The Complete Spanish Language Examinations List
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Learn More About the Spanish Examinations
Together with English and Mandarin Chinese, Spanish makes the top 3 of languages that rule the world. The Spanish language is not only spoken in Spain, it’s an official language in 20 countries, that include most of Central and South America, The number of people that have Spanish as their mother tongue is 470 millions, and if we add the 90 million people that speak Spanish as a second language, we have an impressive total of 570 million Spanish speakers around the globe.
Being a language that is so widespread, Spanish is also one of the six official languages of the United Nations and many other international organizations such as the European Union or the Organization of American States. Additionally, many multinational corporations and businesses also speak Spanish, which accounts for it being a very important language for international trade.
Now that we have stated the facts, we can jump to the obvious conclusion: learning Spanish is extremely important and can be the key to a whole new horizon of opportunities in your career. You might have realized this already and are convinced about learning Spanish. So now the question would be: how do you prove you have this knowledge when applying for a job or for admission to a Spanish-speaking university?
The answer are the official Spanish language examinations. These level tests are organized by institutions such as Instituto Cervantes, the world’s leading organization for the promotion of the Spanish language and culture, in collaboration with some of the most important universities and with support from the government’s education departments of the different Spanish-speaking countries. As a result, the Spanish certificates obtained upon passing them are highly regarded and enjoy international recognition.
If you think now is the time to prove your level of Spanish, take a look at the list below with information about the main Spanish language tests and the reasons why you should choose one or the other.
Main Spanish Language Exams
|Name||DELE (Diplomas de Español como Lengua Extranjera)||CELU (Certificado de Español: Lengua y Uso)||SIELE (International Service for Spanish Language Assessment)|
|Testing board||Cervantes Institute in collaboration with the University of Salamanca||Ministry of Education of Argentina||Cervantes Institute in collaboration with the National Autonomous University of Mexico, the University of Salamanca and the University of Buenos Aires.|
|Level||A1 to C2 (6 different exams)||B2 – C1||A1 to C1|
|Validity||Lifelong. This certificate does not have an expiry date||Lifelong. This certificate does not have an expiry date.||2 years|
|Results|| A1 to C1 exams are made up of four different parts divided into two groups:
C2 exam consists of three tests:
To get a final grade of “Pass”, the minimum overall score is 60/100. Each group is evaluated individually, being necessary to get at least 60% on each of them to obtain the diploma.
| Based on performance, results are divided into 3 levels: Basic, Intermediate or Advanced. However, only the two higher levels are certified.
Correspondence with the CEFR levels:
| The exam is divided in 4 parts:
Each test is evaluated individually and scores are added to a numerical score 0/1000. Depending on their score, candidates will be assigned a level from the CEFR scale:
Students have the possibility to take individual parts of the exam only.
|Purpose|| The DELE certificates are internationally recognised by authorities, public and private academic institutions, and employers.
They are the key for admission to higher education in Spain for non-native speakers. Spanish universities accept candidates that have, at least, a DELE B2 certificate. However, those wishing to apply to medical school would need to prove a higher level (DELE C1-C2).
| A CELU certificate is a proof of the level of proficiency in Spanish that is recognized by academic institutions and both private and public companies. They are a requirement for foreign students wishing to enroll in an Argentinian university.
The CELU examination evaluates the candidates linguistic proficiency, but they don’t assess his teaching competence, thus they don’t qualify for teaching Spanish as a foreign language.
|This is the first digital certificate for the evaluation of the Spanish language proficiency, aimed to establish as an equivalent to TOEFL or IELTS for the English language. SIELE results are recognized and supported by the universities part of SICELE and are also highly valued by companies all over the world.|
|Price range|| Prices vary depending on the level, the country and the center. Standard prices in Spain are:
||80 €||165 €|
Which Spanish Exam is the Best For Me?
Logically, the main aspect you need to take into account when deciding which one of the different Spanish language exams is the right for you is your level. Depending on the CEFR level you have reached, you can choose one of the 6 different DELE exams. If you pass any of them, you will get the certificate for the corresponding level they have been designed to test. However, if you take the SIELE or CELU exam, the level on your certificate will depend on the score. Whilst SIELE covers a wide range of levels (from A1 to C1), CELU only differentiates between B2 and C1, which makes this test suitable only for upper-intermediate or advanced students.
Another point you need to consider is the validity. The Spanish certificates you would obtain after passing DELE or CELU don’t have an expiry date. On the contrary, SIELE results are valid only for 2 years. If you are taking the exam without a specific purpose, just to have a proof of the level of Spanish you have achieved, it might be more interesting to receive a certificate that is valid forever.
Maybe the most important point to think of is what you aim to achieve with this Spanish certificate. If you wish to get a place in an Argentinian university, the CELU would be the right exam for you. However, in Spain the standard is the DELE B2 certificate. The newly introduced SIELE exam is recognized by all the universities part of the SICELE, which includes the leading Spanish-speaking universities both from Spain and Latin America. As a general rule, if you are planning to apply for a place at a university, a scholarship, an internship, an immigration visa or a job where they require a proof of your Spanish level, it’s important that you check directly which certificates they accept.
Last, but not least, you need to think about where you can take the exam. DELE is available in more than 1000 centers all over the world, whilst CELU is only available in Argentina, Brazil and 13 other international locations in Europe, Asia or North America. So far, SIELE has 70 test centers you can choose from. This exam is the most innovative test of them all, since it’s done electronically and allows results to be published within 3 weeks.
You can see a summary of the differences between DELE and SIELE here.
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All our students have a personal adviser that will help them make the most of their courses and will be there to support them anytime. Together with our team of teachers they will ensure that you are on the right track to meet your goals in the timeframe you expected. If you need to take an official Spanish exam, you shouldn’t risk failing it. Familiarize yourself with the structure of the exam and get your Spanish ready to succeed with Lingoda!