What is the DELE exam?
DELE, or Diplomas de Español como Lengua Extranjera, is a series of exams by the Cervantes Institute with which you can receive official, international Spanish certificates. DELE exams are certified by the Ministry of Education, Culture, and Sports of Spain and are respected worldwide in business and education.
Spanish certificates – which level should you choose?
If you want a Spanish language certificate, there are 6 levels to choose from for the DELE exam:
The first level of the Spanish certification. It confirms the knowledge of the language at a level that allows everyday understanding and use of the most popular expressions.
Passing the DELE exam at the A2 level confirms the knowledge of frequently used expressions as well as understanding and the ability to use sentences related to basic elements of everyday life, such as describing oneself, family, shopping, places, or ways of spending free time.
This intermediate-level certificate confirms the knowledge of the language needed to understand the most important elements of texts on general topics. Passing the exam at this level also proves the ability to describe experiences, events, desires, and aspirations and briefly justify one’s opinions.
A Spanish certificate at this level certifies the skills that allow you to understand complex texts on specific and abstract topics, even technical ones, and formulate clear and detailed statements on various subjects.
The exam at this level certifies advanced knowledge of the language, which allows you to communicate freely. A person who passes the DELE C1 should have a rich vocabulary, including colloquialisms and idiomatic expressions.
The highest level that confirms fluency in Spanish. DELE C2 corresponds to the sixth level in the Council of Europe’s European Framework for Languages. The Spanish DELE C2 certificate confirms knowledge of the language, which allows for fluent and complex expression in any situation, in style adapted to the context.
Remember that you can choose any level, even the highest, right away. You don’t need to take DELE exams in order. So, if your Spanish level allows you to take the C2 exam, there’s nothing preventing you from starting with this one. There are also special DELE exams for teens. This type of certification can only be taken at two levels: A1 and A2. The prices for DELE exams in 2022 range from 108€ to 220€.
What does the DELE exam give you?
Why should you take the DELE exam? There are many reasons. The certificate means, among other things: no need to pass additional tests confirming the knowledge of the language at Spanish universities, exemption from such tests also during the recruitment process organized by the State Administration, its agencies, managing entities, and institutions of Social Security and Health Service, possibility of medical internships. The DELE certificate is also an official pass to work in Spain when a certain level of language proficiency is required. The certificate has no expiry date, so you get all the benefits associated with DELE forever.
What does the DELE exam look like?
The DELE exam consists of written and oral parts. Depending on the level, the written one may also have 2 or 3 parts covering reading comprehension, listening comprehension, and written assignment. Listening comprehension can be especially tricky because starting from the B1 level, you’ll most often encounter Spanish recordings from regions of the world other than Spain. In the oral part, you’ll have a few tasks to complete. One of them is, for example, describing pictures. The second task is a monologue on a given topic. Fortunately, each person taking the DELE will be given some time to prepare before delivering their monologue. The third task is a communication situation in which the most important thing is not to talk as much as possible but to converse naturally with the examiner.
How to pass DELE – 5 tips
Before passing the DELE, you first need to decide which level to choose. Once you’ve made up your mind about a specific certificate, you can start preparing. Here’s what to do to increase your chances of success:
1. Expand your vocabulary
Whichever Spanish certification you choose, work on expanding your vocabulary. Spanish vocabulary courses will be helpful here. The unique algorithm used in our courses will determine the optimal moment to repeat the material. This way, it’ll be easier for you to remember new vocabulary. Also, make sure you don’t just focus on simple words and practice idioms and phrases, too. This is extremely important, especially at higher DELE levels. There are also ready-made sets of words and phrases in the exam preparation manuals that are worth learning and using during the oral and written exams.
2. To pass DELE, you have to beat the system
It’ll be useful to have excellent knowledge of Spanish and be prepared for specific types of tasks. It makes sense to turn to a teacher who has experience with certification.
3. Practice your listening with a variety of materials
In the written test and the listening part, you need to be prepared because the materials might be of poor quality. It may turn out that you’ll rely on a radio interview, for example (along with all its imperfections). If you’re taking the C2 exam, don’t expect the material you listen to come from Spanish people – South America is much more likely. So, before taking the exam, listen to the pronunciation of different countries on the continent.
4. Train based on proven materials.
How to pass DELE? Use sample sheets and exam models tailored to the certificate in your studies. DELE exams at different levels are available HERE.
This is especially important during the oral exam. Take a few deep breaths and rely on your intuition. Fortunately, Spanish examiners are usually cheerful and open-minded. Be prepared to get a few general introductory questions to warm up before getting to the proper part of the exam.
How long do you have to wait for DELE results?
You’ll wait about 3 months for your exam result, and you can check it on Cervantes Institute’s website. Everyone who passes the DELE gets an individual login that allows you to access the website and see the results. If you successfully pass the language skills test, you’ll receive an overall positive assessment, APTO. There are no grading marks in the DELE, so you either get a Spanish certification or not.
What does DELE get you?
We’ve already mentioned what the DELE exam gets you, but those were just some of the benefits. If, after passing the exam, you’re not planning to leave your country, then know that with DELE and meeting a few additional requirements, such as pedagogical preparation and higher education with a master’s degree, you can teach Spanish in kindergartens and schools.
Which Spanish certificates are available other than DELE?
Although the DELE is the most popular and widespread Spanish certificate, it’s not the only one. Other certifications include:
It’s issued by the examination center in Frankfurt. The TELC is recognized at the international level. You can take it in 10 languages, and Spanish is one of them. When taking the exam, you choose between 6 levels, from A1 to C2, just like the Spanish certificates issued by the Cervantes Institute. Because the TELC is officially recognized by the Council of Europe, it can be used in all European Union countries.
Next up is the DELE Spanish certificate issued by the Cervantes Institute is SIELE. The difference is that it’s not indefinite, as it is granted for 2 years. However, it can be obtained faster than DELE due to the shorter waiting time for results. By choosing SIELE, you don’t have to test your skills in all areas, i.e., listening, reading, writing, and speaking, and can only test yourself in a specific one.
Examen Certificado de Español de los Negocios
The last certificate we’ll look at is the Examen Certificado de Español de los Negocios, which is a Spanish business certificate. It’s taken through Cámara Oficial de Comercio, Industria y Servicios de Madrid and confirms advanced Spanish business terminology knowledge. It’s useful, especially when learning a language for professional purposes.
Start preparing for your Spanish exam today
Regardless of which Spanish certificate you choose, you should start preparing as soon as possible. Choose your Spanish online course and start learning now with SuperMemo’s innovative method of spaced repetition.