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Advice for Spanish B2 DELE

 Language Learning Forum : Immersion, Schools & Certificates Post Reply
Caymane
Newbie
United Kingdom
Joined 1572 days ago

29 posts - 2 votes
Speaks: English*
Studies: Spanish

 
 Message 1 of 8
17 November 2013 at 9:59pm | IP Logged 
Hi all :)


Well I've been wanting to learn Spanish for some months now. But then I came to the realization, that, in order to progress to a point where I could say: <I speak Spanish> rather than <I'm learning it>, I would have to take an exam both to motivate and prove to myself that I could say that confidently.


So I chose the European framework DELE exam, and having been reading up the criteria and information for the exams on the website, I have a few questions I'd like to ask anyone who has done the DElE B2 exam or who knows about it.


------------------------------------------


For the writing part of the exam, does it expect you to write out any specialized documents like CVs/job application forms. As I expect the general format of those might be different to English.



For the verbal comprehension part of the exam what control do you have over the audio, can you pause or repeat it? Or do you have to write the answers down straight away while listening?


And finally, in your opinion would you say the B2 was equivalent to being fluent in a language? I hear that most people think it is because fluent meaning "fluid" and by the B2 level you are expected to speak with very little hesitation in general conversations.



Thanks very much in advance.

Mark


Edited by Caymane on 17 November 2013 at 9:59pm



chokofingrz
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England
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Speaks: English*, French, Spanish, German, Italian
Studies: Russian, Japanese, Catalan, Luxembourgish

 
 Message 2 of 8
19 November 2013 at 2:13am | IP Logged 
I don't have the answers, I would just say good luck and don't forget to set some short term goals while you study!

I haven't taken that exam but from my experiences in Spanish language schools, I would say that with a B2 certificate you can label yourself as fluent without feeling like a fraud. Not native-fluent, obviously, but you can get by in most places with few difficulties and can enjoy native materials (as you will be in C1 in some skills by then).



Julie
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 Message 3 of 8
24 November 2013 at 12:17am | IP Logged 
I took the exam 7 years ago so I do not remember all the details (and the exam format might have changed, at least the name of the exam changed).

I do not think I was expected to be able to write any specialized documents like CVs or job application forms. The writing part of the exam was quite general (essays and letters mostly). I don't recall any specific formats/writing and composition principles (much easier than English or French writing at this level).

For the listening comprehension part, I did not have any control over the audio. However, the audio for all or some exercises was repeated, and I was given some time to read the questions, mark the answers etc.

The very notion of 'fluency' is a complex and controversial one (and there are many threads about fluency and proficiency here on HTLAL). Anyway, I think that B2 is an equivalent of a pretty good knowledge of the language which allows you to function in the foreign language environment, talk about most of the general topics and enjoy these conversations, use most of the target language media (even if you may struggle to understand some of them), attend TL university lectures on familiar topics etc. I don't think you're expected to speak with very little hesitation on B2 DELE.

I remember that a great number of original tests was available on the Internet when I was getting prepared for the exam, and doing tests definitely helped a great deal. Reading about the evaluation criteria for the writing and speaking part helped a lot as well (plus, that's always additional reading practice :)). In my opinion the test was generally quite easy. The time limit for the writing part might be tricky, though, if you decide to make a clean copy of your text.

If you have any further questions, I'll be glad to help (but please bear in mind that I took the exam a long time ago).

Edited by Julie on 24 November 2013 at 12:18am



Caymane
Newbie
United Kingdom
Joined 1572 days ago

29 posts - 2 votes
Speaks: English*
Studies: Spanish

 
 Message 4 of 8
24 November 2013 at 8:03pm | IP Logged 
Thanks for the reply Julie :)

When you said the time limit for the writing part might be tricky , do you mean to say that they expect you to write a piece without having any corrections done to it later? Or that it's up to you whether you want to do this?



