activity in Russia as a specialist in engineering, science and humanities. This certificate is required for admissions to Master’s and PhD studies in the engineering, science and humanities. The duration of this level is 4 hours and 35 minutes.

Grammar and Vocabulary: The module consists of multiple choice or objective type questions with 100 entries letting students to prove their know-how of Russian language. This task is somewhat anchored in original texts. A minimum vocabulary of 2300 words is required. The duration of this section is 90 minutes.

Reading: It requires the students to read, comprehend and make analysis of given texts. This test contains 25 items. The duration of this section is 60 minutes.

Listening: It requires the student’s to demonstrate their understanding of the situations at hand. It consists of 25 items which are further divided into four different tasks:
  • short dialogue
  • discussion
  • TV or radio feature.
The duration of this section is 40 minutes.

Writing: Students need to finish three different tasks under this section:

  • the write up of a listened text on paper
  • the analysis of diverse information,
  • the composition of an article or short essay.
The duration of this section is 55 minutes.

Speaking: This test is taken by two chief examiners and comprises three tasks:
  • listening to a conversation, the answers of the applicants are recorded
  • role-play with the examiners
  • verbal communication with the examiners.
The students need to participate in a conversation and express their opinions. The duration of this section is 25 minutes.

Third Certification Level (TORFL 3) – Proficiency Level

The third level (C1) of Russian language testifies that the applicant holds a high level of communicative competency in all areas and imparts a golden opportunity to the applicant to direct a professional activity in Russia as a journalist, an editor, a translator, a diplomat, or a manager of a Russian-speaking team. This credential is mandatory for acquiring Bachelor’s or Specialist Diploma, Master’s and Ph.D. Degrees in Russia. The duration is 4 hours and 55 minutes.

Grammar and Vocabulary: This section consists of multiple choice or objective type questions. It consists of 165 entries that test an applicant’s grammatical knowledge. A minimum vocabulary of 5000 words is required. The duration of this section is 90 minutes.

Reading: It requires the applicant’s to read, comprehend and analyze different business and socio- cultural texts. This section comprises multiple choice / objective type questions with 25 entries. The duration of this section is 90 minutes.

Listening: It requires the student’s to demonstrate their understanding of the situations at hand. It consists of 25 entries which are further divided into four tasks:
  • short dialogue
  • discussion
  • public speech
  • TV or radio feature
The duration of this section is 30 minutes.

Writing: Students need to carry out three different tasks:
  • the write up of a listened text on paper
  • the analysis of diverse information
  • the composition of an article or a short essay to express their personal viewpoints.
The duration of this section is 60 minutes.

Speaking: This section requires the students to chip in to a conversation and initiate a conversation with the examiner and lead the discussion on a given topic. The students are generally tested by two examiners. The duration of this section is 25 minutes.

Fourth Certification Level (TORFL 4) – Fluency Level

The fourth level (C2) of Russian language certifies that the applicant is fluent in Russian Language. This certificate is required to get a master’s degree in linguistics, as well as a diploma in philology, thereby, allowing entering a teaching profession and research in the field of Russian language. The duration is 4 hours and 35 minutes.

Grammar and Vocabulary: In this section students are allowed to make use of an extensive vocabulary and all grammatical structures. A minimum vocabulary of 9000 difficult words is required. The time allotted is 60 minutes.

Reading: It consists of multiple choice questions with 25 items. Students need to detail and analyze four texts with the use of about 4000 words. The duration of this section is 60 minutes.

Listening: It consists of 25 entries which are divided in four tasks:
  • short dialogue
  • discussion
  • public speech
  • TV or radio feature
The duration of this section is 50 minutes.

Writing: Students are required to complete three tasks:
  • the reproduction of a heard text in written form
  • the analysis of different information
  • the composition of an article or a short essay
The duration of this section is 80 minutes.

Speaking: This test is conducted by two examiners and comprises of three different tasks:
  • listening to a conversation, the answers of the students are recorded
  • role-play with an examiner
  • interaction in Russian language with the examiners
The students need to participate in a discussion and convey their viewpoints. The duration of this section is 45 minutes and the test contains 100 entries.

Registration and Fees

The applicants can register with the testing centres and choose the level of the tests they wish to take. The exam normally held during the second week of March every year. The fee varies with the examination centre and must be paid at the centre.
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