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DELF B1 - What to expect and how to prepare

Intermediate French proficiency test

The DELF B1 will test you on the four language skills: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Find out what you can expect and what you can do to prepare for this French proficiency test.

Reading comprehension / Compréhension des écrits

35 minutes / 25 points

You'll be given two texts, one of general interest, and the other related to a specific task, as well as some questions to test your comprehension.

Reading test tips

Read the articles carefully, then consider the questions. Be sure you understand them before rereading the articles. You'll need to analyze the general interest text, and pick out the information required in order to perform the task. Watch out for multi-part questions and word play. Answer the questions completely but succinctly - a sentence or two should do it, just enough to indicate that you understand.

Reading practice

The best way to prepare for the reading portion is to read - a lot. Regular reading of newspapers and magazines will help you develop familiarity with the issues of the day (as well as augment your vocabulary and improve your grammar). Also try these online exercises from Kwiziq's Education Partners: Advanced reading | B1 reading comprehension

Writing skills / Production écrite

45 minutes / 25 points

You'll be given a topic of general interest and asked to write an opinion about it in the form of an letter, article, or essay.

Writing test tips

Be sure to read the document very carefully and make sure you understand the task given to you. Consider your intended audience: there's a difference between writing a letter and a newspaper article. Think about what you should say in your introduction, the different points you want to make, and how to draw everything together into a conclusion. It can help to make an outline before you begin writing.

Writing practice

Reading regularly is, once again, an excellent way to improve your knowledge of French structure, grammar, and vocabulary. Read opinion pieces, essays, newspaper articles, and the like to see the types of connecting and transitional phrases that are commonly used. Try writing a short opinion piece and posting it on an online forum such as Lang-8 to request comments and corrections from native French speakers.

Listening comprehension / Compréhension de l'oral

25 minutes / 25 points

You'll listen, twice, to three different recordings of no more than 6 minutes each, then answer some multiple-choice and essay questions to test your understanding.

Listening test tips

On the first listen, try to get an overall sense of the topic. On the second, pay particular attention to the points being made. Don't let unfamiliar words or structures distract you from listening to the recording. Focus on answering the questions accurately rather than worrying about whether your French is perfect: you're being graded here on comprehension, not production.

Listening practice

You can and should practice for at least a few minutes every day: listen to the radio, watch TV and movies, talk to people. Also try some online exercises from Kwiziq's Education Partners: B1 listening comprehension | Intermediate to advanced dictations

Speaking skills / Production orale

25 minutes / 25 points

This test is divided into three parts:

  1. Directed interview
  2. Interactive exercise
  3. Expressing a point of view

Speaking test tips

For the first two parts, listen carefully to what the examiner says and make sure to answer/address thoroughly. For the third part, you'll have 10 minutes to prepare: read the short document thoroughly, at least twice. Think very carefully about what it says and implies, and how you can express your point of view. Use short quotations from the text and examples from current events to support your argument.

Speaking practice

Obviously, you should practice with native speakers as much as possible - and preferably not the same two or three all the time. By speaking with a variety of people, you'll get more comfortable with different speaking styles, speeds, and accents - which helps your listening comprehension as well.

Beyond the four skills

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