DILF - DELF - DALF - French Proficiency Tests

Official French proficiency certification

DILF, DELF, and DALF* are a set of official French proficiency tests administered by the Centre international d'étude pédagogiques. In addition to allowing you to opt out of a French university's language entrance exam, having one of these French certificiations looks good on your CV. If you are interested in obtaining an official document proclaiming your French language skills, keep reading.

The DILF/DELF/DALF is the French equivalent of the English proficiency test TOEFL*, but the tests for these two languages are quite different.

TOEFL certification, which is offered by Educational Testing Services, requires that candidates take a 2- to 4-hour test, after which they receive a TOEFL score indicating their level of proficiency. In contrast, DILF/DELF/DALF certification consists of multiple levels. Rather than a score, DILF/DELF/DALF candidates work to obtain one of seven diplômes from the Ministère de l'Éducation nationale, de l'enseignement supérieur et de la recherche:

  1. DILF A1.1
  2. DELF A1
  3. DELF A2
  4. DELF B1
  5. DELF B2
  6. DALF C1
  7. DALF C2

Each of these certificates tests the four language proficiencies (reading, writing, listening, and speaking), based on the levels of the Cadre européen de référence pour les langues. There is no score; the French speaker's proficiency is identified by the highest certificate s/he has obtained. The diplomas are independent, meaning you do not need to take all seven - proficient speakers can start at whatever higher level they qualify for.

Younger French learners are offered similar but separate tests: DELF, version junior and DELF scolaire.

For details about DILF/DELF/DALF, including descriptions of the tests in each unit; access to sample topics; and information about test centers (in some 150 countries), schedules, and fees, please visit the official DILF website and the official DELF/DALF website.

The Alliance française and many other French schools offer DILF/DELF/DALF preparation classes as well as the exams themselves, and the Centre national d'enseignement à distance offers correspondence courses in DELF/DALF preparation.

   DILF - Diplôme initial de langue française
   DELF - Diplôme d'études en langue française
   DALF - Diplôme approfondi de langue française
   TOEFL - Test of English as a Foreign Language