DELF or Diplôme d’études en langue française (translated: Diploma in French Studies), is French Language Diplomas / Certificates administered by the International Centre for French Studies (Centre international d’études pédagogiques, or CIEP) for France’s Ministry of Education.
These exams test a student’s level of understanding of the language. On successfully completing the exams, the students are given a certificate which are valid for life.
In India, these are awarded by Alliance Francaise. It is essentially for beginners and certifies a student through Level A1, A2, B1 and B2 that correspond to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages).
All four exams, DELF A1, DELF A2, DELF B1, and DELF B2, essentially have the same structure. The exam is divided into 4 parts of
Series recordings of no more than 3 minutes in length are played twice. Candidates are required to answer small questions based on the same. At the B2 level, the pattern is changed. There are only two recordings and while the first recording is played twice, the second is played back only once.
Designed to assess the students’ ability to read written instructions and understand the same, the test has small comprehensive reading questions. The students are supposed to read small texts and answer multiple choice or true/false questions. At the B2 level, the only difference is that the texts are relatively longer.
This varies in level of difficulty from level to level. For instance, for A1 level, the student is supposed to write personal information along with a 40-word long introduction about self. In Level A2, the content is a bit more descriptive and would require a student to describe an event or experience. At levels B1 & B2, the students are supposed to present an argument for a given topic. Word limit and difficulty level vary though.
As in the case of the writing section, the difference in the four exams is of the level of difficulty. While the levels A1 & A2 would constitute of guided conversations and use simple sentences, the levels B1 and B2 would require a student to speak about a situation or a picture. B2 is more about the ability of a candidate to present and defend an opinion.
The A1 user has basic knowledge at this level, also called the “discovery” stage. The user can interact in a simple way: he/she can speak about him/herself and his/her immediate environment.
The A2 level recognizes the linguistic competency of a basic user, considered as a social actor. The candidate can communicate about simple and routine tasks requiring the most common polite phrases and exchanges of information.
The B1 user becomes independent. He/she can maintain interaction: he/she can understand and partake in a discussion and give his/her opinion. He/she is capable of dealing with situations likely to arise in daily life.
The B2 user has a degree of independence that allows him/her to construct arguments to defend his/her opinion, explain his/her viewpoint and negotiate. At this level, the candidate has a degree of fluency and spontaneity in regular interactions and is capable of correcting his/her own mistakes.
A DELF diploma offers
International recognition of French proficiency:
- Life-long certification, whether obtained in the candidate’s country or another country.
- Based on the same international standard used in 164 countries (CEFR).
- Facilitates interprovincial dialogue across Canada.
A testimonial to one’s success in learning French:
- Recognition of the candidate’s accomplishments to date on the path to French proficiency.
- Represents an official document, recognized internationally, that enriches the candidate’s school or professional portfolio.
Advantages for postsecondary education:
- Recognized internationally by francophone postsecondary institutions, including a growing number in Canada.
- Acceptance into a university in France (B1 or higher level).
Enhances one’s resume:
- A description in meaningful terms what the candidate is capable of doing in French.
- An aid for professional advancement.
- Helps to open doors to a wide range of career and recreational opportunities throughout Canada and around the world.