All about the DELE Exam 2018

The DELE Exam Is the Best Official and International Proof of Your Spanish Knowledge

¿Hablas español? Nowadays, it is often necessary to express yourself in a foreign language.
Being able to prove your language skills is just as important.

We would like to help you to get your DELE certificate and clarify any queries you may have. So we gathered all the necessary information about the DELE exam 2018: its levels, available dates and prices, past exam papers, preparation courses and much more.

Take a look at the menu questions to navigate to the different sections and remember: You can always come back to the beginning by clicking on the arrow on the bottom right side.

Speaking Spanish DELE

DELE as Spanish Proficiency Test

First of all, what does DELE mean in Spanish and in English?

D.E.L.E. stands for Diplomas de Español como Lengua Extranjera (Diplomas of Spanish as Foreign Language). It’s a worldwide recognised title of Spanish proficiency.

Since 2015 Spanish natives and learners alike can take part in it. Overall, it consists of four parts – reading, writing, listening and speaking. And you can take it in six different Spanish proficiency levels. That’s where it differs from other certificates.

Take for example the SIELE. It’s another Spanish diploma that you can obtain at the FU International Academy.

It’s assessed online with questions that gradually increase in difficulty. So rather than you choosing your overall level before, you’ll find it out in your results for each test area. Also, you don’t need to complete all sections of the test and can decide to simply take parts of it.

Do you only want to prove your listening and talking skills? That’s possible with the SIELE. However, in the end, the certificate is only valid for 2 years.

When taking the DELE exam, you need to decide on a specific level and take all four test areas together. In return, you get a diploma that’s valid for a lifetime.

But why should you go through all that trouble anyway? Let us tell you.

Instituto Cervantes – What is it and why should you take their test?

Whenever you read about the DELE exam, you stumble across the Instituto Cervantes.

What is it though? Well, have you already heard about Don Quixote?

He’s the protagonist in one of the most famous Spanish novels written by Miguel de Cervantes. The story recounts the adventures of “The Ingenious Nobleman Mister Don Quixote of La Mancha” on his journey to bring justice to the world.

Yes, that guy who mistook windmills for giants and ended up attacking them.

Don Quixote Cervantes

By Alena Grebneva (Own work; CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons)

Anyway, the Instituto Cervantes is named after the author of this Spanish classic. That makes sense if you think about the fact that its main responsibility is to promote the Spanish language and culture around the world. It’s organising Spanish courses, cultural activities and educates teachers on their newest methods and curricula.

Along with that, the Instituto Cervantes grants the DELE certificate on behalf of the Spanish Ministry for Education and Science. It creates and evaluates the exam in cooperation with the University of Salamanca.

What do you get out of the diploma?

The DELE is a highly regarded official title and will facilitate your access to the professional and academic world. It looks good on your CV if you want to work in a Spanish speaking country and it’s an asset that can boost your income. Plus, in fact, to enter some organisations and universities it is even compulsory to have it.

On top, it’s valid indefinitely or to put it in other words:

Once you get the DELE diploma you will have a qualification to
prove your Spanish skills for the rest of your life.

Maybe you’ve already been studying Spanish for a while and want to put your level into writing?
Or are you planning a gap year in a Hispanic country and want to make the best of it?

Whatever it is for you. It’s time to register for the DELE exam!

Get ready for the exam. Join our DELE preparation course!

DELE Dates & Registration – How, when and where can you join?

The preparation for the exam itself is already challenging. That’s why we want to ease your burden a bit and collected answers to all the administrative questions.

DELE Exam Registration

Can I sign up?

Yes. Since November 2015 there are actually no restrictions when it comes to nationality or age. You heard right, that means that even Spanish natives can take the exam.
In general, it’s cut out for test takers who are 16 years or older. In case you’re underage, your parents will have to handle the registration or you.

To register for an exam with us, each participant needs to create an account at the Instituto Cervantes website first. That’s the easiest way to check availability for specific exam dates and to sign up right away.
You’ll note quickly that the Instituto Cervantes is taking its mission to teach you Spanish seriously. Their whole site and the registration process is currently only available in Spanish.

It goes without saying that this may be quite confusing for a beginner who wants to pass the A2 DELE Diploma. So we took the liberty to break the steps down for you. Just start at the registration page of the Instituto Cervantes and follow the instructions below from there.

Make sure to enrol within the period of registration and to write down your account details. You’ll need them to get your results afterwards!

