CLES general overview

What is the CLES?

The CLES is a university level language skills test.

It is a state certification, put in place by the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research.

The CLES allows candidates to certify their real level and is a reliable certification.

The CLES provides certification in 10 different languages.

CLES certified competences

The CLES certifies competences based on the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR). Moreover, unlike other qualifications, the CLES assesses the real level of candidates.
With the CLES, you are assessed on the following skills:
  • Reading comprehension
  • Written expression
  • Listening comprehension
  • Oral expression
  • Spoken interaction

CLES validity

Once obtained, the CLES is valid for life. The CLES certificate has no expiry date.

The CLES is a founding member of the Network of University Language Testers in Europe (NULTE).  The CLES certifications are valid internationally and are accepted by a growing number of international universities.

The CLES is based on internationally recognised CEFR competence standards.

If you are considering a student mobility, it is important to find out about the skills and qualifications required by your host institution.

Talking about CLES

The CLES is not the most well- known certification, but it is nevertheless one of the most reliable. Unlike other qualifications, CLES does not only assess language skills, but also real-life skills such as spoken interaction.
International mobility student
Spoken interaction is very important in the CLES proficiency test. This is a valuable competence and corresponds to our needs. The CLES assesses a candidate’s ability to analyse, summarise and negotiate.
Managing director of a subsidiary of a Japanese group
I sat the CLES when I was a student. I believe that the CLES test is a real plus for people looking for work, especially abroad. The CLES has the advantage of certifying a real level in the language.
Legal consultant in Mauritius

CLES's strengths

The CLES certifies a real level in language. You can be sure that a student with the CLES has a good command of the language.
A recognised certification
The CLES is run under the auspices of the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research.  It is a founding member of the Network of University Language Testers in Europe (NULTE) and is recognised by many European universities.
A strong scientific basis
The CLES tests are checked by a research team to ensure quality testing.
The CLES is reasonably priced and affordable. In addition, there are CLES centres in most French universities.

Pratical informations

Sign up for the CLES

The CLES is available in 10 languages, including French as a foreign language. Here is the procedure for registering for CLES:
  1. Choose the language and language level you wish to certify.
  2. Choose the CLES centre (see CLES centre map). Note the sites and procedures may be in French.
  3. Select a session date and pay your registration fee.
  4. Go to the exam centre on the test day.

Additional information

  • The CLES can only be taken in France, in accredited centres
  • You are on a light version of this site, providing information for non-French speaking audiences
  • If you understand French, please visit the French site for more details.