If you were into learning Spanish, you’d have come across the DELE Vs SIELE proficiency exams.
What is the difference between the two? Why, How, and Which one should you take — SIELE or DELE? Let’s find out all the answers.
The acquisition of different languages offers many perks.
Not just about communicating with native speakers but also traveling, overseas study, and cultural aspects. It boasts one’s salary involving language.
Of all the foreign language choices, Why consider learning the Spanish language?
With 20 official Spanish-speaking nations, it is far and away one of the most popular international languages.
The ability to speak Spanish opens a world of language careers, including lucrative jobs as Spanish experts.
Table of Contents
- What is the Spanish Proficiency Test?
- Types of Spanish examinations
- DELE Vs SIELE — The Key Difference
- Conclusion on DELE Vs SIELE — Which Is Better?
What is the Spanish Proficiency Test?
The Spanish language proficiency test evaluates how well a person can use Spanish to communicate in real life for various purposes to accomplish linguistic tasks.
It covers a wide range of subjects, situations, and settings.
You can use the test scores to prove competence for job applications and higher studies in Spanish-speaking countries.
Many companies and educational institutions in Europe and Latin America accept these associated certificates and diplomas as qualification and eligibility criteria.
These tests open doors to various career options involving languages across the world.
Other advantages include gauging and verifying your Spanish competency level and boosting your confidence.
It also improves the possibilities if you intend to immigrate to one of the Hispanic countries.
Types of Spanish examinations
DELE (The Diplomas de Español Como Lengua Extranjera) and SIELE (Servicio Internacional de Evaluación de la Lengua Española) are two internationally recognized Spanish proficiency exams.
They enable you to qualify as a good or fluent Spanish language speaker.
A certificate in either exam is necessary to study at many Latin American or Spanish universities or work for a Spanish employer or companies dealing with Spanish-speaking regions.
In addition to these two, TELC (The European Language Certificate), CELU (Certificate of Use of Language in Spanish), and DIE (Diploma Internacional de Español), are some other global Spanish tests, though not widespread like DELE Vs SIELE.
Both DELE and SIELE exams share similar official statuses and follow a reference to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) levels.
They, however, differ from each other in one particular area.
While one adopts the old-school fashion, using pen and paper, the other is online.
Can you tell which is which?
Why DELE Is Better than SIELE?
Universities and employers highly revere the DELE exam.
Without it, you cannot study at some colleges and universities.
A DELE diploma boosts your CV. Above all, it gives you a qualification to display your Spanish skills throughout your life.
DELE also certifies your Spanish proficiency up to level C2.
Plus, the diplomas are valid permanently and never expire.
The SIELE provides similar privileges but with a limited validity of five years.
Because it is relatively new (started only in 2016), not every organization worldwide accepts it as confirmation of Spanish knowledge.
There is no near-native C2 level in SIELE.
Why SIELE is Better than DELE?
The most significant advantage of sitting for the SIELE test is that it is available throughout the year. In addition, you don’t have to sit for a specific level.
SIELE is a fast, fail-proof, and flexible exam that operates on a one-size-fits-everything. It bases on where you may sit and score as many points (from 0 to 1000) as possible.
It is a single multilevel test that doesn’t have a pass or fail grade, so you can never be unsuccessful.
It is like English language tests like IELTS or TOEFL.
On the other hand, if you pass any of the modules (A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, and C2) you sat for under DELE, you will be certified accordingly.
However, if you are unsuccessful, you will get nothing.
Furthermore, DELE focuses mainly on the European or Standard Spanish of Spain, especially at the lower level. In contrast, SIELE is pan-Hispanic and incorporates all the linguistic diversity, dialects, and Spanish varieties.
If you’re interested in Español de América Latina, SIELE is the best option.
DELE Vs SIELE — The Key Difference
Alright, let’s see the differences between these two Spanish examinations and lay to rest the misunderstanding between them.
1. Recognition and Importance
The DELE test began its journey in 1989 and is famous across the world.
DELE is the first and most preferred Spanish ability test that comes to the mind of almost everyone who wants to learn the Spanish language.
Its lifetime certification offer makes it the most valuable Spanish exam ever.
However, SIELE appears to be catching up quickly, thanks to its online-based examination.
