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DELE vs SIELE exams


DELE and SIELE are two official Spanish exams that certify your level in Spanish as a foreign language. Both of them are internationally recognised and follow the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). DELE means Diploma de Español como Lengua Extranjera (Spanish as a Foreign Language Diploma), and it is a traditional paper exam to be taken in particular dates along the year, while SIELE means Servicio Internacional de Evaluación de la Lengua Española (Spanish Language International Evaluation Service) and is a computer-managed exam.

Either DELE or SIELE assess the candidate’s ability in the four communication skills that are: reading and listening comprehension, written expression and oral interaction and expression. Both of them as well incorporate varieties of Spanish from all the Spanish speaking countries, specially in higher levels and the listening comprehension part.

But, what are then de differences between one and the other? Why should I choose DELE instead of SIELE or the other way around? Here we explain.

What are DELE and SIELE?
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Main characteristics of DELE and why I should go for it

DELE is an official exam because it is provided by the Instituto Cervantes on behalf of the Spanish Ministry of Education (Spain). In Hong Kong, although no branch of the Instituto Cervantes exists, is the University of Wollongong (UOW College Hong Kong) the institution in charged of the provision of DELE in three different calls per year: May, September and November.

Given that it is a traditional paper and pencil exam, candidates can only access one level per call, same level for all four parts of the test: listening comprehension, reading comprehension, written expression and oral interaction and expression. Not any expiry date applies to the certificate once it’s obtained, although needless to say that the level and fluency in Spanish, as in any other foreign language, decrease if there is a lack of continuous practice after obtaining the certificate. The results, in a numeric scale, are released between two and three months after the exam date.

DELE is then a good way to assess your learning of Spanish as a foreign language and your progress if you are following regular Spanish courses and your goal is to improve every communication skill. For that reason DELE is provided for each of the six levels of the CEFR that are: A1, A2, B1, B2, C1 and C2. DELE is therefore a good checkpoint before going ahead to higher levels.

DELE is specially recommended for adults, and the length of the exam ranges from two hours total for A1, easiest level, to six hours and five minutes total for C1, the most difficult level. There are as well two scholar versions of DELE for teenagers older than 11 years old and until 17 years old. Scholar DELE A1 takes one hour and fifty minutes. The scholar DELE A2 and B1 are joined into the same exam that will allocate the candidate in one level or the other depending on the exam performance, also the candidate can fail and not achieve the A2 level; this exam takes two hours and forty minutes.

In case you decide to go for DELE exam and any the level you choose, we provide courses for revision of the contents of the level chosen as well as specific short courses for DELE exam preparation, so you can increase the possibilities to pass the exam.

SIELE as a new way to assess the level as a foreign language and to fulfil some lacks of DELE 

SIELE, like DELE, is an official exam provided in this case not only by the Instituto Cervantes on behalf of the Spanish Ministry of Education (Spain), but with the involvement as well on the Universidad de Salamanca (Spain), Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and Universidad de Buenos Aires (Argentina).

Due to it being a computer-managed exam, SIELE can be taken any date and time suitable for the student. In contrast to DELE, SIELE is a multilevel exam that will take the candidate through a set of exercises according to the four different skills, from the easiest level, A1, till C1 in case the candidate succeeds in all of the tasks. As a consequence, the result of taking SIELE can be achieving different level for different communication skills. In this case the certificate expires after five years of taking the exam, and the results, in a numeric scale, are released to the candidate in no more that three weeks.

SIELE is then a good way to test your level of Spanish if you are resuming the study of Spanish after a break and you want to have a precise diagnostic, as well as if you want to take advantage of the occasion and get an official certificate.

Another difference with DELE is that SIELE allows the candidate, in addition to the possibility of grading his/her performance in all four communication skills at a time, grading only the set of skills that you are more interested in getting an official certificate. This would be a good choice in case you just need to prove you are able to develop a particular type of tasks for applying a professional position or attending a job interview.

In this sense SIELE has gathered the skills in five different modalities in order to prove a particular profile of the student:

  1. Qualifying a receptive profile (reading comprehension and listening comprehension).

  2. Qualifying a reading and writing profile, either receptive or productive skills (reading comprehension and written expression and interaction).

  3. Qualifying an oral and listening profile, either receptive or productive skills (listening comprehension and spoken expression and interaction).

  4. Qualifying an oral interaction profile (spoken expression and interaction).

  5. Qualifying a productive profile (written expression and interaction and spoken expression and interaction).

To know more about specific contents of each course or lesson plans do not hesitate to contact us!
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