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7 key information to remember
The DELE (Diploma de Español como Lengua Extranjera or Spanish Diploma as a Foreign Language) is a Spanish diploma which is very well-recognized worldwide. It assesses candidates' skills in Spanish, both written and spoken, and is specially dedicated to non-Spanish speakers. DELE is divided into 6 levels corresponding to the CEFR scale. Therefore, it makes it possible to attest to a certain level of linguistic skills.
Every year, in close collaboration with the University of Salamanca, the Cervantes Institute organizes and administers the DELE exams. The Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports then awards the diplomas to the awardees. DELE is officially recognized by the French Ministry of Education. This diploma is intended for any individual for whom Spanish is not the mother tongue, but wishing to attest their skills to later evolve in a Spanish-speaking environment.
DELE is divided into 6 skill levels
DELE is made up of 6 levels (from A1 to C2) which are passed separately. Each of the 6 DELE forms is different from the others and gives the right to a diploma attesting a certain level of competence in Spanish.
DELE exams vary according to the level which is being assessed, but in the 6 DELE version, we find the same structure and the same course:
- Written comprehension
- Oral comprehension
- Written expression
- Oral expression
The duration of the test increases as the level rises. The higher the level assessed, the longer the test lasts. The C2 DELE test is therefore the longest of all, while the DELE A1 test is the shortest
The content of the DELE tests according to the levels
- Level A1 : 4 exercises in the form of questions asked in relation to simple texts. The test lasts 45 minutes
- Level A2 : 5 different texts to understand. The test lasts 1 hour
- Level B1 : 5 fairly long texts on familiar topics, the basics of which you should understand. The test lasts 1 hour
- Level B2 : 4 complex texts on abstract themes, along with comprehension questions on technical subjects. To be completed in 70 minutes
- Level C1 : 5 long texts to understand, using a high and specific language level. Several comprehension questions for each text. Duration of the test: 1h30
- Level C2 : 5 long and complex texts addressing technical and scientific topics. Need to understand the details, nuances and innuendos to answer questions, which lasts 1 hour 30 minutes
- Level A1 : 4 short and clear audio recordings, followed by questions. The test lasts 20 minutes
- Level A2 : 5 longer recordings to understand in 35 minutes
- Level B1 : 5 recordings on more varied subjects. The questions relate to the understanding of the key points and the test lasts 40 minutes
- Level B2 : comprehension questions on 5 audio recordings addressing more technical themes. The test lasts 40 minutes
- Level C1 : 5 audios to understand, these are longer and contain implicit notions. The candidate has 50 minutes here to answer questions
- Level C2 : this test uses the candidate’s ability to adapt. It involves understanding several long and complex recordings with many interlocutors and deals with technical and abstract topics
- Level A1 : these are 2 small written expressions and interaction tests, which are to be completed in 25 minutes
- Level A2 : writing of two longer texts, in 50 minutes
- Level B1 : writing a simple text on a free topic (which the candidate chooses), but then describing an event or a personal experience
- Level B2 : the candidate here has to write two texts on various themes, defending his point of view and expressing his ideas with for and against arguments . This test lasts 80 minutes
- Level C1 : The skills of the candidate to express themselves fluently on various subjects are tested out here. The score takes into account how the ideas are organized, the structure and cohesion of the 2 written texts
- Level C2 : This test assesses the mastery of the language through two detailed written tests, and takes a little more than an hour. The candidate must show nuances in the arguments and is noted on his language use and level
- Level A1 : 15 minutes of oral interview without preparation on simple subjects
- Level A2 : 15 minutes of oral interview without preparation on slightly more elaborate subjects
- Level B1 : this is also a 15-minute oral test, but with a preparation time of 15 minutes. The candidate must present his viewpoint through a document
- Level B2 : This test is taken in the form of a 20-minute oral interview during which the candidate must fluently talk about the documents, both as a monologue but also with an interlocutor. A preparation time of 20 minutes is on the agenda
- Level C1 : here the candidate must present documents and demonstrate a good understanding. He will also be asked to interact with the examiner. The test lasts 40 minutes (20 minutes of preparation and 20 minutes of interview)
- Level C2 : in this test, the candidate is scored on his ability to express himself with a high degree of precision (monologue, expression of his viewpoint then discussions with the examiner). The preparation time is 30 minutes and the oral takes 20 minutes
Regardless of the level which is assessed, DELE is always scored on 100 points. To pass the exam, you must obtain at least 60 points but also obtain the minimum score required for each of the test groups
A minimum score for DELE for each section
There isn’t actually a good DELE score, the goal is to certify a Spanish level which is chosen in advance. To validate a level, you must obtain 60% of correct answers on all the tests. But careful: you must also obtain a minimum score for each section. The aim is to verify that the level of the candidate is consistent. These minimum scores vary slightly, depending on the level of the exam.
