At university, you will be expected to write, comprehend and listen at a more advanced level than you have experienced before. To help you prepare for the challenge ahead and to make sure you're armed with the necessary skills to succeed, the University of Melbourne has developed the DELA procedure.

What is DELA?

DELA is a diagnostic tool that assesses your strengths and weaknesses in academic reading, writing and listening over 2 hours. It is not an exam, and you can't fail. DELA is a post-entry assessment, which means that it does not affect your admission to the university, and DELA results do not appear on your university transcript.

By completing DELA, you will have the opportunity to identify academic language skills that may need further development in order for you to do well in your studies.

Once complete, you will receive a comprehensive report explaining your results and you will also be able to make use of ongoing support options to help you improve any areas that you may need assistance with.

DELA takes 2 hours to complete and has 3 components for which you will receive results and recommendations:

  • Reading (45 minutes) 
  • Writing (30 minutes) 
  • Listening (30 minutes)


Do I need to take DELA?

Your enrolment will not be cancelled if you don't sit DELA, or if you fail to follow up with participation in skill improvement opportunities that are recommended to you following completion of DELA. However, if your academic results are subsequently unsatisfactory and you have not taken up DELA and the language development opportunities, you are unlikely to receive a favourable response to a request to continue your studies.

Some students are required to take DELA. See Students required to take DELA.

Can I study for DELA?

You can't really study for DELA.

The format of DELA and the kinds of questions you’ll be asked are here:

DELA Handbook (105KB | PDF)

When is DELA?

DELA takes place during Orientation. The next sessions will take place end of July 2016.

DELA Registration

Registration for DELA is currently closed. Registrations for the next DELA sessions will open a couple of weeks before the start of Semester 1, 2017.

DELA Results & What to do next

You’ll be emailed your results and recommendations within 5 working days after you’ve taken DELA. Make sure you check your university email account regularly. All language programs are designed to fit within your course of study, at no additional cost.

More about your Results

Students required to take DELA

You will be contacted directly if you are required to take DELA.

Table of English Language Levels Download the table to check if your English language score means you are required to take DELA.

If you are unclear, or you cannot find your entry pathway, please email

What if I'm sick or have special needs?

If you've got a health issue/impairment that makes it hard for you to perform well on a timed assessment, and you feel you haven’t done as well as you could on DELA, you should email

Students with disabilities

If you have a disability that you believe will affect your results in DELA, support is available.


IELTS is used for university admission purposes to ensure that international students meet the University’s minimum English language requirements. However, it has been shown that many students admitted to university may benefit from additional assistance with developing their academic English. 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 also receive recommendations for the most suitable follow-up options to develop your academic English.

However, DELA can be useful for any commencing student: undergraduate or graduate, local or international.