DELF Certificate: 8 Effective Preparation Techniques

Having the right diplomas help international students access international schools or French universities. DELF certification is great for students who plan to apply to a higher education institute. 

The DELF certificate from the French Ministry of Education is an internationally-recognised qualification verifying the level of French you have achieved, which never expires. 

Mastering French can be tough, but it’s so worthwhile. At French in Normandy, we’ve got lots of experience in supporting students to get their DELF certificates: read on for our eight effective preparation techniques. Remember, it’s important to take the DELF certificate at the right level. 


How many DELF French levels are there?

Le Diplôme d’Etudes en Langue Française (DELF) certifies French skills in foreign applicants from non-French speaking nations. 

DELF is made up of 4 diplomas that are independent of each other. This means you can take level B1 without taking either level A1 or A2. Level A1/A2 certify basic French skills while B1/B2 certify intermediate French skills. Each of the DELF French levels evaluates four language skills. 

DELF A1: At this first and most basic of the DELF French levels, a student should be able to engage in simple interactions. For instance, introducing themselves and asking and answering personal questions. 

DELF A2: At this level, the student should be able to do everything in A1 and also carry out simple everyday tasks. 

DELF B1: At this intermediate level, the student is an independent user able to manage familiar situations including at work, in school and for leisure. You are expected to understand all situations as you travel in a French-speaking nation. Your skills allow you to describe events, experiences, dreams, ambitions and hopes and briefly give explanations. 

DELF B2: When a person from a non-French speaking nation attains this level of mastery, he or she has a high level of independence. At this level, you can understand the ideas in a complex text on abstract concrete topics, such as a technical discussion in different fields of specialization. This level of French fluency enables you to talk with native speakers better and freely, explaining your opinion on current issues. A level B2 DELF certificate is great if you want to study at a French university. 

There are also DALF exams for students who need certification in French at a more advanced level, and we can also prepare you for these at French in Normandy.

At French in Normandy, we recommend you follow an exam preparation course instead of attempting to study for exams on your own, regardless of your French level or the exam you want to take. We can help you identify which of the DELF French levels you should take, too.


 8 Effective Preparation Techniques for the DELF exam

Want to get DELF certification? Here are our top DELF certificate preparation techniques. 

  1. Join a French language course

The DELF certificate is one of the two most important French qualifications for an international student who plans to attend a French university (find out about the other one here).

To fully prepare for the DELF certificate, you need to join a French course in a French language school. This will improve your skills and knowledge greatly as you prepare for the test. The teacher will assist you as you learn new important points of grammar. 

  1. Practice 

Exam practice is the best way to prepare for the DELF certification test – but the type of practice needs to be right. Revising old exam questions constantly is not enough. Online tests can help you practice your French skills. 

It’s important that after taking each practice exam, you take time to analyse your wrong answers and think of how you can eliminate errors in a future exam. 

  1. Translation 

This technique is exciting and beneficial as you prepare for your DELF certificate exam. The technique includes 5 easy steps. 

  • Translate any French audio or text into your first language 
  • Check it carefully and wait for a day or so
  • Then rewrite the audio or text into French using your own phrases and words
  • Now translate the text you wrote into French using a tool or ask a French teacher to review it
  • Compare your text to the original text 

This technique allows you to remember the phrases and words more effectively for future writing and speaking tasks. Also, it allows you to determine your choice of words. 

  1. Train your ears  

Train your ears to recognise fast speech to properly prepare yourself for the advanced French tests you’ll need for your DELF certification. Students often can’t understand French words, especially when a person speaks fast. So, you should train your ears to identify phrases and words in fast speech. This technique requires you to listen to a speech or radio excerpt and then write what you hear. Next, compare your text against the transcript. The technique is useful for training your ears for quick French audio, video, questions and speech. 

  1. Improve pronunciation 

Having the right pronunciation is important when you are trying to pass your DELF certificate. The right pronunciation helps your examiner understand you easily and can influence the opinion of your examiner on your level of French verbal skills. So, practice pronunciation of tricky phrases and words using an online audio dictionary. First, listen and then try to pronounce the same way. For accurate pronunciation, you will need to pronounce the words multiple times. 

It is helpful if you can come up with a list of words that are difficult for you and practice them regularly to improve your pronunciation. Record yourself saying the same words and phrases over and over and listen back to analyse your own pronunciation.

  1. Focus on grammar too

Like any other language, the best way to remember French grammar is to use it. Taking our course exposes you to concepts that help you grasp French grammar in a variety of situations. If you are studying alone and having trouble identifying your grammar mistakes, you have the option of requesting help from an online tutor. It’s also good to join a French grammar course or language exchange group with native French speakers. Look out for French grammar exercises online – there are lots of them. 

  1. Repetition 

This is one of the most important techniques. Repetition is proven to be a successful way of learning a language and studying a subject and is essential for your DELF certification. At French in Normandy we ensure you get the right amount of repetition to improve your French and help you learn more quickly. 

  1. Immersion  

This is important if you are to significantly improve your French skills: it will take you longer to become proficient if you are studying French in a non-French speaking country. 

Studying in a French-speaking country, however, means you will  chat with friends and your host family, read the news and watch movies in French. All this makes it easier to attain B1 French level proficiency, faster. 

If you are not in a French-speaking country, you could look for the nearest community college or public library to sign up for events that expose you to the French language and immerse you in the local French-speaking community.

In summary 

Practise, practise, practise!  

To master the French skills you need for your DELF certification, you need to use effective preparation techniques alongside a DELF exam preparation course. These study techniques will help you learn French through practise, which is the best way to master French. 

At French in Normandy, we really want to help you succeed and our DELF preparation course will help you improve your French oral, grammar and writing skills. With us, the time you invest in improving your French skills will pay off and we can help you reach your goals, no matter which French exam or level you want to achieve.

We are looking forward to welcoming you to study at French in Normandy, and help you succeed in getting the DELF certification you need to follow your dreams, whether of further study or work in France, or just getting to a higher level in the language.