Almost everyone who studies Spanish will one day learn about the possibility of obtaining an international certificate, which confirms knowledge of Spanish at a certain level (from A1 to C2).
The certificate is issued by the Cervantes Institute based on the results of the DELE international examination. At present, it is not the only international exam in Spanish, but it is DELE certificates that are recognized by all Spanish organizations and are a kind of pass to the world of learning and work in Spanish speaking countries.
So, the decision to pass DELE is made. The exam is a test consisting of written and oral parts. The oral part is assessed by the examiners directly during the examination, while the written part is sent for examination, and texts are checked rather thoroughly: they must meet a number of criteria, which are used by the examiners during the scoring process.
This means that without special training you can’t count on success at DELE. Not because there is not enough knowledge, but because the previously unknown format of the exam can create a nervous atmosphere for the passer, which, of course, can affect the result.
To prepare for DELE exam, there are a huge number of courses from a wide variety of schools. Usually these are group lessons on special textbooks. Today, however, more and more candidates are choosing a more convenient format to prepare for the exam from home, from a distance. Individual training with a Skype or zoom tutor is ideal for training from home.
When choosing a teacher, you need to decide whether you need a native speaker or if you can be satisfied with classes with an English-speaking teacher.
For speaking practice, especially from level B1, it is extremely useful to practice with a native speaker. The best solution is a special DELE preparation course with an English-speaking teacher and a weekly speaking practice with a native speaker.
These are general considerations. But there is another important question that affects both the choice of materials and the format of preparation for the exam: “What does this exam mean for me?”
There are two types of students starting to prepare for DELE:
1) Those for whom the preparation for the exam is a kind of language сhallenge (or reto in Spanish). These are people who initially do not have the level of knowledge needed to take the exam and risk paying for it and enrolling in a training course precisely in order to quickly improve their Spanish, to make a qualitative leap to a higher level, in a sense overcoming themselves.
2) Those for whom exam preparation is some kind of learning result. These candidates often have a level of Spanish that is even slightly higher than that of the candidates they are applying for. Most often they are people who do not need an international certificate for their own satisfaction, but for work or study, or they are students who have no philological education but want to work with the Spanish language. This requires a DELE certificate at level C1-C2.
Our Spanish & Valencia school believes that the learning approaches for these two categories of students are quite different.
1. Preparing for DELE as a Challenge.
So, the first category wishing to pass this test, suits itself something like a language marathon in preparation for the exam. An individual tutor is especially good for such people, as he will help to achieve the main goal – the transition to a new level of language skills. You can also find a Spanish tutor online.
Special DELE preparation courses, held in groups, mainly involve familiarity with the format of the exam. Individually, it is possible to really engage intensively, to involve not only special textbooks on preparation for DELE, but also other useful resources, quietly and effectively familiarize yourself with new grammar rules, immediately use them in practice and get the necessary explanations from the teacher.
Working in comfort, from home, you can not only do exercises, make up dialogues and develop conversation skills. There are effective methods of activation and knowledge verification known to teachers: for example, watching and commenting on video in real time, recording and analyzing oral monologues, checking written works in real time using a virtual whiteboard or Google documents.
The tasks of a language Challenge to prepare for DELE can be defined as follows:
1. Intensive language classes in general, which include all aspects of language learning (reading, writing, speaking, listening), involving, in addition to preparing for the exam as such, the study and consolidation of new material.
2. Acquaintance with the format of the exam, strengthening the skills of work with typical tasks.
For this purpose, an individual teacher from Spanish & Valencia school can combine the materials of several courses into a single program: a general language course, a speaking exam preparation course, paying special attention to the problem areas of each individual student. It is very important to analyze a student’s writing and oral presentation, with the possibility of selecting additional exercises to consolidate the acquired skills and correct mistakes.
If you choose to study full-time in a language centre, it is advisable to combine the general course with a special exam preparation course.
By working without a teacher, you can also achieve your goal – a new level and success at DELE. For this you need to have one:
– Uso interactivo de la gramática, Edelsa
– Uso de la gramática española, SGEL
– Teoría de la gramática, Edelsa.
2. A textbook for DELE preparation at the right level. Give preference to the latest editions, such as updated textbooks:
– Preparación al DELE, Edelsa
– Las claves del nuevo DELE, Difusión.
3. Access to an educational platform with skills training materials. For example, a premium access platform opens up a large number of textbooks, videos, audio and interactive exercises on Difusión: campus.difusion.com.
The issue of conversation practice also remains relevant. For this purpose, you can use social networks and actively communicate in forums in order to find interlocutors not only in writing, but also, for example, on Skype or zoom.
Or you can use special social networks for language exchange, such as Italki, where you can practice speaking with native speakers for a modest fee. They are not always professional, but quite capable of speaking. However, you should not look for experienced teachers to prepare for DELE exam on such websites. It is in this situation that the assistance of a certified teacher is the most appropriate option.
2. Preparation for DELE as a result of training.
Taking DELE exam for Spanish language students can be a kind of summary, or a necessary confirmation of existing knowledge (for example, for admission to a job or university in Spain or another Spanish-speaking country). In this case, you already have the necessary knowledge. You should familiarize yourself with the format of the examination.
For this category of students, the most suitable option is a small special course, both full-time and online, which will help you understand the format and specifics of some tasks. For example, there are tasks where, depending on the level, you need to listen to audio, read a text or several texts and then create an article based on this information, create either your own article or a monologue, not only outlining the received data, but also with your own thoughts on the given topic.
Even a person with a high level of language may not be able to do such tasks without prior preparation, because here it is important not only to know the language itself, but also to be able to summarize, memorize and summarize information in a short but concise manner.
It is important to repeatedly recreate for yourself the situation of an exam or the performance of individual tasks: to perform them for a while, before an imaginary examiner (the teacher may play this role).
While working on your own, you should definitely use the already mentioned special textbooks to prepare for the exam, as well as such useful tools as a dictaphone to record and then analyze your own oral presentations and Internet search for interesting materials to prepare for the exam at the level you have chosen to pass.
An experienced teacher can easily find all these useful materials for a student. The course will be structured around a textbook. Two or three textbooks can be mastered during the course if assignments are carried out quickly and efficiently. However, it is better not to rush, but to analyze, repeat and consolidate knowledge.
Almost everyone who wants to take the exam has a certain fear of oral assignment and listening. Here, one cannot limit oneself to teaching materials. It is necessary to immerse yourself in the language environment through listening to radio and television programmes, songs, online lectures and master classes. For high levels, it is necessary to listen to and analyze the speeches of representatives of the academic environment – reports, presentations, interviews on various topics.
Make up your personal exam preparation card by answering the following questions:
- What helps me get acquainted with the format of the exam and work with it? (For example, an exam website, special textbook or blog dedicated to the exam).
- What helps me refresh my grammar? (Textbooks, exercises, interactive online platform).
- What helps me practice reading? (Special textbooks, newspaper articles, scientific forum … – it is better to write for yourself specific references, titles).
- What helps me improve my hearing? (University channels on YouTube, video blogs…).
- Who or what helps me practice speaking and writing skills? (Recording voice and analysing it, checking texts by volunteers, language exchange site, Skype or zoom tutor).
If you have answers to every point, you have a good chance of passing the exam!
Whatever the purpose, it is also necessary to determine the timing of the training. It is useful to set clear goals and dates. Plan and pay for the exam and start preparing for it, for example, three months in advance. Training sessions should be regular and intensive, and then it is likely that this important international examination will end in a positive result.
Text: Mariia Lisafina