• FAQs

    FAQs

    Why is TEG certification important?

    TEG is the first and only system of certification for adult learners of Irish, administered by the Centre for Irish Language at Maynooth University. Similar systems have already been developed for the majority of other European languages. The various levels in TEG are broadly based on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching and Assessment (Council of Europe, 2001). This system helps learners to plan their study and to get recognition for the progress they have made. A further advantage of the system is that it gives employers specific information about the language ability of candidates for the purpose of employment or promotion, the importance of which has increased with the implementation of the provisions of the Official Languages Act (2003). The Centre for Irish Language is a member of ALTE (Association of Language Testers in Europe), which monitors the content and standard of the TEG examinations.

    The Centre for Irish Language has obtained official recognition from the Department of Education and Skills for Teastas Eorpach na Gaeilge Meánleibhéal 2 (B2). This means that TEG Meánleibhéal 2 (B2) meets the Irish language entry requirement for undergraduate and postgraduate courses in primary teaching in the colleges of education.

    This offers a great opportunity to people who would like to enter the teaching profession but who do not have the necessary Irish language qualifications (e.g. Leaving Certificate Higher Level Irish) for the colleges of education.  Unlike the Leaving Certificate syllabus and examination, the TEG syllabuses and exams are designed specifically for adult learners, greatly enhancing the learning experience. 

    Who are the TEG (Teastas Eorpach na Gaeilge/ European Certificate in Irish) examinations for?

    Anyone can sit a TEG examination. It is not necessary to attend a particular course, nor are there any age restrictions for candidates.

    Where is TEG recognised?

    The Centre for Irish Language has obtained official recognition from the Department of Education and Skills for Teastas Eorpach na Gaeilge Meánleibhéal 2 (B2). This means that TEG Meánleibhéal 2 (B2) meets the Irish language entry requirement for undergraduate and postgraduate courses in primary-school teaching in the colleges of education

    This offers a great opportunity to people who would like to enter the teaching profession but who do not have the necessary Irish language qualifications (e.g. Leaving Certificate Higher Level Irish) for the colleges of education. 

    Other organisations use TEG exams to assess the Irish language proficiency of applicants for jobs and academic programmes. These include the Public Appoinments Service, The Fulbright Commission and Maynooth University.

    TEG is among the entry requirements for various courses, careers, schemes and awards administered by the following bodies:

    The Colleges of Education

    Does TEG satisfy the Irish language requirement for postgraduate courses in primary teaching?

    Yes. The Department of Education and Skills, the Teaching Council and the Colleges of Education have recognised TEG Meánleibhéal 2 (B2) as one of the Irish language qualifications that meet the entry requirement for postgraduate courses in primary teaching

    Do I have to attend an Irish language course in order to take any of the examinations?

    No. Even though many of the organisations teaching Irish in Ireland and abroad use the TEG syllabuses and teaching materials, there is no requirement to attend any particular course or to use any particular learning materials in order to sit the examination. However, it is certainly helpful to attend a course that addresses the requirements of the examinations.

    Click here for information regarding the education centres that provide Irish courses based on the TEG syllabuses.

    Where can I find a preparatory course for TEG exams?

    Click here for information regarding the education centres that provide Irish courses based on the TEG syllabuses.

    How many hours of study are required to prepare for each of the exams?

    • Learners who wish to take Bonnleibhéal 1 (A1) are advised to spend around 80 - 100 hours studying the language or attending language classes.  Those wishing to take the Bonnleibhéal 2 (A2) exam should spend an additional 80 - 100 hours studying the language or attending classes.
    • It is recommended that candidates for the Meánleibhéal 1 (B1) spend around 350 - 400 hours studying the language or attending classes. Those intending to take Meánleibhéal 2 (B2) should spend an additional 150 - 200 hours studying the language.
    • Candidates for Ardleibhéal 1 (C1) should spend an additional 1,000 hours studying the language or attending classes.

    This table shows the approximate number of hours necessary to reach the level required at each of the exam levels:

    CEFR

    Hours of study / learning

    Irish syllabus

    A1

    80 - 100

    Bonnleibhéal 1 (A1)

    A2

    + 160 - 200

    Bonnleibhéal 2 (A2)

    B1

    + 350 - 400

    Meánleibhéal 1 (B1)

    B2

    + 500 - 600

    Meánleibhéal 2 (B2)

    C1

    + 1,000

    Ardleibhéal 1 (C1)

    C2

    + 1,500

    Ardleibhéal 2 (C2)

    When and where are the examinations held?

