Living in a Spanish-speaking country will require to you get to grips with a variety of aspects of the Spanish language. Unlike just visiting Spain or Argentina on holiday, you'll need a more in depth knowledge of the grammar, verb conjugation, and the pronunciation in order to move past being a beginner, towards having an intermediate level and beyond.

It is more than likely that you will need to prove your level of Spanish in order to live in one of the 20 countries where Spanish is spoken. This will involve taking a Spanish proficiency test so that you can certify your level to any prospective employers.

This is natural for any second language. After all, if you move to a country where they speak a language which isn't your mother tongue, employers need to know that the language won't stop you carrying out your daily tasks.

On of the most popular Spanish proficiency tests to take is the Diplomas de Español como Lengua Extranjera (DELE). The DELE is an exam that is administered by the Spanish government, and it can be taken all over the world, even in the USA.

It is split into six different levels, depending on your proficiency in the language of Cervantes. Each level corresponds to one of the levels in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), a concept which aims to standardise language proficiency across all of the languages of the world.

Please note that you don't need to have passed all of the previous levels in order to take the one that you want - you can choose which level you think suits your ability in the Spanish language the best.

DELE Spanish Level Test: A1 Level

Taking a DELE test might start with the A1 level, as it is the first level that can be tested.

Taking an exam to get a foreign language certification is a good way of accessing the Spanish-speaking world and gain self-confidence and your progress while improving on your language training.

This first level certifies that you are able to communicate with simple vocabulary words in the context of your immediate basic needs (drinking, eating, etc.) and within the themes of everyday life (your identity, your age, your hobbies, etc.)

The examination consists of several testing categories divided into two distinct groups:

  • Reading and writing skills:
    • Reading comprehension: 45 minutes, 4 categories
    • Written expressions and interactions: 25 minutes, 2 categories
  • Oral skills:
    • Listening comprehension: 20 minutes, 4 categories
    • Oral expressions and interactions: 15 minutes

In order to obtain an A1 level diploma, you have to obtain at least 30 points out of 50 in each category (reading and writing skills and oral skills). You are then declared "apt" to obtain your DELE A1.

Be careful to follow the instructions given in the written exercise, namely the number of words and text format.

DELE Language Proficiency Test: A2 Level

Your language learning in any second language will naturally progress towards assessing your language proficiency. In Spanish, you have a number of options. You can take the CELU test, which focuses on the version of Spanish spoken in Argentina. However, the most common proficiency test is the DELE.

The A2 level is right for you if you can understand common phrases and everyday use expressions (information about you and your family members, about your purchases, your places of interest, your hobbies , etc.)

The DELE A2 is the same as the DELE A1, with the only difference being that the tests last longer:

  • Reading and writing skills:
    • Reading comprehension: 1 hour, 5 categories
    • Written interactions and expressions: 50 minutes, 2 categories
  • Oral skills:
    • Listening comprehension: 35 minutes, 5 categories
    • Oral interactions and expressions: 15 minutes

The minimum score required here is also of 30 points out of 50 for each category in order for the learner to be recognised as "apt" in the language level.

Levels A1 and A2 are the "easiest" to obtain and will encourage you in your language efforts. Your Spanish teacher may want you to pass it to give you confidence and validate your progress.

If you are taking Spanish lessons London with a Superprof tutor, s/he would definitely help you pass this exam!

Spanish as a Foreign Language: DELE B1 Level

Have you acquired good spelling and now know the rules of Spanish conjugation? Maybe you'd like to go sightseeing in Latin America and are hoping to gain confidence in your Spanish speaking skills. Time for the next level!

Level B1 certifies that you can:

  • Understand the main ideas of more simple and standard Spanish texts (not Latin American Spanish or the difficult Catalan) on common subjects.
  • Manage basic situations effectively and navigate your way around during your travels (ask for your way to somewhere, order from a restaurant, etc.) in a hispanic country.
  • Write coherent texts on familiar topics or those that interest you and are close to your hobbies.
  • Describe experiences, events, wishes, and ambitions, while also justifying your opinions.

The composition of the categories is the following:

  • Reading and writing skills:
    • Reading comprehension: 1h10, 5 exercises
    • Written interaction and expression: 1 hour, 2 exercises
  • Oral skills:
    • Listening comprehension: 40 minutes, 5 exercises
    • Oral interaction and expression: 15 minutes + 15 minutes of preparation

The notation system is the same: you must obtain 30 points out of 50 in each category, minimum 60 points out of 100 in order to get the diploma.

DELE Spanish Certificate: B2 Level

Learning Spanish will help you understand the culture
A trip to Spain could ensure that your language skills evolve quickly and efficiently!

By now, you've enriched your Spanish vocabulary further (adverb, verb, proverb, adjective, etc.). Would you like to get certified in a higher level in Spanish, something which is appreciated by most employers?

The B2 level will also be requested if you want to work or do an internship in a Spanish-speaking country.

The level certifies that you are able to do the following:

  • Communicate with Spanish speakers without any effort and in a fluid manner in order to have natural conversations. 
  • Write clear and detailed texts on varied subjects and defend your point of view regarding general themes, indicating the pluses and minuses.
  • Understand the main ideas of complex, concrete, abstract, and technical texts if they are linked to your professional domain.

The test will be longer once again! You have to earn your B2 level.

  • Reading and writing skills:
    • Reading comprehension: 1h10, 4 exercices
    • Expression et interaction écrites : 1h20, 2 exercices
  • Oral skills:
    • Listening comprehension: 40 minutes, 5 exercises
    • Oral interaction and expressions: 20 minutes + 20 minutes of preparation

The final grade is "apt" or "inept." To be declared apt, you will be asked the same thing: at least 30 points out of 50 in each of the categories which are assessed.

