Let’s cut to the chase and ask the big question: Why does anyone learn to speak Spanish?
There are so many reasons! Some learn for travel, interpersonal relationships or romance opportunities. (Cozy weekend in Madrid, anyone?)
Those are great motivations to pick up the language. They really don’t require more than a desire to learn and the materials to do so.
But if your reasons for learning Spanish include employment in a Spanish-speaking job or entrance into a Spanish university, you might need proof of competency.
If you fall into this group—someone who needs proof of competency for school admission or to qualify for employment—you may want to (and in some instances be required to) take the DELE exams.
Passing the DELE provides you with a valuable asset.
It’s a lifetime credential that not only shows your proficiency but may also help you qualify for advanced positions, boost your income or allow you to advance in both job and university settings.
So is the DELE in your future?
And are you worried because you think it’s hard to pass?
These eight resources will make it much less formidable!
But first, let’s learn more about the DELE exam.
The DELE Exam, Demystified
What Is the DELE Exam?
DELE stands for diploma de español como lengua extranjera — Diploma of Spanish as a Foreign Language.
The tests are designed by the Universidad de Salamanca (University of Salamanca) in Salamanca, Spain. The university, located west of Madrid, also corrects and delivers a final evaluation of all exams to those who take them.
Instituto Cervantes (Cervantes Institute), located in Spain, plans the examination sessions.
Your exam scores act as certification to prove that you’ve reached a certain degree of competency in the Spanish language.
Anyone can take any of the DELE exams as long as they can prove they’re a citizen of a country where Spanish isn’t the official language. Registration is easy and can be done online.
When you pass a DELE exam, the certificate you receive never expires. So once you take a test and pass, you never need to do it again!
You can find out more about the DELE on the official website or on the Cervantes Institute website (both linked above).
For a more user-friendly guide to everything you might ever need to know about the DELE, the folks over at FU International Academy Tenerife have put together a useful guide.
DELE Exam Levels
The exams are separated into six levels:
- Levels A1 and A2 test competency in the basic of Spanish and show an ability to communicate on general topics. Families, work, shopping and a few other common topics are part of these levels.
- Levels B1 and B2 are a bit more challenging. They deal with understanding texts and navigating situations that might occur when traveling and test your writing skills on simple subjects. They also test the ability to express thoughts and opinions.
- Levels C1 and C2 are the most difficult exams and certify that those who pass have a high level of competence in the language. They test your ability to understand intricate texts, whether your communication is fluent and your ability to write on complex subject matters.
The tests show proficiency in all facets of language learning—reading, writing, speaking and listening. The higher the level, the more challenging those exam questions will be.
In the past, reading comprehension material has been taken from Spain’s daily newspaper “El Mundo” (“The World”) so if you want to get a head-start or just add on to your exam practice, check it out.
8 Delightful DELE Exam Resources to Help You Pass with Flying Colors
Since most of the resources we listed below have coursework or materials for each level of the exam, they’re all suitable for anyone who’s preparing to take a DELE exam. (We’ve made a note if a resource doesn’t prepare students for a particular exam level.)
The materials covered are basically the same for each course. The exams are standardized, so the coursework is fairly standard, as well. It’s just a matter of choosing a resource or course that suits scheduling and financial needs.
Choosing an in-home method of preparing is a flexible option and certainly less costly than attending structured classes in Spain. But whatever your time or budget, there’s a course that’ll work for you!
“Preparacion DELE” (“DELE Preparation”)
“Preperacion DELE” is a series that covers the six exams levels. There are two books for each level.
This book and CD are targeted toward Exam B2, the intermediate level, but its format is consistent with the format for the other books in the series.
If you plan to take higher-level exams, you can get a taste of how this prep material works with this set. And you’ll be refreshing your memory for intermediate materials, as well!
The books provide several practice exams, guidelines for the exams and tips for taking them.
As some reviewers note, you can use this book even if you aren’t planning to take the DELE exam, as a way to track and test your learning progress.
