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The DELF (Diplome d'Etudes en Langue Francaise)

The DELF (Diplome d'Etudes en Langue Francaise) is an official qualifications awarded by the French Ministry of Education to confirm the French language proficiency of candidates from outside France. The test is offered by 900 centers in 154 countries.

DELF encompasses 6 independent diplomas, corresponding to the following three levels of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages:
  • A1 & A2 is a  basic user type who is awarded DELF A1 & DELF A2
  • B1  & B2 is an independent  user who is awarded DELF B1 & DELF B2
  • C1  & C2 is proficient  user who is awarded DELF C1 & DELF C2

The DELF Examination has three categories:

  • DELF Prim: is intended for children who are beginners in French as a Foreign Language and is only available at A1 level. DELF Prim is composed of individual certificates corresponding to the initial levels of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFRL).

  • DELF Junior et Scolaire:  is intended for secondary-school aged pupils. The examinations are independent, and applicants can register for the test of their choice. The junior version of DELF has the equivalent basic structure as the standard DELF. Only the topics poles apart: the materials designed after keeping the interests of young people in mind.

  • DELF Tous Publics: is intended for adults.
The DELF certificate has lifetime validity and is accepted worldwide.

Each of the levels is sub-divided into four section tests: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. The listening, writing and reading are taken consecutively in the afternoon, while the Oral Examination is taken separately.

Section 1: Listening

In this section, the candidate is given series recordings with a few comprehension questions related to the selection played. The candidate needs to answer those questions in a set time. At levels A1 to B1, each excerpt is played twice, and range from a maximum duration of 3 minutes at level A1 to an uttermost of 6 minutes at level B1. In the B2 examination, candidates are given two recordings wherein the first recording is played twice and the second only once, with the total duration of the recordings being about 8 minutes.

Section 2: Reading

In this section, several compositions, followed by comprehension questions are given to the candidates. The candidates are required to answer those questions either in true or false manner, or ticking the right answer out of the options available or give an appropriate reason or account of the written answer. At levels A1 and A2, candidates are given a few short texts or signs. At levels B1 and B2, candidates are presented with texts of considerable length. The maximum word limit of B2 texts is about 1000 words.

Section 3: Writing

This section tasks varies according to the levels.
  1. Level A1 - This level involves 2 tasks. The first task requires the candidates to fill in their personal data into a document. The second task is a text of the everyday life. The maximum word limit is about 40 words.
  2. Level A2 - Comprises of two tasks. The foremost task is to describe a short incident or share an experience. The second task is to compose a text of expression of pleasure and best wishes, invitation, application, giving information or facts about something, explanation etc. The maximum number of words allowed is 60 to 80 words.
  3. Level B1 - The writing section at this level requires the candidate to state their point of views in a given state of affairs through a write-up or a letter of about 160-180 words.
  4. Level B2 - The writing section at this level requires the candidate to express their opinions on a given situation along with an appropriate justification through a write-up or a message. The write-up or text should be of at least 250 words.

Section4: Speaking

The level A1 and A2 consist of a guided conversation where the candidate is cued by the examiner, a short exchange of information on a set topic, and finally a role-play between the candidate and the examiner.

At the B1 level, speaking section comprises of a guided conversation, an interactive exercise, and discussion of a document designed to draw out a response from the candidate.

At the B2 level, the candidate is required to express his/her viewpoint on the document presented.

Purpose

Nowadays, French is an official language in about 50 countries and is spoken by more than 200 million people on five continents.

The DELF diploma is an internationally recognized French proficiency official document that enhances the pupils’ studies or professional portfolio. It helps to acquire admittance to Universities in France and is acknowledged internationally by post-secondary institutions.

