When you apply for a job vacancy or higher education that requires a French-language proficiency certification, you may come across the terms "DALF" and "DELF" a lot.

Wondering what they are exactly and what's the difference between DELF and DALF?

DELF and DALF are the acronyms for “Diplôme d'études en langue française” and “Diplôme approfondi de langue française.”

Furthermore, both these certifications are issued by the French Education Ministry, acting as the ultimate validation to prove a person's proficiency in the language.

Additionally, there are various levels for both DELF and DALF exams. What's interesting to note is that both the DALF and DELF French test don't test your academic prowess, it tests how you're utilizing the French language in informal and social settings.

Does all this confuse and motivate you towards the diploma simultaneously? We have your back! Read on as we streamline all the information for you:

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DALF Or DELF Exam? How To Decide What's Right For You?

If your professional or academic goals require you to sit through these tests to prove your French proficiency, you must choose the correct version.

But how and why exactly?

Unlike other placement tests that tell you your level, the DALF and DELF exams don't. You have to decide your required proficiency level and then sit through the subsequent test to get the validation.

For example, if you sit in the B2 test and fail, you'll get the B1 diploma or certification. Additionally, if you sit in the B1 examination and pass it with no trouble, you will achieve that level.

Due to this reason only, unless you have to prove that you have achieved a certain level for a university admission requirement or a job, it's better to be cautious and sit through the exam you think is easier for you.

To decide which level is most appropriate for you to take, read the following descriptions about each exam separately and ascertain which test – whether DALF or DELF French – suits your level of proficiency.

Once you have decided which one to take, take practice tests to ensure that you are prepared on the actual exam day.

The DELF

The "Diplôme d'études en langue française" or simply DELF is an exam, which concerns most introductory French learners, primarily because DELF French tests A1-B2 levels, covering both intermediate and beginner learners.

Within DELF, you'll find four separate exams. When you decide to sit through the DELF exam, you'll also have to select between:

  • DELF A1
  • DELF A2
  • DELF B1
  • DELF B2

All four of these exams are explicitly tailored to learners of each level. Furthermore, within the French language courses and certifications, the DELF exam enjoys a reputable position.

It's a valuable certification, mainly if you are contemplating applying to a French job vacancy or a French university degree program.

Keep in mind that most graduate and undergraduate degree programs demand a B2 certification, though a few undergraduate degree programs also accept a B1 diploma.

Many French workplaces in the USA also require these two diplomas (B2 and B1) if your employment requires French proficiency.

The DALF

The “Diplôme approfondi de langue française” or simply DALF is an advanced French language crtification or diploma.

It's very much like the DELF French; however, it's not always conducted by the same centers where DELF is administered.

There are two DALF tests:

  • DALF C1
  • DALF C2

DALF C1 is a prerequisite for most French doctorate and master's degree programs, whereas DALF C2 doesn't usually see many candidates.

This is mainly because, by that time, you may have another French degree program, which exceeds it, such as a master's degree in French.

Getting the C2 certification or diploma typically requires months of dedicated immersive learning, which means that people taking C2 must have already served in a French-speaking organization or attended a French university.

How To Pass The DELF & DALF In The USA

Today, French is the national language in about 29 countries, including Belgium, Switzerland, and Canada.

It's spoken by over 200M people on different continents. In addition to that, French is the "official language" of various international bodies such as the United Nations, the Red Cross, etc.

So, if you aim to learn the French language and your goal is to ace the DALF and DELF exams, we've got you covered. Here are five killer pointers to help you pass the DELF and DALF exam in the US:

Find Out Which Diploma/Certificate You Need Most

If you find yourself confused about which test to sit through, do some research and pay a visit to their official site to determine which level between the two suits you most.

