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 2019/2020: its levels, available dates and prices, past exam papers, preparation courses and much more.

Use the menu below to navigate to the different sections. You can always come back to the beginning by clicking on the arrow on the bottom right side.

Speaking Spanish DELE

What Is the DELE Exam?

The Diplomas de Español como Lengua Extranjera (DELE) are official Spanish language proficiency diplomas, organized by the Instituto Cervantes and granted by the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport.

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

DELE stands for Diplomas de Español como Lengua Extranjera (Diplomas of Spanish as Foreign Language). It’s a worldwide recognized 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.

What Is the Instituto Cervantes?

The Instituto Cervantes (Cervantes Institute) is a worldwide non-profit organization, named after famous Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes and set up in 1991 by the Spanish government to promote the teaching and study of the Spanish language and culture. 

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

What is it though? Well, have you ever 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 organizing 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.

Why Take the DELE Exam?

The main reasons for taking the DELE exam are:

  1. It is highly regarded by employers and universities.
  2. It is internationally recognized.
  3. It is a prerequisite for some university studies.
  4. It is valid for a lifetime.

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. In fact, for some organizations and universities, it is even compulsory to have this certificate in order to enter or enroll.

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 have an official document proving your skills?

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!

How to Register for the DELE Exam?

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.

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.

DELE Exam Registration

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.

Head to the registration page of the Instituto Cervantes and follow the instructions below.

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!

How to Register for the DELE Exam – Step by Step

Follow these steps:

  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 to Take the DELE Exam?

You can also check out the dates and locations before signing up online.

Besides Spain, you can participate in the exam in over 100 countries. Take a look at the more than 1000 examination centers and their available dates.

Here at FU International Academy in Puerto de la Cruz in Tenerife, you can register for the DELE exam levels A1, A2, B1, B2, C1 and C2 for the following dates within their enrollment periods.

When to Take the DELE Exam in 2019?

Exam Dates 2019LevelsEnd of Enrollment
November 22nd & 23rd, 2019Adults: A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2
Juniors: A1, A2/B1
November 14th, 2018
till October 9th, 2019

DELE Exam Dates in 2020

Exam Dates 2020LevelsEnd of Enrollment
February 14th, 2020Adults: A2November 13th, 2019
till January 8th, 2020
April 17th, 2020Adults: A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2November 13th, 2019
till February 19th, 2020
May 15th & 16th, 2020Adults: A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2
Juniors: A1, A2/B1
November 13th, 2019
till March 18th, 2020
July 10th, 2020Adults: A2, B1, B2, C1November 13th, 2019
till May 13th, 2020
September 11th, 2020Adults: A2November 13th, 2019
till July 15th, 2020
October 2nd, 2020Adults: A2, B1, B2November 13th, 2019
till August 5th, 2020
November 13th & 14th, 2020Adults: A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2
Juniors: A1, A2/B1
November 13th, 2019
till October 7th, 2020

How Much Does the DELE Exam Cost?

DELE Exam Level GeneralPrice 2019
A1€ 108
A2€ 130
B1€ 160
B2€ 190
C1€ 205
C2€ 220
DELE Exam Level JuniorsPrice 2019
A1€ 108
A2€ 160
B1€ 160

Prices for the DELE exams can vary depending on the country and examination center.

But now probably the most important question of all: Which level should you take the DELE exam in?

Which DELE Exam Should I Take?

The DELE exam can be taken in different levels, from A1 to C2. If you don’t know your level, you can use the resources of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) or the level test of the Instituto Cervantes to self-assess your level.

The different levels of the DELE diploma are based on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). It standardizes 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.

Spanish Language Levels

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

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. Categorized 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?

How to Prepare for DELE Exam?

Preparation for the DELE exam includes first and foremost deciding on which level you want to take the test in (from A1 to C2). It is also advised to study the sample exams and past examinations for each of the levels, published by the Instituto Cervantes. Preparation can take the form of self-study or participation in specialized DELE preparation courses.

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.”

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.”

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