Guide: How to take the Spanish DELE test

In order to enter a Spanish-speaking university or find a job, you must take the DELE Spanish exam for foreigners. In the summer of 2013, the structure of the exam underwent some changes. “Theories and Practices have gathered information and useful tips to help you meet this challenge.

What is it?

The DELE Diploma (Diplomas de Espanol Como Lengua Extranjera) is officially issued by the Cervantes Institute on behalf of the Spanish Ministry of Education and Culture after passing the exam of the same name and confirms the knowledge of the Spanish language at the level corresponding to the mastered language material.

The exam records six levels of language proficiency, which are divided into three groups: Inicial (initial: A1 – A2), Intermedio (intermediate: B1 – B2) and Superior (advanced: C1 – C2). DELE can be taken at any stage of language learning.

In order to enter a Spanish language school, you must pass a B2 exam (confident command of Spanish to communicate in any situation that does not require the use of specialized vocabulary) or C1 (fluency, the ability to spontaneously maintain a conversation on any topic). In order to be admitted to PhD studies at some universities, you need to pass C2 (higher level knowledge of Spanish, including the ability to use specific specialized and narrow-thematic vocabulary). B2 is sufficient for employment in jobs that require fluency in everyday life.

How to pass

Each level of the exam consists of tasks grouped into groups of skills to be tested. The B2 exam, the most popular level for university entrance, consists of two blocks.

Reading + writing + grammar

On a reading assignment, you need to read a few texts and choose the right answers to the questions that come with them, within 70 minutes. The first text is an adapted article (the word “adapted” should not relax participants – all adaptation is mainly a reduction in the length of the text) from a Spanish or Latin American newspaper. After that, you will have to go through a multiple choice exercise, where you will need to understand the story and the logic of the text. The second text consists of four fragments – usually mini-interviews – and the task should note which of the speakers spoke about what. Then, the text with the long blanks to be filled in, correctly arranging the eight phrases below.

The section on vocabulary and grammar also assumes a multiple choice: you have to fill in the gaps in the text, choosing from the options offered. Finally, the written part consists of two tasks. The first is to write a 150-180 word letter on a given topic. Most often, official letters are found in the task, which requires knowledge of business vocabulary and business etiquette. The second task is to write a newspaper article or post for a blog based on the material given (for example, it is necessary to tell about the theatrical performance based on information from the program). The volume is also 150-180 words. It is necessary to have time to complete all the tasks in 80 minutes.

Auditing + speaking

When listening to the lyrics, you need to either choose the right answer from a number of options or correlate the facts with each other. This task takes 40 minutes. The conversational part consists of three tasks. The first is to talk about the given problem and evaluate the suggestions and theses proposed on the card (4-5 minutes). The second is to describe the given photo, to think up what is happening on it, what are the reasons for these events, what kind of people are depicted on it and what will happen next (3-4 minutes). Third – discussion with the examiner of the results of the sociological survey, their comparison with their own opinion and discussion of the presented problem (2-3 minutes). The preparation will take 15 minutes.

DELE is held twice a year: in mid-autumn and spring. You need an appointment and payment – the price varies from 2.5 to 5 thousand rubles, depending on the level. The results of the exam are available approximately 2 months after passing the test. A certificate issued to a person who has successfully passed all stages of the exam does not have an expiration date and is valid for a lifetime.

What makes up the points

For each section of the exam, you must get an “APTO” (“passed”) by answering 70% of the section’s questions correctly. If at least one section has less than 70% of the test taker’s score, the entire test will be considered a failure.

Training materials

Official exam website:

The official website of the Cervantes Institute. Since the exam itself is held with the support of the Institute, on its website you can find a lot of useful information. For example, there you can take a trial online test to determine your level of language skills, as well as sign up for courses to prepare for DELE.

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