The importance of the CILS exam to obtain your Italian qualification

Nov 24, 2020

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The importance of the CILS exam to obtain your Italian qualification

The CILS Italian language certification exam is endorsed by the University of Siena and is one of the most internationally recognized official diplomas. It assesses language proficiency skills at six levels and meets the normative standards of the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for languages: learning, teaching and assessment). The CILS center is also a member of EALTA (European Association for Language Testing) and an affiliate member of ALTE (Association of Language Certifiers in Europe).

The CILS exams, to obtain the Italian qualification , evaluate skills at three main levels each, with two sublevels that correspond directly to those in the table issued by the CEFR.

Certification levels

- Basic level. They can apply children, youth and adults with elementary knowledge of the language but sufficient to function in everyday and informal environments.

- Medium level. More focused on young people and adults, it assesses our abilities to act in more or less formal situations in which it is required that we assimilate short speeches, engage in conversations on everyday topics and write simple but well-structured texts.

Having a B2 level certificate will be enough to cover the linguistic requirements of most jobs and educational centers.

- Advanced level. This level is reserved for those of us who have the ability to understand, without much effort, complex conversations on which we can express our own opinions using clear and precise language. We must also have the ability to write fluent and long texts in which our ideas are expressed clearly and without detours.

This is the appropriate level for teachers and professionals, whose activity requires the use and understanding of a technical or highly specialized language.

The CILS certification is not a sequential system, so if our knowledge of the language is sufficient to aspire to the highest degree, we can try it directly without the need for lower levels of certification.

Skills assessed

Regardless of the level we seek, the evaluation areas are the following:

- Comprehension: Listening and reading.

- Orality: Verbal interaction with other people and use of language in the expression of ideas.

- Writing: Ability to express our thoughts clearly and in accordance with the grammatical rules of the language.

The command of the language that we must demonstrate is adapted according to the sublevel (from A1 to C2) of the Italian certificate to which we aspire, which, in turn, is appropriate to the type of activity we intend to carry out.

Exam format

For all levels, the tests consist of five modules, the duration of which varies depending on the level in question. The sections of the exam we are going to list:

- Hearing test: After listening to an audio, we will be asked to respond in writing to a series of questions.

- Grammar: In this part the structure of communication is analyzed.

- Reading comprehension: From reading a text, we must respond in writing to the indicated questions.

- Written expression capacity: We will have to write a text on the subject indicated to us.

- Oral expression skills: We will talk about a topic of our choice during the scheduled time.

To obtain the certificate of any level it is necessary to obtain a minimum score of 11 out of a total of 20 for each section. In case of not passing any of the modules, it will not be necessary to repeat all the tests, but only the one that was not passed. The term offered to us to repeat the test, in case we find ourselves in this situation, is 18 months, after which we will be required to take the entire exam again.

Preparation for the exam

One of the safest and most efficient ways to be ready for the tests, we find it in the specific CILS preparation courses, either in person or online, and which have been designed in accordance with the level of exam to be presented.

Now, it is important to note that the CILS exams are not tied to any particular teaching method, so whatever we have used to gain our knowledge will be valid to take the test. In this sense, re-studying the material that served for our previous instruction, and with which we are familiar, is a highly recommended way to prepare for the exam.

To gain dexterity in the auditory area, we recommend listening to the news on a radio or television, since these media offers an excellent source of current topics, a high level of use of language and a very rich variety of expressions and particular accents that will strengthen our listening comprehension of the language. Today, thanks to Internet platforms, there are no more barriers that prevent us from accessing this type of content.

It is also advisable to read the Linee guida CILS , published by the University of Siena itself, where we will find a detailed guide in Italian of the exam contents.

Exam registration

It is a very simple procedure that we can carry out online in which we will visualize different alternatives of places and prices, among which we will choose according to our convenience.

As a general rule, CILS certification exams take place at the beginning of June and December of each year, simultaneously all over the world.

The registration forms do not ask for explicit requirements that could limit our opportunity to take the exams of any level except those listed in the list:

- Be over 17 years old.

- Provide our personal data in the corresponding registration forms.

- Have a valid identification.

- Pay the fees according to the level of certification sought.

Presentation of the exam

All the exams are face-to-face and are carried out in specific centers authorized by the University of Siena for foreigners, so it will be necessary to locate the most suitable site for us. Fortunately, there are a large number of authorized centers around the world, so finding one that suits us will not be difficult.

CILS certification amplifies our opportunities for better jobs and access to the most prestigious academic institutions. We recommend preparing ourselves in a trusted academy that makes us acquire a good level of Italian. The CILS exam guarantees that we are proficient in the language at different levels.