The Diploma of Spanish as a Foreign Language (DELE) and the International Spanish Language Evaluation Service (SIELE) are both internationally recognized certifications that test your level of Spanish, but what exactly is the difference between them? In summary:

The DELE proves your level of proficiency in Spanish. Each candidate chooses which level they would like to be examined on and you either pass or fail that level. The DELE is extremely well-established and is often the typical way of officially confirming your level of Spanish for universities and citizenship tests.

The SIELE is similar to the Test of English as a Foreign Language (the well-known TOEFL), scores will be based on a scale from 0 to 1,000 points, which means that you neither pass nor fail, you simply find out which level you are.

DELE (Diploma of Spanish as a Foreign Language)

The DELE certificates are issued by the Instituto Cervantes, on behalf of the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports. This certification has no expiration and each exam consists of four sections (Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking).

Each candidate must choose which level they wish to be examined on, from A1 to C2, according to the CEFR:

  • Diploma of Spanish (Level A1 – Breakthrough)
  • Diploma of Spanish (Level A2 – Waystage)
  • Diploma of Spanish (Level B1 – Threshold)
  • Diploma of Spanish (Level B2 – Vantage)
  • Diploma of Spanish (Level C1 – Effective Operational Proficiency)
  • Diploma of Spanish (Level C2 – Mastery)

The dates of the exams are scattered around the year and the tests are taken in testing centers, on paper. It takes three months to find out your results and successful candidates are sent a physical diploma and an official electronic certificate. This confirms whether you have passed or failed the exam.

SIELE (International Spanish Language Evaluation Service)

Recently launched, the SIELE is promoted by the Instituto Cervantes (IC), the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), the University of Salamanca (USAL) and the University of Buenos Aires (UBA). SIELE certifies the degree of proficiency in Reading comprehension, Listening comprehension, Written expression and interaction and Oral expression and interaction. The certification is valid for two years.

The exam is taken electronically in testing centers by appointment. One exam is completed by all candidates and marks are scored on a scale of 1000 points, which officially certifies your level of Spanish from A1-C1, according to the CEFR. There is no pass or fail result.

LAE Madrid has preparation courses for both the DELE and SIELE examinations. Our teachers are certified in both exams and can advise you on exactly what you need to achieve your goals in Spanish. Send us an email and you can sign up for a free consultation.