DELE Exam: C1 Level

Let’s continue with our review of the different DELE exams. Today: C1 level. You can also check Instituto Cervantes’ website. On it, you can find all the information you need about these exams including dates, exam centres or how to register. Below you can find a summary of the structure of the exam and some strategies to be successful.  

Which are the characteristics of the exam?

It is divided into 4 different tests.

The reading and use of the language test has 5 tasks with 40 items in total (6-6-6-8-14) and the duration is of 90 minutes. Some of these tasks may include more than one text. These texts are authentic but adapted to the level and their total extension is between 2725 and 3375 words.

The listening and use of the language test has 4 tasks with 30 items (6-8-6-10). In this case, the test takes 50 minutes. Each recording is played twice and the student has time before and after each recording to read the questions and answer them. The texts are authentic, adapted if necessary, and their total extension is between 2700 and 3300 words.

The third test has two skills integrated: listening and writing. It consists of two tasks, one based on interaction and one on expression and with a total duration of 80 minutes. The student has to write different texts with a total extension between 440 and 500 words. In terms of the mark given, the first task is more important than the second one (60-40). In the first tasks, the students has to write an expositive text about the key ideas of the recording the students has previously listened to. In the second task, the students has to choose between two options. The first option is to write a report, a magazine article or something similar; the second option is to write a claim letter, a scholarship application…

The fourth test also integrates two different skills: reading and speaking. It has 3 tasks, one of expression and two of interaction. This test lasts for about 20 minutes and the student has 20 minutes to prepare for the first two tasks. For the third task, there is no preparation beforehand. The first task consists of a monologue about a text given; the second task is based on a conversation and a debate about the topic given in the previous task. The last one if a formal conversation about a series of images.

Getting prepared for the exam.

There are many manuals about DELE exams. We recommend practising the following strategies for each test.

A key issue is to manage your time. If you have extra time after finishing a listening task, read the questions and the answers for the next one. Listening to the radio or watching TV can be a good training for this! During the listening, pay attention to details like names, accents or the tone used by each speaker. 

For the tests that focus on comprehension (listening and reading), it is very useful to pay attention to the linkers used and reading twice the written text. Do not worry if you do not understand every word, the key point is to understand the general meaning of the text. You will find some colloquial expressions and personal opinions; you must know how to interpret everyone’s message.

For the writing test, it is important to manage your time and remember that you have 80 minutes to complete both tasks. We recommend having some minutes at the end to review both before handing in. Use different linkers and organise clearly your text. It is also a good idea to review the punctuation, written accents and the excessive use of capital letters.

For the speaking test, it is important to have fluent conversation and not answering just with monosyllables. Don’t be afraid of interacting with the interviewers and asking them questions, instead of just answering theirs. Organise clearly your discourse using linkers.

Exams: real examples.

Here you have some C1 exam real examples we use to work with our students. Now you can also get ready and practice:


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