Apart from being the 15th most populous country in the world, Mexico is also known to have a very vibrant and diverse culture. The most spoken language in Mexico is Spanish, spoken by about 90% of the population. However, you will also find a good number of people speaking in English due to its proximity to the United States of America.

While the language of instruction for most Mexican universities is Spanish, there are several universities that offer English-taught programs, especially at the graduate level. This is due to the increasing importance of English in the global economy and the desire of Mexican students to study abroad.

If you’re an international student planning to study in Mexico, you may need to provide proof of your proficiency in Spanish and, in some cases, English, depending on the language of instruction and the requirements of your chosen university or program. 

Read on to find out some of the common language tests needed in Mexico for international students.

What are the Basic Language Requirements Needed in Mexico for International Students?

Most Mexican universities require that students have knowledge of Spanish and English in order to take classes and communicate with each other. For students who do not meet the language requirements, some universities offer preparatory language courses to help improve the required language skills before commencing the program.

It’s essential to check the specific language requirements of your chosen university and program. Some programs may have higher or lower language proficiency requirements than others. Depending on your nationality or previous education, some universities may exempt you from language proficiency requirements.

Language Tests in Mexico for International Students

Most universities in Mexico require students to have a certain level of proficiency in Spanish and English before they can be admitted. Let’s look at the required Spanish and English language tests in detail.

Spanish Language Tests for International Students 

Here are some of the most common Spanish language proficiency tests accepted in most Mexican universities.

1. Diploma de Español como Lengua Extranjera (DELE)

The DELE is a widely recognized Spanish proficiency exam issued by the Instituto Cervantes on behalf of the Spanish Ministry of Education and Vocational Training. Many Mexican universities accept DELE scores as proof of Spanish language proficiency. 

DELE is divided into six levels, ranging from A1 (breakthrough) to C2 (Mastery). Each level assesses candidates’ skills in listening, reading, writing, and oral expression in Spanish.

Each DELE exam follows the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages grading criteria. Unlike many other language proficiency tests, the good thing about the DELE Spanish language certification is that it does not have an expiration date. 

The maximum possible score in the DELE exam is 100 points and in order to obtain the diploma, candidates are required to score a minimum of 60 points. Many universities accept a minimum score of 60 points which denotes a sufficient level of comprehension and fluency in Spanish.

Some of the universities in Mexico accepting DELE include Universidad La Salle and Universidad Anáhuac México which require a B2 level certificate for international admissions. 

2. Servicio Internacional de Evaluación de la Lengua Española (SIELE) 

The SIELE (Servicio Internacional de Evaluación de la Lengua Española) is a language proficiency test designed to assess and certify the Spanish language skills of non-native speakers. SIELE was created by the Cervantes Institute, the University of Salamanca, the National Autonomous University of Mexico,  and the University of Buenos Aires.

It is recognized internationally and can be used for academic, professional, or personal purposes. The SIELE exam consists of four sections, each assessing a specific language skill: Reading Comprehension, Written Expression and Interaction, Listening Comprehension, and Spoken Expression and Interaction.

SIELE scores are mapped to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), which ranges from A1 (beginner) to C1 (advanced). With a maximum score of 1000 points, the minimum score requirement by many Mexican universities is 600.

Some of the Mexican universities accepting the SIELE proficiency test include the Instituto Politécnico Nacional and Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México which require Spanish level B2.

English Language Tests for International Students

Some universities in Mexico offer English-taught programs, hence demonstrating English language proficiency is vital. Here are some of the most common English language tests accepted.

1. IELTS – International English Language Testing System

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS), is one of the most widely recognized and used English language proficiency tests in the world. It assesses the English language skills of people who wish to study, work, or live in English-speaking countries.

The IELTS Academic version is typically required for individuals who want to study at English-speaking universities or institutions or for professional registration in English-speaking countries.

The IELTS exam consists of four sections, which assess different language skills in Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking. The IELTS scores are reported on a nine-band scale, with Band 1 representing a non-user and Band 9 indicating an expert user.

Many Mexican universities with English-taught programs accept a minimum IELTS score of 6. One of the universities accepting IELTS scores include the Tecnológico de Monterrey.  

2. TOEFL – Test of English as a Foreign Language

If your program is taught in English or requires English proficiency, you may need to take the TOEFL. Many universities in Mexico accept TOEFL scores as proof of English language proficiency.

The Test of English as a Foreign Language, commonly known as TOEFL, is an internationally recognized English language proficiency test. It is offered in two formats.

  • TOEFL iBT (Internet-Based Test) is the most common format as it can be taken online. It assesses one’s English language skills in Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing.
  • TOEFL PBT (Paper-Based Test) is less common and can be applied in areas where internet-based testing is not available. It assesses an individual’s English skills in Reading, Listening, and Writing but does not include a Speaking section.

TOEFL iBT scores range from 0 to 120 points, with many Mexican universities accepting a minimum score of 55 points. Some of the universities accepting TOEFL scores include the Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon and Tecnológico de Monterrey.


If you are planning to attend university in Mexico, the above Spanish and English language proficiency tests are the most commonly accepted. It’s crucial to contact the admissions office of the university you plan to attend to confirm their specific language proficiency requirements and which tests they accept. Additionally, be mindful of application deadlines for language proficiency exams, as they can vary. 

Hopefully, this article on the language tests needed in Mexico was helpful and informative. If you are interested in knowing more about studying abroad, check out the Available Programs for International Students!

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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