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Lesson Transcript

Michael: What are some common French proficiency tests?
Aurore: And how do I choose the right one for me?
Michael: At FrenchPod101.com, we hear these questions often. Imagine the following situation: Emma is talking to Jack about her attempts to motivate herself to study French harder. She says,
"I have to take the DALF."
Emma Augé: Je dois passer le DALF.
Emma Augé: Je dois passer le DALF.
Jack Jones: C'est quoi le DALF ?
Emma Augé: C'est le « Diplôme Approfondi de Langue Française ».
Michael: Once more with the English translation.
Emma Augé: Je dois passer le DALF.
Michael: "I have to take the DALF."
Jack Jones: C'est quoi le DALF ?
Michael: "What's the "DALF"?"
Emma Augé: C'est le « Diplôme Approfondi de Langue Française ».
Michael: "It is the "In-depth French Language Diploma."

Lesson focus

Michael: If you intend to study and work in France, or request French citizenship, you will need to be able to speak fluent French in order to reach your goals. For most French students, obtaining proof of their knowledge of the French language is possible through French proficiency tests. There are several French proficiency tests available, and each of them is designed to measure an individual’s mastery of everyday French. In this lesson, we’ll take a look at two of the most common French proficiency tests.
[Recall 1]
Michael: Let’s take a closer look at the dialogue.
Do you remember how Emma Augé says "I have to take the DALF?"
(pause 4 seconds)
Aurore as Emma Auge: Je dois passer le DALF.
Michael: The Diploma in Advanced French Language, or
Aurore: Diplôme Approfondi de Langue Française
Michael: or DALF, for short, is a French as a foreign language certification given to non-native speakers by the International Centre of Pedagogical Studies, or
Aurore: Centre International d'Études Pédagogiques.
Michael: The DALF exam consists of two separate diplomas corresponding to the C1 and C2 levels, which are the top two levels in language proficiency. This means that the DALF is designed for individuals who are already somewhat proficient in the French language. The C1 diploma is given to passers who are able to express themselves in French fluently and spontaneously. C1 passers are independent and have a wide range of vocabulary, or
Aurore: vocabulaire.
Michael: They can also choose the right expression to use in their sentences. More importantly, they are confident and can communicate in a clear and well-structured manner. The exam for the C1 diploma consists of four parts. Twenty-five points are allocated for each part, for a total of one hundred points. Takers are to get a minimum of fifty points in total and at least five points for each of the four parts if they are to pass the exam. The first part of the DALF C1 exam is the Oral Comprehension, or
Aurore: Compréhension orale.
Michael: This part lasts forty minutes and consists of two parts. The first part involves a series of long recordings that you can listen to twice. The second part involves shorter recordings that are only placed once. The second part of the DALF C1 exam is the Written Comprehension, or
Aurore: Compréhension écrite.
Michale: In this section, you will be asked to read a long text between 1,500 and 2,000 words in length and answer a series of questions about what you’ve read. This part lasts fifty minutes. The next part of the DALF C1 exam is the Written Production, or
Aurore: Production écrite.
Michael: This is divided into two tasks. For the first task, you will be asked to read two to three texts and write a 220-word summary. For the second task, you will be required to write an essay on the same topic. This time, the minimum number of words required is 250. You will be given two hours and thirty minutes to complete this part of the exam. And, finally, there’s the Oral Production part, or
Aurore: Production orale.
Michael: In this section, you will be required to deliver a short speech. You will also discuss several questions with the examiners. Don’t worry because you will have sixty minutes to prepare your speech after reading two to three articles on a certain topic. For this part, you will be given one hour to prepare and thirty minutes to take the actual test, for a total of one and a half hours. Now, for the A1, A2, B1, and B2 Levels, the more appropriate exam would be the Diploma in French Language Studies, or
Aurore: Diplôme d'Études en Langue Française,
Michael: better known as DELF. Both the DALF and the DELF are the only diplomas of their kind to be issued by France’s Ministry of Education. The DELF is composed of four diplomas. While the DALF is designed for assessing high proficiency in the French language, the DELF is designed for children, teenagers, and adults who are on the beginner or intermediate level. It’s also available in four versions. The first one is the
Aurore: DELF Prim,
Michael: which is available at pre A1, A1, and A2 only and is designed for primary school students aged 7 to 11 years old. The second one is the
Aurore: DELF Junior et Scolaire
Michael: intended for Secondary School students. The third one is the
Aurore: DELF Tous Publics,
Michael: which, this time, is aimed for adults. Finally, there’s the
Aurore: DELF Pro,
Michael: which is aimed at students or professionals whose goal is to be integrated or promoted in a French-speaking country or environment. Just like the DALF exam, the DELF exam is composed of four parts, which are listening, reading, writing, and speaking. The difficulty level of the exams may vary, but the scoring is similar at each level. In order to pass the DELF exam, you need to achieve a minimum of fifty points in total out of one-hundred, with at least five points in each of the sections.
Michael: In this lesson, we had a look at two major French proficiency tests, which are the
Saodat: Diplôme Approfondi de Langue Française
Michael: or DALF, and
Saodat: Diplôme d'Études en Langue Française
Michael: or DELF. The websites of each of these tests will be linked in the lesson notes so you can find further information about them. Some universities or workplaces in France might ask you to take language proficiency tests other than these two, but, in most cases, taking the DALF or the DELF is enough. Also, the validity of both the DALF and DELF diplomas is international and unlimited. The two are very useful if you want to settle down, work, or study in France or any French-speaking territory.
Cultural Insight/Expansion
Michael: There are over a hundred DELF and DALF examination centers in France and a thousand more in more than 170 territories outside of France. One of the most notable testing centers in France is Aix-Marseille University, or
Aurore: Aix-Marseille Université.
Michael: The university is a significant center for teachers of French as a foreign language. The school offers training and the perfecting of the French language not only as a cultural but also as a scientific means of communication. Founded in 1409, Aix-Marseille University is one of the oldest schools in France. It’s also one of the most distinguished educational establishments in the country, and, according to Harvard University, is second only to the University of Paris in the areas of history,
Aurore: l'histoire
Michael: literature,
Aurore: littérature,
Michael: and linguistics
Aurore: linguistique.
Michael: As a student of French, you should definitely visit when you get the chance to travel around France!


Michael: Do you have any more questions? We’re here to answer them!
Aurore: À bientôt !
Michael: See you soon!

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