Finishing high school can be a uniquely stressful time as we must think about the next steps we are going to take in our lives. Many people will be choosing between colleges and universities, while others will be wondering if they should just go to work. If you’ve taken French all the way through school, you might be debating over whether or not you attempt getting your French language certification.

Students that take French classes all the way through grade 12 or take French Immersion throughout school may not fully appreciate how important the accomplishment is. Learning a new language is tough, and making the choice to pursue French study in the senior years of school likely indicates you have a real love for the language. It’s no secret most students stop taking their French courses as soon as it becomes optional. The verb conjugations become more complex, the readings become more challenging, and you are expected to speak with some level of spontaneity

a french classroom
If you've taken French through high school, it's good to get the recognition. Source: Unsplash.

So if you have done all the work of getting your grade 12 French credits, and have your diploma in hand, you might want to get everything you can from the experience by challenging the DELF. Choosing to challenge the DELF, in fact, may be one of the easiest decisions you make after high school.

Are you thinking about taking the DELF exam? Qualifying for the DELF is much easier than you think. 

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What is the DELF Levels all about?

DELF is an acronym for Diplome d’etudes en langue Francaise. It is the official certification for French language abilities for anyone who is not a native speaker of French. The DELF test is recognized all over the world, and was developed by France’s Ministry of Education. 

DELF consists of four different certificates that reflect different levels of ability. For reference, the DELF levels are aligned with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). Most secondary school graduates will be taking the DELF B1 or DELF B2, which certify the abilities of students who have progressed well past the beginner phase. The B1 is for French language users that can manage with some independence in most travel situations; the B2 is for those who can communicate in most situations, can argue a point of view, develop an opinion, and negotiate. Those who can speak more advanced French may opt for the higher levels of the DALF.

When you choose to challenge the DELF exam, you choose which level you think is best for you, and register. While it may seem odd to sign up for an exam when you have already finished high school, you might want to keep in mind that having French certification is lifelong and can open up new pathways in your future.

Let’s take a closer look at some reasons to challenge the DELF after high school, and the pathways that will open up for you when you are successful in the test.

Practicing for the DELF exam can be a lot of work. Learn how you can get all the practice you need while still having fun.

Why Should I Take the DELF After Graduating Secondary School?

Get your French Learning Recognized

As we have discussed, finishing your French courses all the way to grade 12 is no easy feat. You deserve to stand out from the rest - you have made a commitment to mastering Canada’s other official language, after all! And if you live in an English speaking community, and haven’t grown up speaking French at home, you have probably worked hard to get where you are.

It makes perfect sense, then, to take the DELF and have a document that proves you have been studying French with success for years. You’ll rightfully have a feature on your resume or university applications that many others don’t, which is a pretty great benefit on it’s own. Passing the DELF test is also the perfect way to complete an era of education in your life. As you move forward, you can advance your studies from a strong foundation of French language learning.

Career Opportunities

Multilingualism is highly sought after by employers in Canada, and if you can speak both of Canada’s official languages you will have access to a variety of different job options monolinguals do not. The DELF proves your language proficiency, so you’ll have automatic proof that you have advanced speaking and literacy skills in French. 

a French teacher
Teaching is an excellent career option for French speakers. Source: Pexels.

Heading straight for the workforce? A proven knowledge of French can enable you to work in areas like tourism: be a flight attendant, a tour guide, or work in any service where you might encounter other French speakers. With your DELF, career options in education open up - become a French tutor, or work in a private French school teaching little ones.

Many roles in government and fields like insurance or finance also focus on hiring bilinguals. Government jobs are highly desirable as they provide a steady, middle class income with lots of benefits and stability. 

In truth, nearly any industry will value your skills as a French speaker. When you complete your DELF, you are truly making an investment into your future.

Have you brushed up on your reading and writing skills for your upcoming DELF exam? Find out how to prepare for these sections efficiently and effectively.

More Education Options

If you are taking some time to travel after high school and are applying to postsecondary school options, you’ll be pleased to know that having the DELF B2 certification means that you can attend a French speaking university in Canada or abroad. French speaking schools will waive French language proficiency tests if you have the B2, so take it early and take advantage of those education options.

How amazing would it be to attend university in Paris? Picture yourself studying in an elegant cafe and embracing the Parisian lifestyle, or perhaps another school in the South of France. Of course, you might also choose to stay in Canada, and study in the more local regions of Quebec or New Brunswick. There are plenty of French language universities and colleges that you’ll have access to. 

