DELE vs. SIELE: Which Spanish exam should I choose?

by Ari Coltrin on Monday, June 03, 2019

Are you a Spanish student wanting to certify your level? Do you wish to attend a university in Spain or Latin America? Do you have to present a certain level of Spanish to study abroad or participate in Erasmus? Are you doing paperwork to get your Spanish citizenship?

There are plenty of reasons for why you might want to take an official Spanish exam. There’s a sea of possibilities when it comes to types of tests you can take, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. But thanks to us, you’ll no longer have to worry about that! We´ll help you find the Spanish exam that best fits your needs. Read this post in Spanish or keep reading in English so you don’t miss any of the important details to come. Let’s get started!

Do I need an official exam?

It depends on why you want to certify your Spanish level. If all you’re simply looking to substantiate your Spanish skills without any legal claim, then the certificates attained upon finalizing a don Quijote course are more than enough. These certificates reflect the number of class hours you’ve attended and the level of Spanish you’ve reached, amongst other things.

All our schools have the Cervantes Institute accreditation and form part of the FEDELE association. Therefore, if you’re looking to give yourself a boost in your academic or professional career by adding a new language to your college application or résumé, this can be done through the don Quijote certification. For students under 18 who are moving to Spain, a don Quijote certificate will be useful in getting into primary or secondary schools in the national school system. Get informed on the requirements in your specific case. If you can use the don Quijote certificate, you’ll be able to save on costs by not taking an official exam.

Differences between DELE and SIELE

Now if what you need is an official certification, you’ll need to look into DELE or SIELE. Both exams have been designed by the Cervantes Institute and they have international recognition. Below, we will touch on their biggest differences, so you can choose the program that may be in your best interest.

Levels

DELE is a diploma that certifies Spanish proficiency according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). Before taking the exam, you’ll have to choose which level you’d like to test for: A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, or C2. In each part of the exam you’ll be asked to demonstrate that you are in fact at that level in all the language skills: reading, writing, speaking, and listening. And just like that, you either pass or fail.

On the other hand, SIELE is a certificate indicating one’s Spanish skillset based on a point system. The number of points you are awarded depends on how many questions you get right. You also don’t have to demonstrate all of your language competencies. Instead, you have the choice of selecting which part of the exam you would like present. For example, if you’d like to only do the writing portion of the exam, that’s fine. Through this system, it’s impossible to fail the exam: everyone who takes the exam will earn a certificate stating the Spanish level demonstrated. If you get all the questions wrong, you will receive an A1 certificate. If you get all the questions right, you will receive a C2 certificate.

Dates

If you’d like to do the DELE, you must strive to stay on top of your calendar. This exam can only be taken on official exam dates, and each exam date only has certain level exams available. Check here to see the calendar with all of the DELE exam dates available for 2019.

When it comes to timing, SIELE is the more flexible option. You can get an appointment to take the exam, wait for it.. anytime. Just choose the date and time that works best for you.

Place

In order to take the DELE, you’ll have to go an accredited center, where you’ll be given a paper exam. If you are a don Quijote student, you’re in luck! You can take the DELE at any of our schools in Spain and save yourself the trouble of looking for a center.

If you end up deciding to go for the SIELE, you’ll also need an accredited center to take the exam. Again, you’ll be able to choose from any our schools in Spain. There is just one slight difference with this exam: instead of being on paper, it is done on a software application.

Validity

This is one of the most important aspects when it comes down to choosing which of the two exams you would like to take. While the DELE diploma never expires, the SIELE certificate is only valid for two years. So, we think it’s safe to say that if you know you’ll be needing to use your certification for a long period of time, it should be obvious which option you should go with, don’t you think?

Prepare for the exam

With a pass rate at about 95%, don Quijote students have a fairly easy time. We offer courses that are specifically designed to for students preparing for the DELE and SIELE, with options of 20, 25, or 30 hours of weekly classes in small groups. Our teachers share all their expert tips and advice about the exam, and you’ll even be able to take the exam itself in your classroom.

In this video you’ll find a summary of the most important differences between the DELE and SIELE. If you still aren´t sure which you should take, visit our website and contact us. We will help you choose which exam is your best fit and meets all your needs!


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