Are you looking to certify your advanced French knowledge or do you already have a solid level of French that you want to certify? Taking the DALF exam is your option. Below is an overview of how to obtain a French degree by taking this exam to certify your level of advanced French.
What is the DALF?
The DALF (Diplôme Approfondi de Langue Française) means "Advanced Diploma in French Language" in Spanish and is an official certificate of French for foreigners, which has international recognition and once obtained it does not lose validity.
The DALF is awarded by the CIEP (International Center for Pedagogical Studies) of the French Ministry of National Education. It is requested to access a higher education institution or university, as well as in professional sectors to verify the advanced level of French, or to carry out emigration and/or naturalization procedures in French-speaking countries. It is endorsed by the Common European Framework of Reference.
Who is it for?
The DALF is aimed at candidates who have studied French for more than 700 hours, that is, who have a superior and advanced level of this language and must present a degree that endorses this knowledge as a requirement for admission to a higher education institution.
In this exam, it is possible to choose two (out of three) areas in which you want to deepen: either in letters, human sciences or pure sciences There are two levels that the DALF comprises, C1 (superior level) and C2 (advanced superior level).
The level that corresponds to C1 is for those who want to study undergraduate (license), postgraduate, specialization or master's degree (M1-M2) or doctorate. However, if what you require is a certificate to be able to enter a language institute and teach French, the DALF C2 exam is the right one.
What is the DALF made of?
The structure of the DALF exam (as well as of the DELF, the exam that evaluates the basic, pre-intermediate, intermediate and advanced levels) qualifies 4 linguistic areas of learning (oral comprehension and written comprehension, as well as oral expression and written comprehension).
For example, each test (the DELF and the DALF) examines both oral and written comprehension and production on a scale from 1 to 100. The minimum passing grade is 50 out of 100, with a minimum of 5 out of 25 in each item.
Comprehension orale (Oral Comprehension)
This part of the exam corresponds to a comprehension questionnaire of three or four audios of topics of daily life (the recordings are listened to twice).
Compréhension écrite (Written Comprehension)
In this part of the test, you must answer reading comprehension questionnaires of four or five written texts with various topics of daily life.
Expression orale (Oral Expression)
Here the exam comprises three parts that correspond to an interview, a dialogue with the exchange of personal information, and a simulation of a conversation.
Expression écrite (Written Expression)
This phase of the exam comprises two parts: Completing a card or a form and writing phrases or simple sentences (messages, legends, postcards) related to topics of daily life.
Exam duration and content
The time required for each DALF exam (C1 or C2) ranges from 3 hours and 30 minutes to 4 hours.
At the DALF C1 exam level, the user acquires a certain autonomy, since it is expected that they will be able to communicate in a simple and spontaneous way. In addition, the student is expected to have a broad lexical repertoire, as well as to use appropriate expressions to start their comments. It is also assumed that he will make clear and well-constructed speeches from the structural point of view of the French language.
On the other hand, for the DALF C2 type level, the applicant must master the language to a degree of precision, adequacy, and ease of expression, in such a way that the candidate to be certified at this level of knowledge is capable of doing different academic tasks or advanced upper level.
Bibliography or study resources
There are countless books that will be of great help to prepare for your exam:
- Abc DALF C1/C2: 150 exercises (new edition). BARRIERE Isabelle, PARIZET Marie-Louise Nouveaute.
- Prepare the DALF C1 & C2: méthodologie de lépreuve de production écrite, entraînement, corrigés. DEBEUCKELAERE Anne, HULIN Hélène.
- The DALF 100% réussite C1/C2: CHAPIRO Lucile, DUPLEIX Dorothée, FRAPPE Nicolas, et al.
In the same way, it is possible to take complete tests, such as those provided by Coursera, a free online course for intermediate level, and the Alliance Française: Online test. Also, in what corresponds to written and oral production, there are the following resources that can help you study effectively:
- Bonjour de France: exercises in written production (synthèse) and oral production for DALF C1.
- France Numérique University: where you can take online courses with the best French universities.
- Le Blog de Nandi: a methodology for a successful argumentative essay.
- Reddit: publish your recordings and receive feedback from other users.
Another no less important point is to pay the price of each exam on time, which ranges from level C1 to level C2. There are different filing dates depending on the institution that applies it. Although for an advanced student this information may be basic, it is worth turning to specialists, since attending preparation courses where an advisor explains and directs a class is an excellent complement to pass the DALF.
Traditional classes in a classroom with a teacher who explains to you on a blackboard and who makes you work on the 4 basic language skills through exercises help you strengthen the skills necessary to obtain the French language certificate at an advanced level. Above all, the language skills of oral expression will be of great help to you, which most of the time turn out to be one of the most difficult because of pronunciation.
It is also important to have practice on how to argue a speech, learn to raise a specific topic, synthesize ideas, and give conclusions on a given topic. Remember that practice makes perfect and preparation courses are part of the success to obtain your French certificate.