What is the DELF?
The DELF (Diplôme d’études en langue française) is an official international diploma awarded by the French Ministry of Education indicating the CEFR level of proficiency of candidates for whom French is a second language. It is based on the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR), which defines language proficiency along six global levels: A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, and C2.
Comprehend and use familiar simple words and expressions.
Understand and communicate in frequently used isolated sentences in their immediate environment (e.g., shopping, life at school and family).
Understand the main points of everyday communication and deal with most situations that are familiar or of personal interest.
Understand concrete and abstract concepts and interact with a degree of ease and spontaneity in the target language.
Understand with ease virtually everything heard or read and express himself/herself spontaneously, fluently and precisely in complex situations.
At each CEFR level, proficiency is measured across four competencies: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. The diplomas are valid for life.
The DELF is offered at specific times during the year and determined by the French Ministry of Education. Many Ontario school boards are affiliated with a DELF centre and offer this opportunity to Grade 12 FSL students. For a list of possible DELF centres, see here:
There are strict regulations around the exams. They can only be offered through accredited centres and at exactly the same time across the country. Only accredited assessors can mark the exam.
Structure of the exam:
Each diploma evaluates 4 competencies:
The listening comprehension test assesses the candidate’s ability to understand and process a spoken message.
In this test, the candidate listens to public announcements, radio broadcasts, conversations, etc. The format of the audio varies according to the CEFR level.
The reading comprehension test assesses the candidate’s ability to understand and process written text. The lengths of the texts vary according to the CEFR level. The types of texts may include emails, magazine or newspaper articles, letters or postcards.
The written production test assesses the candidate’s ability to write a text in French. The activities of this test vary according to the CEFR level. The candidate may be asked to write an article, a letter or a summary.
In this test, written interaction skills are also assessed. Activities may ask the candidate to complete a form, write an email message to reply to someone or develop a text to be published on a forum.
The oral production test assesses the candidate’s ability to speak in French. Activities may include monologues or presentations. The length of time candidates are required to speak varies according to the CEFR level of the test.
In this test, oral interaction is also evaluated. This can take various forms depending on the level: routine exchanges, role-playing, debates, etc.
What does it take to succeed?
During the listening comprehension, reading and written production portions of the test, candidates collectively complete the test in the same room. For the oral production portion of the test, candidates present alone in front of two examiners.
Each test is out of 25 points.
To obtain the diploma, the candidate must have at least 50 points out of 100.
The candidate must have at least 5 points out of 25 per test.
A score below 5 points out of 25 in any test results in an unsuccessful attempt.
What are the Benefits of the Diploma?
The DELF examinations are an opportunity for students to demonstrate their French-language skills. The DELF represents international recognition of your child’s French-language skills in a way that supports future learning, careers and other life aspirations.
A DELF diploma:
- offers an international recognition of French proficiency, acknowledged in 173 countries.
- is a life-long certification.
- enriches the candidate’s educational or professional portfolio
- is accepted internationally by francophone postsecondary institutions, including some in Canada.
- A level of B2 is required for some out of province university French programs (Université du Quebec a Montreal; Faculté Saint Jean – Université de l’Alberta)