It is normal to feel nervous just thinking about facing the oral expression and interaction test for the B1 level of the DELE and we want to help you. We are about to tell you about the exam structure and the examiner’s point of view so that you can prepare it better and feel more confidente about it.
DELE B1 Oral expression: Test structure
Before your test time, a member of the support staff will bring you to the preparation room, where they’ll provide you with the materials and the information you’ll need. You won’t be allowed to bring the material to the exam room, so you’ll also be given a blank sheet and a pencil to make notes. You’ll be allowed to take it with you and check your notes during the exam. You’ll have 15 minutes to prepare 2 of the 4 tests that make up the exam:
For Task 1 you’ll need to choose one of the topics offered by the support staff and prepare a 2-3 minute monologue. Some headlines or questions may be on the sheet for you to use as a guide. Tip: I recommend you touch on ALL the points on the sheet in your presentation.
For Task 2 you’ll have a discussion on the topic in Task 1. The interviewer will ask you about your opinion or personal experience regarding this topic and you’ll speak for 3-4 minutes. To organize your ideas, you can make an outline on the blank sheet and during the exam you can LOOK AT your notes, but NOT READ them.
Task 3 and Task 4 cannot be prepared in this room. The interviewer will give you the material and instructions directly in the exam room. Don’t panic, keep reading.
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, who is the person you will talk to throughout the test. The examiner will probably ask you a little bit about yourself, but be careful! This introduction is NOT yet the exam. To start Task 1 you’ll again be given the sheet you had in the preparation room and will now be able to start your presentation. Then you’ll move on to the Task 2 and then to Task 3, the one you haven’t prepared.
The interviewer will give you the choice between two sheets having photographs of different subjects. You’ll need to describe the photo of your choice for 2-3 minutes using ALL the suggestions on the sheet, which will help you plan your discourse. Finally, Task 4, which you also haven’t prepared, will consist of a short improvised conversation with the interviewer about an IMAGINARY situation related to the subject of the photograph. The simulation will last 2-3 minutes. Tip: You don’t have to answer with real information about yourself. As we said, it’s an imaginary situation. Get into your role and don’t worry about making up the information about your character.
From the examiner’s point of view
We know you’re probably most interested in knowing what the examiners will expect from you as a B1 candidate and what they’ll pay attention to. We can tell you about that:
The interviewer will evaluate the whole exam globally. The evaluator will evaluate Tasks 1, 2, 3 and 4 independently. In both cases the grade can be fail with 0 or 1, pass for the level at 2, or a 3, pass and above the level applied for. What will they look for to give you a passing grade?
The interviewer will give you a score of 2 if you really answer what you’re asked to and express your opinions and describe the given situations clearly. Besides, you’ll need to show you have command of a simple linguistic repertoire, corresponding to level B1, that allows you to deal with the situations posed in the test. You can make some mistakes, but these shouldn’t interfere with you getting your ideas across. Finally, although you may need some clarification or even to have something the interviewer has said be repeated to confirm you’ve understood, you must show that you are capable of having a conversation and exchanging appropriate information with the relevant vocabulary and grammar.
The evaluator will score you based on four criteria: coherency, fluency, correction, and range.
In this first section, the evaluator will verify that you can create linear sequences of related ideas in the form of short, simple statements linked by common connectors (for example: “es que” (it’s that), “por eso” (that’s why), “además” (also)). In other words, that you connect the ideas you talk about coherently. Likewise, they’ll confirm that you’re able to have simple conversations about everyday topics, even if sometimes you need some clarification or to have something you’re told be repeated to confirm you’ve understood.
In this case, the evaluator will focus on whether you can speak continuously and understandably, even though you may need to pause briefly to plan your discourse or think about the correct grammar and vocabulary. Likewise, they will verify that your pronunciation is understandable.
Tip: Don’t worry if you have a pronounced foreign accent or if you make a sporadic error, it won’t affect your rating.
We’ve come to the section where one of the most feared aspects for students, and also the most studied, is evaluated: grammar. The evaluator will verify that you have a reasonable command of a repertoire of simple structures (for example indicative tenses such as the present, past, and future, possessives, the verb “gustar” (to like), basic periphrases, etc.).
Tip: Don’t worry if you make a mistake. If you can correct it do it, but if you realize it too late, keep going. The examiners are going to focus on your discourse in general, not in one tiny mistake.
In the last section, the evaluator will focus on your linguistic repertoire and whether it is broad enough for you to speak about everyday situations and express yourself on the subjects that appear in the test.
Tip: It doesn’t matter if you can’t find the word you’re looking for. You can try describing it or expressing the sentence in a different way. What matters is that you show you have tools to make yourself understood and make communication effective.
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Now you know all the key points to pass your exam. It’s your turn to start preparing yourself.