Communication Skills FAQ

Students have asked ...

The DELA is a diagnostic tool related to your academic skills.  It is designed to help you better understand your strengths and areas to develop.

Who should sit the DELA?

DELA is available for all students – undergraduate, graduate, domestic and international.


How much does it cost to sit the DELA?

Nothing – the DELA is free for all University of Melbourne students.


How can I register for the DELA?

Register here for your preferred session in the lead up to each semester.


How long does the DELA take?

It covers academic reading, writing and listening skills and takes 2 hours to complete.

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


Can I fail the DELA?

The DELA is a post-entry assessment, which means you cannot fail the DELA.

Will the DELA affect my enrolment?

The DELA is a post-entry assessment, which means it does not affect your enrolment.

Will the DELA appear on my transcript?

The DELA is a post-entry assessment, which means the results will not appear on your university transcript.

Can I study for the DELA?

There is no need to study for DELA. This handbook includes sample questions to give you an idea of what to expect.

How soon after sitting the DELA should I expect to see my results?

After you sit the DELA, your results will be emailed to your university email account within 5 working days.

The email will include a breakdown of your scores.

It will also include recommended University of Melbourne programs to help you further develop the academic skills you need to succeed.

I have sat the DELA, but am still waiting for my results.

If you have sat the DELA and have not received your results via your university email account after 5 working days, please email academic-skills@unimelb.edu.au with your full name, course, student number and the date you sat the Diagnostic English Language Assessment.

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 the programs offered by the University of Melbourne here.

How much does the English Language Development Program cost?

The English Language Development Program is available completely free to Graduate Science, Engineering, IT, Food Science and Arts students.

How much do the credit subjects cost?

The credit subjects will need to be fitted in to your study plan.  You can learn more about the subjects available here.

When should I sit the DELA?

The DELA is available during the orientation period at the beginning of each semester.  By sitting it before commencing your first semester and then again later in your degree you’ll be able to track your progress.

Why should I sit the DELA?

The DELA is the best way for you to learn more about your current capability and which program is best suited to you and your level of study.

Why should I further develop my communication skills?

All students, both native and non‚Äźnative speakers of English need excellent communication skills in order to fully engage in their studies AND get good marks.  Developing strategies for improving your communication skills may mean the difference between just passing and getting high marks.

What happens if I don’t sit the DELA?

If your academic results are subsequently 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 have sat the DELA, but am unable to 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.  Email academic-skills@unimelb.edu.au

What if I have special needs or am unwell on the day?

If you have a health issue, and you feel you haven’t done as well as you could on DELA, email academic-skills@unimelb.edu.au

Whilst all students will benefit from taking the DELA, students with certain impairments which make it hard to perform well on timed assessments may not be required to sit DELA. You should discuss this with a Student Equity Officer:

I already have an IELTS score, why should I sit the DELA as well?

It has been shown that many students admitted to university benefit from additional communication skills development, even after taking IELTS for university admission purposes. 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 programs to further develop your communication skills at the University of Melbourne.