  1. Create a New Account: The obligatory fields are your email address, name and surname, type of ID and its number, title, gender, birthdate, birthplace, birth country, nationality and your native language.
  2. Confirmation Mail: If everything works, you’ll receive a confirmation email.
  3. Confirm Email Address: Open the email in your inbox and click on the first link.
  4. Start your Session: Click on “Iniciar sesión”. Be aware that this works only one time.
  5. Create your Password: Create a good password and save it.
  6. Sign Up for a New Test: Go to “Mis inscripciones” and click on “Nueva inscripción”.
  7. Select Exam Location, Date and Level: To take your test at FU International Academy, select “España” as the country and “Tenerife” as the city.
  8. Check Availability and Register: Take a look which exams are available and choose the right one by clicking on “Inscribirse”.

Where & when can I take part?

You can also check out the dates and locations before signing up online.
Besides Spain, you can participate in the exam in 100 other countries. Take a look at the more than 900 examination centres and their available dates.

Here at FU International Academy in Puerto de la Cruz in Tenerife, you can register for the DELE exam levels A2, B1/B2 and C1 for the following dates within their enrolment periods.

DELE 2018LevelsExam DatesEnd of Enrolment
February 2018Adults: A2, B1, B2, C1February 9thNovember 13th, 2017
till January 10th, 2018
April 2018Adults: A2, B1, B2, C1April 6thNovember 13th, 2017
till February 14th, 2018
May 2018Adults: A2, B1, B2, C1May 18thNovember 13th, 2017
till March 28th, 2018
July 2018Adults: A2, B1, B2, C1July 13November 13th, 2017
till May 23rd, 2018
September 2018Adults: A2September 14thNovember 13th, 2017
till August 1st, 2018
October 2018Adults: A2, B1, B2October 5thNovember 13th, 2017
till August 22nd, 2018
November 2018Adults: A2, B1, B2, C1, C2November 10thNovember 13th, 2017
till October 3rd, 2018

How much does it cost?

The prices for the DELE exams vary depending on the country and examination center.

Below are the prices for the different levels available at FU International Academy.

Prices DELE Exams 2018

DELE Preparation for Different Spanish Levels

The different levels of the DELE diploma are based on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). It standardises plurilingual education all around Europe.
The most basic level is A1 and leads all the way up to C2 which is close to native proficiency.

A1 – Breakthrough | A2 – Waystage
B1 – Threshold | B2 – Vantage
C1 – Effective Operational Proficiency | C2 – Mastery

To give you an idea, we looked into the official level guidelines by the Instituto Cervantes.

It further published one sample exam paper (+ answer sheet)per level as well as one past exam from previous years. Make sure to work through the version corresponding to your level. That’s a great way to familiarise yourself with the nature of the tasks!

Now, here comes the gist of the matter in plain English.

Once you hold the A1 certificate in your hands, you made the first step on your journey to learn the Spanish language. With this level, you’ll be able to…

  • use common day-to-day expressions to communicate basic things.
  • ask somebody basic personal questions.
  • interact in a basic fashion with natives, given that they talk slowly and clearly.

As in every level, you first have to prove these skills in four different categories. If you can confirm that the following statements apply to you, you’re ready for the DELE A1 exam.

1) Reading Comprehension
“I understand common words and names as well as easy sentences like,
for example, street signs or catalogues.”

2) Listening Comprehension
“If they are spoken slowly and clearly, I recognise basic words and expressions that are used daily and in contexts familiar to me.”

3) Oral Expression and Interaction
“I use easy expressions and sentences to describe where I live and the people who I know.
I can join easy conversations if the other person is ready to repeat and helps me out.
I answer easy questions about day-to-day matters. ”

4) Written Expression and Interaction
“I’m able to write short postcards, for example with birthday wishes. Also, I can fill in forms with my basic personal details.”

A1 Sample Exam Paper | A1 Sample Answer Sheet | A1 Past Exam 2011

The total exam takes around 2 hours and breaks down to the following tasks.

DELE A1 Exam Structure

The next stage is to finish your A levels. With the A2 diploma, you’ll be able to…

  • understand and use daily expressions around information relevant to your surroundings. This can be personal information, going shopping or interesting locations.
  • address questions with reference to your immediate needs.

The learning goals of the four different categories of the DELE A2 exam are the following.

1) Reading Comprehension
“I’m capable of reading and understanding short and easy texts. These could be ads, menus, schedules or postcards. From those, I can single out basic pieces of information.”

