The two most popular exam levels are B2 and C2. The rest, as a rule, are used only as training of their forces and intermediate points on the way to the main exams. B2 can be easily subdued by talented students after three years of language study and special preparation for the exam. The next step is more difficult. The gap between B2 and C1 is huge, which is often pierced by self-confident students. The difference between C1 and C2 is no longer so great.
Each of these levels has its own difficulties. The examination for level B2 is structured as follows: there are several blocks of tasks for which you can get a certain number of points. Each block has its own passing score, and if you don’t get half a point for any part of the exam, you don’t automatically pass, even if you have a maximum in other parts (my first attempt to pass C2 ended up like this – I didn’t get half a point). No templates are expected from you on written assignments: DELE gives you maximum freedom of action. You can write as you wish and anything, the main thing, without leaving the task, competently and in the necessary volume. The same applies to oral speech – your skills of live communication without the convulsive building of grammatical designs in ahead and ability to get out of any situation are important.
For B2 the main difficulties are hidden in reading and listening tasks. When performing a reading task, you should not only be extremely careful but also learn to guess what the authors of the tasks want you to do: despite the fact that these are regular tests, answer options can be confusing, even when the text is completely understandable from a lexical point of view. There are obvious, at first glance, options that are not mentioned in the text but follow logically. Most often these are wrong answers. There are also very similar answers, differing only in the shade of meaning. There are a lot of pitfalls, and only working with examples of past years will teach you to see the course of thought of the authors.
The same problem is with listening, the difficulties of which are added by the frequent Latin American accents. Practice and a lot of work with such tasks will come to the aid – only in this way you can get used to the way of thinking of the creators.
Last year DELE C2 radically changed its form. Previously, the most frightening part was the “grammar and vocabulary” block, in which grammar and vocabulary were found to be completely detached from reality, and vocabulary tasks turned into a “guesswork”, because not even all native speakers could answer the number of questions necessary for a passing grade. But fortunately for the examiners, the structure of the exam was completely redesigned. Now the blocks look as follows: reading and listening, reading and listening with the integration of written speech, oral speech.
Those who decide to take the highest level exams usually already have to be fluent in both oral and written speech, so that such integrated tasks will not cause much trouble. The main thing is to get used to the unusual format. And it is easy to do, using official training materials, which can be found in electronic form or in the main examination center, the Cervantes Institute.
The main idea in the preparation for DELE is to take an exam. It is necessary either to look like a course or to solve a large number of previous versions of the exam in order to gain a foothold. And it’s not just about getting used to the format of tasks, but also about learning how to keep up with the times. Also, it is absolutely necessary to train the oral part of the exam, because it is difficult and necessary to get used to it just sit down and start to tell about something logically and consistently. Also, we should not forget that the results of the exam you will learn not immediately, but after two months or even more. Therefore, if the exam result is necessary for you to achieve some practical goals, keep this in mind and take it in advance.
In 2013, DELE changed and acquired a new structure that is more similar to that of other international exams, such as TOEFL. The exam has become more balanced and student-friendly. For example, idiomatic expressions and specific local vocabulary were removed from the test. The emphasis is on general knowledge. Also, the testers have finally begun to take into account the fact that Spanish is a diverse language, and have begun to recognize not only the classical norms but also the fact that if you have studied Spanish in Cuba, you will not have to retrain.