The educational landscape of today is very fiercely competitive, and many students hope to gain an edge by enrolling at a prominent foreign university. However, students are sometimes hindered in their attempts to pursue their interests because of linguistic barriers.

Among such languages, Spanish is a language used as a means of communication in countries where it is spoken as a native tongue. Spanish is given the value of an official language in 20 different countries worldwide. More than 437 million individuals are Spanish native speakers, and an additional 171 million have learned it as another tongue.

Around 21 million individuals are learning Spanish across the globe. More than 2,000 schools offer degrees in Spanish across the globe. While many of these schools may be found in Latin America, others can be found in Spain, the USA, and beyond. One’s academic and private horizons can broaden significantly if he or she learns the language.

The DELE certificate is an excellent option for anyone studying Spanish to have proficiency in the language recognized internationally. To understand the test structure, details, and steps to prepare for DELE, we have created an in-depth article for you below.

What is Diplomas de Español como Lengua Extranjera (DELE)?

The Diploma of Spanish as a Foreign Language (Diploma Español como Lengua Extranjera) is the internationally recognized standard for Spanish language competence. It is officially recognized and awarded by the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture, and Sport.

The certificate serves as official certification of fluency in the Spanish language, across the globe. The DELE is open to all citizens of countries wherein Spanish is not their native tongue. It consists of 6 levels including A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, and C2. There are three categories of certifications available, each designed for a certain Spanish proficiency level.

Additionally, there is no prerequisite for moving up in level, and candidates are free to start at any stage or level. Three different Diplomas in Spanish are offered, at the Intermediate (Nivel Inicial), Advanced (Nivel Intermedio), and Advanced (Nivel Superior) levels of proficiency.

Each certificate consists of 5 tests, all of which must be passed in one sitting. Exam components include written work testing reading and writing skills, as well as audio tests measuring listening and language use.

What are the Benefits of Taking DELE?

DELE test although being of challenging nature offers a variety of advantages to the successful candidates. 3 of its major advantages are elaborated here.

Direct Access to Spanish Universities

Having the DELE certificate will demonstrate a candidate’s proficiency in Spanish to prospective international universities, increasing his chances of being accepted. In Spain, a DELE B2 certificate is often necessary for admission to undergraduate and graduate programs. However, this mostly depends on the specific institution and course of study. Higher levels of competence, like the DELE C1 certificate, may be required for admission to some colleges.

Enhancing Employability

Organizations place a higher value on candidates who demonstrate language proficiency; hence, earning the DELE credential makes a candidate more marketable to companies both domestically and internationally. Employment opportunities and professional advancement will both benefit from this. It’s a great approach to increase your chances of being considered for positions and chances you would have normally avoided.

Lifetime Validity

There is no expiration date on the DELE certificate. There is no time limit, unlike other qualifications that require retaking examinations after 3 – 5 years. It is not necessary to retake the tests if you relocate to a different Spanish-speaking nation for job purposes.

When and Where to Take DELE?

There are several chances to take the DELE test during the year. There is global consistency in these dates for all DELE testing locations. It is important to remember that not all test levels are offered on every exam day. For the year 2023, the test dates range from September 8th to November, which can be seen on their site.

There are multiple centers in different countries where a candidate can give the DELE test. They vary according to the region. You can locate the test center according to your country through their ‘Exam Centers’ on their website.

Cost of Taking the DELE

The cost of the DELE exam varies not just by the candidate’s level of DELE chosen, but also by the testing location and country they give to test in. Within Spain, the following are the DELE 2023 test prices:

  1. A1 – €112
  2. A2 – €134
  3. B1 – €167
  4. B2 – €198
  5. C1 – €213
  6. C2 – €228

Overview of the DELE Scoring System

There are several levels of DELE required to take admission to a Spanish-based educational institution. The DELE levels have been created to correspond with the CEFR, a globally recognized standard for establishing language competence. There are a total of six levels in the CEFR, beginning with “A1” for absolute beginners and ending with “C2” for native speakers.

For those hoping to enroll in a Spanish university or college, the DELE also includes a suggested score. In Spain, for instance, undergraduates are encouraged to have at least a DELE B2 certificate, while graduate students should strive for a DELE C1 qualification.

A concise overview of the scoring system is described below, with details of all levels.

