DELE & CELU: The Two Most Recognized Spanish Language Proficiency Tests
Some of the most sought-after study abroad locations for international students are countries where the Spanish language is the primary means of teaching and communication. In Europe, Spain stands out as the only Spanish-speaking country.
Outside of Europe, there are several other countries where proficiency in Spanish is a requisite for studies. These countries are mostly Latin American countries found in Central America, South America and some countries in the Caribbean.
For these countries, students must be able to understand and communicate in Spanish before admission is considered. Though there are also English taught courses. However, the important courses are in Spanish.
There are two main Spanish language tests for international students that are recognized worldwide. These are:
- Diplomas de Espanol como Lengua Extranjera (DELE)
- Certificado de Espanol: Lengua y Uso (CELE)
Dele is more widely accepted than CELE. So there would be more emphasis on it here.
DELE Spanish Language Test
Known as The Diploma of Spanish as a Foreign Language in English; holders of this certificate have proof that they have a mastery of the Spanish language. The certificate is granted by the Spanish Ministry of Education, Sports, and culture.
Setting, design and final evaluations of the exam is done on behalf of the government by Universidad de Salamanca. The organization of the test is left to Instituto Cervantes.
Before taking the tests, candidates must complete the registration form which can be obtained online or at exam centers.
- Other supporting documents include
- Photo ID (original and photocopy)
- Information like date of birth, nationality, and address on registration form must match those of the photo ID
- Evidence of payment of registration fee
The fees payable varies depending on the country one is sitting for the test and how many lessons one is taking per week. However, the fees start from €490 for the basic level test to about €980 for some intermediate and advanced level tests.
Candidates should contact their test centers for detailed fees and number of lessons in preparation for the tests.
There are currently over 800 examination centers in over 100 countries around the world certified by the organizers of the test. The centers can be in universities, Spanish language schools, embassies or consulates.
Before any location is accredited as a center, it must satisfy the requirements as set by the organizers of the test. All exam centers can also undertake some lessons to prepare students for the test.
Exam levels and their relevance
Since it is necessary for Non-EU students to pass an entrance examination to get into a university in Spain (the university entrance exam is in Spanish), students need a minimum level of B2 in the DELE language test to be able to pass the university entrance exam.
Students from EU/EEA region need just a basic knowledge of Spanish to get into a University in Spain.
The DELE tests are subdivided into these levels
A1 – Basic Spanish language competency where the student can communicate in Spanish using simple everyday words and phrases.
A2 – An A2 certificate indicates the student can understand and communicate with words and phrases related to them.
B1 – certifies that the student can communicate and understand basic Spanish. They can also read and comprehend simple texts in Spanish
B2 – Students can be able to interact a bit fluently with native Spanish speakers. As well as read and understand texts, students can discuss various subjects logically.
C1 – students are sufficiently fluent in Spanish to hold their own in any given situation. They can take part in complex discussions on any subject and are able to comprehend any message or communication in Spanish.
C2 – students with this certification have shown that they have completely mastered the language.
Most universities need at least a minimum of B2 level proficiency before they can admit non-Spanish speaking students.
Also known in English as the Certificate of Use of Language in Spanish, it is the second most recognized Spanish language proficiency test around the world. It is organized in Argentina and officially recognized by the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The main organizers of the test are the University of Buenos Aires and the National University of Cordoba. Foreign students who need to show proof of their Spanish proficiency can take this test too.