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DELE Exam Listening Comprehension

DELE exam listening comprehension is one of the more difficult challenges faced by candidates. Especially at the higher levels. The best preparation for audio comprehension is practice, practice and more practice. But it is often difficult to find audio clips that also provide the Spanish transcript, not to speak of the English. So here’s our latest such video, for you to test your current comprehension level.  Later in the video you will find the Spanish text, followed by the English.

This video illustrates very well the importance of trying to capture the overall context of the story on the first listen. Once you have that, then comprehending the details on the second listen becomes much easier.

Because this video contains the transcripted texts in Spanish as well as English of the original Spanish audio, it would be best to watch it on a laptop or PC rather than on your smartphone. Since the audio is so important, we also recommend listening to it with headphones.


Here’s the YouTube link:




This particular video also illustrates the importance of an extensive vocabulary and knowledge of Hispanic socio-cultural traditions, if you want to do well in the comprehension tests (whether they be listening or reading).

From the exam-technical point of view, it is equally important to realize what the examiners are trying to test.  It is NOT your powers of observation, or your short-term retention.  What they are trying to do, is test your comprehension of the Spanish language. They want to separate the true comprehenders from those who see or hear something in the questions that seems to “ring a bell“.

To give a simple illustration – say your exam text contains a statement: “the children played outside, as they like to do”.

The question then may be: Which of the following is the correct option, as to where the children had played:

a) The children played in the garage

b) the children would have liked to play outside

c) the children played in the garden.

In this example, C would be correct. What the question was testing, was whether you comprehended that the garden constitutes outside (versus the garage, which clearly is inside, and the formulation in – b -, which is the wrong tense and meaning). Instead of the similar-sounding formulation in (b), which was a so-called distractor to catch out those who fell for “this rings a bell”, you will find that the correct answers most often are synonyms – because that is the way to test whether you truly understood the meaning of key words or phrases.

snappa_1464822018For a more detailed set of tips on how to tackle the DELE exam comprehension tests, look at our earlier blogpost entitled:

Battle-Tested tips for Acing the DELE Reading Comprehension Exam



DELE exam listening comprehension (and reading comprehension) are among the topics covered in detail in our 96-page in-house Workbook #9.2: DELE Exam Orietation and Acing Tips.  This unique free DELE exam preparation book covers all aspects relating to the goals, format and curriculum of the DELE system, plus battle-tested tips for preparing yourself to ace the DELE exam.   Our workbook is available free, without any obligation, to readers of this blog – just send me your e-mail address via the convenient Contact Information Form on this page, and I will send you a .pdf copy.  Remember, too, that you are entitled to a free one-hour exploratory Skype session, also entirely without obligation.

Buena suerte with your exam prep



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Willem Steenkamp
Director of Studies at Excellentia Didactica online language institute; retired ambassador and former head of diplomatic academy of South Africa. D. Litt. et Phil., DELE C2 (SIELE exam center coordinator & OPI proctor)

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