What is the SIELE Exam?

SIELE stands for “Servicio Internacional de Evaluación de la Lengua Española”, meaning the International Service for Spanish Language Assessment. It is an online exam taken at official SIELE testing centers and it is used to assess and certify the Spanish language skills of non-native and native speakers of Spanish for academic, professional or personal purposes.

Who can take the SIELE exam?

The exam is open to candidates who speak Spanish as a first, second or foreign language and it is meant for young and old alike. In short, anyone who wants an impartial measurement of their Spanish competency can take the SIELE exam.

Why take the SIELE?

People typically take the SIELE when applying to academic programs located in either Spanish-speaking, or non-Spanish speaking countries. SIELE results can also be shown to employers, prospective employers, or government immigration services to demonstrate command of the Spanish language.

How can I prepare for the SIELE?

A little bit of preparation goes a long way to improving your score. Candidates can familiarize themselves with the structure of the exam and study to improve in key areas. Click to learn more about SIELE Preparation Courses.

Where can I find SIELE practice tests?

We have prepared a battery of tests that are based on the same structure of the SIELE, but they are not official SIELE exams. Nevertheless, these practice tests will help prepare you to take the SIELE.

Are there tips to take the SIELE?

Yes, and if you take them into account, you ought to improve your score. We invite you to read our SIELE tips.

What is tested in the SIELE exam?

The SIELE exam tests the candidates abilities across the four language competencies: reading, writing, listening and speaking. The exam is divided into four independent exam modules which can either be completed all at once, or taken in partial sittings.

• SIELE Reading Comprehension Test (CL)

This section of the SIELE exam is divided into 5 tasks with a total of 38 questions. Questions may include short texts accompanied by multiple choice questions, longer texts with multiple choice questions, multiple texts related to a similar theme, texts with additional information that needs to be selected from a list, texts with missing vocabulary that needs to be selected from a list. You have 60 minutes to complete this portion of test which is worth 250 points, or 25% of your total grade. You cannot navigate between tasks, but you can jump back-and-forth between questions within a given task. The questions are scored automatically by the system.

• SIELE Listening Comprehension Test (CA)

There are 38 questions included in the SIELE listening test. Tasks include listening to conversations, monologues, interviews and presentations in order to answer a variety of multiple-choice type questions. These could be simple single-word answers, sentence fragments, or statements which show that you understand the meaning, the intention, or the ideas conveyed by the speaker. Expect to hear Spanish accents originating from all over the Spanish speaking world. You have 55 minutes to complete the six tasks included in the SIELE listening module, and this section of the SIELE exam accounts for 250 points, or 25% of your total score. There is a sound test at the outset so you can check your system.

• SIELE Written Expression and Interaction Test (EIE)

The SIELE writing test is comprised of two sections. In the first part, you will be asked to respond to a short letter that requests information using 100 to 150 words. In the second task, you will need to express an opinion using 250 to 300 words. You are allowed to navigate between the two tasks. You have 50 minutes to complete the questions included in the two tasks that comprise this section of the SIELE exam. As in the other sections, this section of the exam is worth 250 points, which equals 25% of your total score. The SIELE writing module is scored by specially trained SIELE personnel.

• SIELE Spoken Expression and Interaction Test (EIO)

In this section of the SIELE exam, you will be asked to address five different tasks/questions and you will need to record your spoken answer. Tasks may include answering simple questions of a personal nature, a description of photos, making a plan, or making an argument. You cannot navigate between tasks. You will have 15 to 20 minutes to complete this section of the SIELE speaking test, and your answers will be graded by a specialized SIELE scorer. The test is worth 250 points, equivalent to 25% of the global SIELE score.

Can I take the SIELE in parts?