The exam is more straightforward for students since it only measures candidates to the C1 level.
As per projection, over 600,000 people can appear for the SIELE exam by 2020, and the prospect that the numbers will increase is more likely.
To sum up, both are hugely popular and recognized all over the globe. There is not much price variation either.
2. Who Conduct The Exams?
The Cervantes Institute, a well-known non-profit organization, conducts the DELE diplomas test worldwide. It performs its duty on behalf of the Spanish government, as represented by the Ministry of Education, Culture, and Sports.
The Instituto Cervantes, the National Autonomous University of Mexico, the University of Salamanca, and the University of Buenos Aires promote and certify the SIELE exam.
CRUE, ACLES, CNCP, and the Seal of Biliteracy also recognize it.
You can register for the SIELE exam online by visiting (website) to write the test. It is available all year round.
3. Exam Procedure
You can only sit for the DELE exam in block classrooms/exam centers.
It is written on paper, along with speaking and listening tests. The exam takes place at limited dates and intervals in a year.
Also, the DELE examination center is limited to a few venues worldwide.
Therefore, you might probably live in a place that is not qualified as a test center for the exam. However, the limited dates might not be favorable to you when you need them, even if you do.
If you are experiencing the above predicament, the best thing you can do is sign up for the more flexible and convenient SIELE test.
The SIELE test is the best option since it is a complete Spanish online test. This means you can take it anytime in one of the testing centers available.
You will still have to sign up at least 48 hours before the exam.
Once you are through your registration, feel free to select the date and easily accessible SIELE center you want to sit for the exam and the modules you wish to take.
If you take the DELE test, you will have to contact authorities in the center near you, ask when the next exam is coming up, and wait for whatever date they will give.
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4. DELE Vs SIELE — The Modules and Structure
The SIELE module has four different parts. These are:
- Reading Comprehension (RC) — 60 Minutes.
- Listening Comprehension (LC) — 55 Minutes.
- Written Expression and Interaction (WEI) — 50 Minutes.
- Spoken Expression and Interaction (SEI) — 15-20 Minutes.
You are free to mix and mix them to decide which modules you think are worth testing for any particular day.
There is a 15-minute break between the WEI and SEI tests.
On second thought, you can also choose SIELE Global, enabling you to sit for all four modules for about 3 hours.
This provision shares a striking resemblance to the DELE exam.
The DELE has six levels — A1 (Breakthrough), A2 (Waystage), B1 (Threshold), B2 (Vantage), C1 (Effective Operational Proficiency), and C2 (Mastery).
It includes four facets of the Spanish test — writing, speaking, reading, and listening.
Candidates are not required to test for every level.
You can skip different levels and can appear for a higher one directly.
Of 100 marks, one must get a minimum of 60 overall to pass, at least 30 in collaborative writing, reading, listening, and verbal sections.
5. Exam Dates
DELE exams for 2023 are scheduled for February 17, April 14, May 12 & 13, July 7, September 8, October 13, and November 17 & 18.
In India, they conduct the test five to six times yearly (April, May, July, and November).
The accredited and official SIELE center organizes the exam nearly every month.
Since it is an individual test, and date varies as per the center. Therefore, you can pick the date and time at your convenience.
6. Test Centers
There are more than 900 DELE exam centers in over 100 countries worldwide.
The dates vary depending on the place. Thus, check for the closest DELE center near you.
Instituto Cervantes conducts the DELE exam on its own or through collaborations. They administer the DELE test in 6 cities in India — Chennai, Jaipur, Mumbai, Mussoorie, New Delhi, and Kolkata.
SIELE has over 80 Associated Universities in 20 Central and South American countries.
You can select the SIELE exam by choosing one of the 1,000 test centers in 85 countries.
There are 22 SIELE test centers in India.
Instituto Hispania is an excellent choice, with authorized exam venues in Delhi, Mumbai, and Chennai. It is a leading institute for teaching Spanish in India.
7. How Different Are The Questions?
Both DELE and SIELE share many similarities in the questions they used for testing.
They have the exact nature of language difficulty and exercise level.
If you’re sure about your current level and where you stand concerning Spanish knowledge, you can opt for either DELE or SIELE Global or independent modalities (S1 to S5).
You can conveniently prepare for both exams using the exercise books, audio lessons, and resources of SIELE for DELE and DELE for SIELE.