For your convenience, here's a breakdown of each level from simplest to most challenging:

  • DELF A1: for users who express themselves in French for day-to-day situations
  • DELF A2: for users who express their feelings, arguments, and other nuanced contexts
  • DELF B1: independent users who can join discussions and express opinions
  • DELF B2: independent users who argue their point in detail
  • DALF C1: proficient users who can join discussions effortlessly
  • DALF C2: experienced users who can join complex discussions

Look Up To The Classes Nearby

A tutor in an orange long sleeve shirt teaching French to the student
You can prepare for the DELF DALF exam independently, but if you want to prep better and pass with flying colors, you need French lessons from a qualified private tutor (Source: Unsplash)

Although one can prepare for standardized exams independently, it's better if you take some classes to build preliminary know-how of the language.

The primary reason behind it is that the structure and grammar of the language are entirely different from English; therefore, picking the language up by yourself can be a challenge.

Taking up classes would ease your burden and enhance the process of learning the language.

Immerse Yourself With French Shows And Other Media

If you want to understand the French language better, make sure to immerse yourself fully in the French media; this includes:

  • Movies
  • TV Shows
  • News programs
  • Radio shows
  • Podcasts
  • YouTube channels

Not only will it help you speak, but it can also assist your sentence-creation process. That's because when you watch or listen to French, you'll come to know how the French vocabulary and structures are used in different contexts and conversations.

Moreover, if you regularly indulge in French media, it will significantly enhance your comprehension skills and help you tackle the listening sections of the DELF and DALF exams.

Get A Practice Buddy

Two French learners talking while sitting on the bench in a nearby park
If you want to learn French quickly and pass the DALF and DELF exams, get a French practice buddy. This is because when you communicate, you'll know where your strengths and weaknesses lie (Source: Unsplash)

Reading and studying a language is quite a fruitless endeavor unless you use it in your daily activities. And the best way to speak it daily is with the help of a practice buddy?

Your practice buddy can be anyone, whether your best friend, essay proofreader, a French colleague you can hang with at movies, etc.

Regardless of how hard you're learning on your own, just having a person you can practice with can speed up your learning process by a lot.

Do Mock DALF And DELF Exams

It's beneficial if you refer to mock tests now and then. And you can find plenty of sample tests from past DALF and DELF French exams.

Taking the mock tests will help familiarize you with the exam's structure and keep you from wasting time reading the test's instructions. 

In addition to that, mock tests highlight key segments or areas that need improvement. This way, you can work on your weaknesses and improve on them.

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Why Should You Take The DALF And DELF Exams In The USA?

These certifications are necessary prerequisites if you are contemplating applying to European schools, colleges, and universities.

They are also required by employers who seek new hires with proficiency in French, as these exams are confirmed and regulated across Europe.

The B2 French, Italian or Spanish speaker will have the same expertise in every language. Hence, writing on your resume that you've got a DELF B2 certification provides the utmost clarity on your skills.

What These Exams Are Like

A French learner reads a French book while sitting on the sofa
The DALF and DELF French exams have four components to pass to get the certification. The elements are: reading comprehension, listening comprehension, writing expression, and oral expression (Source: Unsplash)

Both the DALF and DELF exams vary greatly based on which test you're taking; however, the test format remains quite similar for both French language exams.

These French exams test four different components of the French language, emphasizing cultural and linguistic comprehensions. The four components include:

  • Reading comprehension
  • Listening comprehension
  • Writing expression
  • Oral expression

Every section of the DALF and DELF exams is graded out of 25 points. And every level has a different time earmarked for each section alongside a changed format.

For instance, in DALF tests, the oral skills section will demand a 20-minute interview and presentation; conversely, you'll only be asked a few queries in DELF exams.

Prepare For Your DELF/DALF Exam With A Private Tutor

No matter whether you sit through the DALF C1 and C2 and DELF A1, A2, B1, or B2, one thing that you can do to ensure you succeed in any French exam is to continue working on your French language skills.

You can refer to TV series, movies, theater shows, or even the radio to improve your second language. In addition to that, you can get yourself a French practice buddy with whom you can communicate in French freely and without any hesitation.

Read French novels, watch French movies, and keep speaking it regularly. This way, you'll get your DALF and DELF diploma easily and quickly.

However, the best possible way to prepare is by hiring a qualified private tutor! Superprof has a collection of several established DELF and DALF instructors in your area.

Sign up today and start learning!

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