2) Listening Comprehension
“I understand sentences and vocabulary about daily topics and my personal interests. I’ll grasp the main idea of simple, short and clear messages and notifications.”

3) Oral Expression and Interaction
“I can communicate in a simple fashion about daily matters and activities. While it’s hard for me to keep it going just by myself, I’m already able to have a short social conversation.”

4) Written Expression and Interaction
“I can write basic notes and messages that relate to my immediate needs. Also, I could compose a postcard, for example, to thank someone.”

A2 Sample Exam Paper | A2 Sample Answer Sheet | A2 Past Exam 2010

Adding 60 minutes, the exam lasts around 3 hours and is structured like this.

DELE A2 Exam Structure

The B1 test is also dubbed the threshold level. Once you pass it, you can…

  • understand the main topics when listening or reading texts. They will be about familiar topics like studies, work or daily life and may have some slight variations in the language.
  • be able to handle the majority of situations that take place in these familiar contexts.
  • write simple but coherent texts on familiar topics like experiences, plans, wishes or opinions.

You can join the DELE B1 exam in good conscience if the following statements apply to you:

1) Reading Comprehension
“I understand texts written in a day-to-day language. I grasp the description of events, feelings, and wishes in personal letters.”

2) Listening Comprehension
“I understand the principle ideas of a discourse or radio/TV programmes given that it’s clear and talking about day-to-day matters like work, school or free time.”

3) Oral Expression and Interaction
“I’m able to handle almost all situations when traveling to a Spanish speaking country. I could spontaneously take part in a conversation about familiar and daily topics. I know how to connect basic sentences to tell a story or experience. I also could recount the story of a book or a movie.”

4) Written Expression and Interaction
“I’m able to write easy and well-connected texts about familiar topics and personal interests. I also can write personal letters describing my experiences and impressions.”

B1 Sample Exam Paper | B1 Sample Answer Sheet | B1 Past Exam 2013

For the B1 exam, you need to calculate around 3.5 hours. Take a look at the structure.

DELE B1 Exam Structure

You’re more than halfway to being a Spanish native. Way to go!

Now it’s time to complete the DELE B2 Exam. With this diploma, you’ll have a good basis to apply to jobs or universities in Spanish speaking countries since you’re able to…

  • understand complex written and spoken texts even when they are abstract or technical. You can also grasp different variations of the Spanish language.
  • interact with all types of Spanish speakers in a fluent and natural way without hesitation.
  • write clear and detailed texts on several topics and debate to defend your opinion.

According to the CEFR framework, you should go for this test if you can confirm the following statements about yourself.

1) Reading Comprehension
“I’m capable of understanding articles on current issues as well as contemporary literature.”

2) Listening Comprehension
“For familiar topics, I understand external speeches or conferences including complex chains of thought. I’m able to follow TV news and understand most movies in standard Spanish.”

3) Oral Expression and Interaction
“I’m able to have a fluent and spontaneous conversation with natives. Also, I can elaborate and defend my point of view in debates. My descriptions of topics are clear, detailed and reflect pros and cons of different points of view.”

4) Written Expression and Interaction
“I write detailed and clear texts about a variety of topics and can elaborate on a specific point of view. I’m able to write letters that show the significance of events and experiences.”

B2 Sample Exam Paper | B2 Sample Answer Sheet | B2 Past Exam 2013

It’s getting longer and longer. To complete the B2 exam, you have to prepare for around 4 hours of test time.

DELE B2 Exam Structure

Now it’s getting professional. You’re closing the gap on the Spanish natives of the world.

Just check it out. With a C1 level, you can…

  • process a wide variety of written and spoken text in every variation of the Spanish language. This also includes implicit meanings, attitudes, and intentions.
  • express yourself fluently, spontaneously and without any apparent effort.
  • always find the adequate expression of every situation and context.
  • write complex texts with a flexible and efficient use of Spanish and a coherent structure.

Do the following statements still sound reasonable and fitting to you? Way to go!

1) Reading Comprehension
“I can read long and complex texts with different literary styles as well as technical instructions. That holds true even if they are from a field unfamiliar to me.”

2) Listening Comprehension
“I understand long speeches even if they are not clear and only implicitly hint the main relations.
I understand TV shows and movies without effort.”

3) Oral Expression and Interaction
“ In social and professional contexts alike, I’m expressing myself fluently, spontaneously and without looking for the right expressions. I can relate my statements skillfully to those of others, develop ideas and make a fitting conclusion.”

