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The United Kingdom Offers the Test of Chinese as a Foreign Language (TOCFL)

As the only test of Mandarin Chinese proficiency that is officially recognised in Taiwan, the demand for the ‘Test of Chinese as a Foreign Language’ (TOCFL) has increased steadily in recent years throughout the world. Now, for the first time, the opportunity has become available to sit for the test at the London headquarters of the Taipei Representative Office in the UK.

Following a long-awaited and well-publicised registration process, over the course of two days on the 14th and 15th February, 2013, TOCFL candidates at three different test levels received their personalised exam papers and completed the listening and reading portions of test. Two further tests took place at the same office on the 21st March, 2013.

In addition to the exams held at the Taipei Representative Office in the UK, fifty students from the University of Cambridge took advantage of the opportunity to sit the pilot version of the TOCFL in university classrooms on the 14th March, 2013. Exams are also scheduled for the 8th June at the Chinese Community School in Lewisham, south-east London, enabling primary-level pupils to evaluate their Mandarin skills.

The benefits of being able to take the test at a greater range of convenient locations in the UK are evident. With many universities in Taiwan now listing a TOCFL score as a mandatory requirement for gaining admission to their degree programmes and the TOCFL linked to an increasing number of scholarship awards, applicants from the UK will now be eligible to take advantage of a wider range of academic opportunities in Taiwan.

Moreover, the popularity of the test showcases the commitment to Mandarin learning among students in Europe as well as the rising level of interest and awareness in the Taiwanese education system. Over the coming months and years, it is hoped that the TOCFL will continue to expand throughout the UK, to language schools, universities and other independent venues.