Remember, the DELE is a general Spanish language certificate. If you want a test that is more applicable for use in business or education, then consider taking the SIELE Spanish proficiency test.

DELE Spanish Language Test: C1 Level

You've studied in a Spanish-speaking country, now know Spain and South America's cultural environment and civilisation. You want to show you have had a successful linguistic journey and have formal proof of being more advanced than before.

Your language skills are good enough to:

  • Understand long texts that have a certain level of difficulty, as well as understand their hidden meanings.
  • Express yourself with fluidity, spontaneity, and without any effort when finding the right expression.
  • Use language in an efficient manner in your social, academic, and professional environment.
  • Write structured and detailed texts on complex subjects, correctly using organisational techniques, articulation, cohesion, as if it were your native tongue.

Like with the other levels, the DELE C1 has two tests, each lasting a different amount of time:

  • Reading and writing skills:
    • Reading comprehension and language use: 1h30, 5 exercises
    • Listening comprehension and language use: 50 minutes, 5 exercises
  • Oral skills:
    • Listening comprehension, oral interaction and expression: 20 minutes and 20 minutes preparation
    • Reading comprehension, oral interaction and expression: 20 minutes and 20 minutes preparation

The minimum score is always the same: 30 points out of 50 for each category and therefore 60 points out of 100 on the entire exam.

Assessment of Spanish Language Proficiency: DELE C2 Level

Find a relaxing environment, such as a cafe, to learn Spanish
Study for your DELE exam over a piping hot cup of Colombian coffee

Are you preparing an entry exam in order to become a teacher? It's very probable that you are fluent in Spanish and its nuances, that you know how to cope in all linguistic situations in an efficient way and that you are able to express yourself spontaneously in all contexts.

Take the C2 level! In this context, you will have to take three tests to validate your DELE C2:

  • Language use, reading comprehension and listening comprehension: 1h45, 6 exercises
  • Integrated skills: listening comprehension, reading comprehension, written expression and interaction (2h30, 3 exercises)
  • Complete skills: reading comprehension, oral interaction and expressions (20 minutes and 30 minutes of preparation).

The maximum grade that can be obtained at the exam is 100 points. One must obtain at least 60% on each testing category. You therefore need at least 20 points for each of the three testing categories.

After reaching C2, there is no further development in the DELE program. This isn't a problem as C2 certifies you have the same level as a native speaker. If you are reading this in Florida, and you think that the formats described above are not your cup of tea, then why not check out the FLPE Spanish certificate offered by UCF.

The Specifics on Junior A1 and A2/B1 Testing

Are you a Spanish teacher? You can suggest that your students take the Junior A1 and A2/B1 exams.

These exams are aimed at young people aged 11 to 17 who are studying Spanish, and are therefore adapted to candidates of that age.

They consist of four testing categories: reading comprehension, listening comprehension, written expression and interaction, oral expression and interaction.

Junior DELEs are officially recognised internationally on behalf of the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports, as are the main DELE certificates.

Naturally, in preparation of this exam, you should seek Spanish lessons tailored to that age group...

Junior DELE exams can be taken worldwide
Regular work could help students get ahead of their school curriculum by taking a junior DELE exam!

DELE A1 for Juniors

This first level provides basic language skills in order to understand and use simple everyday phrases that will meet a beginner Spanish speaker's immediate needs.

This diploma helps to stimulate students' learning by validating their skills and encouraging them to learn more and improve their skills in the Spanish language.

The exam takes place with four testing categories:

  • Reading comprehension: 45 minutes
  • Auditory comprehension: 20 minutes
  • Written expression and interaction: 25 minutes
  • Oral expression and interaction: 10 minutes + 10 minutes preparation

You will find more information (guide and exam model) on the DELE website under the "Junior levels: A1 and A2 / B1" tab.

DELE A2/B1 for Juniors

Students sit the same exam, but depending on the grade obtained on the exam, students may receive either A2 or B1 as their level.

The A2 level certifies that the student understands sentences and frequent expressions of everyday life with familiar subject matters.

Level B1 certifies that the student uses the Spanish language to:

  • understand the main ideas of texts written in the standard language on topics he or she knows.
  • use on a touristic trip to a Spanish speaking country.
  • write simple and coherent texts on familiar subjects.
  • describe experiences, events, wishes, and desires, and briefly justify his or her opinions.

The DELE is an official certificate that allows in a single test to define which level a student belongs to. This diploma doesn't expire and has lifelong validity. The student does not have to take it again once they are older than 17.

The exam consists of 4 parts:

  • Reading comprehension: 50 minutes
  • Listening comprehension: 30 minutes
  • Written expression and interaction: 50 minutes
  • Oral expression and interaction: 12 minutes + 12 minutes of preparation

To Sum Up

  • The DELE, both the general and junior versions, is an official diploma awarded by the Spanish government.
  • To obtain recognition for the richness of your Spanish usage and so that you can write good letters in Spanish, for example, take a DELE exam.
  • The levels correspond to the competences you have already acquired: A1 for breakthrough, A2 for waystage, B1 for threshold, B2 for vantage, C1 for effective operational proficiency, C2 for the mastery of the language.
  • The B2 level is required if you would like to work or be an intern in a Spanish-speaking country.
  • Even young people aged between 11 and 17 years old can take the DELE exam with testing categories that are adapted to their skills and age! You can easily find tutors, and if you are a spanish tutor yourself, here is a guide to get startedorganise your lessons and get students!
  • In order to prepare for a DELE exam, take advantage of all of the preparation materials on the Instituto Cervantes website.

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As an Englishman in Paris, I enjoy growing my knowledge of other languages and cultures. I'm interested in History, Economics, and Sociology and believe in the importance of continuous learning.