This month, I did the Foreign Language Proficiency Test, or FLPT in Kaoshiung, Taiwan. The FLPT is run by the Language Training and Testing Center (LTTC) which is based in Taipei, Taiwan.
When I hard tried to find information in English about the FLPT on the internet, I couldn’t find anything! I’m sure there are other students or expats visiting or living in Taiwan who would like to test their level of a foreign language, such as Spanish, or even Japanese, German, French. That’s why I decided to write up this guide to help you do the Foreign Language Proficiency Test in Taiwan.
Why I did the FLPT in Taiwan?
I am a native English speaker and I love learning languages. I’m actually here in Taiwan in order to learn and improve my Chinese. However, I have learned Spanish prior to arriving in Taiwan, and I still want to learn and test other languages that I learn moving forward while I live here in Taiwan.
I tried doing the DELE exam, also known as the Diplomas de Español como Lengua Extranjera (which is based on the CEFRL – Common European Framework Reference for Languages), in Taiwan. However, I found that doing the DELE was not very accessible. In the past, I had done the DELE for the B2 Level in Sydney, Australia, which was run by the Instituto Cervantes. Though in Taiwan, Instituto Cervantes doesn’t have any offices, and so the DELE is administered by only 1 or 2 specialist language schools whose websites are largely in Chinese only! This is probably the case for other foreign language tests in Taiwan.
As an English Teacher in Taiwan, nevertheless I had known about the LTTC as many of my students actually take the GEPT (General English Proficiency Test), which is run by LTTC and is very popular across the country. So I was so excited to find that LTTC also ran the FLPT (Foreign Language Proficiency Test) to test languages other than English, and I knew that the FLPT would be much more accessible for me.
This led me to calling up the LTTC and asking them whether they allowed non-Taiwanese people to do the FLPT. I had a Taiwanese ARC Card (Alien Resident Card), and they allowed me to do the FLPT since I had an ARC Card! Yippee! I was enthralled.
And so I did the Foreign Language Proficiency Test for the Spanish Language.
You can also call up the LTTC to check whether you are eligible to do the test by calling them on their phone number in Taiwan, which I have provided for you below:
The Language Training and Testing Center (LTTC) Phone Number: (02)2362-6385
When are the dates for the FLPT exams?
You can find the dates of the FLPT exams for the year on the LTTC website. I was able to check the FLPT exam dates for this year here: https://www.lttc.ntu.edu.tw/lttc_news_all.aspx?class=3
However, that page is in Chinese, and you need to click on the link that shows the FLPT exam dates. You can use Google Translate to help you to figure it out if you Chinese isn’t up to par.
In general, however, the FLPT exams are held every 2 months.
Where are the FLPT exams held?
The Foreign Language Proficiency Test is held in 3 main locations in Taiwan, namely Taipei, Taichung and Kaohsiung.
In my case, I did the Spanish FLPT test in Kaohsiung. It was held in a classroom in a senior high school in Kaohsiung, which was accessible via the Kaohsiung MRT train and taxi.
How to Register for the FLPT in Taiwan?
You can register for the FLPT online here: https://reg.lttc.org.tw/FLPT/member/MemberLogin.asp
Please note that the online registration process and your member dashboard will all be in Chinese!
Now, although I believe my Spanish to be at the Intermediate to High-Intermediate Levels, my Chinese is still at the Beginner levels. If that’s the case for you, and you are having a hard time deciphering what’s on that FLPT, do what I did and use Google Translate at https://translate.google.com to help you figure out how to register for the FLPT test of your choice.
What is involved in the Foreign Language Proficiency Test (FLPT)?
If you are learning Spanish, German, French or Japanese, then there are 2 main parts: the Paper-Based Test and the Speaking Test. Each of these parts can be done separately, and you can decide to do both of them or just do one of them, depending on your goals.
The FLPT Paper-Based Test will mainly assess your reading and listening skills, largely seeing how well you do with comprehending the foreign language.
On the other hand, the FLPT Speaking Test will test your speaking ability.
For me, I chose to do both the Spanish FLPT Paper-Based Test and the Spanish FLPT Speaking Test because I wanted to test my reading, listening and speaking skills.