Format of DELF

DELF A1

This is the basic level and known as the "discovery" stage. At this stage, the basic knowledge of French language is tested. The candidate is required to communicate in a simple way, talk about him or herself etc.
  • Total duration: 1 hour and 20 minutes
The various sections are -
Listening: It involves a comprehension examination consisting of 3-4 brief recordings on daily life and is played twice. The maximum duration of recordings is 3 mins.
  • Duration: 20 minutes
Reading: It consists of 4-5 written documents on daily life and candidates are required to answer the given questions.
  • Duration: 30 minutes
Writing: It involves two tasks- first is entering your personal data into a form and second is writing a message or a write-up on day-to-day events or topics.
  • Duration: 30 minutes
Speaking: It involves three tasks: first is a guided conversation, second is exchanging information, and third is role-play between the candidate and the examiner.
  • Duration: 5 to 7 mins
  • Preparation time: 10 mins

DELF A2

This level tests the candidate’s ability to communicate in simple and everyday tasks, having the need of the most common words and phrases.
  • Total duration: 1 hour 40
Listening: It involves a comprehension examination consisting of 3-4 brief recordings on daily life and is played twice. The maximum length of recordings is 5 mins.
  • Duration: 25 minutes
Reading: It involves 3-4 brief recordings on daily life.
  • Duration: 30 minutes
Writing: It involves two brief compositions-
  • narrate an incident or personal experiences
  • Write a letter of invitation, sorry, thank you, best wishes, or asking about something or giving information.
  • Duration: 45 minutes
Speaking: It involves three tasks: first is a guided conversation, second is exchanging information, and third is role-play between the candidate and the examiner.
  • Duration: 6 to 8 minutes
  • Preparation time: 10 mins

DELF B1
At this level, the candidate is regarded as an independent user. This level confirms that the candidate can interact, maintain a discourse and present his or her viewpoints in situations connected to the everyday life.
  • Total duration: 1 hour and 45 minutes
Listening: It involves a comprehension examination consisting of 3 recordings on daily life and is played twice. The maximum length of the recordings is 6 mins.
  • Duration: 25 minutes
Reading: It consists of 2 written documents on daily life and candidates are required to take out useful information and understand and analyse the textual matter of general interest.
  • Duration: 35 minutes
Writing: It requires the candidates to state their point of views on a general topic in the form of an essay, or article or letter.
  • Duration: 45 minutes
Speaking: It involves three tasks: first is a guided conversation, second is exchanging information, and third is expressing viewpoints on the text given.
  • Duration:  15 minutes
  • Preparation time: 10 minutes

DELF B2
At B2 level, the candidate has a freedom to build arguments to support his/her point of view. This level confirms that the candidate holds a level of fluency and spontaneity in usual interactions and possesses the ability to rectify his/her own errors.  
  • Total duration: 2 hours and 30 minutes
Listening: It involves a comprehension examination consisting of 3 recordings of interview, or news bulletin and is played one time only and also presentation, speech, radio or television program, documentary, that is run twice. The maximum length of the recordings is 8 mins.
  • Duration: 30 minutes
Reading: It consists of 2 written documents: first is the textual matter of an informational type relating to France or the French-speaking countries and the second is the text of an argumentative kind.
  • Duration: 60 minutes
Writing: It requires the candidates to be a part of a discussion, write a formal letter, or a critique of a book or movie. It basically requires the candidates to have an opinion on an issue or subject.
  • Duration: 60 minutes
Speaking: It involves expressing and supporting an opinion based on a brief document aimed to bring out a reaction.
  • Duration: 20 minutes
  • Preparation time: 30 minutes

Results and Scoring

Although the difficulty varies, the scoring of the DELF is identical at each level. Total marks are given out of 100. A score of at least 50 out of 100 is mandatory to obtain. Each section is scored out of 25. In order to pass, a minimum of 5 out of 25 must be attained in each section.

Registration and Fees

Registration is conducted at every examination center. To register for DELF, you can download the registration form from the site of the approved centre. Fill in the particulars and send it to the approved examination centre by post along with a photocopy of an identification proof (i.e., passport, driver’s license, permanent resident card, etc.).
The fees must be paid upon registration through a certified cheque or money order.

To know about the registration and fees, contact the nearest examination centre at your place. List of approved examination centres outside France: Find Here.
List of approved examination centres in France: Find Here.

Outside France, the registration fee for each diploma is laid down by the Department for cooperation and cultural affairs (SCAC) of the French embassy and the National Commission. In France, the fee is determined by the local education offices.

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