4) Written Expression and Interaction
“I’m able to write clear and detailed about a wide series of topics. This can be informative reports or those conveying a certain point of view.
In my letters, I make clear how important some events and experiences were to me.”

C1 Sample Exam Paper | C1 Sample Answer Sheet | C1 Past Exam 2011

4.5 hours – Seriously?

Okay, so besides great Spanish skills, you also need to start thinking about training your stamina to make it through that test. Here comes the structure:

DELE C1 Exam Structure

Last but not least. Do you want to prove to everybody that your Spanish skills are nothing short of the natives? Once you reach the C2 level of mastery, you can…

  • handle any situation and understand everything, written or spoken. It doesn’t matter how complex, abstract, unfamiliar or expressed in different variations of Spanish it is.
  • express yourself spontaneously, fluently and with an exceptional semantical and grammatical precision. You do so in every context, be it academic or professional.

Can you proudly confirm these statements for yourself? Then go for the final challenge!

1) Reading Comprehension
“I can read all forms of written language with ease even when they are abstract and complex like manuals or literary works.”

2) Listening Comprehension
“I have no problem whatsoever to understand any spoken texts, be it face-to-face or speeches even if they are delivered in specific accents.”

3) Oral Expression and Interaction
“I’m capable of joining any discussion effortlessly and use colloquial phrases. If I encounter a problem, I solve it with such discretion that none of my counterparts will notice.
My contributions are clear, fluent, well structured and fit the style of the context.”

4) Written Expression and Interaction
“I’m able to write clear and fluent texts as well as complex letters or reports. I apply a good structure so my readers won’t get lost and grasp the main ideas.
On top, I translated my resume and references to Spanish.”

C2 Sample Exam Paper | C2 Past Exam 2011 | No Answer Sheet Available

If you decide to take on the C2 challenge, you’ll have to face6 full hours which separate you from the highest DELE diploma level.

DELE C2 Exam Structure

Spanish Level Test – How do you find out your level and prepare?

We know, that was a lot of information.
Let us guess: You still find it hard to pinpoint the exact level you currently are at?

Don’t worry, help is on the way.

First, take a look at the CEFR self-assessment grid. It puts all level descriptions side by side.
Check out the entire sheet to get a quick overview. Another solution is to quiz yourself and take the Spanish level test by the Instituto Cervantes.

Okay, let’s assume, you were able to decide which level you want to take the test in.
So far so good. But admittedly, the CEFR descriptions are a bit wishy-washy, so we have a problem here. How are you supposed to know what exactly to study if you want to ace a certain level?

To give you more specific info, we also have something up our sleeves. Just take a look at this overview of all the items and topics officially on your “to-learn list”. It’s the curriculum issued by the Instituto Cervantes. Categorised by Spanish levels, it breaks e.g. the grammar down to small topics.

Yes, it looks intimidating. Still, it might help you to gauge the status quo of your Spanish skills and which lessons you have to refresh.

Next up: the preparation. How can you get yourself ready for the exam?

From our experience, we can tell that studying on your own is a hard thing. Especially, when you are always connected to the world wide web and procrastination is looming just a click away.

But there are plenty of ways to turn the tables!

For example, why don’t you join the DELE Facebook group? This way you at least make sure that your news feed includes tips and tricks on how to pass the DELE exam.
Or you could go digital to support your vocabulary learning with Duolingo and Tiny Cards. Here you can create your own vocabulary lists or learn those from other users.

Use this together with Spanish movies and Spanish music to learn the language and you’ll see that you can also use the world wide web to your advantage.

If you prefer the old-school way, use the official resources published by the Instituto Cervantes: DELE preparation books.

Indeed, it’s possible to prepare for the DELE exam by yourself if you put in enough time and effort. But.
Don’t you want to fast track your studies? 
Then we have an alternative solution for you.

Join our DELE preparation course

DELE Preparation Course at FU International Academy

First things first.

Before starting the course, you’ll take part in a placement test. Our teachers will personally assess your Spanish proficiency level, so you can rest assured that you’re preparing for the right exam.

Teaching material

We use teaching material developed especially for the preparation of DELE exams.

All these additional resources address specific issues in the same context. They’re also geared towards creating a wide range of real life situations to practise the language.

