Information & advice for candidates

Why do a TEG exam?

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. 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.

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.

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.

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. 

You should attempt TEG’s Online Language Test. This will give you an idea of the level you’re currently at as an Irish language learner.

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 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 is a guide in relation to 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.).  Learners are advised to use and practice the language in a variety of ways in order to develop their productive and receptive skills. See the page Links and Resources for more ideas regarding effective language learning.

Level

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 locations 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 contact the Language Centre: (01) 7083737 / teanga@mu.ie.

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

  • the time, date and venue of your examination(s)
  • the relevant syllabus
  • the layout of the examination paper and 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. Whatever centre your examination is held in, there will be a TEG invigilator there to welcome you, to register you and to assist you.

Please remember the following on the day of your examination:

  • Be on time. 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.
  • Bring a photo ID. 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.
  • Bring the examination number that will have been sent to you, as you will be required to write it on the examination paper.
  • Bring pens for the written examination.

You should also remember that mobile phones and reference materials (e.g. dictionaries, notes) are not permitted in any TEG examinations. TEG will provide a safe storage area in the examination hall/room for personal items (e.g. coats, bags, phones). All mobile phones must be completely turned off before all examinations – and not left on silent.

The written examination – what happens in the examination hall?

The invigilator will give clear and comprehensive instructions at the beginning of the examination. To assist your preparation, however, below is a list of important points relating to the day of the examination.

  • There will be a safe storage space in the examination hall for personal items. All coats and bags must be left in that space, as well your mobile phone (switched off).
  • The invigilator will check your proof of identity and will show you the seat allocated to you.
  • 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 in the answer book provided. Rough paper and extra pens will be available if needed.
  • You are advised to listen carefully to whatever directions the invigilator may give.
  • Examiners will be present to answer questions during the examination, or if a candidate wishes to leave the examination hall for any reason. Candidates should raise their hand if they wish to ask a question or make such a request.
  • Candidates may ask the invigilator to repeat instructions at the beginning of the examination and no marks will be lost as a result. However, in the interest of fairness, the invigilator will not be able to provide any additional information other than repeating the instructions. 
  • There will be a clock in the examination hall and the invigilator will inform candidates from time to time of how much time is remaining, e.g. when there are 60/30/10 minutes remaining.
  • 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.
  • An invigilator will accompany any candidate who needs to use the toilet facilities during 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 invigilator. You are asked to remain seated until all papers have been collected by the invigilator.
  • All examination materials (including rough work) will be collected by the invigilator at the end of the examination. Candidates are prohibited from removing any examination materials from the examination centre.
  • Candidates are prohibited from copying, recording, sharing or distributing by any means any examination materials or any parts of the examination. Any candidate found to have copied, recorded, shared or distributed examination materials by any means may be liable to legal prosecution.

Guidance in relation to the written 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 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: full stops, capital letters and the síneadh fada on vowels.

Guidance in relation to the oral examination

  • Ensure that you know where your oral examination is taking place and that you arrive on time.
  • You will be required to produce your examination number and proof of identity for the oral examination.
  • Check the directions for the oral examination and ensure you are familiar with the examination format. 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.

Important notice

It is imperative that candidates adhere to all examination procedures and regulations. If a candidate is found to have breached a rule or regulation, TEG will not grade that candidate’s efforts and no grade will be issued to the candidate.

 

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 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.

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.