Besides the demo of SIELE, you can also check the sample, practice, mockup, and old question papers.
8. Exam Eligibility
Anyone can take the SIELE exam, which is a yardstick to test the Spanish-speaking level of native and non-native people.
Ironically, the SIELE only tests candidates’ fluency level up to C1, not even a full-fluency level gauge.
As for DELE, beginners can undergo a separate testing process, plus a version that measures fluency from A1 up to C2.
The minimum age is 16 to take DELE, whereas, for SIELE, you must be over 13 years old.
There is a separate young learner DELE exam for school-going children aged 11 to 17.
There are only two levels for Young learners, namely A1 and A2/B1.
9. How to get the Diplomas?
Language learners who sat for the DELE exams will have to wait two to three months to see their results.
A diploma in DELE means the Spanish government recognizes your effort to learn and speak Spanish.
However, it takes quite a while for the result to appear in your mailbox.
That means if you want a quick certification in Spanish, sitting for the DELE exam isn’t wise.
If you hurry, go for the SIELE test to get a quick certification.
It takes only three weeks for the results to get to you.
Amazingly, some parts of the globe get their SIELE result in a matter of one week.
10. Length Of Certificate Validity
How long is a SIELE and DELE certificate valid?
A SIELE Diploma gives you a five-year validity in Spanish language mastery from the moment you get your results.
The five governing bodies award the diploma all over the world.
The validity cap is that people’s language proficiency might decline if they do not use their newfound language.
As a result, people must prove their fluency again after a given period.
The Spanish Ministry of Education is responsible for awarding the DELE Diploma.
The certificate is valid for a lifetime. It means you don’t have to re-sit the exam after a while to prove your fluency.
If you want to study the Spanish language to further your career, DELE has an edge.
Conclusion on DELE Vs SIELE — Which Is Better?
Looking at the two types of exams above, I cannot choose for you.
But one thing is sure; while DELE is more rigid, its ultimate reward lies in the lifetime certification it delivers.
Contrarily, SIELE is more flexible, enhancing the learning convenience lacking in the DELE exam. However, the SIELE fluency measurement isn’t the best you can get.
So, think carefully about these differences when making up your mind about which to choose.
If you have questions about Spanish DELE vs SIELE, you can ask in the comments below.
Can I write SIELE and then DELE?
Thank you so much for the information about DELE and SIELE sir. I would like to know about the SIELE certificate, will the level (ex: B2 or C1) be put on the certificate?
Really love to hear from you.
It will be mentioned module-wise, like B2 in writing, B1 in listening, etc.
This article has a great information. I will apply it to my daily Spanish classes.
Thankyou so much sir for the detailed and clear information about the difference. Could you please also share the syllabus systematically for each level from A1 to C2 ?
There is no specific syllabus. It is more or less based on CEFR model, which is pretty generic and doesn’t cover topic-wise curricula.
My school offered Spanish as a second language only up to class X. I passed the exam with very good marks. I want to sit for the DELE exam but how should I decide whether to sit for the Beginner level or Intermediate level.
You can try some sample and model papers to measure your current ability. You can find plenty of such documents on various sites. And then, as per your performance, take the test as per your level.
Hello! I’m from Romania and in my last year of high school. I speak Spanish as my native language because I was born and raised until 7 in Spain and after moved to Romania. After I end the highschool I would like to move back there and continue my studies in Madrid at university, and for studying there in Spanish I think that I still need the certification even though I learned there to read, to write, etc before I moved to the school. My question is which of the certifications do you recommend? DELE or SIELE? I’m not really sure which of them I should take.
If you’re not sure, I’d suggest taking SIELE. It is a point-based test that will evaluate from A1 to C1 on all four sections. You will know your current Spanish ability.
I’m a college student and i want to learn Spanish to increase my skill set but reading the rigidity of the DELE exam I want to go for the SIELE exam but then can I apply for DELE in the future?? And how can I get the SIELE resources for exam preparation?
Yes, you can take SIELE now and apply for DELE later in the future. There isn’t any remarkable difference, though you can find it on the official SIELE. For example – examendemo.siele.org
I am from Sri Lanka and the DELE exams are not offered in my country. I prefer to do the DELE exam as it is a lifetime and will help my career. Any advice?