CEFR DELE Level Linguistic Competence
A A1 Beginner (Not Recommended)
The candidates for the test should be able to utilize the language in simple, everyday contexts without the need for a specialized vocabulary or grammatical structures.
A2 Elementary (Not Recommended)
This level is intended for students who have a firm grasp of standard language patterns employed in discussions on subjects that hold significance to them (their own lives, hobbies, hometowns, future careers, and others).
B B1 Intermediate (Undergraduate Level)
This proficiency level is for those that can read and comprehend lengthy, complex writings in Spanish, provided that such materials cover subjects relevant to their career, study, or hobbies. A Spanish speaker at the B1 level should be able to write straightforward texts on familiar themes; explain everyday situations; and provide brief justifications for their ideas.
B2 Upper-Intermediate (Undergraduate Level – Highly Recommended)
In recognition of applicants who display advanced language skills, such as understanding the main ideas of intricate texts, carrying on natural discussions with native speakers, and arguing persuasively for and against a position
C C1 Advanced (Graduate Level – Highly Recommended)
In level, C1 students show that they can comprehend lengthier, higher-level writings, pick up on subtle meanings, and use appropriate vocabulary when necessary. They can utilize speech freely and successfully in interpersonal, educational, and work environments.
C2 Proficiency (Not Required)
A passing score on the C2 Level DELE test is proof that the test taker is sufficiently fluent in Spanish to handle any educational, employment, or everyday circumstance. They have reached an advanced level of Spanish proficiency if they are capable of self-assess while correcting others, writing documents with a high degree of intricacy, and making use of grammatical forms in novel and sophisticated ways.

Overview of DELE Test Structure

All the levels of the DELE test are further divided into varying sections. These sections have distinct questions, tasks, and activities assigned to the candidate and the language proficiency in tests on this basis. Here is the test structure of Level A1-C2 of DELE in detail.

DELE Level Test Section Description
DELE A1 Group.1: Reading & Writing Skills
Group 2: Oral skills
The test is divided into two sections.The reading section (consisting of 45 minutes and 4 activities) and the writing section (consisting of 25 minutes and 2 tasks) will be taken in separate sittings.The second part is of 35 minutes, with a 15-minute spoken communication and expression section and a 20-minute listening section.It requires the examinee to demonstrate their ability to understand and communicate with others.The highest possible score is 100, with a score of 30 required to succeed in every part.
DELE A2 Group.1: Reading & Writing skillsGroup 2: Oral skills Like the A1 exam, this one is split into 2 parts.The first part has a total time given of 100 minutes. There will be a 50-minute writing and conversation section and a 60-minute reading section.In the second group, listening comprehension consists of 5 activities with 35 minutes) and speaking/interacting with others within an allotted 15 minutes.Each of these is graded independently, but for which an overall rating of 30 is required to go on to the next.
DELE B1 Group.1: Reading Comprehension test / Written Expression & Interaction test
Group 2: Listening Comprehension test / Oral Expression & Interaction test
In this case, the reading comprehension exam for Group 1 takes 70 minutes and consists of 5 activities, while the written expression and interaction test takes 60 minutes and consists of 2 tasks.There was a 40-minute, five-task listening comprehension exam for Group 2.There will be a 30-minute (plus 15 minutes to study for) spoken communication and interaction exam.This time around, a sectional final score of 30 is required.
DELE B2 Group 1: Reading Comprehension test / Written Expression & Interaction test
Group 2: Listening Comprehension test / Oral Expression & Interaction tests
Again, there are 2 parts to this exam, and participants are provided with advance notice to prepare their speech subject.The reading comprehension exam for Group 1 takes 70 minutes. Within that window, the candidate must execute four separate tasks. The written communication and conversational ability exam lasts for 80 minutes and consists of two activities.Group 2 will take a 40-minute listening exam with 5 activities, followed by an identical but longer oral expression and interaction test (20 minutes + 20 minutes to prepare). The standard minimum score required to pass is 30 in every subsection.
DELE C1 Group 1:
Test 1: Reading Comprehension & Use of Language
Test 3: Integrated skills. Listening Comprehension & Written Expression and InteractionGroup 2:
Test 2: Listening Comprehension & Use of Language
Test 4: Integrated skills. Reading Comprehension & Oral Expression and Interaction
The DELE C1 consists of four separate assessments that fall into two categories.The first group consists of Tests 1 and 3, whereas the second group has Tests 2 and 4.The first exam is a 90-minute multiple-choice test measuring reading comprehension and English use skills.The second part of the exam consists of a listening comprehension and language usage portion that lasts for 50 minutes. There are 5 tasks to finish in this.The third exam is an integrated abilities test. In 80 minutes, you may complete two advanced tasks (listening comprehension, written expression, and interaction).The fourth and final test is particularly challenging. The test takes 20 minutes (20 minutes to prepare for) and consists of multiple-choice questions, a reading passage, and an oral expression and interaction test.A score of 30 on both groups of the exam is required for certification.
DELE C2 Test 1: Use of language, Reading & Listening Comprehension
Test 2: Integrated skills: Listening & Reading Comprehension, and Written Expression & Interaction
Test 3: Integrated skills: Reading Comprehension & Oral Expression and Interaction
The DELE C2 exam is divided into three sections:The first exam lasts 105 minutes and consists of six separate assignments that assess language proficiency, comprehension of reading, and listening skills.The second assessment is a fused exam (150 minutes, 3 activities, including reading and listening comprehension, writing, and oral communication).Test 3 consists of 20 minutes of testing time and 30 minutes of preparatory work, and it covers both reading comprehension and verbal communication and engagement.The most score a candidate can get on the test is 100. A minimum rating of 20 or above is required on all the 3 exams (a score of 60 is required overall).

