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Should you take a French exam like the DELF Exam?

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The DELF and DALF French exams are very popular. I wanted to understand more in-depth the reasons why our students were so keen to take the DELF exam and analyze in which cases it’s a good decision for a French learner.

I’ve interviewed a few students from Live-French and they shared with me their motivations to take the DELF or DALF French exam. From these insights, I’ve drawn some important conclusions.

Meeting some of our students who have taken the DELF-DALF French exam

Why taking the DELF exam?

Elena, a Live-French student from Italy, was dreaming to be able to put her B2 DELF exam certificate on her CV. She wanted to spend some time in France and work there. Proving that she had a good level of French was essential for her. Passing the DELF B2 exam was the opening door to a new career in France. 

However, in most cases, taking the DELF or DALF exam is not an obligation.

It’s more seen as a personal challenge that will prove they have a certain level of French.

Preparing for an official French exam gives you the opportunity to structure your learning efforts and progress more rapidly. That’s what Beate, a Live-French student from Germany, explained. From her perspective, preparing for a French exam was a way to motivate her toward a specific goal.

It’s not rare to see French learners prepare for different exams until they pass the DALF C2, the highest level.

“I’m convinced it’s very important to not rest on your laurels and to fix new measurable objectives.” says Katia, a translator nous dit Katia, simultaneous translator and interpreter in Moscow. In fact, it’s essential to be able to measure your progress objectively, the DELF-DALF exames are the perfect way to do it.

What French exam should I take?

It’s important to know that when you decide to take a French exam, you have to choose the level you feel you can reach, even before you start preparing for it.

The target exam should be decided together with your French teacher. The challenge has to be stimulating and reachable so that you can succeed. If the level you choose is too high, it can lower your motivation. You should choose a level that is slightly above your current level, a level you can reach if you study regularly.

From my experience, taking the DELF A2 (and A1) has very little interest. It’s not adding any value to your CV or profile.

If you decide to take a French exam, it starts being valuable from B1 or B2. It’s better to start from there. There’s a big gap between DELF B1 and dELF B2. The latter is much more demanding. For example, you Si l’on décide de passer un examen, j’aurais tendance à commencer par le B1 directement, ou mieux encore le B2. Cependant, il faut noter un grand écart de niveau entre le DELF B1 et le DELF B2. En effet, ce dernier est beaucoup plus exigeant. Par exemple, you have to be able to use logical connectors, to convince, to argue, to defend your opinion, to develop your point of view.

Passing the DELF B2 exam proves that you have a good command of the French language, you can express yourself clearly and understand others. It shows you’re fully operational in French.

Therefore, if you are thinking about moving to a French-speaking country, and would like to show potential employers that you’re French level won’t be a problem, aim at preparing the DELF B2!

For those who do not need or want to invest in a costly exam that demands a lot of efforts and preparation, our teacher Violaine, who is also an official examiner to the DELF and DALf, recommends the TCF test. The certificate you get is valid for 2 years. The preparation is shorter and you don’t choose your level, the TCF test is the same for all the students and you get a mark that corresponds to a certain level.

When taking a French exam?

Give yourself enough time to prepare for the French exam you’ve chosen. You will probably need a few months to prepare for all the different parts of the exam, and make sure you’re familiar with the required skills and how the point system works.

The 4 parts of the DELF-DALF exams deal with divers competencies: listenning comprehension, reading comprehension, listening, and speaking.

Each competency is graded out of 25 points. The total gives you a mark out of 100.

A minimum of 5 points is required for each part and you pass if you get a total of 50 or more points out of 100.

Since March 2020, the exercises have evolved to more MCQs. Some test centers still apply the old version so it’s better to ask directly which version is used for the test. By 2023, all test centers should adopt the new version of the test.

Many students who want to succeed in their French exam invest as much as 1 hour a day to prepare for it! Practicing former exams, taking conversation lessons, or listening to French programs on their way to work are just a few ways to take your French level up a notch.

How to manage the stress before the French exam?

Think of the French exam preparation as a marathon. If you regularly study, you have no reason to stress on exam day.

A few days before the exam, just relax. It’s not time to learn new vocabulary or grammar points anymore.

You have spent months preparing for this goal, now it’s time to reap the fruits of your labor and pass this exam! Think of how much you’ve improved your French over the last few months.

Questions to ask yourself to know if you should take a French exam

  1. Do you need a French test for work, university or to move to a French-speaking country?
  2. Would you like to take on a new challenge to progress in French?
  3. Do you need extra stimulation to take your French to the next level?
  4. Do you have time to devote one hour a day to your French learning?
  5. Do you have a good enough level to pass the exam you have in mind?
  6. Do you have a French tutor or a French-speaking friend who can help and guide you?
  7. Do you enjoy learning French?
  8. Do you have a balanced level in the 4 areas that are tested? If not, would it be ok for you to focus on your weaknesses?

If you have answered ‘yes’ to the majority of the questions, you are on a good path to preparing for your French exam.
To learn more about the official French exams, check outFrance Education International. You will find a lot of advice. And if you’d like to prepare for one of the French exams, contact us and we’ll be happy to help.

Author: Live-French.net Thanks for visiting our blog! Go a step further and see how we can help you improve your French and register for a FREE trial lesson by Skype or by phone with one of our online French teachers.

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