The Centre international d'études pédagogiques (CIEP) of the French Ministry of Education offers three diplomas and an examination. The Diplôme Initial de Langue Française (DILF), DELF, and DALF certify a certain level of French, and the Test de connaissance du français (TCF) to demonstrate language proficiency for university admission.
The Alliance française offers 2 certificates and 2 diplomas: Certificat d’Études de Français Pratique 1 and 2 (CEFP1 and CEFP2), the Diplôme de Langue (DL) and the Diplôme Supérieur Langue et Culture Françaises (DSLCF).
The Paris Chamber of Commerce offers a variety of diplomas as well as the Test d'évaluation du français (TEF).
The Diploma in French Language Studies (Diplôme d'études en langue française) or DELF for short, is a certification of French-language abilities for non-native speakers of French administered by the International Centre for French Studies (CIEP) for France's Ministry of Education. It is composed of four independent diplomas corresponding to the first four levels of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: A1, A2, B1 and B2. Above this level, the "Proficient User" divisions are certified by the DALF. The examinations are available in four varieties: "DELF Prim" which is for Primary School students (only available at pre-A1 level, A1 and A2), "DELF Junior et Scolaire" which is aimed at Secondary School students, "DELF Tous Publics" which is aimed at adults and "DELF Pro" which is aimed at people who would like to work. Each variety is worth exactly the same and results in the awarding of the same diploma, but the material is varied to ensure that it is appropriate for the target cohort. DELF certificates are valid for life and do not expire.
The Diploma in Advanced French Language (Diplôme approfondi de langue française), or DALF for short, is a certification of French-language abilities for non-native speakers administered by France's International Centre of Pedagogical Studies (Centre international d'études pédagogiques or CIEP) for the country's Ministry of Education. It's composed of two independent diplomas corresponding to the top two levels, C1 and C2, of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. Level C2 is the highest level attainable according to this framework, denoting mastery and proficiency in the French language. The "basic" and "independent" divisions of language proficiency are certified by the DELF levels A1 to B2.
DELF-DALF: Diplomas adapted to your level
DELF, DALF or DILF (Diplôme Initial de Langue Française) are calibrated according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). Among these degrees, there are 7 levels allowing you to validate your french learning according to your progress in the process of learning the French language:
- Level A1.1 (DILF and DELF prim)
- Level A1 (DELF Prim, DELF junior version, DELF for schools, DELF and DELF Pro)
- Level A2 (DELF Prim, DELF junior version, DELF for schools, DELF and DELF Pro)
- Level B1 (DELF junior version, DELF for schools, DELF et DELF Pro)
- Level B2 (DELF junior version, DELF for schools, DELF and DELF Pro)
- Level C1 (DALF)
- Level C2 (DALF)
DILF-DELF-DALF: Diplomas adapted to your age, situation, and expectations
- DILF is targeting the older beginner and the freshly arrived in France. It assesses the first knowledge in French (level A1.1). DILF is a first step toward DELF and DALF. Please note that DILF is only available on French territory.
- DELF Prim is intended for children aged from 7 to 11 years old in elementary school. DELF Prim is divided into 3 levels: A1.1, A1, and A2. Based on a very positive and non-sanctioning evaluation, it's perfect for stimulating and motivating children as they learn French.
- DELF junior version and DELF for schools are intended for teenagers aged between 12 and 18 years old in middle school and high school. DELF junior version and DELF for schools divided into 4 levels: A1, A2, B1, and B2. It is a big step for the teenagers in their process of learning French and officially validates their French abilities.
- DELF Pro is intended for students or workers whose goal is to integrate or to be promoted in France or in a French-speaking environment. DELF Pro is divided into 4 levels: A1, A2, B1, and B2. It's a big advantage for people willing to integrate or evolve in the French-speaking working system.
- DELF is made for everyone learning the French language from 18 to 77 (or more) who wishes to validate officially and sustainably their learning of the French language. It is divided into 4 levels: A1, A2, B1, and B2.
- DALF is targeting adults either at university or working. DALF is divided into 2 levels: C1 and C2, the highest levels. DALF C1 and C2 form the best diplomas in the French language. The acquisition of a DALF is proof of mastery in the French language.
