Certify your knowledge of Italian with the DILS exam

Nov 24, 2020

#Italian title #Italian

Certify your knowledge of Italian with the DILS exam

At present there are several types of official certifications to guarantee the knowledge of Italian through exams carried out by higher education institutions such as the University for Foreigners of Siena, the University for Foreigners of Perugia, or the University of Roma Tres.

But if what we are looking for is to certify our knowledge to practice as an Italian teacher, the DILS exam is the right one.

What is the DILS exam and who is it for?

The Italian certificate DILS-PG (Didattica dell Italiano Lingua Straniera Didactica del Italiano como Lengua Extraniera) is used to assess essential knowledge and teaching skills for those seeking to practice as teachers of Italian for foreigners. It is designed for Italian and foreign teachers and is divided into two levels:

- DILS-PG basic I level. It is aimed at teachers of the Italian and non-Italian mother language, that is, teachers of Italian for foreigners who have started the profession or who have limited experience in levels A1-B1 according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) both in Italy and in institutions or associations that work in a migratory context.

- DILS-PG II level. Designed for teachers of Italian for foreigners (native and non-native) who have extensive experience or specific training at all levels of the CEFR. This diploma has academic recognition to apply to job interviews, either in Italy or abroad. Therefore, it is an assessable certificate for assigning tasks related to the teaching of the Italian language as a second language and is also valid for public schools.

The exams are administered once a year at specially established official venues in major countries around the world. For example, the University for Foreigners of Perugia through the Centro Valutazione Certificazioni Linguistiche (CVCL) and the Dante Aligheri School of Recanati in Italy are the venues where these exams are applied that grant this important Italian title, recognized by all public institutions and private.

This certification is very useful given the excellent assessment applied to it in selection processes, job interviews and competitive examinations, both in Italy and anywhere in the world.

Structure and contents of the DILS exams

As part of the knowledge and skills that a teacher of Italian for foreigners must have, the DILS assesses the necessary skills to be able to function effectively and with a better knowledge of the Italian language in class. It is necessary to pass an exam in which the following points are verified: theoretical knowledge of the language, mastery of the methodology and didactics, as well as operational capacity.

The fundamental competences that are required of Italian language teachers to accredit their Italian as a foreign language are evaluated according to the two different levels into which the DILS-PG exams are divided:

- DILS-PG di base I livello:

1- Theoretical knowledge (file 1): Glotto-didactic knowledge, Metalinguistic skills and Sociocultural knowledge.

2- Methodological-didactic awareness (file 2): Analysis of didactic materials and Observation of classes.

3- Operational capacities (file 3): Design and construction of teaching materials, Management skills and Education on the media.


DILS-PG II livello:

1- Theoretical knowledge (file 1): Glottodidactic knowledge and Metalinguistic skills.

2- Methodological-didactic awareness (file 2): Analysis of didactic materials and Observation of classes.

3- Operational capacities (file 3): Design and construction of teaching materials, Management skills and Education on the media.

Tips and requirements for taking a DILS exam

Candidates with no experience in teaching Italian or another foreign language can access as long as they have a university degree of at least three years in Italian Language and Culture, or a Master's Degree in Italian Didactics. In the case of foreigners, you must also prove your command of Italian with at least a B2 (DILS-PG di base I livello) or a C1 (DILS-PG II livello).

For those candidates with experience in teaching Italian or other foreign languages, they must provide a university degree and prove a minimum of hours of teaching experience.

We can consult the official page of the CVCL, in this we can see the venues where the exam is carried out both in Italy and in other parts of the world.

We have to clarify what our level is. For this, it is advisable to approach an Italian language teaching institution where you can take a test to determine your level.

Then we locate where and when the exams take place. In order to prepare ourselves in the best way, we seek information about the exam venues and the exam calendar.

We also have to get tools to pass the certificates. To obtain our certificate it is necessary to rely on a bibliography for each level and for each certificate. In bookstores or libraries of language centers they can be consulted or acquired, some of them include a CD that contributes to carrying out practices and examples.

Recommended bibliography

Some of the book titles that can help us study and take a good exam are:

- De Marco A. (a cura di), 2000, Manuale di glottodidattica , Rome, Carocci.

- Ciliberti A., 2012, Glottodidattica, Roma, Carocci.

- AA.VV., 2002, Quadro Comune Europea di riferimento per le lingue: apprendimento, insegnamento, valutazione , Firenze, La Nuova Italia.

- Spinelli B., Parizzi F., 2010, Profilo della lingua italiano. Livelli di riferimento del QCER A1, A2, B1, B2 , Firenze, La Nuova Italia.


We must download the exam models from previous years. Another very useful tool is to review the exam models from other years, since it is very likely that the new evaluation will be very similar and will have the same structure.

Finally, to ensure that we are well prepared to obtain the certificate, let's review and learn new content through new tools, such as mobile applications that can be downloaded for free. With these apps it is possible to perform memorization exercises, increase vocabulary and practice with the example conversations.

In this way, we will be able to increase not only our skills, but also the chances of obtaining a better grade and an Italian title.

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