Tips for choosing the right DELF/DALF Preparation Books

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There are many books out there to help you prepare for the DELF exam. However choosing the right one is key to passing the exam. One of the best selection of books to learn French is the CLE series. You can find many for sale on amazon or other online bookstore.

Of course, it is essential to find the french textbook that best fits your needs.

There are two sets of books: Instructor –led and Self-taught.

What exactly are instructor-led books?

Instructor led books are books that were designed to be used with a teacher in a classroom setting. There are many great instructor led books out there that are currently been used by many French schools. However, if you are studying on your own there are a few things you will need to know.

Pros
  • If you use a book designed to be instructor-led, you get to use the same material that is being used in the French language schools  such as some centers of Alliance Française. So you are sure you are on the right track
  • Instructor Led-books such as the “Nouveau Taxi : Methode de francais” and “Alter Ego” spend more time on french culture and civilisation. This can be very helpful as your exam will be based on everything french!
  • Many books such as the “Nouveau Taxi : Methode de francais”, a french exam preparation series, have a very clear layout that will make you feel like you are really progressing.
  • Depending on the French textbook that you want, the publishers provides a free instructors guide that can be downloaded directly from the publishers website (classroom CD not!)
Cons
  • In most teacher-led books, some of the listening exercises can only be found in the classroom CD sets that not included in the student textbook. You may also need to buy the Instructors guide to get the recommended response to some of the exercises.  Plus you will need to buy the workbook. That makes Three books + one CD set for one level of the DELF exam. If you are on a budget, this could work out quite expensive.
  • Books are usually all in French, and the layout of some books such as the “Alter Ego” commonly used by Alliance Francaise, is a bit confusing. So if you are a true beginner working alone, it can be difficult to understand the instructions in the beginning.

All in all there are many good Instructor-led French exam preparation books out there.

DELF Exam Self-taught books:

This is self explanatory. If you are planning to learn French on your own, then you might want to consider materials that are oriented towards people such as you.

Pros:
  • Everything you want to prepare is broken down in a clear way.
  • Usually everything is provided in one or two textbooks. All your listening, exercises, grammar is located in one place.
  • This works out way cheaper than buying a teacher-led book, while accomplishing the same things. The price of the teacher-led classroom CD alone would cover the price of your self taught books.
Cons:
  • Books are usually all in French, so if you are a true beginner working alone, it can be difficult.
  • Some self-led books are divided into competences (hence four books), even thought it is not necessary to buy all of them.
How to tell if a textbook is Instructor-led or self study

If you look closely on the back the textbook it will say:  Self study or instructor led. If it is in french look for :

“auto-apprentissage” which is equivalent to self-study.  if it says “un livre de l’eleve” it means student text. If it is a student book check for : materiel pour niveau” which will tell you exactly what you will need to be to complement your textbook.

Hope this post was helpful. I will be adding another soon to recommend which are the best self-taught books and teachers-led books to use for your preparation of the DELF/DALF exam. Until then, if you have a question or something you would like to share just leave a comment.

If you are looking for a group of books designed to help get the necessary practice for your french exam, try the following books:

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About Claudia

I am an expat living in France and also a language teacher.


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