FAQs

Why is TEG (Teastas Eorpach na Gaeilge/European Certificate in Irish) 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, to get recognition for the progress they have made and achieve fluency step by step. 

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. 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 TEG certification as a basic requirement for employees or use TEG exams in order to assess the Irish-language proficiency of applicants for jobs or academic courses.

TEG certification is also recognised by the Department of Education and Skills. 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 (e.g. 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. In addition, applicants for the Professional Master of Education (Primary) are required to achieve a minimum of 65% in a TEG B1 oral examination in order to apply for that programme. More information here.

Who are the TEG 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.

The system consists of five different levels providing examinations for learners of all levels of ability from beginners to fluent speakers. 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.

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.

 

Where is TEG recognised?

TEG certification is also recognised by the Department of Education and Skills. 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 (e.g. Leaving Certificate Higher Level Irish).

In addition, applicants for the Professional Master of Education (Primary) are required to achieve a minimum of 65% in a TEG B1 oral examination in order to apply for that programme. More information here.

Candidates presenting for matriculation a qualification other than the Leaving Certificate, such as the International Baccalaureate Diploma or the French Baccalauréat, and whose primary and post-primary education has been in the Republic of Ireland, will satisfy the Irish language requirement by presenting a pass in TEG Meánleibhéal 1 (B1) examination.

The TEG system gives employers specific information about the language ability of candidates for the purpose of employment or promotion. 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 TEG certification as a basic requirement for employees, or use TEG exams in order to assess the Irish-language proficiency of applicants for jobs, schemes, awards or courses.

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. In addition, applicants for the Professional Master of Education (Primary) are required to achieve a minimum of 65% in a TEG B1 oral examination in order to apply for that programme. More information here.

 

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.

Candidates are reminded that it is very important that they familiarise themselves with the relevant syllabus and exam materials before sitting a TEG exam.

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 in addition to the hours spent studying at Bonnleibhéal 1 and Bonnleibhéal 2. Those intending to take Meánleibhéal 2 (B2) should spend an additional 500-600 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

TEG 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 usually held in April or May, while Ardleibhéal 1 (C1) is usually held in January each year. B2 is generally also available in August, and some additional A1 and A2 exams are generally held in exam centres abroad subject to demand. The latest information on exam dates is available here

Please note that exams will be cancelled in any location where there isn’t a minimum number of 15 candidates. You will receive confirmation about your examination centre 10 days before the examination date. You are advised not to make any accommodation/travel bookings until you receive this confirmation from Lárionad na Gaeilge.

Where a group of candidates wish to sit the oral examination in their own area at a different time of year in order to attain partial accreditation, this can be arranged with TEG staff. Please note that a minimum number of 15 candidates is required for such an arrangement.

 

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 10 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 10 day period prior to the exam, the exam fee will not be refunded unless the candidate supplies a valid doctor’s certificate.

 

What is the cost of the examinations?

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

What are the payment methods?

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

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

Refunds

Candidates who withdraw their application up to 10 working days before the exam date may request a partial refund of the exam fee (cf. ‘If I have paid the exam fee and can no longer attend the examination, will my fee be refunded?’ below).  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 (teanga@mu.ie) should they wish to withdraw their applications.

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.

Exam for job appointment: If you would like to organise examinations or language proficiency tests in your organisation (e.g. for recruitment purposes), please contact TEG staff and we will try to accommodate your request.

 

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?

Learners can take the oral exam only (partial certification) 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 2021, he/ she will have until the end of 2023 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) to 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 failed the full certification exam overall but I passed the oral exam. Can I get a partial TEG certificate which shows that I passed the oral examination?

Yes, you can. Send an email to teanga@mu.ie to request partial certification. Please provide your TEG exam number in all correpondence. 

I’m unhappy with my examination grade or I have query in relation to my examination grade or performance. What are my options?

Candidates who are dissatisfied with their grade from a TEG examination, or who have queries in relation to their grade, can avail of the following options:

  • Appeal
  • Additional Feedback

All information relating to those processes (including fees and application forms) is available here.

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.

The syllabuses and sample exam materials will help guide you.

You might also consider taking TEG’s Online Language Test in order to get a general idea of your ability in the language.

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 post-primary school students is provided here.

Can individual post-primary 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 no later than 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@mu.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@mu.ie.

Phone: (01) 708 3737.