Cheers







Edited by Caymane on 24 November 2013 at 8:03pm



Julie
Heptaglot
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PolandRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 4367 days ago

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Speaks: Polish*, EnglishB2, GermanC2, SpanishB2, Dutch, Swedish, French

 
 Message 5 of 8
24 November 2013 at 8:19pm | IP Logged 
I had enough time to read my essay and to introduce all necessary corrections. However, due to the number of corrections and my usual writing habits I decided to make a clear copy of the text.

Unfortunately, my test was taken away before I managed to complete it (the last 2 sentences or so were left out). It might have been simply due to my poor time management, as I should have started re-writing the whole thing a few minutes sooner.



Cavesa
Triglot
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Czech Republic
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 Message 6 of 8
25 November 2013 at 3:06am | IP Logged 
I am still just pondering the possibility of trying a DELE next year but I have got an example of past papers and I have looked in a few preparatory textbooks. Based on that and my experience with similar exams:

-get a preparatory coursebook (with audio of course) and/or some past papers. It's the easiest way to get all the info you need. What kind of assignments to expect, how much time will you have for each part and so on. Last time I checked, there were at least three series of preparatory coursebooks on the market, you'll surely find something comfortable for you.

-don't expect any control over the audio. In all the exams I have been through (not only of this kind), we listened to the audio twice. Of course, there is usually a bit of time before (so that you can read the questions), in between and after the audio.

-don't neglect the listening skills. Both for the listening part and for speaking as well. There are many sources of podcasts and other material for Spanish. Use them. They are being mentioned over and over in the forums, just a few examples practicaespanol.com, lyricstraining.com, tv series, news on various tv stations online, etc.

-practice your writing. italki.com is just one of the good places to go for corrections. Use the past papers or a preparatory book to try exactly the kinds of assignments you are likely to get.

-Be really good at the basics. B2 is a level where you are, in general, forgiven a lot of things compared to C1. (Especially when it comes to vocabulary, "fluency", creativity of use of the language, cultural references, proper use of formal/colloqual terms and so on.) But you should no longer make beginner mistakes. You should no longer have any trouble with being basically understood.

-get a speaking partner or tutor if possible. But don't pay for preparatory classes. They are usually a waste of money. Several friends of mine did the mistake. They had hoped to get a lot of speaking practice and individualized feedback (the classes were pretty small, expensive and with good advertising). Instead, they spent most of the classroom time doing the exercises they could have easily done on their own.

-Cover the gaps. The B2 tasks can draw from a very wide range of topics. So, if you know you aren't too strong when it comes to economy or sports or whatever, and the more in Spanish, focus on it. Start with what the textbook offers but try some news, wikipedia etc. It isn't good to lose points just because you don't get much input about that field usually.

-another good source of topics, that are likely to come in the exam, are the news. Get familiar with the often discussed themes in the Spanish speaking media. What has been boiling in the countries during the last few years? What parts of history do still resonate strongly? What troubles are still unsolved? It is very likely that something from this pile will come up in the exam, especially during the speaking part. B2 is no longer about buying new shoes, getting from point A to point B or planning your weekend.

I hope this helps a bit.



Caymane
Newbie
United Kingdom
Joined 1572 days ago

29 posts - 2 votes
Speaks: English*
Studies: Spanish

 
 Message 7 of 8
25 November 2013 at 8:49pm | IP Logged 
Thanks!

As for your last comment about themes in Spanish media - Yes it is easy to forget at times that a language is more than just words and grammar rules - it's also made up of cultural things that have to be understood in order to avoid confusion.

It's not easy, at all when doing this long distance. You can never hope to cover all bases in a language without immersion in an environment.



Cavesa
Triglot
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Czech Republic
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Speaks: Czech*, FrenchC2, EnglishC1
Studies: Spanish, German, Italian

 
 Message 8 of 8
26 November 2013 at 12:09am | IP Logged 
Well, there are surely many things you will hardly cover even during the immersion (unless it is one for life). But B2 surely doesn't require you to spend time in the country, getting other real input is totally sufficient.


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