Yes, you can take the four components of the SIELE all at once (this is known as the “Global” exam), or you can take it in parts, according to the following combinations:

Reading / Listening (CL) (CA)
Reading / Writing (CL) (EIE)
Listening / Speaking (CA) (EIO)
Speaking (EIO)

In the case you take the Global exam, you will receive a Certificate and you will receive a digital badge you can present to authorized third parties. If on the other hand, you only a portion of the SIELE exam, you’ll only receive a Report. In both cases, your score is displayed as is the corresponding level as per the European Framework of Reference for Languages.

What is the difference between the SIELE and the DELE?

These are both internationally recognized exams which offer a good assessment of your Spanish level, but there are important differences between the two evaluations. The SIELE is a computer based exam, while the DELE is not. The SIELE can be taken year round online, whereas the DELE is taken on paper and is offered only several times a year. The SIELE is scored on a point-based system, whereas the DELE is a series of exams which test different levels of Spanish which test candidates either pass or fail. The SIELE can be taken in parts, while the DELE is taken in one sitting. SIELE results are received in 3 weeks or less, whereas the DELE results can take up to two months and while SIELE results are valid for 2 years, the DELE results never expire. The SIELE tests up to a C1 level, but the DELE tests up to a C2. There are many other differences, so to see which Spanish exam is right for you, see a detailed description here.

Does the SIELE use geographical variations of Spanish?

Yes. The creators of the SIELE have embraced the global diversity of Spanish and have included Spanish variants from all over the world. Expect to see a few new words and to hear accents you might not be familiar with.

What should I bring when I sit the SIELE exam?

Bring valid identification with a recent picture and signature. The name of your ID should match the name you used when you registered for the exam. Also, bring your SIELE.org user name and password, which you will need to access the computer to take the Global Exam or Independent Exam modules.

Arrive at least 15 minutes prior to taking the exam. Note: you cannot bring books, paper, cell phones, tablets or any other electronic devices into the SIELE testing center.

How is the SIELE scored?

The SIELE is scored on a scale of 0 to 1000, and scoring corresponds to the European Council’s Common European Framework of References for Languages (CEFR).

Do I receive a report, certificate or a diploma when I take the SIELE?

Test takers who sit all four parts of the SIELE exam receive a SIELE Certificate, while those who take individual tests receive a Report. In both cases, a numeric score is provided together with a description of language ability according to the European Council’s Common European Framework of References for Languages (CEFR).

When will I received my SIELE test results?

Within 21 days of sitting the test, candidates receive an email letting them know that their scores are available on the SIELE web. Once signed in, they can download their Certificate or Report. Candidates who completed the Global SIELE exam (all four tests) will also receive a “digital badge” which they can share with authorized third parties.

Where are SIELE scores accepted?

SIELE scores are accepted by universities and colleges worldwide, but since the exam is relatively new (the SIELE was launched in 2016), you should first check with the institution to which you are applying. Businesses, governmental and non-governmental institutions will also accept the SIELE as proof of your Spanish level, but again, check their requirements carefully, since they may prefer another certification of Spanish language skills, such as the DELE, CELU, or the AP Language and Culture exam.

Who owns the SIELE exam?

The SIELE exam is owned jointly by its developers: the Instituto Cervantes (IC), the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), the Universidad de Salamanca (USAL), and the Universidad de Buenos Aires (UBA).

Who manages the SIELE exam?

The SIELE exam is commercialized and managed by Telefónica Educación Digital (TED).

How much does the SIELE exam cost?

The price of the SIELE exam varies, depending on the location. Consult www.siele.org for details.

Where can I take SIELE?

The list of SIELE exam centers is constantly being updated. Find a list of SIELE testing centers here: https://siele.org

How do I register for the SIELE?

Register to take the SIELE online by visiting the official SIELE page: https://www.siele.org

Are there online tutors who can help me prepare for the SIELE?

Working with an online tutor is a good way to prepare for the SIELE. Learn more about our specialized SIELE preparation programs.

Are the books I can buy to prepare for the SIELE?

So far, the supply of material to prepare for the SIELE is limited, but here is a digital guide to prepare for  the SIELE.