French certification: all you need to know about the DELF

Issued by the French National Ministry of Education, DELF French certification is used to determine candidates’ level of French language skills. The certification is intended for people whose first language is not French.

Once obtained, this certification is valid for life.

What is the purpose of the exam?

In general, DELF certification is useful for boosting your CV or gaining admission to schools abroad. Level B1 is required to obtain French nationality. The level B2 level is suitable for attending a French university or moving to a French-speaking country. 

What does the exam involve? 

Here is a summary of the content of the DELF exam:

  • DELF A1 (“Elementary”): this exam assesses candidates’ ability to interact and express themselves in simple situations. The aim is to use phrases and expressions from everyday life. 
  • The DELF A2 (“Elementary”): in addition to the A1 level, the DELF A2  includes the use of standard polite phrases.
  • The DELF B1 (“Independent”): candidates must be able to communicate easily in everyday situations. They may also be asked to share an opinion, take part in a discussion or conversation. 
  • The DELF B2 (“Independent”): candidates must be able to make arguments and negotiate (after a period of reflection). They must also be able to recognize errors relating to grammar and conjugation

All of these exams assess the candidates’ four language skills: reading, listening, speaking and writing.

How long does the exam take? 

The A1 and A2 exams take about 1h30 hours, while B1 and B2 exams take approximately 2h30 hours.

What levels can the DELF assess? 

The DELF certification can assess beginner to intermediate levels (A1 to B2). It is advisable to determine your level beforehand in order to select the option that best suits your profile. The guideline numbers of hours of learning required to pass the exam are as follows:

  • A1: 60 hours
  • A2: 160 hours
  • B1: 210 hours
  • B2: between 390 and 670 hours.

Note: for levels C1 and C2, candidates can take the DALF exam.

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What grading system does the DELF exam use?

To obtain DELF certification, candidates must score at least 50% overall. A minimum of 20% is also required in each of the exams. 

How much does the exam cost? Where can you take it? 

Examination fees vary depending on the examination center. On average, the DELF A1 and A2 exams cost €90, the DELF B1 exam about €100 and the DELF B2 about €150.

The DELF language is taken in an examination center (like the DALF). There are specialized centers in more than 170 countries.

At a glance: DELF vs. Frantastique (by Gymglish)

PublisherFrench National Education System,Frantastique (by Gymglish)
Name of certificate/ diplomaDELFFrantastique Learning Report
Validity periodLifeDoes not expire
Language skills testedReading, listening, writing, speakingReading, listening, writing
Target level(s)A1 to B2All levels, except beginners (A2 to C2)
PriceBetween €90 and 150From €14 /month
DurationBetween 1 1/2 and 2 1/2 hoursTraining + learning report: 6 months
Face-to-face / RemoteAt an examination centerRemote / online

The DELF is not the only option for French certification. At the end of our French language training, we also provide a personalized learning report.

Learn French with Frantastique 🇫🇷

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