DELF Exam Sections
Part one: listening
In this section, the candidate is presented with a series of recordings and asked to fill out some comprehension questions regarding the selection played. At levels A1 to B1, each selection is played twice and ranges from a maximum of 3 minutes in length at the A1 level to a maximum of 6 minutes in length at the B1 level. In the B2 examination, candidates are presented with two recordings. The first recording is played twice and the second only once, with the total length of recordings being approximately 8 minutes.
Part two: reading
This section tests the candidates' reading comprehension by presenting several short pieces of writing, followed by comprehension questions requiring simple filling (ticking, multiple-choice, true/false) or a justified written answer. At A1 and A2 levels, candidates are presented with several short texts or signs. At B1 and B2 levels, candidates are given longer texts, with the total length of B2 texts being around 1000 words.
Part three: writing
This tests the candidates written skills and again varies in subjects according to the level.
- A1 - The first task is to fill in a document with required personal information. The second task is a simple text with the content of daily life.
- A2 - The first task is to describe a brief event or an experience. The second task is to write a text of expression of invitation, congratulations, application, giving information, justification, etc.
- B1 - Expression of the personal viewpoint in a given situation through an essay, a letter, or an article.
- B2 - Personal viewpoint and argumentation in a justified application, reply to message, etc., much like at B1 level.
The required length of writing is 40 words for A1, 60 to 80 words for A2, 160-180 words for B1, and at least 250 words for B2.
Part four: speaking
At the A1 and A2 levels, this section consists of a guided conversation where the candidate is prompted by the examiner, a short exchange of information on a defined subject, and finally, a role-play between the examiner and the candidate. At the B1 level, it consists of a guided conversation, an interactive exercise, and a discussion of a document designed to elicit a reaction from the candidate. At the B2 level, the candidate is expected to state and defend an opinion, based on a short document designed to elicit a reaction.
Duration of answering time
DELF (Diplôme d'Etudes en Langue Française) and DALF (Diplôme Approfondi de Langue Française) are official qualifications awarded by the French Ministry of Education to certify the competency of candidates from outside France in the French language. DALF is composed of 2 independent diplomas that correspond to the levels of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.
Language users at DALF C1 are independent. They can express themselves fluently and spontaneously. They have a large vocabulary and can choose the appropriate expression to introduce their comments. They can produce clear, well-structured discourse without hesitation and which shows controlled use of structures.
The DALF C1 exam consists of four parts. Each part is graded from zero to 25 points, for a total of 100 points. A minimum of 50 points, as well as at least 5 points per part, is required to pass the exam.
- Oral comprehension (40 minutes)
- Written comprehension (50 minutes)
- Written production, consisting of a synthesis and an essay (2 hours 30 minutes)
- Oral production, consisting of a presentation and a discussion with the jury based on a text (30 minutes; 1 hour preparation time)
DALF C2 users' proficiency in the language is illustrated by precision, appropriateness, and fluency of expression. C2 candidates are capable of using the language for business, academic, and other advanced-level purposes.
The DALF C2 exam consists of two parts. Each part is graded from zero to 50 points, for a total of 100 points. A minimum of 50 points, as well as at least 10 points per part, is required to pass the exam.
- Oral comprehension and production, consisting of a presentation and a discussion with the jury, based on a recording of 15 minutes listened to twice (30 minutes; 1 hour preparation time)
- Written comprehension and production, consisting of the composition of a structured text based on a file of documents of about 2,000 words (3 hours 30 minutes)
Progression from A1 -C2
Who can take the diplomas?
- If you are not French and would like your French skills to be recognized for personal or professional purposes.
- You can take DELF and/or DALF.
- If you are a non-French-speaking French person.
- You can obtain authorization from the National Commission for DELF and DALF to take the DELF examinations.
Which diploma should I take?
- The DELF and DALF diplomas are independent, so you can take the examination of your choice. You can also sit the examinations for a number of diplomas during the same examination session.
Where do I register?
- Candidates must register in approved examination centers in France or outside France. You can register in one country or in different countries, and there are no time limits.
italki brings professional French language teachers directly to you. Practice your French and prepare for the DELF & DALF exam. Click on the link below to find the right teacher for you.