March 4, 2020
Working or studying abroad can be a positive and exciting opportunity that will most likely benefit your future. If you have the language skills required, you may assume that taking advantage of that opportunity for work or schooling will proceed without much effort. But not so fast! You may have to prove those language skills and if the language required is Spanish, you likely will need to take the SIELE Global exam.
If you’ve been told you need to take an exam in order to provide proof of your Spanish language proficiency, you’ll want to check out the SIELE (Servicio Internacional De Evaluación De La Lengua Espaňola) website to find out more details. The exam is promoted by the Instituto Cervantes, the Universidad Autónoma de México, the Universidad de Salamanca and the Universidad de Buenos Aires. These institutions guarantee the standards of quality and good practices while recognizing diverse linguistic varieties within the exam. Thus the exam is a measure and certification of your proficiency in the Spanish language.
This exam includes four separate tests: reading, listening comprehension, written expression and interaction and spoken expression and interaction. It makes use of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages as level benchmarks for results and in addition to being promoted by the above-noted institutions, it is recognized by the Conference of Spanish Rectors (a non-profit organization of 76 Spanish universities), the Association of Language Centres in Higher Education, The National Directory of Professional Certifications and The Seal of Biliteracy. Additionally, more than 75 universities in 20 Latin American countries back the quality of the content in the SIELE exam and contribute to its ongoing development.
In terms of Spanish language proficiency, this is definitely the exam to take with all of this support behind it. The SIELE site describes it as the most comprehensive online exam for certifying Spanish proficiency.
The SIELE Global exam is provided through a number of partner test centres aligned with SIELE. In Canada, currently, the exam is offered in BC, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec and in BC there are two exam centres – one in Vancouver and one in Victoria. SIELE exam registration is done through the SIELE site by clicking on “Book Your Exam”, selecting your exam type (dependent upon the requirements you need to provide in order to work or study abroad) and selecting your country and region. You may also select “Examination Centres” from the site’s menu bar and choose “Find Your Centre”.
You will be shown the available times and dates as well as the price to take the exam (priced in Euros, regardless of the country where you are taking the exam) and need to click “register” next to your preferred time and date in order to start your SIELE exam registration. You’ll need to create a SIELE site account, if you haven’t already, and continue through the process in order to complete the entire SIELE exam registration. If you complete your registration but find you need to change your exam date and time, you can cancel within 14 days of your registration and be refunded your fee. You can then rebook, or you may want to contact SIELE through the site if you need help.
Those who need special accommodations due to health or disability needs should contact SIELE directly to ensure their needs can be managed at the centre they wish to take their exam.
As mentioned previously, the SIELE makes use of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages as level benchmarks for results. Each of the four exam components has a maximum point value of 250 with a cumulative total for the Global exam of 1,000 points.
Those looking to take an undergraduate or master’s program at a Spanish university will need to contact their preferred school to find out what language benchmark level is required, but most often, potential students must reach a minimum of a B1 or B2 level on all four sections of the exam. These levels vary per test section. In reading comprehension, the B-level range is from 118 points to 216.99 points. In listening comprehension, the B-level range is from 112 to 210.99 points. In written expression and interaction, the B-level range is from 104 to 214.99 points and in oral expression and interaction the B-level range is from 125 to 214.99 points.
Level A is considered a beginner’s grasp of Spanish, A2 is elementary, B1 is intermediate, B2 is advanced, C1 is proficiency and C2 is considered mastery.
You will receive your score information on your account page on the SIELE site within three weeks of taking the exam. Simply login to your account to download the certificate or report (depending upon the exam you took).
All SIELE examination centres take administration of the exam very seriously. There are a number of rules that must be adhered to or you may be ejected from the exam. It is important to fully understand the exam requirements beforehand and you should check with the exam centre you have selected as to the specifics you need to follow.
SIELE recommends to always arrive at least 15 minutes before the exam time in order to register. You must bring your official to identify documentation that aligns with the information you used to complete your SIELE exam registration.
The exam is completed electronically within the exam centre environment which makes it easy for those familiar with computers. Reading comprehension takes 60 minutes, listening comprehension is 55 minutes, written expression and interaction is 50 minutes and oral expression and interaction is 15 to 20 minutes for a total of 3 hours to 3 hours and 5 minutes.
There are a number of practice exams and preparation courses available through the SIELE site to help you do your best on the exam.
If you are preparing to study or work in a Spanish-language region and need to prove your language proficiency, it’s time to look into the SIELE exam so that you’re ready for the test and can get on your way with your new adventure abroad.