“El cronómetro A2: Manual de Preparation del Dele” (“The Stopwatch: A2: Manual for DELE Preparation”)
This book is strictly exam preparation, meaning it covers only question types that you’re likely to find on the exam.
The manual is a series of exams that are intended to prepare learners to take the DELE. There’s also an appendix section with advice on how to best prepare.
The book linked above is intended for level A2 but there are books for the other levels, as well.
The book’s practice exams provide examples of just what to expect on the actual exams. There are answer keys provided so it’s possible to check on—and work on—potential problem areas.
Global Exam provides online training for all six levels of the DELE exam. The website offers extensive resources including training modules, thousands of practice questions, study sheets and strategies for doing well on the exams.
They’re so confident in their ability to help learners pass the exams that they guarantee an 88% success rate after training with them for a month.
Additionally, there’s a free trial option to help learners decide whether this is the best exam preparation course for them.
This DELE preparation website covers only levels B1, B2, C1 and C2.
The courses are taught through video lessons and every learner can access the first lesson for free (registration is required but you don’t have to enter any payment information to check out this intro lesson).
A bonus? Web Spanish’s five-hour course called “Discovering the DELE” helps students decide which course to prepare for. It also helps learners determine their own strengths and weaknesses so that they may tailor their exam preparation to address any points that might need strengthening.
Video courses are taught by experienced teachers who will help you hone in on weak areas and strengthen them through instruction. Students pay in bulk for a certain number of hours, choosing the time package that works for them.
Instituto Cervantes (Cervantes Institute)
Instituto Cervantes is the same institution that plans the examination courses.
They offer intense DELE preparation courses. There are six individual courses, one for each exam level.
The courses take place in Malaga, Spain and consist of 20 lessons each.
The maximum number of students per course is five so there are lots of opportunity for individualized attention. The minimum age to enroll in the courses is 14.
Arrangements can be made to take lessons via Skype if attending courses in Spain isn’t an option.
Españolé is a Spanish school located in Valencia, Spain. They stress culture learning as well as language learning at the school.
Their DELE exam preparation courses cover all six exam levels and have starting dates five times annually. The courses are made up of 30 weekly lessons spread over four weeks each.
There’s a maximum of 10 students per class so there’s plenty of opportunity for individualized attention, especially since the average course actually contains only four students!
The Taronja School is an official DELE exam center that offers intensive exam preparation courses, located in Valencia, Spain.
They don’t offer courses for A1 or A2 because they feel that those exams are relatively easy for anyone with a basic Spanish language knowledge to pass.
Additionally, they don’t offer C2 coursework because at that level, they believe, you need individualized preparation. For those e,xams they suggest taking private lessons with them.
They do offer exam preparation courses for levels B1, B2 and C1 at their school in Valencia. Courses begin five times per year and are 20 lessons weekly, running for four weeks total, and end right in time for the next scheduled DELE exam date.
That means once the course is complete, you can take the DELE exam right there in the school!
FU International Academy Tenerife
This Spanish school in Tenerife offers classes as well as private lessons for all levels of the DELE exam.
Their courses typically have three to eight students per course and the school will assess each students’ proficiency before advising on the exam they’re best suited to take.
Coursework helps you become familiar with the way the exams are structured, improves conversational fluency and helps you master the vocabulary for any particular exam level.
This school not only offers preparation courses but (like Taronja) they also administer the DELE exams, so it’s possible to go through the process all in one place!
While FluentU doesn’t teach specifically to the DELE exam, it’s an excellent way to get some authentic Spanish learning done as you get ready.
FluentU is about so much more than videos: You also get access to interactive flashcards and vocab lists, annotated subtitles and personalized quizzes that evolve as you learn.
Check out the full video library for free with a FluentU trial!
Whatever your reason is for learning Spanish, the future can hold anything.
That includes living or working in a Spanish-speaking country.
With solid credentials, you can go anywhere, anytime and do anything! The possibilities are endless!
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Spanish with real-world videos.