Diplomas de EspaƱol como Lengua Extranjera

The Diplomas de Español como Lengua Extranjera (DELE) are the official diplomas for Spanish as a foreign language administered by the Instituto Cervantes on behalf of the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport. The tests are created, evaluated and corrected by the Universidad de Salamanca.

If you want an official certificate to demonstrate your proficiency as a Spanish speaker, DELE is the most widely recognised Spanish exam.  There are no grades: you either pass or fail and there is a DELE certificate for every CEFR level.  The diplomas are independent so you can take whichever exam you feel most qualified to pass; there are 6 exams corresponding to levels A1 to C2 of the CEFR. In addition, there are two diplomas specifically for school students which cover CEFR levels A1 and A2/B2.

Why get a DELE Diploma?

Most people studying Spanish outside of Spain will have passed exams in their home country - exams which are all different. DELE are standard certificates that are more portable than GCSE or A level Spanish, or whatever exam you may have taken at your school. What’s more, DELE have a one-to-one correlation with the now standard CEFR language proficiency levels, A1 through to C2, which makes them extremely straightforward to interpret. They're a great thing to have on your CV.

If you're at school, then there's probably little advantage to doing these diplomas over any Spanish exam your school offers, but if you're an adult and considering working in a Spanish-speaking country, or you just want something to work towards to help focus your study, then you might consider trying to get one of these diplomas. If your school does not offer any Spanish exams, there are two DELE diplomas, called DELE for young learners, specifically aimed at school students which cover levels A1 and A2/B1. These are only for school students, adults must take the regular DELE exam.

If you’re wondering approximately which level you might be at right now, you can take our free Spanish test which will give you a rough idea of your CEFR level. Please note, our initial Spanish sorter test will test your Spanish grammar - mostly writing. But we have many more practice Spanish tests that can help you with your Spanish study in all areas once your basic level is established.

What do the DELE exams cover?

The exams are split into two groups which cover four skill sections: reading, writing, listening, and speaking.  Each section offers a maximum score of 25 points, making a total of 100 points for the whole exam.  The exam is marked out of a total of 100 points and depending on which level you are taking you need to get a minimum number of points per group to pass.

For example, in the A1 exam, group 1 covers reading and writing and group 2 covers listening and speaking skills. You need to get a minimum of 30 points in each group to pass. This means that if your reading skills are very good but your writing skills are less so, you could still pass as long as you are also very good at either listening or speaking. However, if you are only good at listening and speaking and poor at reading and writing there is little chance of passing.

See the links below for information about what's in each exam.

How much does it cost to take a DELE exam?

The cost of registering for each diploma depends on which country you are in, what level you want to take and also your examination centre. So, you'll need to contact the centre where you plan to sit the exam. To give an idea, here are the January 2018 prices DELE exams set by the Instituto Cervantes in London:















Where can I take a DELE exam?

These exams are offered in centres around the world. You can find out where the centres are for your country on the official Instituto Cervantes website. (NB: if you're in the UK, choose "Reino Unido" as the country).

If I fail a DELE exam, can I retake it?

You can take a DELE exam as many times as you need to until you pass, but you must wait until the next official exam date.