DELF and DALF - diplomas awarded by the French Ministry of National Education

The French Ministry of National Education awards two diplomas:

  • DELF (Diplôme d’Etudes de Langue Française)
  • DALF (Diplôme Approfondi de Langue Française)

The exams take place both in France and abroad. For details contact your nearest French consulate or see:List of centres outside France / List of centres in France. (both links lead to external sites).

Diplôme d’Etudes de Langue Française (D.E.L.F.)
The DELF is divided into two levels:
• Level 1 - containing four units (A1 to A4)
• Level 2 - containing two units (A5 to A6).
Units can be taken individually in any order, and once passed, a credit is given which remains valid indefinitely. Each unit costs approx. 46 €.

The Level 2 DELF is only open to candidates who have passed Level 1.
• Candidates who obtain the DELF level I should be able to understand and make themselves understood in a wide variety of everyday situations in a French-speaking environment.
• Candidates with the DELF level II will be able to operate in a more specialised area of interest (eg. economics or another academic domain).

french language diplomas

Unit Objectives and Exam Contents

DELF Level1

Unit A1: General
General Objective: To understand and express oneself on simple topics related to everyday situations.
Exam contents: Listening comprehension (15 mins); oral (role play - 15 mins); 2 written papers (letter & short essay 60-100 words, 30 mins each).

Unit A2: Ideas and Feelings
General Objective: To understand and express feelings, intentions, opinions, points of view and arguments.
Exam contents: 2 orals each lasting 10 mins (or at the discretion of the Chief Examiner 1 oral and 1 listening comprehension); reading comprehension (30 mins); written paper (120-160 words, 30 mins).

Unit A3: Reading and Essay Writing
General Objective: To understand the content and function of simple written texts and to write letters of the type required in daily life.
Exam contents: Oral (on a given text - 15 mins); reading comprehension (45 mins); written paper (eg. job application letter - 45 mins).

Unit A4: Linguistics
General Objective: To use the linguistic systems (phonetic, prosodic & morpho-syntactic) with a high degree of accuracy. The emphasis of this unit is on linguistic competence as opposed to communication skills.
Exam contents: Listening comprehension (3 or 4 exercises) and oral (30 mins); written comprehension and essay (1 hr 30 mins).

DELF Level2
Unit A5: Culture and Civilisation
General Objective: To understand and discuss in general terms the main features of certain cultural and socio-cultural aspects of contemporary France and of the francophone world, and to identify those features which contrast with aspects of contemporary Britain (or your country). The candidate chooses one of six topics: Work, Institutions, Travel, Contemporary Society, Study or Modern Civilisation.
Exam contents: 2 orals (presentation of a text + discussion - 10 mins each); reading & writing (read text of 500-700 words on chosen topic and write a summary - 1 hr 30 mins).

Unit A6: Specialised Subjects
General Objective: To understand a text related to the candidate’s field of special interest or profession and to discuss its contents. The candidate chooses one of four topics: Life Sciences (including the environment and ecology); Economics and Law; Social and Human Sciences; Mathematics, Physics and Technology.
Exam contents: Oral (report and discuss contents of text related to chosen field - 2 tests of 10 mins)

Diplôme Approfondi de Langue Française (DALF)
The DALF is made up of four units (B1 to B4). As with the DELF, credit units are permanently valid. Candidates are expected to demonstrate their ability to use French in both general and specialist contexts. However, whilst candidates are expected to engage in a fairly technical discussion of their chosen field, the test is one of language and not of specialist knowledge.
In order to sit the DALF exams, candidates must have a level II DELF or (in the U.K.) a pass at French GCE ‘A’ level. (For other recognised awards, contact your local consulate.). It is also possible to take a DALF access test. • Candidates who pass the DALF are deemed to be exempt from the language requirement for entry to French universities and to be able to follow a course in their chosen field.
Unit Objectives and Exam Contents:

DALF
The DALF is made up of four units (B1 to B4). As with the DELF, credit units are permanently valid. Candidates are expected to demonstrate their ability to use French in both general and specialist contexts. However, whilst candidates are expected to engage in a fairly technical discussion of their chosen field, the test is one of language and not of specialist knowledge.
In order to sit the DALF exams, candidates must have a level II DELF or (in the U.K.) a pass at French GCE ‘A’ level. (For other recognised awards, contact your local consulate.). It is also possible to take a DALF access test. • Candidates who pass the DALF are deemed to be exempt from the language requirement for entry to French universities and to be able to follow a course in their chosen field.

Unit B1: Written Comprehension
General Objective: To understand all aspects of an authentic published text on a general topic and to write detailed answers to a number of questions related to the text.
Exam contents: Reading and Writing (résumé of text, answers to 5 questions related to the text) Total time given - 2 hours 15 mins. Length of text to be studied - 500-700 words.
B2: Oral Comprehension
General Objective: To understand all aspects of an authentic spoken discussion on a general topic recorded on audio or video tape.
Exam contents: Listening comprehension (résumé of the recorded text or answering questions on it). Time given - 30 mins max.
Unit B3: Written Comprehension of Specialised Subject
General Objective: To understand all aspects of a selection of authentic published texts in the special field chosen and to write detailed answers to a number of questions related to the texts. Candidates select one of six topics: Law, Economics, Social Sciences, Human Sciences, Life Sciences or Mathematics & Physics.
Exam contents: Reading and Writing (résumé of text, answers to 5 questions related to the text) Total time given - 2 hours 15 mins. Length of text to be studied - 500-700 words.
Unit B4: Oral Comprehension of Specialised Subject
General Objective: To make an oral presentation on a topic related to the special field chosen for unit B3, to answer questions, and to participate in broader discussion.
Exam contents: Oral (presentation of topic + discussion) Time given - 40 mins (plus 1 hr 20 mins for preparation).