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Why do a DELE or a SIELE course?

Wanting to prove your ability to speak, read and write in Spanish and get an official certificate for this? Both DELE (Diploma of Spanish as a Foreign Language) and SIELE (International Spanish Language Evaluation Service) are international recognized certifications that test your level of Spanish. But what are the differences? And how to choose which test to do?

In general there are two important differences:

  1. You can fail the DELE test, you can’t fail the SIELE test.
    With DELE you’ll be tested on a specific level, for example A2. This means you can fail or pass the test depending on whether your score is good enough for the level you’ve been tested on. This is not the case for SIELE. When doing a SIELE test you’ll score on a scale from 0 to 1000. So without passing or failing, you just find out which level you are.
  2. DELE has no expiration date, SIELE expires after five years. 
    When you passed for your DELE exam it will literally last a lifetime, since the DELE certificate does not expire. The SIELE certificate, however, does expire after five year. This means that after five years you can’t use it anymore when applying for jobs or studies. 

Both officially recognised
Furthermore both are applicable and recognized by important institutions. SIELE and DELE both are approved by the Instituto Cervantes (a non-profit organization founded by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs that aims to spread the Spanish language worldwide). DELE is even established by Instituto Cervantes. SIELE is promoted by the University of Mexico, the University of Salamanca and the University of Buenos Aires. 

To conclude: when deciding to sign up for a SIELE or DELE exam there is no ‘bad’ choice. However when you think you might need your certificate more often to prove you’re skilled in the Spanish language (for studies or jobs or for example) we recommend to choose DELE, since this certificate has no expiration date. When it’s just for a one-off use, or just for your own sake, we recommend you to do a SIELE exam. Since you can’t fail it and it’s more an exploratory test because of this.

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hearing You understand... • Some words and basic-sentences • Common words and sentences
supervisor_account You can... • Briefly introduce yourself
• Give answers to some simple question
• Introduce yourself (shortly)
• Give answers to some simple questions
mode_edit You can... • Fill in simple forms • Make short notes
• Write a very simple personal letter



You understand... • The thread of a story • Different opinions • Usually the whole story
supervisor_account You can... • Join a conversations about everyday subjects
• Briefly give and substantiate your opinion
• Talk fairly well with locals
• Clearly explain and substantiate your opinion
mode_edit You can... • Write down experiences and impressions in a general way • Write down experiences and impressions in a detailed way



hearing You understand... • Complex stories and opinions • Literary and academic texts
supervisor_account You can... • Effortlessly take part in a variety of conversation • Effortlessly have complex conversations and discussions
mode_edit You can... • Write down comprehensive text
• Write down detailed situations on paper
• Write a comprehensive essay
• Use complex words in your descriptions

If you do not have any prior knowledge of the language at all, then you are a total beginner. In case you already have a little knowledge, you may consider yourself A1.

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