What is DELE?


The DELE (which stands for Diploma de Espanol Como Lengua Extranjera according to Abbreviationfinder) are language certificates of various levels to prove Spanish skills for non-native speakers. For a semester abroad at a Spanish-speaking university, the DELE is usually not required. On the other hand, if you want to apply for a full degree in Spanish-speaking countries, you usually need the language certificate.

The DELE exams are administered and held by the non-profit Instituto Cervantes in cooperation with the Universidad Salamanca and on behalf of the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science.

Examination content and structure of the DELE

The DELE exams cover the four areas of competence

  • Reading Comprehension (Comprensión de lectura)
  • Listening comprehension (Comprensión auditiva)
  • Written expression and interaction (Expresión e interacción escritas)
  • Oral expression and interaction (Expresión e interacción orales).

There is a separate exam for each of the six levels within the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). The duration and sequence of the tests vary depending on the language level.

Since language levels B2 (Vantage) or C1 (Advanced) are usually required for university admission, the article deals with the DELE exams for these two language levels as an example.

DELE exam for B2 language level

The DELE exam at level B2 is designed to last 3 hours and 50 minutes. The individual areas of competence differ in terms of the form and duration of the examination.

reading comprehension

The reading comprehension (Comprensión de lectura) section lasts 70 minutes. This part of the exam consists of multiple-choice questions on several texts.

Listening comprehension

The listening comprehension test unit (Comprensión auditiva) takes 40 minutes. There are several voice recordings in the form of dialogues, news or interviews played. On this basis, the participants then have to answer multiple-choice questions.

Written expression and interaction

The part of the examination on written expression and written interaction (Expresión e interacción escritas) is the longest at 80 minutes. On the one hand, you have to write a short personal letter. Another task is to write an essay on one of two possible subjects.

Oral expression and interaction

The oral expression and interaction (Expresión e interacción orales) section lasts 20 minutes. The test participants have 20 minutes beforehand to study a picture story. You must then briefly describe these.

In addition, this part consists of a short presentation on a given topic and an interview with the examiner.

The exams of the first three units take place on one day. The oral part (Expresión e interacción orales) of the DELE exam can also take place a few days before or after this exam date in some test centers.

Evaluation scale of the DELE exam for the B2 language level

To assess the DELE exam, the four exam units are grouped into two groups:

  • Group 1: reading comprehension + listening comprehension
  • Group 2: Written expression + oral expression

Each group is rated on a scale from 0 (low) to 50 (high) points. This results in a maximum number of 100 points.

The minimum number of points to pass the test and thus to prove the B2 language level is 60 points. However, the following restriction applies: In each group are at least 30 of 50 points required. With a score of 29 in group 1 and 31 in group 2, the DELE exam would not have been passed despite a total of 60 points.

The DELE is either “passed” or “failed”. There is no further grading of the assessment according to the number of points achieved.

What is DELE

Cost of the DELE

The cost of the DELE varies depending on the country, test center and language level. The following exam fees currently apply:

  • DELE exam at language level B2: € 200
  • DELE exam at language level C1: 210 €

Payment of the fees is possible in cash, by check or bank transfer. Payment options may vary depending on the test center.