Taking and passing the Uniform French Test (UFT) is an essential step in the college process. Passing the UFT is mandatory for earning a college diploma (DEC); it is also a source of stress for many students. Being well prepared is therefore essential. Here are some tips and resources to help you prepare for the Uniform French Test.
This is an examination administered by the Ministère l’Enseignement supérieur. “The test involves writing a 900-word critical essay based on literary texts within a 4.5-hour time period. The critical essay is a written and reasoned presentation on a topic that is open to discussion. It involves taking a position on a proposed topic, supporting this point of view with coherent and convincing arguments using evidence taken from the texts received and drawing on the student’s literary knowledge.”1
The objective of the test is to verify that the student has sufficient reading and writing skills to understand literary texts and to express a critical point of view that is relevant, coherent and correctly written. The following skills must be demonstrated:
To pass the Uniform French Test, students must earn an overall grade of “C” or better on each of the following three criteria:
Approximately three months after the exam date, the CEGEP posts the results via Omnivox and sends a detailed statement from the Ministère de l’Enseignement supérieur by mail.
“To be eligible to take the test, a student must have successfully completed two of the three common general education courses in the language of instruction and literature and be in the process of completing the third at the time of registration for the test.”1 All students are automatically registered for the UFT at the end of the semester in which they take the “Quebec Literature” course. They receive confirmation of their registration and information about the test (location, date, etc.) via their CEGEP email.
The tests are held three times a year. Student may contact the secretary’s office or the Academic Management Department for the dates scheduled during the current year.
Please be aware that students with special needs may be eligible for accommodations when taking the Uniform French Test. Ask the person in charge of adapted services at the CEGEP for more information.
Since the text is handwritten, students must bring dark blue or black non-erasable ink pens and correction tape. Each student is also entitled to three reference books on the linguistic code (Larousse, Multi or Robert dictionaries, Bescherelle, etc.). The CEGEP library can lend you a reference book if you do not have one.
It is also important to know what is not allowed: personal notes or lecture notes, electronic dictionaries, anthologies and any other work on writing or presenting texts. It is also forbidden to exchange books with another student during the exam. The use of a cell phone, walkman, MP3 player or any electronic device is also prohibited.
Typically, the sequence of the three courses “Writing and Literature,” “Literature and the Imagination” and “Quebec Literature” prepares students well for success on the Uniform French Test. The “Quebec Literature” course, in particular, allows students to become familiar with the critical essay. Some CEGEPs also offer preparation sessions (students can ask their literature teacher about these sessions).
In addition, there are multiple external resources to help a young person prepare for the UFT. Here are some of them.
Cégep à distance offers free UFT success support modules. The non-credit course “Helping You Succeed on the Uniform French Test (861-EUF-FD)” is presented in a variety of module formats: diagnostic testing, review strategies, time and stress management solutions, reading, planning and writing strategies, and more.
The five proposed assignments allow students to complete each step of the test and analyze their writing method while also receiving appropriate feedback. At the end of the course, students write a simulated test and receive comments from their tutors; this increases their chances of passing the test. It takes approximately 60 hours to complete the various modules and exercises offered by Cégep à distance.
Cégep Limoilou has created a series of videos to help students prepare for the Uniform French Test. The first is entitled “What is the UFT?” and gives an overview of the Uniform French Test.
The second clip, “Preparing for the UFT (Stress, Time and Materials),” was designed to debunk some of the misconceptions about the uniform test in order to alleviate some of the stress that students may be feeling. This video also provides stress management tips before and during the test and suggests an effective way to allocate the 4.5 hours that students have to complete the task.
Another video from Cégep Limoilou deals more explicitly with the first two marking criteria of the test, i.e., argumentation and text structure. The third correction criterion, which is the one that causes the majority of failures on the test, is the subject of the “Language Proficiency” video clip. Several elements related to proofreading are covered: the revision process, clarification of lexical spelling, vocabulary, syntax, punctuation and grammatical spelling, with emphasis on the most frequent errors, etc.
The Centre collégial de développement de matériel didactique (CCDMD) website offers two examples of writing as well as the criteria evaluation grid and explanatory sheets for each of the three evaluation criteria.
It is also possible to access examples of writing topics from previous tests on the Quebec government website.
Students who fail the test will be contacted by the CEGEP’s Registration Management Coordinator. The Coordinator informs students of the next test date and advises them of the assistance available. A failure does not affect the R rating, and the test can be retaken as many times as necessary.
Josée Senneville, Guidance Counsellor
1. Source: “Uniform French Test.”
2. Some conditions and limitations apply.