Thinking about accrediting your level of Spanish? Maybe some time ago you started learning Spanish because you saw the potential of the language of the future. And maybe now you’re thinking that you’d like to start studying at a university in Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia or Spain where having a Spanish official certificate may be mandatory. Or planning to move abroad and get a job in a Spanish-speaking country…whatever the reasons are, you need your level of Spanish to be recognized and accredited.

At first, all the acronyms may look confusing and you may don’t know where to start or which Spanish official exam to choose. That’s why in this post we’re going to explain the main characteristics of each official Spanish exam available so you can decide which one is your perfect match!

DELE exams (Diplomas of Spanish as a Foreign Language)

DELE’S diplomas are official and internationally recognized titles ensuring the holder’s level of Spanish. They are issued by the Instituto Cervantes, the Spanish institution in charge of promoting and spreading Hispanic language and culture around the world.

Acting on behalf of the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science, Instituto Cervantes has been issuing titles since 1989. DELE exams recognize six levels of Spanish (A1-C2), each described and according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.

Graduated students

They are concluded for an indefinite term and internationally recognized in formal education systems, institutions, companies, universities, etc. Exam results are given approximately two months afterwards.

SIELE exams (International Evaluation Service of the Spanish Language)

Official certificate on Spanish proficiency. SIELE exams are comprised of up to 4 specific exams (from A1 to C1) certifying all the linguistic competencies in Spanish: Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking.

While with DELE exams students choose the level they want to take the test on and if passed they are certified that level, SIELE exams work on a points scale. The mark achieved corresponds to an specific level belonging to the CEFRL. Appearing in 2016, they were created and are endorsed by Instituto Cervantes, UNAM, University of Salamanca and University of Buenos Aires. These certificates are valid for 5 years and are taken online. Exam results are given maximum three weeks afterwards.

CELU exams (Certificate of Spanish: Language and Use)

Official and proficiency test of Spanish as Foreign Language. Issued by the Ministry of Education and by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship of Argentina. The certificate has no expiration date and it assesses B2 to C1 levels, according to the CEFRL. They are mandatory for foreign students who want to study in an university in Argentina.

CCSE exams (Constitutional and Cultural Knowledge of Spain)

These exams are aimed at people of legal age (18 years old) who want to obtain Spanish citizenship. They are organized by the Instituto Cervantes and the test consists of 25 questions. Of those 25, 60% of questions are devoted to the constitution and 40% to society, culture, and history. Applicants are required to answer correctly at least 60% of the questions.

Man and woman communicating in several languages

Having all of this in mind, which one to choose then? The answer will depend on what you’re trying to achieve or what your goals are. If you want your level accredited for a long time better go for a non-expiring certificate. If you aim to study or work in Argentina and you already have a good Spanish level, then the CELU exam will be your best option. If, on the other hand, your goal is to do so in Spain, DELE exams are the best. If trying to obtain Spanish citizenship, you’ll need to prepare for the CCSE exam.

In general, we recommend you to ask the institution you’re applying for (for internships,a student program, work…) which Spanish official certificates they accept and recognize.

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