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The DELE exam is a Spanish foreign language diploma that is a globally recognized test of Spanish proficiency. Candidates can take the exam in over 100 different countries. Tens of thousands of tests are taken annually by candidates in more than 800 exam centres. The DELE exam is open to anyone who wants to test their level of Spanish. 

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How does the scoring work on the DELE exam?

Knowing some details on how the DELE exam is scored will help you focus your personal study plan on the areas you need in relation to your strengths and weaknesses in your Spanish language skills. The DELE exam marking system will vary depending on the different levels but there are some general points that are true of all the levels.

Candidates need to score a pass mark in all parts of the DELE exam in order to pass the whole test. In order to pass, test takers should aim to get a score of 60% or more in the writing and reading section combined and the same percentage for the combination of the listening and oral sections.  The maximum score is 100, and a score of 30 is the minimum necessary in each group to receive an overall pass grade.  

For the speaking section there are two examiners present and one will be participating and interacting with the candidate and the other will be analysing more intently.  This second examiner will have a higher influence on the resulting score as they will be able to focus more.

If you are feeling nervous and feel that this may affect you at the start of the speaking test, don’t worry too much as the first few questions are icebreaker questions to help you relax.  Then there is the monologue part where you are talking for a few minutes. Next you have a conversation with the examiner and then a final discussion. These latter parts are more important because the bulk of your scores will be calculated in relation to your responses.

What is the scoring criteria for the different sections?

The scoring criteria for most sections of the DELE test will mainly focus on four areas related to fluency, linguistics and accuracy. This can be better explained as the ability to be understood, the flow of your speech (or writing), the vocabulary and phrases you use and how correct the words and grammar are. If you can maintain a conversation without hesitating too much and you have good pronunciation, then you are doing well in the speaking section. If you make some limited small mistakes it won’t necessarily affect your grade too much.  If you give confusing answers and you don’t appear to have understood the question, then this will affect your grade in the speaking and writing sections.

Understand your DELE score to know your level.

For the writing part of the DELE exam there are three tasks. The first tasks contributes to over 15% of the overall mark. The second task accounts for a third of the writing marks and task 3 for about half of the marks. For the writing you will need to produce texts that are clear and detailed about a variety of subjects and you will need to be able to write about the advantages and drawbacks of topics and express your options. Your ability to do this effectively will determine your score. The examiner gives values of 2 or 3 to signify a pass, while 0 and 1 will result in a fail. To get a good score candidates need to write texts that are clear and precise in the correct style for the particular context whether it be a formal letter or an informal email message.

Most parts of the DELE exam relate to accuracy of grammar, pronunciation (for the oral section), how well you are understood, the level of vocabulary and phrases you use and how well it is all organised. Knowing this can help you choose the way you prepare. 

When can candidates get their test results?

The Instituto Cervantes publishes the results approximately three months after the DELE exam, once the grades have been approved. Diploma certificates are then posted out to all those who received a pass grade. 

The DELE exam is organised into four parts – reading, writing, listening and speaking. It can be taken in six different Spanish proficiency levels.  After passing the exam, students get a diploma that remains valid for a lifetime.

How can I increase my chances of getting a good score in the test?

In the months before the test get plenty of Spanish reading, listening and grammar practice by doing some online Spanish language exercises. A general Spanish course covering grammar, vocabulary, listening and reading skills would also be useful.  If you are able to have tailored 1 to 1 classes with a personal tutor, this would have obvious benefits. Focus on grammar accuracy and practising speaking on a variety of topics and try to get feedback from a native speaker.

Some other tips would be to listen to Spanish radio and listen to songs in Spanish to train your ear to make you more comfortable with oral speech at a native speed. Watching and listening to Spanish movies will also be beneficial.

Try to grasp the overall meaning of the speech when you’re listening. It is important to try and identify the general meaning of text or speech by identifying the keywords. You’ll need to do the same in the DELE exam. While you’re listening and reading before the exam, look up any new words in a dictionary and write them in a vocabulary book.

Can GlobalExam help me prepare for the DELE test?

Yes, GlobalExam can help you prepare for the DELE Test by offering free materials that give you a sense of the usefulness and quality of our premium content. There are sample exercises, and vocabulary and grammar study materials. Try out the free materials and then sign up for one of our premium plans to get access to more practice exercises. You will have the chance to do full mock exams under timed conditions – just like in the real DELE test. You will get a clearer idea of which level you should choose to take for the DELE exam.

On the GlobalExam site you will get plenty of practice opportunities and get immediate feedback. You will be able to review your results in the statistics section to see how you are progressing.  Once you know your weak areas you can improve on them with the help of some vocabulary and grammar study sheets. Our competitive premium plan prices start from 29.90 Euros for a weekly plan with savings to be made on monthly, quarterly and yearly plans. Sign up for the free trial version today and you’ll have more time to prepare for the DELE exam!