If you were into learning Spanish, you’d have encountered the DELE Vs SIELE proficiency exams.
What is the difference between the two? Why, How, and Which should you take — SIELE or DELE? Let’s find out all the answers.
The acquisition of different languages offers many perks.
It is not just about communicating with native speakers but also about traveling, studying overseas, 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 its availability 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 is based 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 worldwide.
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 must still 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 can mix and mix them to decide which modules 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 2024 are scheduled for February 16, April 12, May 17 & 18, July 12, September 13, October 18, and November 22 & 23.
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, the date varies 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?
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 know 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 prepare for both exams using SIELE resources for DELE and DELE resources 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.
A separate young learner DELE exam is 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 sit for the DELE exams must wait two to three months for 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.
If you want a quick certification in Spanish, sitting for the DELE exam isn’t wise.
If you hurry, take 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 one week.
10. Length Of Certificate Validity
How long is a SIELE and DELE certificate valid?
A SIELE Diploma gives you five years of 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.
On the other hand, 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.