What are the DELE certificates?
The Spanish certificates DELE are official titles, issued by the Instituto Cervantes, that attest a specific knowledge of the Spanish language. The DELE diplomas can be obtained for the levels A1, A2, B1, B2, C1 and C2.
Like the TOELF or the Cambridge English Certificates for English, the TestDaF for German or the DELF and DALF for French, the DELE is the official diploma for the Spanish language.
Why should you take a DELE exam?
Because with a DELE certificate you can prove your Spanish skills without any space for doubts. The DELE certificates are internationally recognized by public and private educational institutions as well as in the business world. Because of this, they are very useful for both areas if you want, for example, to apply for a grant, study or work in Spain or other Spanish speaking countries. The diplomas don’t expire.
What is the DELE B1 exam?
It’s an exam that certificates an intermediate language level. By obtaining it, you demonstrate that you can understand the key message of oral and written content of everyday life, work or study. Furthermore, you show that you are capable of writing short and simple texts about familiar or general topics, express your opinion, describe situations and experiences, etc.
What does the DELE B1 exam comprehend?
The exam consists of four parts:
- reading comprehension (max. 25 points)
- written expression and interaction (max. 25 points)
- listening comprehension (max. 25 points)
- oral expression and interaction (max. 25 points)
As you can see, the maximum number of points you can achieve for each section is 25 points.
The final grade is obtained by calculating the mean value across sections a), b), c) and d). In addition, you have to reach at least 30 points in section a) and b) together as well as in section c) and d).
The four parts of the DELE B1 exam
1. Reading comprehension
This exam lasts 70 minutes and contains 5 exercises with 6 questions each.
In the first exercise you have to relate six short texts with six statements.
The second exercise consists of a text of approx. 450 words plus six multiple-choice questions. You’ll have to select the correct answer out of three responses a, b and c.
The third exercise consists in reading three texts of about 100 words each and afterwards relating them with six questions or statements.
The fourth exercise is a text where you have to fill in the blanks. For the blanks you have to select the correct fragment out of 8 available fragments. Two fragments will be left over, which usually confuses students.
Finally, the last exercise is once more a text where you have to fill in the blanks. This time for each of the 6 blanks, you have to elect between three options a, b or c.
2. Written expression and interaction
This test lasts 60 minutes and is divided into 2 exercises. In each you’ll have to write one text.
In the first exercise you’ll have to write a reply to a letter, email, blog entry or forum article, etc. you’ll be provided with. Your text has to be between 100 and 120 words.
The second exercise consists of writing a text like e.g. a blog entry, a newspaper or forum article, etc. Here you have to select one out of two options. The text needs to contain between 130 and 150 word.
Both exercises come with information about what needs to be included in the texts.
3. Listening comprehension
This test lasts about 40 minutes and is divided into 5 exercises. Again, each exercise consists of 6 questions.
In the first exercise you’ll have to listen to six short texts. Afterwards you’ll have to answer a question about each of them. You’ll have to choose between response options a, b or c.
For the second and third exercise you’ll have to listen to a long text without breaks. Subsequently, you’ll have to answer six multiple-choice questions, electing a, b or c.
The fourth task comprises six texts you’ll have to listen to one after another. Afterwards you’ll have to relate each one to a statement. There are 10 statements, so 4 statements will be left over.
The final exercise is the one that creates the most confusion among students. Here, you’ll have to listen to a recorded conversation between two persons, plus you’ll receive six statements. Each statement has three reply options. Usually, you have to choose whether the statement refers to one person/situation, the other one or both/none.
4. Oral expression and interaction
This final test tends to worry students the most. The speaking test. This test is divided into four exercises and lasts about 15 minutes in total. But don’t worry, you won’t have to speak for 15 minutes straight. Apart from that, you’ll also have another 15 minutes to prepare yourself.
The first exercise consists of presenting a topic for 2 to 3 minutes and which you selected. You’ll be able to choose between two topics. They also come with indications of what information has to be included in your presentation. In this exercise you’ll have to speak alone for 2 to 3 minutes and the examiner won’t intervene.
For the second exercise, the examiner will ask you a series of questions related to the previous topic, and you’ll have to speak with him for about 3-4 minutes.
For the third exercise you’ll have to select one picture out of two with useful information. Subsequently, you’ll have to describe what you see and what you think is happening for 1-2 minutes. Afterwards the examiner will ask you some questions. All in all, this exercise lasts 2-3 minutes (description+examiner questions).
And finally, you’ll have to speak with the examiner for another 2-3 minutes about a simulated everyday life situation. For this, you’ll be confronted with a fictional everyday life situation related to the picture you had to describe in the exercise before. Based on that you have to simulate a realistic conversation. For this, you’ll receive information about what needs to be included in this role-play.
How can I prepare myself?
One option, if you already have achieved a B1 level and you would like to take the DELE exam in order to obtain the certificate, is taking an online exam preparation course, like the ones I offer on this website. These personalized courses with small groups are the best way to prepare yourself for the exam.
In my exam preparation courses we work the different parts of the exam exclusively by means of sample papers. They include 3 to 4 hours per week of live online lessons plus access to my learning platform where you can upload your writings and speaking exercises for correction and to receive personalized feedback. You’ll learn how to tackle the different parts of the exam and you’ll receive hints on how to optimize your results. We’ll also treat the most important crucial points in the areas of grammar, written and oral expression. This is always done using sample papers.
However, if you are an autodidact, you can, of course, prepare yourself alone. How? By using some of the textbooks available with which you can practice and prepare for the exam by yourself. There’s a wide selection of textbooks. You could also take a general language or exam preparation course at a local, traditional language school.
Where can I take the DELE exam?
Those exams can be taken in the Institutos Cervantes, or in approved centers all around the world. It doesn’t matter if it’s a university or a language school, as long as they have been authorized to administer the exam. Therefor you have to register through the Instituto Cervantes for one of the examination dates. There are various, distributed all over the year: February, April, May, July, September, October and November. Nonetheless, please inform yourself at the Instituto Cervantes or your preferred center where you would like to take the exam about availability. Not all centers offer the exams for the mentioned months or all levels.
There’s no obligation to enroll in a course at the Instituto Cervantes or at a language school in order to take the exam. You can register independently for the exam and take it on the date that suits you best. You can find information about available examination centers on the web page of the Instituto Cervantes.
Did you like this blog entry? Then don’t miss out on What is the DELE B2 certificate? where I’ll explain the different parts of the B2 exam.
But if you have already achieved the B1 level and consider taking the exam, then take a look at my current exam preparation courses!