Preparing for DELE

These comprehensive study strategies can help you succeed on this challenging test.

1. Pre-plan and Be aware of the Exam Structure

Creating a workable study plan and sticking to it regularly should be your first and primary step. One of the most important parts of test preparation involves acquainting oneself with the exam’s structure. The first and foremost piece of advice is to put in the required amount of time and effort necessary when preparing for the DELE Test.

A well-organized study schedule is equally essential. This will aid in maintaining concentration and avoiding distractions. Students often believe reading in Spanish to be far less difficult than hearing or speaking, yet when faced with the DELE A1, several of them fail the reading section owing to poor scheduling.

2. Preliminary Practice

Successfully passing the DELE requires a lot of preparation. Planning aside specific time to practice each component of learning Spanish is a certain way to strengthen weak areas and advance rapidly toward one’s objectives. Get familiar with the kind of questions that will be on the exam and attempt to answer them for the purpose to feel comfortable answering them under timed conditions.

Candidates who have a deep knowledge of a broad range of terms will have an easier time with the reading and listening sections. The usage of online language tools might be useful for honing one’s skills. Examinees who put out the effort to learn the specifics of a regional dialect, vocabulary, and grammar may be rewarded with higher marks for comprehension of speech.

3. Be Fluent in Spanish conjunctions

Most students have difficulty with the Speaking and Writing requirements. The lack of thought put into how to link together all the arguments they wish to present is a major contributing factor. To succeed at any level, it is essential to learn and use the most vital associations across a variety of situations.

4. Mock Exams

Mock tests are a great way for candidates to become comfortable with the format and time constraints of the real test. Sample exams are useful for this purpose. You may use this to evaluate your current Spanish skills and get a feel for the test’s structure. Sample exams and study guides may be found on several different websites and in several different publications.

5. Engage in Verbal Dialogue with Native Speakers

Interacting with locals is a great approach to improving your Spanish before taking the DELE Exam. Proficiency work and general linguistic adaptation will benefit greatly from this. Several applications and websites facilitate connecting with Spanish-speaking individuals.

Universities and Institutions Accepting DELE

The following are only a few of the world’s finest educational institutions that accept the DELE Exam as a prerequisite for enrollment.

University Name City/Location Minimum DELE Score Accepted
1. Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM) Madrid, Spain B2 – Undergraduate courses
C1 – Post-graduate courses
2. Universidad de Salamanca (USAL) Salamanca, Spain B1 – Undergraduate course
B2 – Post-graduate courses
3. Pompeu Fabra University (UPF) Barcelona, Spain B2 – Undergraduate courses
C1 – Post-graduate courses
4. Barcelona Graduate School of Economics (GSE) Barcelona, Spain B2 – All courses
5. Universidad de Chile Santiago, Chile B2 – Undergraduate courses
C1 – Post-graduate courses
6. University of California Berkley, California B2 – Undergraduate courses
C1 – Post-graduate courses
7. Stanford University Stanford, USA B2 – Undergraduate courses
C1 – Post-graduate courses
8. Harvard University Cambridge, USA B2 – Undergraduate courses
C1 – Post-graduate courses
9. University of Buenos Aires (UBA) Buenos, Argentina B2 – Undergraduate courses
C1 – Post-graduate courses
10. Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (PUCP) Lima, Peru B2 – Undergraduate courses
C1 – Post-graduate courses


Being an official language in 20 nations has led to Spanish being a prerequisite for enrollment in many universities throughout the world. Due to its advanced nature, the DELE ensures that a student’s language skills will not be a barrier to admission at their preferred institution. We hope you find this article helpful in answering any and all queries you may have concerning the DELE test.

Hopefully, this article on the complete guide to DELE Spanish Proficiency Test for International Students was informative. You can also find more information on different European universities and scholarship opportunities on the Europe Scholarships Page!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hyun is the founder at Global Scholarships. He has received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College as well as $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for his undergraduate degree and has been offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. Read more about his scholarship journey here.

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