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Spanish Language Tests for PhD Study

by Dr Nathalie Mather-L'Huillier

The official Spanish language tests are called DELE (Diplomas de Español como Lengua Extranjera). These tests are used to evaluate proficiency in Spanish and are accredited and delivered by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport of Spain. The Instituto Cervantes is the institution in the body which holds the exams, while the University of Salamanca is in charge of the preparation, correction and final evaluation of all the tests.

Similarly to the French language tests (DELF/DALF), there is no score, and your level of proficiency is reflected by the highest level of diploma you hold:

  • Diploma de Español A1
  • Diploma de Español A2
  • Diploma de Español (nivel inicial) B1
  • Diploma de Español (nivel intermedio) B2
  • Diploma de Español C1
  • Diploma de Español (nivel superior) C2

If you are applying to study in a Spanish-speaking country, on a course delivered in Spanish, you will most likely be asked to be at a B2 or C1 level as a minimum.

The exams are based on the four main linguistic categories:

  • Reading comprehension and language use
  • Listening comprehension and use of language
  • Integrated skills: Listening and expression comprehension and written interaction
  • Integrated skills: Reading comprehension and oral expression and interaction

The higher the level, the longer the tests and the higher the fees.

To find out more about the tests, get sample papers and where to sit the exams, please visit: http://www.dele.org.

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