Spanish Language Exams: Why DELE Is the Best Choice!

As language geeks, we totally get it when people learn languages (even little-known dialects!) not out of external motivation, but just because they love learning.

However, let’s face it. Sometimes life can get too hard, the little time we have is too precious, and even the geekiest of language lovers needs a clear objective in sight that will renew their willingness to learn. 

For this reason, today we want to encourage all the Spanish learners reading our blog to certify their achievements by taking an official Spanish language proficiency test. By getting Spanish language testing certification, you won’t only enhance your professional opportunitiesyou will set yourself a learning purpose that might just be the thing you need to find fresh motivation. 

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DELE vs. SIELE Exams

When it comes to Spanish language exams, there are two prestigious tests that every student who wants to certify their language level should know. These are DELE (Diploma de Español Como Lengua Extranjera) and SIELE (Servicio Internacional de Evaluación de la Lengua Española). 

DELE Spanish diplomas, which are granted by Spain’s Ministry of Education, are official titles that serve as proof of competence and mastery of the Spanish language. DELE is so revered by universities and employers worldwide that, without it, you cannot work or study at most international organisations or colleges where Spanish is the official means of communication. 

Above all, this exam gives you a qualification that proves you are in full command of your Spanish skills in all aspects of life, certifying candidates’ Spanish proficiency up to level C2.

SIELE, on the other hand, is conducted by the Instituto Cervantes, the National Autonomous University of Mexico, the University of Salamanca, and the University of Buenos Aires. It is a flexible, fail-proof, and easily administered Spanish language exam that assesses where you may sit on a multilevel scale and scores points from 0 to 1000 depending on your current level. While this test has a few advantages over DELE, like being available throughout the whole year, it is still not as well known or prestigious as DELE. Besides, while SIELE is valid for five years, DELE never expires.

All in all, it would seem that DELE is the best choice for those who’re looking for prestigious language exams that will enable them to offer proof of their mastery of Spanish in all contexts. 

DELE: In-Depth

Whether you’re looking for Spanish exams for beginners or tests that will allow you to certify near native-like mastery of the language, DELE is the answer.

DELE exams range from level A1 to C2 following the guidelines of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), and it is up to the candidate to decide which level they will apply to. 

Each test consists of four printed papers and it can be taken in official DELE examination centres on annually scheduled calls previously announced by Instituto Cervantes.

As we said before, the great thing about DELE is that it allows you to get a Spanish language testing certification at every level, which means you don’t have to wait until you are at the end of your learning process to get a Spanish diploma. 

The structure of the DELE Spanish exam is as follows:

A1 – B2 

DELE A1-B2 Maximum score on a 100 points scale Minimum passing score
Reading comprehension 25 points 30 points
Written expression and interaction 25 points
Listening comprehension 25 points 30 points
Oral expression and interaction 25 points


DELE C1 Maximum score on a 100 points scale Minimum passing score
Reading comprehension and use of Spanish 25 points 30 points
Integrated skills: listening comprehension and written expression/interaction  25 points
Listening comprehension and use of Spanish 25 points 30 points
Integrated skills: reading comprehension and oral expression/interaction  25 points


DELE C2 Maximum score on a 100 points scale Minimum passing score
Integrated skills: use of Spanish + listening and reading comprehension

Integrated skills: use of Spanish + reading and listening comprehension

33,33 points 20 points
Integrated skills: listening and reading comprehension + written expression/interaction 33,33 points 20 points
Integrated skills: reading comprehension + oral expression/interaction  33,34 points 20 points

As you can see, the higher the level at which a candidate is certifying their level of Spanish, the more they are expected to be able to integrate the different linguistic skills that make a proficient Spanish user.

Below, we will delve into the different Spanish language exam levels at which you can get certification and what abilities they test.

Spanish Diploma Level A1 (Breakthrough)

The Diploma in Spanish level A1 certifies that candidates possess enough linguistic knowledge to:

  • understand and use high-frequency expressions to satisfy immediate needs;
  • ask for and convey basic personal information about themselves and their daily life;
  • have a simple interaction with other speakers in which they speak slowly but clearly and show cooperative skills

Spanish Diploma Level A2 (Waystage)

The Spanish language exam for level A2 accredits the ability of the language user to:

  • understand and use expressions related to areas of experience, i.e, relevant subjects such as basic information about their life and their social circle, their places of interest, their eating and shopping habits, their hobbies, etc.
  • to solve communication problems related to their immediate needs

Spanish Diploma Level B1 (Threshold)

The Diploma in Spanish level B1 certifies candidates’ abilities to:

  • get the main ideas from oral and written texts in Standard Spanish, as long as they are about well-known topics.
  • producesimple and coherent discourse on familiar or relevant topics, such as the description of experiences, plans and desires, and the expression of personal beliefs.

Spanish Diploma Level B2 (Vantage)

The Diploma of Spanish level B2 proves that a language user can:

  • understand the main points from complex oral and written pieces of discourse, even if they deal with technical or abstract topics, or are presented in lesser-known varieties of the language.
  • interact with all kinds of speakers with an acceptable degree of fluency and spontaneity.
  • produce clear and detailed discourse on different areas of interest, including those that involve debate, defence of an opinion, or dialectical analysis.

Spanish Diploma Level C1 (Effective Operational Proficiency)

The Diploma of Spanish level C1 certifies the ability of the user of the language to:

  • cope with ease when processing a wide variety of oral and written texts of a certain length in any variant of the language, even recognising implicit meanings, attitudes or intentions.
  • express yourself fluently, spontaneouslyand without apparent effort.
  • use the language flexibly and effectively, using appropriate cohesion mechanisms.

Spanish Diploma Level C2 (Mastery)

The Diploma in Spanish level C2 certifies that the candidate can:

  • understand virtually everything that he or she reads or hears, regardless of the level of complexity or degree of abstraction of the text in question, the degree of familiarity with the subjects being dealt with, the variety of Spanish being spoken, or the need to make inferences to make sense of the content.
  • produce discourse with spontaneity, great fluency and enormous semantic and grammatical precision, being able to recognise shades of meaning even in academic and professional contexts.

The Certificate

The DELE certificates are granted by the Ministry of Education of Spain and they have no expiration date. Spanish language exams are offered for levels A1 through C2 according to the CEFR (Common European Framework), with the candidate being the one who must choose which level they would like to test for in advance.

As regards scoring, the maximum examination grade for any of the DELE exams is 100 marks. The different scores are divided into three main groups: reading comprehension; grammar and vocabulary; and listening comprehension and speaking. In order to pass the exam, you must get at least 60% is required in each group.

Yes, it is challenging, as it should be! But we assure you DELE comes with very important benefits:

  1. Candidates will be able to see their results about two months after taking the exam, which is a shorter time than usual for official language exams! Besides, diplomas are usually mailed out, which means you don’t have to go back to the examination centre.
  2. Candidates who get a passing grade will receive an official certificate printed by the National Coinage and Stamp Factory of Spain, which is as official as you can get when it comes to language certifications!
  3. Besides being accepted by most employers and universities in Spain, DELE A2 can be presented to fulfil the language requirement when applying for Spanish citizenship.


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Now that you know what a gold star a DELE exam is for professionals, there is only one question left:  how will you prepare for it?

While today there are lots of online interactive resources to practise Spanish, we firmly believe that the best way to prepare for the communicative demands of an international exam is to take a one-to-one course with a native speaker of the target language.

At Language Trainers, we work with professionals who are both native speakers of the languages they teach and qualified educators with vast experience in preparing students for the DELE exam. Contact us now and we’ll pair you up with one of them for a free lesson, no strings attached!