Guiri Guest Julie is ready for a change from being a project manager that works from home and has written about preparing for the next step: Certifying her Spanish language skills. She is South African by birth and has lived in various European countries before settling in Madrid in early 2010 with her husband.
After almost two years of living in Madrid I have finally decided to put my Spanish language skills through their paces. For better or worse, I am taking the 4-hour official Spanish government’s language test for foreigners, the DELE, on November 18. The exam has a number of levels from basic/initial to superior so there is something for everyone.
Now you might be asking why bother take this exam, you are already in Spain and learning as you go, why take an official exam?
I have two main reasons for doing the DELE:
- Prove you ‘Habla the language': If you don’t plan to settle in Spain forever, you will be able to take this internationally recognised certification with you to demonstrate your Spanish language skills wherever you might go next. It’s also a great way to add your new skills onto your CV in very professional way (as opposed to adding the line, “lived in Spain, speak Spanish I promise!”)
- Learn Spanish faster: Lets be honest there is nothing like an exam to get us to work harder. I take regular Spanish lessons but if I don’t do my homework or forget the grammar from the week before, so what? This exam deadline is a way to motivate me to concentrate harder in class, make more effort to speak to locals and study all those complicated grammatical rules (imperfecto del subjonctivo anyone?)
There are Spanish examination centres all over the city where you can register and take the exam. I am taking Level B1 which I’m told is relatively easy for anyone who’s lived in Spain for a bit and, as I mentioned before, I have signed up for a DELE preparation course at AIL Madrid to prepare. For all those who speak Spanish fluently I’d suggest Level B2 or C1. And for anyone new to Spain and to Spanish, a couple of months of study should allow you to take A1 or A2 exams.
For more information and tips, I found a great DELE blog written by a seasoned DELE professor that has added a lot of insight to my studies. There are articles for every level, so find what’s right for you and get reading!