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 B2 exam?
It’s an exam that certificates an upper-intermediate language level. By obtaining it, you demonstrate that you can understand complex oral and written content. This means not only texts about everyday life, work or studies, like with the B1, but also more abstract or technical topics you are familiar with. In addition, it also shows that you are able to write texts that are much more detailed and comprehensive than in the anterior level. Furthermore, you also demonstrate that you are capable of speaking in a natural, clear and fluent way.
What does the DELE B2 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 B2 exam
1. Reading comprehension
This exam lasts 70 minutes and is divided into 4 exercises where you have to answer a total of 36 questions.
The first exercise consist 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.
In the second exercise you have to relate four texts of about 150 words each with 10 statements.
The third exercise consists of a text with six blanks. For each blank you have to select the correct fragment out of 8 short 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 14 blanks you have to choose between response options a, b or c.
2. Written expression and interaction
This test lasts 80 minutes and is divided into 2 exercises. In each you’ll have to write two texts.
The first exercise is different than in previous exams. Up to the level B1 you always had to answer to a letter, email, etc. However, for this level, for the first time you have to listen to an audio text and take notes. Based on your notes and the instructions for the exercise, you then have to write a text. It can be a letter, email, a text where you express your opinion or a summary, etc. This text has to contain between 150 and 180 words.
For the second exercise you have to write a formal text based on the information (text or graph) you are provided with. It has to include all the points indicated in the instructions. You’ll have two options to choose from: e.g. a review, a blog entry or a summary about the data contained in one or various graphs. The text has to be between 150 and 180 words.
Both exercises come with information about what points cannot be missing in the texts.
3. Listening comprehension
This exam lasts about 40 minutes and is divided into 5 exercises where you have to answer 6 questions for each.
In the first exercise you’ll have to listen to six short conversations. Afterwards you’ll have to answer a question about each of them. You’ll have to choose between response options a, b or c.
In the second exercise you’ll have to listen again to a recorded conversation between two people, 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.
The third exercise comprises a long text you’ll have to listen to without a break. Frequently it’s an interview or a synopsis about a topic. Subsequently you’ll have to answer six multiple-choice questions by choosing between a, b or c. The fourth exercise consists of six short monologues. You’ll have to relate each with one out of nine statements. Here, 3 statements will be left over, which makes this exercise a bit more complicated.
The last exercise is again a long text you’ll have to listen to twice. Afterwards you’ll have to answer six questions, electing a, b or c.
4. Oral expression and interaction
This final test tends to worry students the most. The speaking test.
This test is divided into three exercises and lasts about 20 minutes in total. You’ll have an additional 20 minutes for preparation for exercises 1 and 2.
The first exercise consists of a 3-4 minutes long monologue you can choose out of a total of two. You’ll have to argue the pros and cons for the selected topic. This is followed by a 2-3 minutes long conversation between you and the examiner about the same topic. The examiner will ask you various questions for you to argue your opinion. This first exercise lasts a total of 6 to 7 minutes.
For the second 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 2-3 minutes. After you have finished with your description, the examiner will ask you again some questions. All in all, this exercise lasts 5-6 minutes (description+examiner questions).
And, finally, in the third exercise, you’ll have to speak with the examiner for about 3-4 minutes about the details of a survey you’ll be presented with. You’ll be able to choose between two options. Together with the survey you’ll receive information and you’ll have to argue your opinion while following the instructions of the exercise. For this exercise there’s no additional preparation time. Together with the first task, this is the one that worries students most. Especially if there are graphs, since lots of students find them tedious and complicated.
How can I prepare myself?
One option, if you already have achieved a B2 level and 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.
If you liked this blog entry but you haven’t achieved a B2 level yet, then take a look at the article WHAT IS THE DELE B1 CERTIFICATE?
But if you already are at a B2 level and you think about taking the exam, then check out the current B2 exam preparation course!