    The exams are held in a number of locations in Ireland and abroad, subject to demand. Exam levels Bonnleibhéal 1 (A1), Bonnleibhéal 2 (A2), Meánleibhéal 1 (B1), Meánleibhéal 2 (B2) are held in April or May, while Ardleibhéal 1 (C1) is held in January each year. B2 is also available in August, and applicants in Australia sit A1 and A2 in June. 2017 exam dates here.

    What is the cost of the examinations?

    All information regarding TEG fees (full certification and partial certification, fees for adults and for secondary school students) is available here.

    What are the payment methods?

    Adult candidates can register and pay online. More information here.

    Secondary school teachers should contact the TEG staff for information regarding payment methods for school groups. Send an email to teanga@nuim.ie or call (01) 708 3737.

    Refunds

    Candidates who withdraw their application up to 10 working days before the exam date may request a full refund of the exam fee.  A refund cannot be offered to candidates who withdraw their applications any later than that, unless they provide a medical certificate or other evidence deemed acceptable by the Centre for Irish Language. Candidates should inform the Centre for Irish Language by email should they wish to withdraw their applications. 

    If I have paid the exam fee and can no longer attend the examination, will my fee be refunded?

    If a candidate withdraws from the examination more than ten days before the exam, the following conditions will apply:

    (i)  Full certification: the exam fee will be refunded  but a €40 administration fee will apply
    (ii) Partial certification: the exam fee will not be refunded

    If a candidate withdraws from the examination in the ten day period prior to the exam, the exam fee will not be refunded unless a doctor’s certificate is supplied by the candidate.

    How often are the examinations held?

    The full examinations are held once a year: Meánleibhéal 1 (B1) and Meánleibhéal 2 (B2) in April; Bonnleibhéal 1 (A1) and Bonnleibhéal 2 (A2) in May; and, Ardleibhéal 1 (C1) in January.

    Candidates who wish to take the oral exam only can do so in April and in May, or groups of fifteen or more can arrange with the Centre for Irish Language to have the oral exams take place at other times of the year in centres locally. 

    Can I take one of the exams outside of the official exam dates?

    Oral exam: Candidates who wish to take the oral exam only can arrange with TEG staff to do so throughout the year, provided that there is a minimum of 15 candidates for the exam.

    Written exam: In general, written exams are not conducted outside of official TEG dates. However, if you are part of an organisation where there are more than 15 candidates to sit an exam at a particular level, contact the TEG staff and we will make every effort to accommodate your needs.

    How can I register for one of the examinations?

    Information regarding registration is available here.

    What is partial certification?

    Candidates can opt to do the oral exam only.  Marks for the oral exam only will be shown on the certificates of successful candidates.

    Can I do different parts of the examination at different times?

    In 2012, partial certification was introduced, allowing learners of Irish to take the oral exam only at whatever level they choose. If candidates are successful, they will receive a certificate indicating their level of spoken Irish. The marks attained in the oral exam will be clearly shown on the certificate. It will also be clear that this is not a full TEG certificate and that oral competence only was tested.

    At Ardleibhéal 1 (C1), candidates who receive partial certification can obtain full certification without resitting the oral exam if they undertake the rest of the exam within two years. For example, if a candidate receives partial certification in the Oral Exam at this level anytime during 2017, he/ she will have until the end of 2019 to undertake the other parts of the exam at that level (Listening, Reading, Writing and Use of Irish)* in order to obtain full certification.

    In the case of examination levels Bonnleibhéal 1 (A1) – Meánleibhéal 2 (B2), candidates will be required to take all parts of the examination in one session in order to obtain full certification.

    *Note that candidates have to undertake these sections in one session and that these sessions normally take place once annually. 

    What can candidates do if they don’t understand the directions given at the beginning of the examination or during the oral examination?

    Candidates can ask the examiner to repeat the directions and they will not lose marks as a result of doing this. That said, in the interests of fairness, the examiner cannot give any additional information apart from repeating the directions.

    Is the use of dictionaries allowed in the examinations?

    The use of dictionaries is not permitted in any of the examinations. Certain questions in the examination test the candidate's understanding of particular words and phrases and their usage.

