English language development

Complete the Diagnostic English Language Assessment (DELA) to receive a custom plan on how to enhance your English language skills.

All University of Melbourne students are expected to be effective communicators, and the University offers a number of programs and resources which can help you develop these skills throughout your degree.

The DELA is a free assessment designed to help you find out which communication skills you most need to focus on.  It is available to all students – undergraduate, graduate, domestic and international.

Once you've completed the assessment, we'll send you a personalised Communication Skills Development Plan, with programs and resources to help you develop your communication skills further and succeed at the University of Melbourne.

How to access the DELA

The DELA is available online during Orientation/Week 1 (27 July- 7 August) and Week 7/8 (14-25 September). You can enrol and complete the test modules at any time during these two-week windows.

Enrol now

DELA FAQs

  • When should I take it?

    The DELA is available during Orientation/Week 1 and Week 7/8 of each semester.

    We recommend taking it before commencing your first semester, and then again later in your degree, so you can track your progress.

  • How long does it take?

    The DELA takes less than two hours to complete.

    It assesses the three crucial academic skills you will use most at university:

    • Reading (45 mins)
    • Writing (30 mins)
    • Listening (approximately 20 minutes).

    Each of these three modules needs to be completed in one sitting, meaning that once you have started one of them, you will need to complete it. In between the modules, however, you can take breaks.

  • Should I study for it?

    There is no need to study for DELA, however our DELA Handbook (PDF 284.4 KB) includes sample questions to give you an idea of what to expect.

  • Can I fail?

    No. The DELA is a post-entry assessment, and cannot be failed. It is simply designed to give you an idea of where your communication skills are at and how you can improve them.

  • When will I get my results?

    Your results will be emailed to your University email account within five working days of sitting the DELA.

    If you have sat the DELA and have not received your results after five working days, please contact the Academic Skills team with your full name, course, student number and the date you sat the DELA.

    To find out more about your results, see understanding your DELA results.

  • What kinds of programs will be recommended to me?

    All programs are designed to fit in with your course of study, at no additional cost. Learn more about communication skills programs offered by the University of Melbourne.

  • Will my results affect my enrolment or appear on my transcript?

    No. The DELA is a post-entry assessment, which means it does not affect your enrolment and the results will not appear on your University transcript.

  • What happens if I don't take it?

    If your academic results are unsatisfactory, and you have not taken up the DELA or subsequent development opportunities, you are unlikely to receive a favourable response to a request to continue your studies.

  • I already have an IELTS score - why should I take the DELA as well?

    IELTS is used for university admission purposes to ensure that international students meet the University’s minimum English language requirements. However, many students who have taken the IELTS still benefit from additional communication skills development.

    DELA is a diagnostic procedure that indicates your individual strengths and weaknesses and the steps you can take to improve them. DELA results are presented in more detail than IELTS (e.g. there are three scores for writing rather than just one), and you will also receive recommendations for the most suitable programs to help you further develop your communication skills at the University of Melbourne.

    To find out whether you need to take DELA, download our DELA table of equivalencies (PDF 20.8 KB). If you are unsure or you cannot find your entry pathway, please contact us.

  • I took the DELA, but I can't participate in the recommended program

    If there are particular problems that prevent you from participating in the recommended action, you should inform Academic Skills so that alternatives can be explored.

  • What if I have special needs?

    Whilst all students will benefit from taking the DELA, certain impairments can make it hard to perform well in online assessments. If you think your results may be affected, please email ltrc-info@unimelb.edu.au before you take the test.

Not sure if you should take the DELA?

Complete our short online quiz, which will quickly assess your English and communication skills and provide you with personalised recommendations via email.

Take the quiz