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Passing the DELF A1: What you need to now

By Julien
Reading Time: 5 minutes
DELF A1 exam

For all international students learning French, one way to prove your proficiency is by taking the DELF A1 exam. This article will guide you through everything you need to know about the DELF A1 exam, from the basics to exam day preparation.

An Introduction to DELF/DALF

DELF (Diplôme d’Études en Langue Française) and DALF (Diplôme Approfondi de Langue Française) are official certifications awarded by the French Ministry of Education to certify the competency of non-native speakers in the French language. The DELF caters to learners from levels A1 to B2, covering basic to upper-intermediate language skills. It assesses the four language competencies: listening, reading, writing, and speaking. The DALF is aimed at advanced learners, with C1 and C2 levels, showcasing a high degree of fluency and command of the language.

A1 corresponds to a user-level elementary (level introductory or discovery). This means that you have the following capabilities:

  • Understand and use familiar and everyday expressions and very simple statements that are intended to meet concrete needs
  • Knowing how to introduce yourself or someone
  • Being able to ask and answer questions about a person
  • Communicate simply if the caller speaks slowly and clearly and is cooperative

Wondering which test and level you should take? Find out more in this article:

DELF A1 exam

Why Take the DELF A1?

Taking the DELF A1 can be a significant milestone in your French learning journey. This certification is recognized worldwide and can enhance your academic and professional prospects. Depending on the level passed, the DELF can enhance a resume (CV) and make it easier to obtain a job in a company where French is the spoken language. The DELF A2 allows you to apply for a long-term residence card in France. The DELF B1 enables you to obtain French nationality. The DELF B2, as well as the DALF C1 and C2, allow you to enter French, European, or Francophone universities, and some prestigious schools.

Preparing for the DELF A1 pushes you to expand your vocabulary and understanding beyond your immediate interests, enriching your language skills and cultural knowledge. By aiming for this certification, you not only validate your current skills but also open doors to academic and professional opportunities, helping you integrate more fully into French-speaking communities.

What Does the DELF A1 Exam Test On?

The DELF A1 exam evaluates four key language skills:

  1. Listening: Understanding short, simple spoken messages
  2. Reading: Comprehending basic written texts
  3. Writing: Writing simple texts related to everyday life
  4. Speaking: Engaging in brief, simple conversations

To pass the DELF A1 exam you typically need to know:

  • 3 types of verbs – ER, RE, IR
  • Present tense
  • Personal Subject Pronouns
  • Tonic Pronouns
  • Interrogation – Tag, Inversion
  • Definite and Indefinite articles
  • Past tense
  • Numbers 1-100

Structure of the Exam

The DELF A1 exam is divided into 2 main sections: written tests and an oral test:

Written Tests:
Total Duration: 1 hour and 20 minutes
Details of the Test:

  1. Listening Comprehension:
    • Exercises: 4
    • Description: Answer questions based on three or four very short recorded documents related to everyday situations (two listens each).
  2. Reading Comprehension:
    • Exercises: 4
    • Description: Answer questions based on written documents related to everyday situations.
  3. Writing:
    • Exercises: 2
    • Description: Fill out a form and write a short message of at least 40 words.

Oral Test
Total Duration: 5 to 7 minutes, with 10 minutes of preparation
Details of the Tests:

  1. Oral Expression: Directed Interview
  2. Oral Expression: Information Exchange
  3. Oral Expression: Simulated Dialogue

DELF A1 exam

Scoring on the Exam

The DELF A1 exam scoring system is straightforward but requires careful attention to each section. The exam is scored out of a total of 100 points, divided equally among the four sections: listening, reading, writing, and speaking. Each section carries a maximum of 25 points.

To pass the DELF A1 exam, you must achieve an overall score of at least 50 out of 100. Additionally, you must score a minimum of 5 points in each of the four sections. If any section score is below 5 points, you will not pass the exam, regardless of your total score. This ensures that candidates have a balanced proficiency across all language skills.

Registering for the Exam

You can register for the DELF A1 exam at authorized centers worldwide, including French Institutes, Alliance Française branches, and accredited language schools. Early registration is recommended as spaces can fill quickly, especially for the more popular DELF and DALF exams. Use this interactive map to find the exam center nearest to you.

Some of our language schools are also exam centers, allowing you to prepare for and take the exam in the best conditions possible. Contact us for more information.

Preparing for the DELF A1

Preparation is key to success in the DELF A1 exam. Here are some tips to help you prepare:

  1. Read More: Regular reading improves comprehension skills. Start with simple texts like children’s books, news articles, and short stories. Check our recommendations here:
  2. Mock Exams: Practice with sample papers and past exam papers to familiarize yourself with the format and timing. Here are some mocks for you:
  3. Study Materials: Invest in reputable study books and use online resources like TV5Monde and RFI Savoirs for additional practice.

What to Expect on the Day of the Exam

The DELF A1 exam is a paper-based test, typically including written and oral components. Arrive at the test center 30 minutes early with your ID and registration confirmation. Bring pens, pencils, and an eraser, but leave electronic devices, study materials, and bags outside the exam room. Follow instructions carefully, manage your time wisely, and stay focused during both the listening and reading/writing sections.

When to Expect Your Results

Results are usually available a few weeks after the exam. You will receive a detailed score report for each section. Successful candidates will be awarded the DELF A1 diploma, which can be collected from the exam center or sent by mail.

DELF A1 exam

Ace the DELF A1 with Go! Go! France

The best way to pass the DELF A1 is to live in France and study at a language school. At Go! Go! France, we’re dedicated to making your dream of studying in France a reality. Through our tailored services, comprehensive support, and student-first approach, we simplify the application process and pave the way for your study journey in France.

Don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions, or to begin your application!

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