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Certification of Italian as a Foreign Language

Certificate of Italian as a Foreign LanguageOur Italian language school is an authorized examination centre for the CILS certificate (Certificazione di Italiano come Lingua Straniera), offered by the Università per Stranieri di Siena (University for Foreigners of Siena). The CILS certificate is a title of proficiency in the Italian language and is recognized by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Therefore, it is widely acknowledged in all fields yielding this certificate essential when seeking employment in Italy or the international labor market. Furthermore, the CILS certificate is recognized by the Italian Ministry of Education and it is considered as a requirement for the admission of International students to the Italian higher education system. The successful accomplishment of the Livello CILS Due – B2 exam exempt international students from the Italian proficiency admissions test at the University.

bullet What is CILS?
bullet Who are the certificates for?
bullet Cils Levels
bullet Structure of the exam
bullet CILS Examination Centres
bullet Examination Dates
bullet Exam Fees
bullet Enrollment
bullet Preparatory courses for CILS in Rome

What is CILS?

CILS – a certificate of Italian as a second language – measures and assesses the level of competence a student has reached in Italian language. It is useful for those whose work and study puts them in daily contact with Italy, or simply for those who wish to evaluate their competence in the Italian language.

The certificate awarded by the prestigious Università per Stranieri di Siena is legally recognized as an official certification of linguistic communicative competence. The Foreign Ministry, through the various cultural institutions present abroad, coordinates examination center across the world for those wishing to undertake the CILS examination.


Who are the certificates for?

All Italian citizens resident abroad and non-Italian can take the CILS examinations. There are no limits with regards to age and it is not necessary to hold any educational certificate or qualification. Nor is it necessary to have first successfully completed a CILS examination at a lower level than that being studied for. Each candidate is encouraged to prepare for the CILS examination in the way which is most adapted to his or her needs and wants.


CILS Levels

The certification system of CILS follows the guidelines laid out in Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment, the European initiative in evaluating linguistic competence. As such there are six recognized levels of competence, each of which is autonomous and complete in itself and each adapted to the various social, professional and intellectual needs of the student.

CILS A1 and CILS A2 are aimed at those who are taking their first steps in the process of learning Italian. The A1 level indicates that the student has just begun to engage with Italian as a second language, while the A2 level indicates a slightly more involved engagement and attests to a competence which is still in the stage of being formed. Neither level assumes an autonomous communicative ability. Both A1 and A2 of the CILS certification process are modularly structured, differentiated according to the needs and exigencies of the student. There  are modules aimed at the children of immigrants who live in Italy, modules aimed at the adults whose first language is markedly different from Italian (Japanese, Chinese, etc.) and for children of emigrants from Italy who now live abroad. The examination at these levels lasts approximately two hours.

Livello Uno (First level), which corresponds to the B1 level as indicated in Framework, assesses the users basic level of competence needed to use Italian with autonomy in authentic everyday contexts. The examination lasts approximately three hours.

Livello Due (Second level) corresponds to B2 of Framework and is an intermediate level. Users at this level of competence are able to demonstrate the ability to use the fundamental basics of the language in a wide variety of contexts and situations. At this level, users are capable of using Italian to communicate effectively whilst staying in Italy, be it for reasons of study, work or pleasure. Possession of the certificate at this level allows students from outside the EU to register at university courses without having first to undertake an assessment of their Italian. The exam lasts about four hours.

Livello Tre (Third level) is equal to C1 in Framework and represents a superior competence in using the Italian language. The user at this level is able to use Italian effectively in a much wider range of contexts, including atypical situations, formal contexts, in dealing with public bodies, and other such milieu. The examination lasts about five hours.

Livello Quattro (Fourth level) – C2 in Framework – is an advanced level approaching native speaker level. The user has a completely independent use of Italian in all formal and informal situations and the capacity to effectively use Italian in professional contexts. The examination lasts about five and a half hours.



Basic User

A1 Cils A1
A2 Cils A2

Independent User

B1 Cils Uno - B1
B2 Cils Due - B2

Proficient User

C1 Cils Tre - C1
C2 Cils Quattro - C2


Structure of the Exam

To obtain a CILS certificate it is necessary to pass the relevant examination. This consists of a listening lest, a reading test, an analysis of the structures of communication, a writing test and a speaking test. All these papers are produced and evaluated at the Certification Centre of the Università per stranieri di Siena according to the guidelines laid down by the EU. Certificates are granted when a student reaches a minimum score on each paper. When retaking the examination in cases where the minimum score was not achieved in all papers, candidates take only those papers where the score was insufficient. Once a pass has been achieved in any given paper, that result lasts one year, after which candidates must retake the whole examination to obtain the certificate.


CILS Examination Centers

Examination takes place in official centers across the globe. These centers also deal with registration for the exams. In cases where students are retaking only those parts of the examination which were failed at the previous attempt, the cost thereof is calculated at one-fifth of the total cost for each paper taken.


CILS Examination Dates and Deadlines

Examinations take place twice a year – in June and December - at the same time in all examination centers.

Next Examination dates:

  • June 7th, 2012
    (enrollment deadline: April 27th, 2012)
  • December 6th, 2012
    (enrollment deadline: October 26th, 2012)


CILS Exam Fees





Fee / Section

A1   € 40   € 12
A2   € 40   € 12
Uno - B1   € 90   € 20
Due - B2   € 105   € 23
Tre - C1   € 135   € 30
Quattro - C2   € 160   € 35



Please print the following form, fill it in block letters and send it by fax or mail.

arrow Cils Exam Enrollment form


Preparatory Courses for the CILS Exam

Our school organizes intensive courses of 18 lessons as preparation for the CILS examinations. All five areas (listening, reading, analysis, writing and speaking) are developed and the course ends with a mock examination. The courses are organized so as to coincide with the actual examination dates and therefore serve as an excellent practice. Details of their structure are available under CILS preparatory courses.




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