May 2019 kicks off the DELE Spanish certification exams, but are you ready? In this exam, you will be tested on the four language skills: listening, reading, speaking and writing. To pass the exam, you will need to get at least a 70% for each section.
There’s thousands of students who are preparing to get that coveted APTO (pass) on all sections, because they know that if you get a “NO APTO” (unsatisfactory) in just one of the tests, it’ll be implied that you’ve failed the entire exam.
Today, we are going to give you 9 tips to use along with any other Spanish certification prep materials you may be using.
Tip #1: Know The Exam Structure
Familiarizing yourself with the exam structure (what type of questions will be asked and the time frame to which the exam has to be completed) is half of the key to your success. You can do this by downloading sample tests taken from previous exams. You can find these sample tests on the official Cervantes Institute website.
When you’re practicing these tests, set your own time limit. If the sample exam gives you 30 minutes, try to complete the test in 25 minutes so that when you’re taking the real exam, you have some extra time to go over your work.
Tip #2: Take A Deep Breath And Relax
Many students will start to panic when they come across something they don’t know. In fact, if you know everything when you’re taking the DELE Spanish certification exams, then that means you’re on the wrong level.
Remember: You don’t have to know everything – just know enough so that you’re able to complete the questions as best as you can.
Tip #3: Read First, Answer Second
Just like any other exam you’ve taken in the past, it’s always a good idea to read the questions thoroughly before you answer - this is especially helpful for the reading and listening sections. During the reading and listening section, underline the key words in the task so that it’ll be easier for your brain to filter information so you can answer quickly and accurately.
Tip #4: Make Sure To Study Grammar Structures
Part of the point of studying your Spanish proficiency test prep materials is so that you’ll be able to show how well you’re able to understand and use grammar beyond a particular level. This is especially important if you’re trying to get a DELE above level B1.
During the exam, your examiner may give you extra points for the correct use of complex tenses, verbals perefirasis, and subjuntivo. Make a list of the grammar structures you’ll be using for your particular exam and make sure you use them in the essay and verbal portion of the exam.
Tip #5: Synonyms Will Be Your New Best Friend
As you learn advanced grammar, you should also be able to show off an impressive vocabulary. Instead of using “Bueno” or “me gusta,” look or suitable synonyms. Not only will it help you in the writing and speaking portion of the exam, it’ll also help you in the other two sections as well. When you know more words, you’ll have higher chances of getting that APTO!
Tip #6: Turn Your Weakness Into Your Strength
When you’re taking the verbal section of the exam, don’t be afraid to tell the examiner that you don’t understand the question. Simply ask them to repeat the question instead of trying to guess the correct answer. Also, by asking to have the question repeated, it’s a basic conversation skill and if you have a pre-prepared phrase to use, the examiner could even give extra points.
Tip #7: Be Aware Of Orthography
As you’re going over your Spanish certification prep materials, remember that N and ñ are different letters and esta and está are different words. Even simple mistakes like using one in place of the other can bring your grade down. Don’t. Do. It.
Tip #8: Don’t Forget To Bring The Necessary Documentation
When you’re going into the testing facility, remember to bring a sealed copy of your registration form, the exam session form, as well as a valid form of ID. These may seem like common sense things that you won’t forget, but it’s quite common for exam-takers to forget these things.
Tip #9: Don’t Get Discouraged
It’s understandable that you’re going to be a bundle of nerves on the day of your DELE Spanish certification exam, but don’t let your nerves turn into doubt. You’ve worked hard to get to this point. You’ve studied (not crammed!) as best as you can.
Even if you happen to get a NO APTO (unsatisfactory), don’t let that discourage you! You can study some more, surround yourself with native Spanish speakers, immerse yourself in as much Spanish as you can. That way you’ll be more confident in your skills the next time around.
Preparing for the DELE Spanish Certification exam can be pretty nerve-wracking, but it doesn’t have to be. When you take the time to go over your prep materials and focus on the areas where you need some extra practice, on the day of your exam, you’ll feel more confident.
You can help increase your understanding of the language and increasing your vocabulary by reading books, listening to audiobooks, watching Spanish telenovelas or movies with the captions on, and of course talking with native speakers. When you put maximum effort into your studies, getting a satisfactory on all areas of your exam will be a piece of cake!
We want to know, what area do you find that you struggle with? Do you have a hard time writing in Spanish or maybe your pronunciation is off when you speak Spanish? Leave us a comment below and tell us what tips, tricks and techniques you’ve found worked for you!