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.
The best way to prepare for the reading portion is to read - a lot. Here at Progress with Lawless French, we publish French articles and transcripts on a variety of topics in our Bilingual Reader, where you can read the French and click any phrase to see the English translation as well as related grammar lessons:
B1: Intermediate French reading exercises
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).
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.
Progress with Lawless French publishes self-corrected writing challenges for Premium subscribers every Friday:
B1: Intermediate French writing challenges
A good writer is a good reader. Reading regularly is 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. Then 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.
You can and should practice for at least a few minutes every day: listen to the radio, watch TV and movies, talk to people.
The Progress with Lawless French reading exercises mentioned above also include videos or audio files so that you can work on your listening comprehension too:
B1: Intermediate French Listening Exercises
Be sure to try one of our amazing dictées which let you practice listening comprehension and writing skills at the same time. Here's a free sample of this Premium feature: Départ en vacances
Speaking skills / Production orale
25 minutes / 25 points
This test is divided into three parts:
- Directed interview
- Interactive exercise
- 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.
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.
- Practice speaking French, whether or not you're in France
- Online speaking practice
- Solo speaking practice
Beyond the four skills
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