Overview of DELF?

The Diplôme d’Etudes en Langue Française (DELF) is an official qualification controlled and given by the French Ministry of Education. It certifies your competency in the French language and is aimed at non-native French speakers. The certificates are valid for a life time.

The DELF consists of four different exams with each exam intended to asses a person at a different CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for languages) level. The levels that are covered by the DELF are A1, A2, B1 and B2.

All of the exams are designed to reflect the principle of action that the Common European Framework of Reference for languages uses; this defines users of a language as social actors who have tasks to do in a variety of circumstances in different environments and in defined areas of action (personal, public, academic or professional).

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What is the structure?

The DELF exams are based on skills that are part of a person’s ability to communicate in French. Your total mark is out of 100 with the pass mark being 50 out of 100. Each section is worth 25 points. Four areas of language use are evaluated.

The length of each section varies according to the level being tested. For instance, at the B2 level of DELF, the speaking section is approximately 20 minutes long, while the speaking at the B1 level is about 15 minutes long. Overall, exams range from 80 minutes in total length at the A1 level to 150 minutes at the B2 level.

Question types and themes

Below are brief descriptions of the types of questions and topics that one may encounter in a DELF exam. Keep in my mind that the difficulty level (vocabulary, language structures and topics) will increase and be harder on the B2 DELF exam as compared to the A1 DELF exam.

Reading consists of comprehension questions that deal with four or five written documents on everyday life. For example notices or ads may appear.

Writing may consist of filling in a form, writing simple postcards, and messages on everyday topics.

Listening consists of comprehension questions that deal with three or four recordings where people talk about situations related to everyday life. For instance two people might be discussing the weather or talking about a restaurant.

Speaking has three parts for the A1, A2 and B1 level such as a guided conversation, exchanging information, and a role-play. For the B2 level a more detailed and involved discussion of your opinions is required, regarding a short document designed to elicit a reaction.

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