DELE Vs. SIELE: 10 differences that you should know

Two certification systems of Spanish proficiency. Both are internationally recognized, and both take as a reference the levels established by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). Let's find out the differences between the two.

Diplomas de Español como Lengua Extranjera (DELE) 

The DELE certificates are issued by the Instituto Cervantes, in behalf of the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports since its beginnings in 1989. Exams are offered for levels A1 through C2 according to the CEFR, and the candidate must choose which level they would like to be tested. DELE offers exams for school-levels, young people, and adults that speak Spanish as a second or a foreign language.

Servicio Internacional de Evaluación de la Lengua Española (SIELE)

The SIELE certifies the Spanish language proficiency for young people and adults who speak Spanish as a second or foreign language, as well as native speakers. Starting in 2016, it is promoted and supported by the Cervantes Institute, the National Autonomous University of Mexico, Universidad de Buenos Aires and the University of Salamanca, and ensures a strong presence of multiple Spanish varieties.

10 differences between the two


  1.  It is cheaper in the initial levels - the price depends on the country and the CEFR level exam you are taking.
  2. There is no flexibility to choose a date for the exam. There is an established schedule.
  3. You have to finish the four sections (Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking) of the exam.
  4. It is done on paper and within the set exam periods.
  5. Presence of multiple Spanish varieties from B1 level.
  6. 6 exams for adults (A1-C2). 2 exam for young people (A1-A2/B1).
  7. You do the oral part with an examiner. 
  8. The final grade is either pass or fail.
  9. The certificate has no expiration date.
  10. Depending on the level, the exam can be 5-hours long.


  1. It is more expensive than DELE in the initial levels - the price variates depending on the country where you take the exam.
  2. The examinee chooses the time, date, and place where s/he will take the exam. 
  3. It offers a full exam or a partial exam that certifies particular sets of language competencies.
  4. It is completed electronically in one of the testing centers available.
  5. Presence of multiple Spanish varieties at all levels.
  6. Only one exam for adults (it integrates tasks from A1 to C1).
  7. You do the oral part alone.
  8. The score (0-1000) determines your level.
  9. The certificate is valid for 5 years.
  10. It takes 3 hours to complete it. 

Both tests have websites that can answer many of your questions:

Do you want to be prepared for your DELE/SIELE exam?

Students at any level are welcomed to take our DELE and SIELE preparation courses. Feel free to sent a message to if you are interested.