• Information & advice for candidates

    Information & advice for candidates

    Why do a TEG exam?

    To attain a recognised language qualification

    TEG is an Irish language teaching and assessment system that assists learners in planning their study of the language, provides recognition of their progress and helps them achieve fluency step by step.

    TEG is the first certification system for adult learners of Irish based on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching and Assessment (Council of Europe, 2001). 

    Such certification systems have already been developed for the majority of European languages.  The Centre for Irish Language is a member of the Association of Language Testers in Europe (ALTE), which monitors TEG material and testing standards.

    To improve employment and education opportunities

    Another advantage of this system is that it provides employers with verification of language proficiency, which may assist in the selection of candidates for jobs or promotions.  This is of particular importance since the implementation of the provisions of the Official Languages Act (2003).  A number of organisations in Ireland now specify this certification as a basic requirement for employees.  Various organisations, such as Forbairt Naíonraí Teoranta, The Fulbright Commission and The National University of Ireland Maynooth, use TEG exams in order to assess the Irish-language proficiency of applicants for jobs or academic courses.

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

    This provides a great opportunity for people who would like to enter the teaching profession, but do not have the necessary Irish language qualifications (eg. Leaving Certificate Higher Level Irish.)  Unlike the Leaving Certificate syllabus and examination, TEG syllabuses and exams are completely language-based and designed specifically for adult learners which greatly enhances the learning experience.

    TEG exams at various levels have been completed by journalists, members of An Garda Síochána, employees in preschools, primary and secondary school teachers, university tutors, those who wish to add to their qualifications for the purpose of employment, those who are learning Irish as a pastime and many others besides.


    How will I know which exam level is most suitable for me?

    The best way to choose an exam level is to carefully read the descriptions on the various levels provided here.  Then, look at the sample exam papers to get an idea of the level of difficulty involved in each section of the exam.  Sample answers are provided for one of the sample papers at each level from Bonnleibhéal 1 (A1) to Meánleibhéal 2 (B2).  Be sure to attempt the questions in the sample papers to get some insight into your language proficiency in listening, reading and in some of the written tasks.  If you are attending an Irish course, your teacher will advise you as to the most appropriate level for you.  Your teacher should also advise you as to your own particular strengths and weaknesses, especially in relation to speaking and writing.  You may also contact the TEG staff for further advice.

    What kind of examinations are TEG Exams?

    TEG exams are general proficiency exams that show the language proficiency level of the candidate.  Candidates can do the entire exam (Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking) and be awarded Full certification at a particular exam level, or it is also possible to do the Oral exam only for Partial certification.

    How many hours of study are recommended/ required at each proficiency/ examination level?

    The table below illustrates the approximate numbers of hours required to cover the syllabus material at each level.  Learners at every level are advised to have as much contact as possible with the language.  This can be achieved by attending classes or conversation groups, through regular personal study, or through other opportunities for language use (television programmes and films, radio, reading online newspapers and magazines, keeping a diary in the language, etc.).  See the page Links and Resources for more ideas regarding effective language learning.


    Hours of study/ learning recommended

    Bonnleibhéal 1 (A1)

    80 - 100

    Bonnleibhéal 2 (A2)

    + 160 -  200

    Meánleibhéal 1 (B1)

    + 350 -  400

    Meánleibhéal 2 (B2)

    + 500 -  600

    Ardleibhéal 1 (C1)

    + 1000

    Ardleibhéal 2 (C2)

    + 1500


    Where can I find Irish courses based on the TEG syllabuses?

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

    How do I register for exams ?

    Registration forms are available here.  Please read the instructions carefully.

    Please make sure to use the same name on the application form as on the identity document you will provide on the day of the exam.

    If you have a disability, please provide details on the application form so that we will be able to make appropriate arrangements.  We aim to cater for the needs of all people wishing to take these exams in a fair and just manner.

    Where and when will be exams be held?

    Information regarding exam dates and centres for 2019 is available here.

    What should I do prior to the exam?

    You should receive your examination number and other practical information at least 10 days before the date of the exam.  If you have not received this information, please call the Language Centre: (01) 7083737.

    Please ensure that you are familiar with all of the following:

    • the layout of the examination paper 
    • the different sections within the examination paper
    • the percentage of marks allocated to each section of the exam
    • the types of questions and tasks in each section
    • the guidelines for the oral examination
    • the different sections of the oral examination

    ​You will find all of this information in the section About Exams.

    What will happen on the day of the examination?

    Before the exam: Ensure that you have sufficient time to reach the examination hall. Candidates should be in the examination hall at least 15 minutes before the commencement of the exam. Candidates will be provided with a map to help them locate the examination hall; however, those candidates who intend sitting the examination in Maynooth are reminded that the university campus is extensive and that it may take time to locate the parking facilities and make one’s way to the examination hall.

    You are reminded that no candidates will be admitted to the examination hall once the exam has begun. This is to minimise disturbance to candidates who have commenced the exam.