For exam-takers who want to do the FLPT to test their English skills as a Foreign Language, then the English FLPT exam includes the Paper-Based Test, the Speaking Test, as well as an additional Writing Test which will examine your writing skills in English.
You can read more about the Foreign Language Proficiency Test structure here: https://www.lttc.ntu.edu.tw/FLPTe_structure.htm
How is the FLPT regarded?
The FLPT in Taiwan:
Your results from the Foreign Language Proficiency Test will recognized by several government agencies and universities in Taiwan, such as the National Taiwan University, the Ministry of Education (MOE), the Taiwan External Trade Development Council, and the Ministry of National Defense.
The FLPT is also recognized by major companies in Taiwan, like the Taiwan Power Company, Chunghwa Telecom, and the Chinese Petroleum Corporation.
More organizations and companies that use the FLPT can be found here: https://www.lttc.ntu.edu.tw/FLPTe_registration.htm
The FLPT internationally:
Before coming to Taiwan, I have to admit that I had not heard about the FLPT before. Personally, the FLPT is not very well known in other countries other than Taiwan, unlike the CEFRL tests like the DELE for Spanish and the DELF for French.
Nevertheless, the LTTC which administers the FLPT has ensured that the FLPT is aligned the CEFRL, the Common European Framework for Languages. That’s one of the core reasons why I still chose to do the FLPT in Taiwan, because I lived in Taiwan and it was accessible for me, cheaper than the CEFRL tests and it would give me a good idea of my level of proficiency in a foreign language (in my case, Spanish).
How I felt after doing the FLPT Language Exam?
Overall, I didn’t feel too nervous or anxious before the exam and while doing the actual FLPT exam. Most of the worry came about before the exam but in terms of how to get to the exam venue, and ensuring that I was enrolled properly with LTTC since my situation as a foreigner is rather unique for them, as it’s mostly native Chinese-speaking Taiwanese citizens who take the FLPT test. So make sure that you have organized all the administration properly (such as your registration, location and the correct pencil) before you do the FLPT exam.
And speaking about the correct pencil…
What pencil should you use during the FLPT?
I didn’t know that you actually had to use a certain type of pencil during the test! I only came to the test with a pen, which is not acceptable.
Thanks to the girl sitting in front of me who let me borrow her spare pencil
However, if you want to be prepared, and you want to use the correct pencil, you need to bring a B or 2B pencil. The reason for this is because for the listening and comprehension part of the exam, you need to use the pencil to select the correct answer among multiple choices, and the machine that corrects your answer sheet can read answers written only B or 2B pencil.
What materials can you use during the FLPT?
You can’t use any external materials like dictionaries, computers, smartphones or other textbooks to help you during the FLPT test.
That means you should have the language confidently memorized in your head, which should be fine if you’ve been studying and learning the language over the long-term.
How I felt after doing the FLPT Language Exam?
Compared with the DELE B2 Spanish Exam I took with Instituto Cervantes, I would say that the DELE test gave me more worry and stress because I felt that the speaking and interaction part was much more challenging because you have a native speaker conversing with you live, and you have to deal with non-verbal language cues and spontaneity.
Additionally, the DELE B2 test tries to push your limits if you are around that level, so there were a number of listening tasks that were quite difficult for me and it was hard for me to pick up some of the things that the audios were saying.
On the other hand, the oral speaking section of the FLPT is much more relaxed as you have time to read the questions, and listen to the audios before you have a time to respond. There is some level of spontaneity since you don’t know the questions too much in advance, but there isn’t a native speaker sitting right in front of you. In that sense, you may feel more relaxed about speaking, as I did.
Furthermore, while the FLPT can give you an indication of what level you are in the language according to the Common European Framework (CEFRL), the FLPT test itself is not made according to your specific language level only. This means that the FLPT includes both very easy questions and very hard questions, unlike the DELE B2 test which would mainly include questions at the B2 Level. Therefore, depending on which answers you get correct on the FLPT, your level is then determined. This meant that I felt very confident with some of the very easy questions in the FLPT which gave me more momentum to tackle the harder ones.