DELE- A complete guide for your SPANISH language Exam | 2018

Introduction to DELE exam

Do you wish to test your fluency in one of the most popular languages in the world? DELE does just the right work for you. Also known as Diplomas of Spanish as a Foreign Language, DELE is the perfect testing tool for an individual’s competence and fluency in the Spanish language. Administered by the Instituto Cervantes and designed, corrected and evaluated by the Universidad de Salamanca located in Spain, valid diplomas are allocated by the Ministry of Culture, Education and Sport for Spain to the successful candidates. The DELE exam is recognised at various institutions around the globe, with several universities offering courses in the Spanish language requiring non-native speakers/candidates to pass the tests at a certain level, for admittance. Schools have also included the learning of this language as part of an evaluation system which acts as a bonus for students in the future while applying for higher studies in Spain or in countries where Spanish ranks among the top major languages.

Who accepts the TOEFL

With the validity of the certification being recognizable everywhere, examinations ranging up to more than 65,000 are held in over 800 centres across 100 countries all across the world. In this article, we are going to look into the various aspects of DELE, from discussing course to how to register for the exams and finally how to go about carrying out a perfect preparation method to pass the exam with flying colours. So let’s get started.

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?

IELTS for Foreign Studies

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.

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.

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 enrol.

DELE Exam Price and Structure

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!

DELE Exam a brief Walkthrough of the Exam


Just like in several other language exams, the levels of proficiency for DELE comprise six levels also known as, Diploma de Español Nivel, which were originally three in the beginning. Each level has an increasing order of difficulty level alongside other requirements as per the rules in several schools, universities as well as companies. The description of each level is as follows:-

  1. Nivel A1(Initial/Beginners)- Students clearing the A1 level are stated to be able to communicate using various words or phrases which are applicable in the day-to-day walks of life or everyday situations. Often students acquiring the certification for A1 level or A2 (description below) are admissible for their required jobs where a minimal level of proficiency is necessary.
  2. Nivel A2(Lower Intermediate)- Students opting for this level certifies that the individual is able to use and understand several situations as well as provide a more detailed description in their areas of experiences like providing information about themselves, their family, their professions, etc.
  3. Nivel B1(Intermediate)- This level describes the candidate to have somewhat of a clear knowledge about his understanding texts in a standardized form with a slight increase in the description level about various situations involving work, places of interest, hobbies, etc. as well as being able to give opinions or points of view, in case of any relevant topics.
  4. Nivel B2 (Advanced) – This level clears states that the candidate is now almost fluent in his communication skills while interacting in a natural manner with the natives as well as with those learning the language. His capacity to be able to grasp every kind of complex texts with different types of thematic representations has now strengthened to a certain extent as long as it belongs to his field of expertise.
  5. Nivel C1(Highly Advanced)- This level is the second-highest level of fluency and mastery of the Spanish language and there are certain institutes which clearly demands students to pass C1 or C2 for pursuing a course related to Spanish or for suitable job fulfilment. This level is descriptive of the use of wider range of not just vocabulary but being able to decipher and distinguish hidden meanings in complex texts, effective and articulate use of language and no discomfort or hesitation in discussing opinions or use of expressions in all aspects of academic and professional fields. The flexibility of the language is high in this case.
  6. Nivel C2(Supreme)- Being the highest level of fluency and proficiency in DELE, the student passing the C2 level has gained expertise in all form of communication in this language, be it verbal or written. With the accurate use of grammar as well as linguistic expertise, the candidate is now competent enough to be a fluent speaker of the Spanish Language.

A more detailed analysis of the six levels will be provided in another article.


Interestingly, the exam pattern in DELE varies in accordance with the difficulty levels in the Spanish Language test. Both the duration of the exam as well as the contents change except the common four testing skills which remain the same:

  1. Reading Comprehension
  2. Writing Comprehension
  3. Listening Comprehension
  4. Speaking/Oral Comprehension

The timings for each of these four communication tools increase with respect to the levels of proficiency. For example, level A1 provides 45 minutes for the reading section which increases by 15 minutes for candidates applying for level A2 of DELE. Speaking or the oral section of the exam is tested either a day before or the next day of the 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.


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”.

DELE Price

The DELE prices vary in accordance to the exam centre where registration for the test at different levels has been done, country-wise. Hence it is necessary for the candidates to keep a lookout for the correct amount of fees to be paid at their chosen exam centres.

Different schools or institutes registered under Instituto Cervantes have price ranges based on the level which a candidate applies for as mentioned here for the DELE 2019. An example of such a school is AilMadrid which is accredited by the Instituto Cervantes. The link for prices of the DELE preparation course for different levels is given in the reference.

Here are the prices for DELE Exam Preparation Courses available in don Quijote Spanish Schools in different cities in Spain and Latin America:

A1 A2 B1 B2 C1 C2
A1 Young learners A2/B1 Young learners
2 weeks
20 lessons/week
490 490 490 490 490 490 EURO
4 weeks
20 lessons/week
980 980 980 980 980 980 EURO
1 week
30 lessons/week
490 490 490 490 490 490 EURO

Source –

Where and When 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 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 A1, A2, B1, B2, C1 and C2 for the following dates within their enrollment periods.

DELE 2018 Levels Exam Dates End of Enrolment
September 2018 Adults: A2 September 14th November 13th, 2017
till August 1st, 2018
October 2018 Adults: A2, B1, B2 October 5th November 13th, 2017
till August 22nd, 2018
November 2018 Adults: A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2
Juniors: A1, A2/B1
November 10th November 13th, 2017
till October 3rd, 2018
Dates 2019 Levels Exam Dates End of Enrolment
February 2019 Adults: A2 February 8th November 14th, 2018
till January 9th, 2019
April 2019 Adults: A1, A2, B1, B2, C1 April 5th November 14th, 2018
till February 6th, 2019
May 2019 Adults: A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2
Juniors: A1, A2/B1
May 24th, 25th November 14th, 2018
till March 27th, 2019
July 2019 Adults: A2, B1, B2, C1 July 12th November 14th, 2018
till May 16th, 2019
September 2019 Adults: A2 September 13th November 14th, 2018
till July 24th, 2019
October 2019 Adults: A2, B1, B2 October 4th November 14th, 2018
till August 21st, 2019
November 2019 Adults: A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2
Juniors: A1, A2/B1
November 22nd, 23rd November 14th, 2018
till October 9th, 2019

How Much Does the DELE Exam Cost?

DELE Exam Level Price
A1 € 108
A2 € 124
B1 € 160
B2 € 188
C1 € 197
C2 € 207

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.

BRIGHT English

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.

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 the 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.

IELTS band 9

To give you a better idea of what is expected for each of the different levels, we looked into the official guidelines by the Instituto Cervantes.

They also 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 familiarize yourself with the nature of the tasks!


Self-Study for Your Spanish Level

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.

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.

Daphne, our academic director and Senior DELE examiner wrote down how the procedure of the DELE exam works at FU International Academy. Click on the plus below to find out.

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 totalled 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.

Source – Fu International Academy