There are a wide range of reasons to learn Spanish. Some people want to reach a conversational level in order to speak to the locals in one of the many Spanish speaking countries throughout the world. Others want to reach a more intermediate level in order to move abroad and use this second language in their work or studies.
The chances are, if you want to live in Spain, Argentina, Costa Rica, Mexico, or Colombia, you will need to take a Spanish language proficiency test to prove that you meet the language requirements needed in order to study or work in the country.
One of the most popular options is the Diplomas de Español como Lengua Extranjera (DELE) which is administered by the Spanish government, and gives candidates a lifelong validation of their Spanish level.
In this article, we will look at all of the information that you’ll need to know to sign up for a DELE test. Studying in Spain or doing a semester abroad in Chile could be just over the horizon!
Is it time to certify your Spanish level?
The DELE is the Diplomas de Español como Lengua Extranjera, and is a language certificate administered by the Spanish government. The DELE diplomas are officially recognised and certify a level of proficiency in the official language.
Each level relates to a different degree of difficulty. However, you don’t have to pass all of the previous levels in order to take a DELE exam-you can jump straight to the level that you think suits you best.
So what does the DELE consist of? The six different levels correspond to the competence levels defined by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR):
For each level, you will have to pass five different tests:
This won’t be a simple multiple-choice test! You’ll need to show your language skills in a wide range of different fields, showing that you understand both the language and culture.
Practise for the DELE exam over a cocktail and tapas in Madrid!
As you might be aware, there are other Spanish proficiency tests, such as the SIELE Spanish proficiency test which is also administered by the Instituto de Cervantes. But there are several reasons why you should take the DELE:
If Spanish is part of your daily life, you have good reasons to try to obtain a diploma such as the DELE.
Whatever level you are aiming for, it is essential to prepare yourself for the test! You shouldn’t go into an exam without having an idea of its contents or format. Therefore studying beforehand will be crucial to you being successful.
We therefore advise you to be perfectly prepared in order to do well on your big day. Depending on the level you are aiming for and the time you can devote to it, start preparing yourself three to six months in advance.
Reading is a good way to gather knowledge and Spanish words!
How should you go about preparing?
It doesn’t matter if you want to take the CELU or the DELE, regular work will prepare you for the exam and allow you to enrich your vocabulary by learning new words in Spanish (verb, adjective, synonym, proverb, etc.)
Anyone can register to take the DELE, even if they are a native Spanish speaker from Europe or Latin America!
To register, you’ll need to sign up with a test centre (such as one of the many Instituto Cervantes locations found worldwide) about two months prior to the date of the exam. You will have to fill in a registration form, pay the relevant subscription fee (depending on your geographical location and the level you want to take), and have your passport number to hand.
Once you’ve posted the registration or deposited it in a DELE exam center, you will receive a sealed copy of your registration form and your convocation.
And now, the big day has arrived! We hope you studied well! What do you need to sit in on the exam? On the day of the exam, you’ll need the following documents:
You can take a DELE exam in a Spanish speaking country if you’d like!
The DELE diplomas are issued by the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture, and Sports, and the Instituto Cervantes is responsible for organizing the examinations. The University of Salamanca writes, corrects, and deals out the final grade.
But where are the testing centers located?
The curriculum is the same across the world so there are no differences in the exam you will sit. You can take the exam in a Spanish speaking country, such as Spain or Colombia. This is a good opportunity to practise prior to exam, and develop your knowledge of the local culture whilst learning about how the language is used in every day life.
Apart from offering the DELE exams, the test centers usually offer Spanish classes which can help you learn true native Spanish, whatever your level. If you want total immersion in the country, this is an opportunity to improve your language skills even faster!
If you want to do the exam closer to home, you can find test centres across Europe and North America. Check if there is an Instituto Cervantes in the city where you live, or find out if there is a registered DELE exam centre.
The DELE price depends on the level you are looking to certify, but remains affordable in all cases. You can expect to pay between £100-170 (€78-170; $105-180 USD; $147-269 AUD), but this does differ depending on where you are located in the world, as well as which level you want to take (the higher levels are more expensive). We therefore advise you to contact your local test centre directly to find out how much they charge.
Are you convinced of the usefulness of the DELE proficiency test? All you have to do is register for the next session in the center of your choice!
And if you think that the DELE is not the one for you, take a look at the FPLE Spanish test offered by the University of Central Florida.