In this article we’ll talk about the NEW oral expression and interaction test (2020) for the A1 level of the DELE. We know from experience this test makes people nervous and even creates certain anxiety in candidates. We’re going to analyze it and give you the examiner’s point of view, focusing on the key aspects you need to be able to express yourself comfortably.
DELE A1 Oral expression: Test structure
Ten minutes before your test time, a member of the support staff will come to meet you and take you to the preparation room. In this room, the staff will give you the materials you need and explain the instructions to start your preparation. But be careful! This material CANNOT be taken with you to the exam room, it remains in the preparation room. That’s why you’ll be given a pencil and a blank sheet of paper that you can bring with you and refer to. Make your notes on this sheet. Don’t worry, in the exam room you’ll have an exact copy of the materials. You’ll have a total of 10 minutes to prepare before taking the exam.
What type of materials will they give you? In total you’ll have to prepare two tasks. The support staff will give you a sheet for Task 1 to make a personal presentation lasting 1-2 minutes. You will need to talk about ALL the points on the sheet to present yourself. They’ll also ask you to choose between 2 sheets for Task 2. Each sheet has five options and you’ll have to talk about three of them for 2-3 minutes.
When you enter the exam room, you’ll see there are two people: the interviewer and the evaluator. You’ll sit in front of the interviewer, whom you’ll speak to throughout the test. Don’t worry about the evaluator, you don’t need to speak them. This person will be taking notes and evaluating the test. The interviewer will surely greet you, ask how you are, perhaps your name and country, but be careful! This introduction is not yet the exam. To start Task 1 you’ll be given the sheet you had in the preparation room again and will be able to begin.
Tip: Start by introducing yourself from scratch, even if you repeat information you said in the greeting. Now you are INDEED in the exam. The interviewer won’t talk to you during this test, but simply listen. When you finish, you’ll move on to Task 2. You’ll be given the sheet you chose and the interviewer will again listen to your presentation without interrupting. To be clear, you can LOOK at your notes, but not READ THEM. At the end of Task 2, you’ll begin Task 3. You have NOT prepared this task. The interviewer will ask you some questions related to the topic you chose in Task 2 and you’ll have a conversation about it. You’ll also be encouraged to ask two questions related to the conversation. With all three tasks, the test will last approximately 10 minutes.
End of exam and farewell
At the end of Task 3, the interviewer will inform you that the test is complete, thank you, and tell you that you can leave. It may seem a bit brusque, but the examiners can’t tell you if you’ve done a good or bad job. So don’t worry if they don’t say anything about your answers, this is typical. We recommend saying thank you and leaving the room without adding any further information.
From the examiner’s point of view:
As you read in the section on test structure, you’ll have three tasks. The evaluator will assess Tasks 1 and 2 together, and then Task 3 separately. Nevertheless, the interviewer will give you an overall grade. In both cases the grade can be fail with 0 or 1, pass for the level at 2, or 3, pass and above the level applied for. What will they look at to decide your grade? Your qualification will be based on two parameters: language usage and task fulfillment.
In this section, examiners will judge whether your pronunciation, intonation, grammar, vocabulary, connectors, and fluency correspond overall to level A1.
- Tasks 1 and 2:
To get a 2 you should be able to build sentences linked by some simple connectors, like “y” (and) or “también”(also). You should also be able to handle the present indicative, the verbs for “to be” (ser and estar, with their basic usage differences), gender agreement (masculine and feminine) and number (plural and singular).
Tip: Don’t get nervous if you realize you’ve made a mistake in grammar or agreement. A single mistake isn’t important, the examiners will evaluate the entirety of your discourse.
If you want to go a little further and try to reach 3, you should be able to express your opinion and evaluations through structures such as “me gusta…”(I like), “creo que…” (I think), “porque…” (because), etc. Your speech connectors should be a little more varied and you can use, for example, “porque” (because) and “pero” (but). In addition, you should show good use of possessives, articles, and basic periphrases.
- Task 3:
To get a 2 in this task you should participate in the conversation with the interviewer, providing the information they ask for. It doesn’t matter if you need some help (such as asking them to repeat the question) or if you pause to think, but you have to be able to answer with at least short statements.
If you want to try for a 3, you have to be able to speak without much difficulty about the topics related to your daily life and show command of basic rules of grammar to make simple sentences.
Examiners will judge whether the information you provide them is relevant. That is, if you really respond to what you’re asked. It will be noted positively if you add details, comments, appraisals, opinions, or reasoning.
As before, Tasks 1 and 2 will be evaluated from 0 to 3, and then Task 3 also from 0 to 3, but separately.
- Tasks 1 and 2:
To get a 2 you should be able to give the information you’re asked for in five or more of the points in Task 1 and in all of the points in Task 2. If you want a 3, you have to talk about all the points and also add any relevant details, comments, appraisals, opinions, or reasoning.
- Task 3:
To get a 2 in this task you should be able to answer the interviewer’s questions comprehensively with the information asked of you and also communicate the messages and ask questions about the chosen topic. If you want to try to reach a 3, once again you should add some details, comments, appraisals, opinions, or reasoning to the information already given and ask questions about the chosen topic.
And if you want more…
Have a look at our Special DELE Exam Preparation Pack!
Now you know, step by step, how the test will be structured, what tasks you’ll need to perform, what grade you can receive, and why the examiners will give you one type of evaluation or another. We hope this helps you prepare for your exam and that you’ll be able to take it feeling more relaxed.
Would you like to read this article in Spanish? Click here!