The DELF® (Diplôme d’Études en Langue Française) is an official language certification for French language mastery.
This exam is recognized in 174 countries for identifying the French level of international candidates.
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key information to remember
The DELF (Diplôme d’Etudes en Langue Française) is a French language exam, which leads to an official diploma recognized by the State and is issued by the French Ministry of National Education. This linguistic test allows foreign or French individuals from a non-French speaking country who do not hold a French secondary or higher education diploma, to attest to their mastery over the language.
DELF can allow you to come and study in France, to support your request and obtain the French nationality or even get expatriated, if you have a plan for your professional life.
DELF is also present for a young audience version for middle and high school students: DELF Scolaire, DELF Junior and DELF Prim.
Over the years, the DELF diploma has achieved significant recognition around the globe. Today, more than 400,000 annual registrations have been registered in more than 1,186 approved examination centers in 174 countries, including France.
This certificate also makes it possible to support the policy aimed at French linguistic and cultural cooperation abroad, but also the development of various organizations and establishments who teach French, around the world.
The French language diploma (DELF), in the same way as the DALF, includes several tests, which take place in the same order. These assess the following language skills:
The duration of the tests, the complexity of the concepts in terms of the structure of the language but also oral requirements, on the ability to communicate and easy interaction intensify up to level C2. Therefore it is important to carefully look at the different instructions depending on the level.
A test divided into 6 skill levels
The Diploma of Studies in French Language has the particularity of being available through various tests (like the DELE), each corresponds to a level defined by the CEFR:
Consequently, while registering, the candidate chooses the specific level that he wishes to have validated, through the DELF. Note that DELF supports candidates up to the B2 test. C1 and C2 tests are covered by the DALF (Diplôme Approfondi de la Langue Française).
The DELF score is between 0 and 100. It is made up of 4 sections (written comprehension, written expression, oral comprehension and oral expression), each is scored on 25 points. A score lower than 5/25 is eliminatory.
Content of DELF tests
A “good score” on the DELF must be between 50 and 100, with no difference or disparity for the skills required. Validating the level requires homogeneity between all the tests.
To obtain a good score, the most important is to pass the DELF which corresponds to your level. If you fail to get the minimum score required for the level you have chosen, you won’t be able to validate the one you hoped to pass or the one below. The specificity of the DELF for being divided into several different versions needs to be considered carefully. Thus, it’s essential to know how to assess your own level and not to overestimate it, at the risk of failing.
For example, if you pass the DELF B1 test and obtain 45/100 or 58/100 but do not get a score equal to or greater than 5/25 in all the exercise sections, you won’t obtain the certification B1 or DELF A2 level, even though you have the required skills. The results obtained for the other sections, although greater than 5/25, will not be saved, the next time you pass the B1.
Therefore, if you are hesitating between two levels, it is strongly advised to pass the lowest one, in order to stack all odds by your side and then evolve step by step.
The results are available within approximately 4 weeks after passing the DELF, while the diploma is delivered within 6 to 8 months. This is valid for life.
Unlike many exams for which registration can be done online, DELF does not allow this. To register for the French language diploma, you’re required to go directly to one of the examination centers, provided for this purpose. There are no other ways to register.
There are more than 100 examination centers who are allowed to organize DELF sessions in mainland France and French overseas departments and territories. DELF can be taken in 174 countries around the world and around 1000 examination centers. If you want to find an examination center to pass the DELF, you can consult the CIEP (International Center for Educational Studies) website.
The registration fee is not set but varies depending on the country, city and examination center. If it takes place abroad, the price of DELF depends on the agreements rounded off with the local authorities. In France, its price depends on the rectorate. To find out the price of the exam and what to expect, don't hesitate to contact your examination center, who can provide you with specific information.
There is no preparation method so to speak to ace the DELF. Your score will mainly depend on your spontaneous level of French. This is why your skills should be boosted as much as possible, before the exam. However, like all standardized exams, DELF can be prepared by getting used to the structure of the test and becoming familiar with the instructions. The structure of the test has identifiable patterns that one can learn, to master by practicing mock DELF tests.
To prepare properly for the DELF exam and to stack all odds by your side, it is important to get familiarized with the language but also with the exam. This training can take place through various means: listening to French radio, watching television in French, reading the French press or, if possible, regularly communicating with one or more people whose mother tongue is French. Online resources with typical exercises for training are also available. Just like all standardized exams, rigorous and intensive preparation is required.
Here are the tips from GlobalExam to help you plan an effective preparation for your DELF exam. We advise you to split your training as follows :
With GlobalExam and its online platform, grant yourself unlimited access to dozens of typical DELF exercises and worksheets, classified by level, as well as free DELF mock tests. This way you will get used to the format of the test and its exercises, which will maximize your chances to succeed