DELF A1 - What to expect and how to prepare

Beginning-level French proficiency test

The DELF A1 will test you on the four language skills in French: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Here's some info about what to expect as well as tips on how to prepare for the test.

Reading comprehension / Compréhension des écrits

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.

Reading test tips

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?

Reading practice

The best way to prepare for the reading portion is to read regularly. 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. Also try these online exercises from one of Kwiziq's Education Partners: A1 reading comprehension.

Writing skills / Production écrite

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.

Writing test tips

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

Writing practice

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 Lang-8 to request corrections from native French speakers.

Listening comprehension / Compréhension de l'oral

20 minutes / 25 points

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

Listening practice

Try to practice for at least a few minutes every day: listen to the radio, watch TV and movies, talk to people. Even if you don't understand every word, listening will help your brain get used to these unfamiliar sounds. Also try these online exercises from Kwiziq's Education Partners: A1 listening comprehension | Beginning to intermediate dictations

Speaking skills / Production orale

15 minutes / 25 points

This test has three parts:

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

Speaking test tips

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).

Speaking practice

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.

Beyond the four skills

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