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How to get ready for your French DELF A1 exam

Beginner's French proficiency test

The DELF A1 exam will test you on the four language skills in French: reading, writing, listening and speaking. We’ve detailed some tips and practice resources for each skill to help you better prepare for your test. Let’s get started!

Table of contents:

Reading comprehension 

30 minutes / 25 points

You'll be given four or five short texts dealing with various situations from everyday life, along with questions to test your comprehension.


Read the articles carefully, then study the questions. Be sure you understand exactly what's being asked before reading the articles a second time. If there are any words you don't know, try to figure them out from the context: given the rest of the article, what makes sense there?


The best way to prepare for the reading portion of your DELF A1 exam is to read regularly in French. We publish many French articles and transcripts on a variety of topics in our Bilingual Reader, where you can read the text in French and click on any phrase to see the English translation as well as related grammar lessons:

A1: Beginner French Reading Exercises

You can also borrow or buy French readers or children's books, and look for French websites that use relatively simple language, such as sites for children (e.g., 1 jour 1 actu), shopping, travel, or entertainment. Regular reading will help you learn new grammar and vocabulary, which will help you with the other language skills as well

Try these online exercises from one of our Education Partners here at Progress with Lawless French: A1 reading comprehension.

Writing skills 

30 minutes / 25 points

Two parts:

  1. Complete a form
  2. Write about daily life in the form of a postcard, email, photo captions, etc.


Be sure to answer only what's being asked, and remember to proofread what you write. Pay particular attention to spelling and accents.


We publish new writing challenges for our Premium subscribers every Friday, but you can find a couple of free exercises in our library to practise your French:

A1: Beginner French writing challenges

You can also try writing a few sentences about your daily routine: wake up, get dressed, go to work, etc., and then post it on an online forum such as Hi-Native to request corrections from native French speakers.

Listening comprehension 

20 minutes / 25 points

You'll listen, twice, to three or four short recordings (2-3 minutes each) dealing with everyday situations, and then answer questions that test your understanding.


On the first listen, try to get an overall sense of the topic. On the second, pay particular attention to the details. Don't let unfamiliar words or structures distract you from listening to the rest. Remember that it's more important to answer the questions accurately than it is to write in perfect French: this is testing how well you understand, not how you write.


Try to practice for at least a few minutes every day: listen to the radio, watch TV and movies, talk to people if you can. Even if you don't understand every word, listening will help your brain get used to these unfamiliar sounds.

Our reading exercises mentioned above also include videos or audio files so that you can work on your listening comprehension too:

A1: Beginner 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 exercise you can do first: Marie en France

Also try these online exercises from one of our Education Partners here at Progress with Lawless French: A1 listening comprehension

Speaking skills 

15 minutes / 25 points

This test has three parts:

  1. Directed interview
  2. Information exchange
  3. Simulated dialogue


For the first two parts, listen carefully to what the examiner asks and make sure to answer only that. For the third part, you'll have 10 minutes to prepare: look at the images you're given and think about the different things you can say about them or how you can use them as props in the dialogue (e.g., "pay" with a picture of money).


Take advantage of any opportunity to talk to native speakers. 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. 

Here are some of our articles with great resources to help you practise your French speaking skills:

Beyond the four skills

Getting ready for your French DELF A1 exam is just the first step towards an even bigger goal: becoming fluent in French!

Improve your French skills by creating your free account with Progress with Lawless French and get your personalized study plan based on your current French level. Kwizbot, your AI language coach, will inject the right amounts of challenge and fun into your study plan to keep you always learning and always progressing.


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