With a French background, you might also pursue work as a French teacher and complete a Bachelor of Education. French teachers are always in demand, so finding work can be much easier as a teacher. Teachers in Canada have some of the most well-paid and stable jobs in the country, not to mention an unmatched amount of vacation days.

What is the Best Way to Prepare for the DELF?

At this point, it should be fairly obvious that there are really good reasons for taking the DELF after high school. So how can you ensure that you pass? While you have an amazing foundation of French skills from years of study, you may want to refresh or strengthen your oral, reading and writing skills prior to your exam date.

Independent study may seem quite scary given that you are probably used to being in courses all the time. But on the positive side, learning how to study independently can be one of the best skills you can have as an adult, as you will learn the habits of lifelong learners. So don’t hesitate to dive in! 

Here are some tips for anyone looking to study independently for the DELF.

Use Workbooks

If you’ve ever wandered into the languages section of a bookstore, you’ll notice shelves full of French workbooks for people of all levels. While it may seem boring to work from a text book filled with grammar activities, it can be one of the best ways to fine tune your writing and review all the fine elements of grammar and conjugation. Master your use of definite and indefinite articles, build a repertoire of verbs, or focus on developing your ability to use the subjunctive tense. Whatever your greatest area of need is, you will surely find a workbook.

Workbooks are also great because they are incredibly portable and easy to work from. Set a goal of completing a set amount of pages a day, bring your book to your favourite cafe patio for a relaxing afternoon of study, or have it handy on a commute to work or school. 

If you prefer technology or simply want to mix things up, check out the dozens of French language learning apps or sites available on the internet. Some will be free, while others may cost money. In any event, they can be a fun way to gamify your learning and give you much needed grammar practice.

Mastering French listening and speaking for the DELF test is a challenge - make sure you are prepared so you can get the best score.

Find Free Language Resources

It’s easy to find free French language resources, thanks to the explosion of digital content and the fact that everything will be in English and French in Canada. Listen to podcasts in French for free, and develop better listening skills for yourself. You’ll also find plenty of TV shows and movies on French language channels and YouTube; even cartoons can be a fun way to acquire more fluency. Even if you still find yourself watching more shows in English or your home language, it takes just a few clicks to turn on the French subtitles and you have an instant free resource!

Travel

Travelling remains one of the most effective ways to practice French. If you can, take a trip over to France or nearby Quebec for total immersion in the French language. When you are forced to interact with others in a different language, you’ll be shocked at how much more quickly you will develop oral fluency. Stay in a hostel with other tourists, or rent an apartment in a neighbourhood where you will be more likely to encounter local life. Of course, travel is incredibly fun, exciting, and stimulating - a trip to a French speaking area may inspire you to make a move or provide you with lifelong memories.

Practice French Alphabet pronunciation
Practice your French in Quebec or France. Source: Unsplash.

Hire a Tutor

Learners taking the DELF will also want to consider hiring a private tutor to help them prepare. Superprof.ca has listings for dozens of French tutors who can help you achieve a high score in French writing, reading in French, and perhaps most importantly, the listening and speaking component. Tutors can provide you with intensive, one-to-one instruction, focusing on your greatest area of need. They can develop a course of study personal to you, or simply work with your existing goals and independent study plan.

Tutors can fast track you to your DELF goals, and in many cases understand the test. They can provide you with practice test exercises and give you on the spot feedback on what you can do to get a higher score. If you don’t have a lot of time before your test, or are starting to get nervous about it, a tutor can prepare you so you feel confident and ready to take the test. Most Superprof tutors will indicate their areas of expertise on their profiles, so be sure to read them closely when searching for a private French tutor.

Superprof is one of the best places to find a DELF tutor because the site is easy to use, visually appealing, and displays all the most important information you want to know. Compare rates and different instructors, and select from online or in-person options. Superprof is a network of thousands of educators around the world sharing their knowledge, so you know you are looking the best pool of possible candidates. Whatever type of instruction suits you best, you will surely find it on Superprof.

Studying for the DELF takes planning, practice and time. Make sure you are preparing for the DELF with all the right strategies and methods.

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Colleen

Colleen is a Toronto-based educator, mom and freelance writer who believes in lifelong learning and strong coffee.