Yes, you can take it in the future, but you have to travel to India. So take it if it makes a difference in your professional career.
I am willing to apply for a Ph.D. vacancy in a high-ranked university in Spain such as BarcelonaTech or Politecnica de Madrid. I have an IELTS 6.5 and I want to know having an Espanol certification (DELE or SIELE) is effective in acceptance and being offered a grant? Which one (DELE or SIELE) is acceptable for them at what level? (Ahora mismo mi nivel esta aproximadamanete B1 y puedo tener A2. SIELE es mas facil para mi to hacer.)
If the course is taught completely in English, B1 will be ok though B2 offers more benefits. Both DELE and SIELE are accepted so that you can pick either one.
I wanna learn Spanish as a hobby and to be on edge while seeking a job. So which test should I try for??
While both are fine, though DELE has lifetime validity.
Hola sir, I have done my graduation in computer science engineering but I am currently learning Spanish and I want to build my career in Spanish, so is there any master’s degree that I can do after engineering? I cant do an MA in Spanish because I did not fit into the criteria? what should you recommend?
You don’t necessarily need a Master’s. You can study in any private language school and aim to get at least a B2 Diploma. You can also do PG in computers, business management, or some popular stream to enhance your career prospects!
Hi, I intend to shift to Spain with my wife. She is pursuing a Ph.D. in English right now in India and plans to shift to Madrid with me. What all additional courses is she supposed to study to get the required certification to finally apply for a teaching job in Madrid in English?
I’m not sure about the specific requirement in Spain for teaching. But DELE or SIELE will be beneficial for getting an English teaching job to native Spanish speakers.
How is the ignou course for Spanish?
Ok, if you intend to learn some beginners level Spanish, but I won’t recommend it. There are far better choices if you’re serious about learning Spanish.
I want to give Dele exams but I cannot because we do not have a centre here in Bangalore. Should I go for siele? Is it worth it?
Yes, you can certainly consider SIELE. It is equally recognized and accepted worldwide. There is only one caveat. Unlike DELE, which is valid for life, SIELE has a validity period of five years. But, 5-years is good enough for the vast majority of Spanish learners.
Hello sir, I’m pursuing Hons in English. Besides this, I want to appear for the DELL exam, and I want to know that will I get job opportunities after achieving this diploma? If yes, then can you pls tell me which type of jobs can get through this?
After B2, you can find opportunities in MNC, BPO, export houses, educational institutions, and businesses that deal with Spanish speaking nations.
As it is being said that American companies will shift its base from China to India so how the Spanish language will help in this scenario will it create jobs for Spanish learner in near future if yes which industry/sectors would create more jobs. Thanks
Things won’t change significantly in the near future. Today, most of the Spanish related jobs are in BPO, outsourcing, IT, and export houses and I believe opportunities will remain more or less the same.
Dear Vikash sir,
After B2 in Spanish /Good communication can I easily find a job in tour companies? Or I have to run here and there have to give many interviews like normal jobs. Please reply in a bit long.
Today, the language job market is highly competitive. So, getting a decent-paying job is not that easy. While it depends on many factors like the nature of the job, your profile, experience, skills, and some luck, but in most cases, one has to mentally prepared to give many interviews.
Hola Señor, Heard from many people that people with a DELE C1 or C2 degree gets an advantage in job selection over the ones with a BA hons in Spanish degree. Is it true?
Yes, it is true. There are four main reasons. (i) DELE is meant for dedicated Spanish learners, whereas BA focuses on a few subjects other than Spanish. (ii) The exam structure of DELE is equally divided into speaking, listening, reading, and writing. This is not the case with BA. In fact, Spanish speaking and listening is a small part of the overall syllabus/exam. (iii) One needs at least 60% to just pass DELE, whereas one can earn a BA degree even with mugging the theory part. (iv) DELE is internationally recognized and accepted all over the world. On the other hand, the Bachelor program is also accepted at most places, but outside India and in some MNCs, it would be difficult to get the same weightage as DELE.
Despite all the reasons aforementioned, if you possess excellent command over Spanish, especially speaking and listening section, you can get as many job opportunities as any DELE diploma holders get. Besides, you can also appear for the DELE exam, or maybe you can consider an MA in Spanish.