Our teachers

All of our teachers are Spanish native speakers and specialise in teaching Spanish as a Foreign Language. Some of them possess additional qualifications from the Instituto Cervantes to conduct the DELE exam as an examiner.


Before you sign up for the course, it’s necessary to complete our online Spanish Level Test. It will be corrected by experienced teachers who will identify your current level.

Another requirement is that you’re willing to spend some time on the island of the eternal spring, Tenerife… but we doubt that this will be a dealbreaker for you 🙂

Teaching method

With our full immersion teaching methods, we teach you everything you need to know for the exam. You will follow a general Spanish Intensive 20 course in the morning and have extra exam preparation lessons in the afternoon. This way, we’ll guide you through the exam format and show you the right way to use your knowledge and skills effectively.

After you’ve finished our DELE preparation course, there won’t be any surprises in the exam!

By taking our DELE Exam Preparation Course, you will:

  • Become familiar with the structure and set times for the completion of each task in the exam.
  • Improve your knowledge of vocabulary according to the exam level descriptions.
  • Become more confident at conversing in Spanish.
  • Work hard along with your teacher to achieve your objective.
  • Train all four exam areas (reading – listening – writing – talking) and their testing methods.

Benefits of our DELE Exam Preparation Course:

  • We will advise you on the exam that best suits your level, based on a pre-course test.

  • We can prepare you for any of the six different levels of the DELE exams (A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2 ).

  • You could get prepared and take the DELE exam at our centre.

  • All our teachers are experienced and officially accredited DELE examiners.
  • We have a 90% pass rate!
  • We will help you with the registration process if needed.

DELE Exam Day and Results – What can you expect?

Let’s imagine this: You prepared for several weeks for the DELE exam and now the day is getting closer – and closer – and closer

If you made it until here, chances are that this probably will become reality for you soon enough. To calm your nerves it always helps to know what exactly is waiting for you. We already described, how each exam is structured for the different CEFR levels. But now we want to give you some first-hand, personal insights.

Denise, our former receptionist at FU International Academy in Costa Adeje, did her C1 level DELE exam at the Universidad de La Laguna. Read more about how she experienced it.

The morning sun shone brightly and the Anaga mountains were covered in heavy clouds when I entered the campus of the Faculty of Philology at the University of La LagunaAfter a short inquiry at the reception, I knew that I just had to follow a man with a black polo-neck jumper downstairs to the exam room.

He was the director of the DELE Centre at the university and he welcomed us enthusiastically in three languages. After organising the documents and taking a bite of a sandwich I was ready to go: along with 3 other participants and the friendly smiling supervisor.

I sat down in one of the exam rooms with a view of the palms. Question and answer sheets were given out and I realised that, due to all the excitement, I had forgotten the most important thing for the test: a pencil! The DELE exams have strict rules that only allow the multiple choice answer sheet to be completed in pencil. 

Luckily the University of La Laguna was well prepared for chaotic examinees…
And so the intense concentration on Spanish contract texts, the settlement of horses in North America at the time of Columbus and the grammar catch questions could start.

During the break, we all hurried into the sunny courtyard to compare notes on the first two parts of the exam – reading comprehension and listening. After that, we had to write Spanish texts, which wasn’t that easy due to the limited number of words they insist on80 minutes later the hardest part was done and only the oral exam was left.

My topic was “A tax on unhealthy food” – the perfect topic of conversation for lunch time! Together with the friendly examiners, I was philosophising away in Spanish. We talked about taxes, vegetarian restaurants and traffic lights for food products until we all became hungry. So finally the exam drew to a close.

It will take some months until I will receive the results, but whether I pass or fail – it was definitely an experience!

DELE Results – When do you receive them?

It takes around 3 months until the results are available on the online platform – sometimes less.

Besides the oral assessment, each examination centre sends all answer sheets to the Instituto Cervantes where they are corrected. That’s also why we, unfortunately, won’t be able to give you updates about the status of your results, even if you took the test with us.

Once the results are ready, the Instituto Cervantes will send you a mail to the address that you used to register. So please make sure to keep your account details safe.

Why does it take so long? 

Get this. In 2016 DELE totaled over 75,000 test takers from all around the world! And that’s actually a good thing. The popularity of the DELE exam speaks volumes about how valuable it is.

Now it’s your turn! Take initiative, get your own diploma and soon you’ll have the
Spanish speaking world right at your feet.

Spanish Speaking World At Your Feet

Do you want to fast track your DELE preparation?

Join our DELE Preparation Course at FU International Academy!

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