    • PLEASE ENSURE THAT YOU HAVE OFFICIAL PHOTO ID WITH YOU. A CURRENT PASSPORT, DRIVER’S LICENCE OR NATIONAL IDENTITY CARD ARE THE ONLY FORMS OF ID THAT WILL BE ACCEPTED. If you do not have one of the accepted forms of ID with you on the day of the exam, you will not be permitted to take the exam.
    • Don’t forget to bring the examination number which will have been forwarded to you, as you will be required to write it on the examination paper.
    • All mobile phones must be completely turned off – and not left on silent– before coming in to the examination hall.

    In the examination hall

    • All coats and bags must be left in the space allocated in the examination hall, as directed by the supervisor.
    • The supervisor will check your proof of identity and will show you the seat allocated to you.
    • Candidates should bring their own pens and pencils with them.
    • Candidates are reminded that books, dictionaries or paper of any sort cannot be brought into the examination hall. All answers are to be written in the space provided on the examination paper itself. Rough paper and extra pens will be available if needed.
    • You are advised to listen carefully to whatever directions the supervisor may give.
    • Candidates may ask the supervisor to repeat these instructions and no marks will be lost as a result.  However, in the interest of fairness, the supervisor will not be able to provide any additional information other than repeating the instructions. 
    • Candidates who finish the exam early may leave the examination hall any time from the end of the listening exam until half an hour before the end of the entire exam.  Candidates may not leave the examination hall during the aural exam nor during the final half hour of the written exam.
    • A supervisor will accompany any candidate who needs to use the toilet facilities during the exam.
    • The supervisor will inform candidates when only ten minutes remain to the end of the exam.
    • When you have completed the exam, ensure that your examination number is written on each answer-book that you hand up to the supervisor. You are asked to remain seated until all papers have been collected by the supervisor.

    During the examination

    • Read every question and the directions that accompany each question carefully.
    • Be sure to follow the directions given. For example, if you are directed to put a tick in one box, no marks will be awarded if you tick two or more boxes. If you are directed to write one word as an answer or to write one word in a gap, then you should comply with the directions given. There is a danger that candidates will lose marks if they do not follow the directions given.
    • If candidates are asked to write a passage then they should observe the stated word limit.
    • Candidates are advised to pay particular attention to their handwriting. It is important that the examiner can read candidates' answers in order that (s)he can award marks fairly.
    • Particular care should be taken with regard to spelling and especially with regard to the following: fullstops, capital letters and the síneadh fada on vowels.

    Guidelines for the oral examination

    • Ensure that you know where within the campus the oral examinations are taking place.
    • You will be required to produce your examination number and proof of identity for the oral examination.
    • Check the directions for the oral examination. For examinations at levels Bonnleibhéal 1 (A1) and Bonnleibhéal 2 (A2) candidates must be present 5 minutes before the examination time in order to prepare for the role-play task.
    • Candidates are reminded that the oral examination is recorded.

    When will I receive my results?

    Candidates will receive their results by post 6-8 weeks after sitting the exam.  Successful candidates will receive their certificate shortly afterwards.

    What is the pass mark?

    The pass mark from Bonnleibhéal 1 (A1) to Meánleibhéal 2 (B2) is 50% .  60% is the pass mark for Ardleibhéal 1 (C1).

    The following grades will be awarded from Bonnleibhéal 1 (A1) to Meánleibhéal 2 (B2): 

    50-64% Pass 
    65-79% Pass with Merit 
    80-100% Pass with Distinction

    Marks obtained in each section of the exam (Listening, Reading, Speaking and Writing) will be included on the candidate’s certificate.

    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 in order to earn an overall pass in the exam.  See Ardleibhéal 1 (C1) for further information about this exam. 

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

    Candidates who are not happy with their results may request an appeal.

    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.

    I received 50% in the Meánleibhéal 1 (B1) exam. Can I progress to Meánleibhéal 2 (B2)?

    It is not generally advisable to move from one level of the TEG system to the next each year.  Candidates who are very successful in all sections of the Bonnleibhéal 1 (A1) or Bonnleibhéal 2 (A2) exams may progress to the next level the following year, provided they have sufficient opportunity to study the syllabus material.  If a candidate is not as successful in one or more sections of the exam, he/ she is advised to focus on that particular skill and to study the relevant material further.  Sometimes candidates return to repeat an exam at the same level in order to ensure that they have made satisfactory progress before continuing to the next level.

    It is important to understand that considerable progress is required from each level to the next, especially from Meánleibhéal 1 (B1) onwards, and candidates should consult the grid provided for details of the number of study hours recommended in order to reach each of the exam levels.

    Of course, the candidate’s choice of level will depend on many factors, particularly the amount of time he/ she has to spend studying the language and the amount of regular contact he/ she has with the language. 

    Candidates are advised to attempt the sample papers provided in order to test their current levels of proficiency in each of the skills.  Additional advice may be sought from your teacher or you may contact the TEG staff for further guidance.