    Will candidates lose marks if they misspell words in the aural exam?

    At beginners' levels, Bonnleibhéal 1 (A1) and Bonnleibhéal 2 (A2), it is accepted that candidates will not always be totally correct in their spelling. Mistakes in spelling are accepted, therefore, if it is clear what word is intended, for example, 'diardain' instead of 'Déardaoin'. If a particular word is spelt out loud on the recording, candidates will be expected to spell correctly the word in question.

    At the other levels, candidates will not lose marks for spelling mistakes provided that what they write is clear and intelligible to the examiners. 

    Do I have to pass each part of the examination in order to gain an overall pass?

    No. Although candidates are given the marks they attained in each section, the marks from each section are added together to give the overall result. Therefore, depending on the marks, a candidate could fail a section or two but pass the overall examination. If candidates are successful in the examination, certificates will be awarded to them according to the following grades:

    Bonnleibhéal 1 (A1)

    Bonnleibhéal 2 (A2)

    50 - 64% Pass

    50 - 64% Pass

    65 - 79% Pass with Merit

    65 - 79% Pass with Merit

    80 - 100% Pass with Distinction

    80 - 100% Pass with Distinction

     

    Meánleibhéal 1 (B1)

    Meánleibhéal 2 (B2)

    50 - 64% Pass

    50 - 64% Pass

    65 - 79% Pass with Merit

    65 - 79% Pass with Merit

    80 - 100% Pass with Distinction

    80 - 100% Pass with Distinction

     

    Ardleibhéal 1 (C1)

    60% Pass*

    80 - 100% Pass with Distinction

    *Candidates must obtain a minimum of 10% (out of 20%) in each section of the exam to earn an overall pass in the exam.  See the Ardleibhéal 1 (C1) exam for more information.

    I’m not happy with my exam results. What can I do?

    A candidate can request to have his/her marks rechecked within 14 days of the issuing of exam results. There will be no charge for this. The results of the recheck will be discussed with the candidate on the phone or by email.

    If a candidate wishes to have his/her entire exam remarked, this can also be requested within 14 days of the issuing of exam results. There will be a €35 fee for this. The results of the remarking will be discussed with the candidate on the phone or by email.

    Do candidates have to sit the Bonnleibhéal 1 (A1) exam in advance of sitting the Bonnleibhéal 2 (A2) exam?

    Candidates can take any TEG exam. Each exam is independent and it is up to the candidate to choose whatever examination is most suitable for him/her. Talk to you teacher or to TEG staff for advice on the most appropriate level for you.

    Are there any restrictions regarding the age of candidates?

    There is no age restriction for candidates who wish to undertake any of the TEG examinations. However, the texts and tasks are for the most part directed at adult learners.

    General advice on how to adapt the materials for secondary school students is provided here.

    Can individual secondary school students who are under 18 take a TEG exam?

    Candidates under 18 years who are not taking the TEG exam in their own school, or who are under 18 years and have a disability which affects their writing are required to submit this consent form, signed by a parent/guardian, which must be sent to teanga@mu.ie  at the latest one week after the examination registration deadline.

    How long does a TEG certificate/qualification remain valid?

    When you are applying for a job or an academic course, the employer or institute to which you are applying may decide that your TEG qualification is no longer valid after a certain period of time has elapsed (more than two years, for example) and you may be required to take the test again. This is done to ensure that candidates have not forgotten language structures, vocabulary, etc., particularly if the candidate hasn't had the opportunity to practise the language since the TEG qualification was awarded.  You are advised to always check with the employer/institute that your certificate is still valid. 

    I have a disability. Can I take a TEG exam?

    The Centre for Irish Language is committed to providing a range of supports to ensure that candidates with disabilities or specific learning difficulties have full access to the TEG exams and we make relevant supports and accommodations available when required. Verification of a candidate’s disability or learning difficulty must be provided to the Centre for Irish Language on registration for a TEG exam. If you wish to discuss your requirements with us, please call (01) 708 3737 or email teanga@nuim.ie.

    Where can I get TEG marketing materials?

    You can get TEG marketing materials (brochures and/or information sheets) by ordering them via email at teanga@mu.ie.

    If I have other questions?

    You can contact us directly in the following ways:

    Email: teanga@nuim.ie.

    Phone: (01) 708 3737.