Example of the minimum score required per test for the DELE level A1 to B2:
|DELE A1 to B2||Maximum score||Minimum score required|
|Written comprehension||25 points||30 points|
|Written expression||25 points|
|Oral comprehension||25 points||30 points|
|Oral expression||25 points|
If the candidate passes the level for which he has registered, he receives the mention "apto" “apt”. His mastery of the language shall then be officially recognized and he will be able to mention so on his CV.
On the other hand, if the candidate does not pass the level for which he has been registered, he receives the mention "no apto" (not apt). Depending on the score which has been obtained, the candidate will then have to choose to pass the lower level or to train more to retake the level for which he failed.
How long does it take to obtain results ?
DELE results are available and published online approximately two months after taking the exam. The scores can be viewed on the Instituto Cervantes website
If successful, the official diploma can then be obtained at the examination center where the test was taken ( only the establishments authorized to issue the diplomas), or sent by post. The detail of the score is not specified on the diploma. It is only indicated that the candidate has the required level in Spanish, while mentioning the official level of the CEFR.
How to obtain a good score on the DELE ?
To maximize your chances of succeeding at the DELE and getting the best possible score, the key is the preparation phase. Ideally, a preparation of 2 to 3 months before the test is recommended. It is important to plan your revisions properly and to use all the resources at your disposal to progress. Revision sheets, standard exercises online or via books, watching films and series in Spanish, mock exams ... It is as important to improve your linguistic skills to get familiarized with the instructions and structure of DELE. Through this, the mock exams and standard exercises are key, since they will allow you to gain speed and fluidity.
To register for the DELE, it is necessary to go to one of the examination centers who are authorized to organize sessions. There are several examination centers all around the globe. You can find these centers in major cities like Paris, New York, Los Angeles. You can also choose to register online via the Instituto Cervantes website. Your invitation will then be sent to you by email.
Generally speaking, all language exams have special features (instructions, structure, time limit, etc.) and therefore require careful preparation in advance. Your Spanish level will of course be an important criterion for your success, but if you don’t have good knowledge on the instructions for each test, you risk losing a lot of time on D-Day.
All this to say that it is important not to rest on one's laurels. Even if you have a good level of Spanish, the DELE exams formats are peculiar and the exercises are timed. It is therefore essential to train several weeks in advance to comply with the instructions, so that one doesn’t discover elements on the day of the exam and risk failure. It would be a pity not planning a preparation phase before taking the DELE, given that the instructions are known and you can easily get familiarized with them, due to several resources
Our GlobalExam platform offers training for each language level with its DELE preparation formula
- The “training mode” (or Training mode) provides you with several timed exercises, corresponding to each part of the test.
- The “Exam mode” has several DELE mock exams allowing you to prepare for DELE in real exam conditions and therefore making you more confident on the D-Day. Note that all our exercises and mock exams are in keeping with the official structure of DELE, and developed and written by our qualified teachers.
GlobalExam also gives you details of the corrections and the monitoring of your progress in the “Statistics and corrections” section. You can follow your progress and identify any lacks you may have, to move faster. According to us, these elements favor proper training.
At GlobalExam, the first 100% e-learning platform dedicated to language exams, we also provide candidates with various revision sheets to improve their grammar and vocabulary. These sheets are also invaluable tools to familiarize oneself with the test and know the various levels in detail..
With these sheets, you can learn or review key grammatical and lexical concepts, while learning to master the logic of the test. You will be well prepared and know what to expect on the day you pass the DELE.
Last but not least, you can also find many publications on the course of the DELE test on our blog, not to mention practical information on the registration procedures, the cost of the test, tips for finding an examination center or understanding how the score is calculated.