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Spanish as a Foreign Language: Possible Diplomas

From Jon, published on 20/02/2018 Blog > Languages > Spanish > Getting a Spanish Foreign Language Diploma
 Did you take continuing education in Spanish? Do you take courses online and would like to know your real level? Would you like to have a pen pal in Costa Rica and be able to communicate with him or her? The humanities department of your university allows for having a year abroad in a Spanish-speaking country? Or maybe you’ve been thinking to pick up to Spain and study there?

In all these situations, it seems appropriate, even mandatory, to pass a certification of your language skills to reassure you,  your employer, or simply to validate your achievements.

You could pass a Spanish certification test or go for a Spanish language diploma.

In this article, you find all the information necessary in order to pass the DELE.

Ready to evaluate your Spanish?

What Is the DELE ?

clock-on-wall Is it time to add a certificate to that white wall?

The DELE is the Diplomas de Español como Lengua Extranjera for foreign language speakers. The DELE diplomas are officially recognized and certify a level of proficiency in the official language.

But why do we hear about six different degrees?

Simply because there are six levels of exams that each issue a different degree. On the other hand, you do not have to pass the lower levels to validate your degree. For example, if you are bilingual, you can directly skip to the level that best suits your language speaking situation.

The six different levels correspond to the competence levels defined by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages ​​(CEFR):

  • A1: Breakthrough. Knowing how to ask simple questions, talking about oneself, how to write simple sentences and fill out forms, understanding familiar spoken words, reading and understanding simple sentences.
  • A2: Waystage. Holding a conversation and exchanging simple information, writing short and personal messages, understanding simple oral announcements, reading flyers, timetables, menus, and simple letters.
  • B1: Threshold. Being able to talk about your dreams, your aspirations, or a book, knowing how to debate in the language, writing personal letters, understanding radio or TV programs based on your interests, understanding letters written in fluent Spanish.
  • B2: Vantage. Being able to express oneself clearly and defend one’s opinions with a native speaker, to write well-argued texts, to perfectly follow a series, a conference, a film related to one’s interests, reading contemporary or literary texts. This level is necessary to attend a Spanish university, and it is appreciated by employers, and is required to work or be an intern abroad in a Spanish speaking country.
  • C1: Effective Operational Proficiency. Knowing how to make complex and detailed oral presentations, speaking Spanish fluently, writing well-written and structured texts, the ability to follow a series, a film, a show whatever the subject, knowing how to read and understand long literary, contemporary, or technical texts.
  • C2: Mastery. Being able to present a logical and clear argument orally,  writing complex documents, summarizing and critiquing any professional or literary document in writing, understanding the oral language on the condition of familiarity with the accent, reading any material (even abstract texts) effortlessly.

For each level, you will have to pass five different tests:

  • Written comprehension: After reading a text, you will have to answer questions in writing.
  • Written expression: pay attention to Spanish spelling and conjugation that can cost you points!
  • Listening comprehension: You will have to answer questions after listening to a recording, such as a radio program featuring native speakers.
  • Spanish grammar and vocabulary: this allows you to evaluate your knowledge of grammatical rules and linguistic variety.
  • Oral exercises: to assess your fluency, but also your pronunciation.

This won’t be a simple multiple-choice test! It assesses your Spanish language skills in a wide variety of fields.

Why Pass the DELE Test?

cold-drink Which bars have Spanish speakers? Maybe you could have a Spanish chat over margaritas with one of them!

There are several reasons why you should pass the DELE:

  • to validate your achievements: whether you are preparing for the SATs, pursuing a university degree, or wanting to become a teacher, it is important to obtain “proof” of your level.
  • because the degree is recognized throughout the world by companies, chambers of commerce, and public and private school systems: it will allow you to work in South America for example. Whether you want to become a scientist, tutor, or teacher of Spanish, a certification will be required.
  • to give you confidence! Are you planning a trip to a Spanish-speaking country? Knowledge of the geography of the country will help you, yes, but if you get lost, it is important to be able to communicate and converse with a local!

If Spanish is part of your daily life, you have good reasons to try to obtain a diploma such as the DELE.

Do you know the CELU Spanish certification test?

How Does One Prepare?

Whatever level you are aiming for, it is essential to prepare yourself for the test! You do not go to an exam without having an idea of its contents or studied beforehand.

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-spanish Reading is a good way to gather knowledge and Spanish words!


  • using the mock tests found online! You will know what to expect in terms of exercises and categories. These can be found on the DELE website depending on the level you are looking to pass.
  • diving headfirst into the language! Read newspapers, novels, magazines, blogs…Watch movies in Spanish, listen to Spanish-speaking radio shows. If you have Spanish friends, ask them to communicate with you in Spanish and correct you when you make mistakes. And if you do not have Spanish friends, some Spanish associations can help you.

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.)

What Documents Will You Need to Sign Up for the Test?

Anyone can register to pass the DELE, provided they are Spanish or Latin American of course!

To register, here are the documents to provide:

  • the duly completed registration form, available online,
  • identification, original and a photocopy with a photo, first and last name, nationality and place and date of birth,
  • proof of payment of registration fees.

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?

  • the sealed inscription sheet
  • identification (the same one used in the inscription)
  • the notice of convocation.

Discover the BULATS Spanish certification test, too!

Where Does One Take the DELE, and at What Cost?

spain-immersion Would you like to travel to the Spanish-speaking country and pass your exam there? Immersion may be just the thing you need for your language skills.

The DELE diplomas are issued by the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture, and Sports and the Cervantes Institute 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?

In Spain of course! Being in a Hispanic country is a good opportunity to discover the language’s cultural context, as well as its art and society.

If you are unable to go to Spain, maybe it’s a good opportunity to make your way to Latin America, where the centers are numerous.

Apart from passing the DELE exams, the centers offering the test also offer Spanish classes and 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!

One question remains: do you have the means to provide yourself with this kind of certification?

The DELE price depends on the level you are looking to certify, but remains affordable in all cases:

  • A1: 110 USD
  • A2: 130 USD
  • B1: 160 USd
  • B2: 188 USD
  • C1: 197 USD
  • C2: 207 USD

These prices can give you an idea of the cost, but may vary from one testing center to another, and from one country to the next, so we advise you to contact them directly.

To sum things up:

  • The DELE certificate is used to validate the following Spanish proficiency levels: A1, A2, B1, B2, C1 or C2.
  • It consists of five test categories: Reading, Listening, Writing, Speaking, Grammar, and Vocabulary.
  • This degree is recognized worldwide and will be of great help to you if you are looking to work or do an internship in a Hispanic country.
  • Remember to prepare the way you do for other exams! Mock exams are very helpful, and, though we can never say it enough, immersion in the language remains  the best way to progress and grow confidence in your Spanish-speaking skills!
  • Everyone can pass the DELE, provided they do not have Spanish or Latin American passport!
  • Several testing centers offer the DELE test: in Spain, Argentina, Columbia–it’s up to you!
  • The test costs between 90 and 250 USD depending on the level you would like to pass.

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!

Also, take a look at the FPLE Spanish test with University of Central Florida…


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