The DELF and the DALF are government approved French tests used to measure one’s proficiency with the language. Passing them gives you a “diplôme” which attests to your level of French and is useful when finding employment. Also, apparently if you pass any of the two levels of the DALF then you don’t have to take an additional language test before you take classes in France at the University level. The current levels of the DELF and DALF are as follows (as of 2011).
|DELF A1||basic – the learner can interact in a simple way|
|DELF A2||basic – candidate can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring the most common polite phrases and exchanges of information|
|DELF B1||independent – he/she can understand and maintain a discussion and give his/her opinion|
|DELF B2||independent – the candidate has a degree of fluency and spontaneity in regular interactions and is capable of correcting his/her own mistakes|
|DALF C1||proficient – can produce clear, well-structured discourse without hesitation and which shows controlled use of structures|
|DALF C2||proficient – proficiency in the language is illustrated by precision, appropriateness and fluency of expression|
As you can see, the tests are listed in order of difficulty. The little description of each test is from http://www.ciep.fr/en/delfdalf/index.php.
I had already taken parts of the DELF in 2003 and the sections above were introduced in 2005, so I had to figure out how the old corresponds with the new before beginning to study again (huge pain). I eventually found a PDF file explaining the equivalences at http://www.ambafrance-ca.org/spip.php?article1533 and luckily saved the PDF since the link now seems to be broken. Here is the PDF file I found: DELF-Table de correspondances-prev-to-2005. There’s also a little lookup application type thing on the ciep.fr website at http://www.ciep.fr/delfdalf/correspondances.php.
So I’ve taken the equivalent of section B1 and need to study for B2. I looked at taking courses at a local school, and driven by the inconvenient class schedules I’ve decided to first try some tutoring at home via Skype. I found two sites for this which look decent: http://www.learnfrenchathome.com/ and http://www.verbalplanet.com. Since verbal planet has some tutors that are much, much cheaper than the other site, I’ll be trying that one first. We’ll see how it works out.