The DALF C1 will test you on the four skills in French: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Here's what you can expect from the test as well as suggestions about how to prepare.
Reading comprehension / Compréhension des écrits
50 minutes / 25 points
You'll be given a literary or journalistic text of up to 2,000 words and a questionnaire to test your comprehension.
Reading test tips
Read the document carefully, then study the questions. Be sure you understand them before reading a second time. Watch out for multi-part questions and word play. Answer the questions without going into excessive detail: the key here is to demonstrate your reading comprehension, not your writing ability.
The best way to prepare for the reading portion is to read - every day. Read newspapers and magazines and literature to improve your understanding of current events, French culture, grammar, and vocabulary. Also try these online exercises from Kwiziq's Education Partners: Advanced reading | C1 reading comprehension
Writing skills / Production écrite
2½ hours / 25 points
Two writing exercises in the domain of your choice: literature/social science or science.
- Combine the major points of several documents into a single, 1,000-word summary.
- Write a well-argued essay based on documents provided.
Writing test tips
Read the documents very carefully and make sure you understand the tasks assigned to you. Consider your intended audience: there's a difference between writing a summary of newspaper articles and an essay about a controversial topic. 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 will probably help to make an outline before you begin writing.
Reading regularly is, once again, an excellent way to improve your knowledge of French structure, grammar, and vocabulary. Read opinion pieces, newspapers, essays, and the like to get a sense of how these sorts of writings are put together. Try writing a short essay and posting it on an online forum such as Lang-8 to request comments and corrections from native French speakers. Ask them to be tatillon (persnickety) in their assessment so that you can improve as much as possible.
Listening comprehension / Compréhension de l'oral
40 minutes / 25 points
You'll listen to several different recordings:
- Short recordings (played once) consisting of informational pieces like news briefs, surveys, and commercials, and a multiple-choice questionnaire.
- Long recording (up to 10 minutes, played twice) of an interview, class, seminar, etc., with multiple-choice and essay questions.
Listening test tips
Remember that this is a comprehension test, so it's more important to answer the questions accurately than it is to write in flawless French.
You can and should practice every day: listen to the radio, watch TV and movies, talk to people. Also try some online exercises from Kwiziq's Education Partners: C1 listening comprehension | Intermediate to advanced dictations
Speaking skills / Production orale
1½ hours / 25 points
You'll be given an hour to prepare an oral presentation based on several documents in the domain of your choice (literature/social science or science). After making your presentation, you'll discuss it with the examiners.
Speaking test tips
Read the documents thoroughly. Think very carefully about what they say and imply, and how you can summarize and expand upon them. You can agree or argue with the basic premise, but either way you'll want to use short quotations from the texts and examples from current events to support your point of view.
It's essential to talk to a variety of native speakers, as often and as as much as possible.
- Practice speaking French, whether or not you're in France
- Online speaking practice
- Solo speaking practice
Beyond the four skills
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