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TRKI International State Examination in the Russian Language

TRKI International State Examination in the Russian Language
© Depositphotos.com

How to prepare for the test, where to take.


TRKI/TORFL is an acronym for test of Russian as a foreign language. The English abbreviation is TORFL. It is an international state examination to assess the Russian language proficiency level. Also, there are separate TRKI/TORFL tests utilising topical vocabulary, such as Russian Language for Professional Purposes in tourism or business.


Russia launched the test in 1995. It had been jointly designed by Pushkin Institute, Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia, Lomonosov Moscow State University and Saint Petersburg State University. The four universities are currently the test consortium which produces test materials and issues certificates to successful examinees. The universities have TRKI/TORFL centres in other countries where you can take the test.

Why Foreigners Have to Take TRKI/TORFL

TRKI International State Examination in the Russian Language

TRKI/TORFL is useful to those who plan to take a Russian medium programme at a Russian university. The test makes use of the vocabulary learnt during the study. A language proficiency certificate is not a must for applicants; each university decides for itself whether or not it has to be part document requirements. However, in certain cases, a TRKI/TORFL certificate is a distinct advantage. Contact the university you have chosen for the complete list of required documents. You can place your inquiry using your personal account. Create a personal account to write to the university.
TRKI/TORFL is needed by students whose job will require proficiency in Russian. These are philologists, linguists, culture experts, oilfield workers, economists and political scientists. They take the test to get the official certificate confirming their language proficiency level.

Proficiency Levels Covered by the Test

TRKI/TORFL covers six levels: A1, A2, B1, B2, C1 and C2. Only four levels can be certified beginning with B1, also known as “first certification level.”

  1. A1 (elementary level, 60 to 80 hours of training); skills: basic vocabulary, bidding good morning/goodbye, making a request of somebody.
  2. A2 (basic level, 160 to 200 hours of training); skills basic vocabulary and communication (shopping in Russian, communication on public transport or in a restaurant).
  3. B1 (first certification level, 400 to 480 hours of training); skills: maintaining social/business interaction, curriculum vocabulary.
  4. B2 (second certification level, 560 to 680 hours of training); skills: reasonably fluent communication, understanding mass media and lecture information; using various language styles.
  5. C1 (third certification level, 960 to 1,200 hours of training); skills: fluent communication without fumbling for words or phrases, effective use of language for studies and professional activity.
  6. C2 (fourth certification level); skills: native speaker level
What Does the Test Consist of?

Each test level contains five subtests:

  • Vocabulary, grammar
  • Reading
  • Listening comprehension
  • Writing
  • Speaking

The length of the test amounts to 3.5 hours or more, depending on the level.

Where to Prepare for the Test

TRKI International State Examination in the Russian Language

Short TRKI/TORFL prep courses at test centres. As a rule, these courses are designed along the lines of intenstive training: applicants learn Russian to the required extent and adapt to the test format.
TRKI/TORFL sample tasks are available on the Pushkin Institute website.
Pushkin Institute also offers online Russian language courses of various proficiency levels. The programmes consist of Skype tutorials and learners’ individual input. Online courses are offered by other Russian universities such as Higher School of Economics, Saint Petersburg Electrotechnical University “LETI” and People’s Friendship University of Russia.


A TRKI/TORFL test centre sets the fee and test schedule. Fees range from 5,000 to 6,700 rubles ($76-103).

Where to Take TRKI/TORFL

Only accredited centres (see the list) are authorised to conduct TRKI/TORFL and issue state certificates. TRKI/TORFL centres are located across Russia and in America, Europe, Asia, Africa and former Soviet republics.

How the Test Is Administered

TRKI International State Examination in the Russian Language
© Pushkin Institute

You can take the test in Russia and other countries. Contact the accredited centre, get the test schedule and the list of required documents and register, if necessary. University representatives deliver test materials to the TRKI/TORFL centres outside Russia, conduct the test (paper- or computer-based), collect the answers and take them away for checking. The Centre then prepares and issues the certificates to those who have passed the test.


You can take the test online at any accredited TRKI/TORFL centre. The Centre personnel are responsible for technicalities (testing room and equipment requirements), identity check and test materials confidentiality. After the test, the answers are sent for checking; those who have passed get the certificate some time later.

Can I Retake the Test if I Failed the First Attempt?

The minimum success score is 66 in each subtest. If you have a less than minimum TRKI/TORFL score in a subtest, you can retake it for an extra charge amounting to 50 percent of the TRKI/TORFL fee. A document detailing the TRKI/TORFL results is issued to the test taker. You can show it at any accredited TRKI/TORFL centre to retake the test within the next two years. The previous passing scores are taken into account in TRKI/TORFL retake.

How Long Is TRKI/TORFL Certificate Valid for?

It is indefinite, unlike other language proficiency certificates. Each TRKI/TORFL certificate has a unique number which is entered into a single data base. The database allows for certificate authenticity check and replacement if it has been lost.

Find out more about learning Russian at universities.