For a number of reasons, speakers of Spanish as a second language often opt to certify their level. There are many different ways to do this. It could be through a school or university course, or it could be through taking a Spanish proficiency test.
Aside from enhancing your CV, it is highly likely that, if you want to move abroad to live and work in a Spanish speaking country, then you will be asked for a Spanish language certificate. This shows to any prospective employer that you have the relevant language skills to carry out the duties that your job requires.
A language certificate will ensure that you have a good grasp of the grammar, as well as potentially stating that you have a particular level of fluency.
Alongside languages such as Portuguese, French, and Italian, Spanish is one of the easiest languages to learn for English speakers. Therefore, if you are planning to move to Spain, Mexico, Argentina, why not take a proficiency test as part of your language learning?
Spanish is a language that is spoken by an estimated 440 million native speakers worldwide, and subsequently you will find that there are a number of proficiency tests that you can do in the Spanish language. The only question is; which one is best for you?
During your language instruction, you will hear a lot about the DELE exam, which is administered by the Spanish government. This has a number of different merits, but it is an exam that focuses on the language and culture of Spain.
If you want to do a proficiency test from Latin America, Argentina's CELU test is your best bet.
What is the CELU Spanish Test?
As we have just mentioned, taking a DELE test is the curriculum that Spanish speakers tend to go for when they want to take a language proficiency test. However, it is not the only option available.
The Certificate of Spanish Language and Use (CELU) is another Spanish proficiency test for any learner of Spanish as a foreign language. It is aimed at anyone who is not a native Spanish speaker, and who wants to use their language skills for work or study. If you are considering a semester abroad in Buenos Aires, this could be the one for you!
It is an exam which is officially acknowledged by both the Argentinian Ministry of Education, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. If you are learning Spanish and want to take this exam, you will need to 16 or older, which at least three years of high school education under your belt.
Having a conversational level is fine for visiting any one of the 20 different Spanish speaking countries on holiday, but in order to live in one of these countries, you will need to learn Spanish with more vigour. Passing the CELU exam shows this to a potential employer or university.
Here is a chart from Wikipedia to explain how the test is divided up:
|Oral||15 to 20 minutes|
Reading and writing plays an important part in the CELU exam because candidates will have to deal with texts from a variety of genres. What's more, a number of different radio recordings make up the listening section, and a 15-minute interview with two native speakers comprises the speaking part.
All parts of the exam take place on the same day, and the final certification (intermediate or advanced) will reflect each individual candidate's performance, as well as being signed and sealed by the Argentinian Ministry of Education.
You can take the CELU exam in either June or November, at participating universities in South America and Europe.
A DELE Alternative: Why Take the CELU?
Studying Spanish in a classroom with an instructor can sometimes seem like a pointless task. You study Spanish grammar and develop your knowledge of verb conjugation, but it can sometimes feel like you aren't really progressing, or worse still, that you aren't working towards anything.
The CELU test allows you to better understand your level, confirm that you are progressing in the Spanish language, and point out the areas on which you will have to redouble your efforts to communicate and express yourself more fluidly.
The CELU test represents a strong and marked distinction on your CV. Indeed, the CELU test is one of the most distinguished tests because you often have to go to Argentina to take it if you miss the two dates where the exam takes places elsewhere in the world.
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The test is all the more important on a CV because it is completely reliable and given by a Spanish-speaking country. This allows employers to quickly see how good you are actually are at speaking Spanish.
In a company working with a Hispanic entity, this certification will look serious and could seriously up your chances on getting the job!
On the other hand, having a good score on the CELU test will give you professional credibility since you are adding new skills to your bow.
It is worth noting that the CELU is a generic Spanish certificate. If you want to focus on an exam that is more applicable in education or business, then consider taking the SIELE Spanish proficiency test.
What Competences Are Tested?
Don't ever think that all Spanish proficiency tests are the same. If you want to take the DELE, make sure you know what the DELE consists of. If you want to take the CELU, familiarise yourself with what the CELU entails. Don't assume that because the DELE works in a certain way, that the CELU will be exactly the same.
The CELU test measures your abilities on two essential components of the Spanish language: oral and written skills. These are the cornerstones of learning to speak any language, and therefore Spanish courses will aim to help you develop in these areas. You could also hire a Spanish teacher who can give you Spanish lessons to improve these skills.
You will be tested on the following:
- Your oral comprehension will be tested thanks to sound recordings that will present situations with a generally simple vocabulary. You will be judged on your ability to follow and understand a conversation or dialogue between people. In this part of the test, it will be important to pay attention to variables such as the Spanish words used and the pronunciation. Indeed, the Argentine accent is one to get used to. You could do this by developing your conversational Spanish with an native Spanish speaker from Argentina.
- Written comprehension is also evaluated. The degree of difficulty is often higher and the vocabulary even more technical, because you are allowed a document to help you. Contrary to what you might think, this part requires as much concentration as the oral part. Time management is also a major concern here. It will also be a question of challenging your Spanish language vocabulary and syntax skills. Knowing synonyms, antonyms, proverbs, and adjectives will allow you to get a high score.
Once you have obtained your score, the tested components will allow you to evaluate in which field you are most comfortable and in which field you will have to train and progress by taking tutoring lessons or online courses.
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Where Can You Take the CELU?
Going to Argentina means getting a plane ticket and hotel room, so you will have to calculate some extra costs when it comes to taking the CELU test. However, once there, the country is pretty inexpensive. The test itself can be done in many cities including San Luis and Buenos Aires.
You can take the exam twice a year; in June or November, and applications open around three months before each of these dates. You will have one month to sign up from when the application window opens.
You can also take the test at cooperating universities in other parts of the world, but you should check the website for more information.
Practising For Your Spanish Language Test
There are many tests online in order to evaluate your Spanish language level. It is possible to train for the CELU test by using some of these tests. The internet is full of free resources, so don't hesitate to type into Google what you are looking for!
To train for the CELU test, it is possible to take Spanish classes London or a Spanish course with different organisations in major towns and cities all over the world. Taking language courses with these organisations can help you to become more fluent, and you could even take an intensive course just before the exam so that you are at peak sharpness for exam day.
If you go down this route, you will have the opportunity to receive Spanish classes from a native or bilingual teacher.
This is a great asset because you will benefit from a real pedagogical approach. You will also have access to a large number of CELU test records to familiarize yourself with the test itself. Mock exams are also available online.
The real positive point of this approach is that it is guaranteed to raise your chances. Indeed, when you register with a linguistic school, you should set out to up your skills in the Spanish language.
If you are most adept with self-training, reading newspapers can be very effective, and so can literature (on whatever topics you choose)
Let's sum things up:
- In addition to making you progress and improve your Spanish language skills, taking the CELU test is a great asset for your CV, especially if you work or want to work in a Hispanic environment, or if you want work in South America.
- Before starting the process, we advise you to test your skills to see if the test will bring you something you really need. Indeed, if you are a complete beginner, it may not be so useful.
- The CELU test is, as we have seen, extremely comprehensive, covering the full spectrum of skills required to master a foreign language.
Whether you want to continue or improve your language skills, or simply become more employable, we highly recommend you take the CELU test!