To become a Spanish citizen, you will need to prove knowledge of the Spanish society and show that you are well on your way to mastering the language. I passed these tests last year, and I am now sharing my experience here.
First, you have to be familiar with Conocimientos Constitucionales y Socioculturales de España or CCSE. It is an examination that assesses, through different tasks, knowledge of the Constitution and Spanish social and cultural reality. It is facilitated by Instituto Cervantes that is in-charged of promoting the language all over the world. Well, not only the language but also the culture, society, and history of Spain. This exam is one of the requirements in applying for Spanish citizenship.
It has 25 questions to be answered within 45 minutes and divided into 5 topics. Sixty percent is about legislation, government, and citizen participation. Forty percent is about Spanish culture, history, and society. The fee is 85euros but if you cannot pass on the first take, you can do it again for free. I took the exam at the end of January 2020, but I reserved my slot early in the last quarter of 2019 because of the limited slots.
The first thing I did was go to the website examenes.cervantes.es.
Everything you need to know about the exam process is there. After registration, the testing center that you chose will be the one to communicate with you. The center I chose is the one nearest to us which is Top School in the town of Elche. You have to be alert and be updated with their emails. They give your schedule, venue, what to bring on the exam day, etc. In my experience, the exam was supposed to be held in their school but when I checked my email, there was a change of venue to a vocational school.
For this exam, there is a review app containing 400 questions, more or less, that you have to familiarize. For me, it is a good way to study because I learned a lot about Spain directly. If I didn’t have it, I think I would be overwhelmed with all the information.
My schedule was 6 pm but the call time was 5.30 pm. I arrived at 5 pm. When I got there, there were already many people outside. Many of them are Moroccans and South Americans. I was talking to a Moroccan in broken Spanish and he asked me if I will understand the exam as my Spanish is not fluent. I told him I know how to read in Spanish but speaking is a problem because I tend to think of the grammar rules first before blurting out the words. We had a Q&A to review ourselves and I answered everything correctly.
We were called batch by batch and were assigned a room after checking our identification documents and the reference email, especially the reference number. The seat was based on the last two digits of that number. When we went in, we had a pencil, eraser, answer sheet, and exam sheet on each table. Our facilitator was talking in Spanish and since I was still not used to the speed, I got a bit overwhelmed. I got nervous still even if I studied a lot, but I prayed.
I should have taken this exam in my second year in Spain, but it took me four years because I felt I was not ready. Our batch was second to the last to take the exam before Coronavirus started. After 45 days, I got an email from Instituto Cervantes that the result was in so I went to my online portal on their website and I opened the certificate. I saw the word APTO, meaning, I passed.
The next thing I had to do was to take a language test, Diplomas de Español como Lengua Extranjera or DELE (Level A2).
It is also organized by Instituto Cervantes under the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture, and Sports. I took the A2 level because it is the minimum requirement for language proficiency to be able to apply for Spanish nationality. There are four skills to be examined: reading, listening comprehension, writing, and speaking skills. Each skill has 25 points for a total of 100 points. The payment is 130euros and unlike CCSE, you have to pay the full amount on a retake. This amount varies depending on your level and the country where you are taking the exam. I reserved my slot at the same time as my CCSE, but I took this exam the next month after taking the CCSE.
The registration portal is examenes.cervantes.es. All the info is there in Spanish so if your level is A2, you can understand some of the instructions stipulated there. If it is too advance for you, you can always use translators. I chose my exam date and testing center, paid online, and waited for the confirmation email from the center. Be aware of the schedule. I had my first three exams (reading, listening comprehension, writing) on the first day and the last exam (speaking) on the next day. I chose the same test provider, Top School.
This exam does not have a review app, but you can enroll in a review center or self-study like I did. I bought reviewers from Amazon for under 25euros. The books covered all the skills with tips included. If you plan to do the same, make sure that the author has experience as an examiner/test maker in this kind of exam.
The exam time was 9 am, but the call time was 8.30 am. I chatted with the other examinees. Their levels seemed higher than A2. We were called one by one and showed our IDs. The ID should be the one you used during your online registration or enrollment. We were guided to our seat numbers and I was thankful because my seat was near the sound system. The first three exams took 3 hours. The most challenging for me was the writing exam because I had to transfer my answers on the main sheet. I also had to make sure that the required number of words on the essays was followed so I was pressured with time.
The next day, I took my speaking skill exam. It was 12 minutes, but there was a preparation time of 12 minutes as well. After two months, I got an APTO result. I made it.