Characteristics of the Italian CILS UNO exam (level B1):

 With today's article we want to help and advise you to prepare your official Italian exam, exactly the CILS UNO-B1. This is the official Italian certification given by the University for Foreigners of Siena that will recognize your level of Italian B1 and that will help you open doors in the work or academic environment. Keep reading, we will tell you the characteristics of the CILS UNO-B1 exam, how you can prepare it and what steps to take to enroll.

 What exactly is the CILS certificate?

 It is an officially recognized title that certifies the level of linguistic-communicative competence in Italian as L2, a foreign language. The CILS certification is the first Italian certification that has adopted the system of six levels of linguistic-communicative competence proposed by the Common European Framework of Reference of the Council of Europe, which has created specific certification modules for workers of foreign origin in Italy. The CILS Center is an institutional member of ELTA (European Language Testing Association) and an affiliate member of ALTE (Association of Language Testers in Europe). These are two associations that aim to promote knowledge of language tests and assessment in Europe. With these affiliations, the CILS Center is committed to guaranteeing ethical management of the evaluation process to all those involved. In 2004, CILS obtained an important recognition, the European Language Label, a quality certificate that rewards the most important and innovative projects in the field of language teaching. The award was given to the CILS A1 and A2 certification modules for integration in Italy.

 Who can take the CILS B1 Italian level exam?

 This test can be taken by all those who study Italian, work and study in contact with Italian reality, wish to obtain long residence permits or want their Italian skills to be measured. The CILS certification tests are not tied to particular methods or types of language courses: each candidate can prepare for the CILS certification exams in the way they consider most appropriate. To take the CILS certification exams it is not necessary to have special qualifications, but only a knowledge of the Italian language corresponding to the parameters indicated for each CILS level. Well-founded general cognitive skills are required, sufficient language skills in your own language, knowledge of the Latin alphabet.

Although there are different options to obtain an official certification of Italian as a second language, the University of Siena recommends the CILS qualification because:

  • It guarantees the correct evaluation of one's own competence in Italian as a foreign language, according to valid and safe criteria.

  • It is chosen every year by thousands of foreigners, young people and adults, in Italy and in the world, who want to integrate into the world of work and study, enroll in an Italian university, teach Italian or prove their level of competence in other areas of use in which it is required.

  • It takes place in carefully selected examination sites, which conform to permanently controlled quality and transparency criteria.

If you need to obtain the B1 level certificate, you must take into account, therefore, that you must have already acquired the knowledge for that level. It is essential that you can develop the fundamental skills of the B1 level of Italian before taking the test, to ensure the best result.


Structure of the CILS UNO- B1 test


Each CILS exam proposes tasks that are related to real life situations to assess the candidate's ability to use language in different contexts of communicative interaction. The tests measure all language and communication skills: -Listen, -read comprehension, -written production, -oral production, -the ability to manage communication structures in Italian. Regarding the types of tests, CILS offers both objective tests and semi-open tests, as well as open and thematic tests in a balanced way. In this way, candidates have the opportunity to show their linguistic-communicative competence through differentiated services.

For level B1, the total duration of the test is approximately 3 hours and 55 minutes.

In the following table you have specified the duration of the test with the specified time for each of the parts that comprise it: A) WRITTEN TESTS 




The University of Siena makes the following document available to all interested parties with the instructions for organizing the material for the different tests. It may be interesting that you read it so you can see how the whole procedure unfolds.


How to prepare for the CILS UNO-B1 exam on your own


—If you plan to prepare for the exam on your own, the first thing you have to do is make sure that you have the required level to take the test, in this case, it is level B1. It is advisable that you review all the contents of level B1 well before embarking on preparing for this exam. It is an intermediate level, so fluency in writing and speaking is required;


—Take into account the different parts of the exam and from here get an idea of ​​everything that you have to work on to pass it, including the time of completion of the tests, this element is essential. Create a weekly work calendar, in which you distribute the time you really have to dedicate to this project. It is essential that each week you work on everything, without leaving any part since that is what the past will assure you;


—It is essential and for this level already necessary to maintain contact with natives, since that will allow you to develop fluently and naturally, fundamental requirements at intermediate levels. Currently, you have many possibilities of contact with people from anywhere in the world, use the Internet to your advantage and if your exchange can help you with corrections, it would be very useful for you to continue advancing on safe ground;


—Another important idea to keep in mind is to find groups or people who are also preparing for the test. This can help you connect with people who are like you, to solve doubts and help each other, to be informed of possible changes and news so that you do not feel alone when studying on your own, as well as to be able to practice together;


—The University of Siena makes the following link available to all those interested in taking CILS UNO-B1. This is a sample of a exam so that the preparation follows a specific objective and course. It is essential that you work with this material and that you focus exactly on what the exam is like in order to obtain the best results;


—The University of Siena itself offers the opportunity to prepare for the test with a tutor, online in case you are outside of Italy. In the following link, you have all the explanations about it and schedules and contact in case you need it.


—To help all those interested in taking this exam and who prepare on their own, the University of Siena makes the following guide available, with all the information that you can consult and follow in the form of basic advice.


Recommended material to prepare the different tests


A) Oral comprehension: it is essential that you practice direct listening to native speakers, it is what can help you the most to carry out this test successfully. For this we are going to propose material that can be useful for this specific part of the exam:


—In the following link you will find films in Italian, all recommended for level B1, with which you can practice listening. Movies, although they can be categorized by levels, always contain a complexity that will help you prepare a little above your level. Get a good dictionary to accompany you to answer your questions.

Text comprehension: the only thing you can do to prepare for this test is read everything you can. From newspapers to magazines related to the topics that you know they can ask you and, especially, reading books of level B1 of Italian so that you become familiar with them and master structures and the maximum possible vocabulary. If you get books with comprehension exercises, it will be much better. Keep in mind that as it is an intermediate level you will have to face texts with a certain complexity, so read as much as you can: —To practice a lot, we advise you to review the following list with reading books adapted to the required level, therefore They can be used to take the CILS UNO-B1 test: 

  1. Piccole storie d´amore , by Alessandro De Giuli, Ciro Massimo Naddeo: this book contains nine short stories dedicated to love, all with an unexpected and surprising ending. Nine romantic, passionate, funny, tragic, surprising love stories, as only love knows how to do. Surely you like and are interested in these stories with this theme, and who doesn't?
  2. Sicilian Barocco , by Slawka G. Scarso: Captain Rossetti is now in Sicily to enjoy the artistic beauty of the island. But an unclear death interrupts his journey. It seems like a suicide, but ... Do not miss the adventures of Captain Rossetti and his particular way of unraveling the rarest and most mysterious cases. Take the opportunity to dive fully into the beautiful Sicilian land, and to learn about its customs and traditions, you will love it!
  3. Opera! , by Alessandro De Giuli, Ciro Massimo Naddeo: the singer was sitting facing the mirror and eating a large chocolate cake with her hands. She was fat, but she had very pretty eyes and a smile that made her look like a very nice woman. "There's a madman who wants to kill me," he said, "and it's not funny." The first victim was in Milan and later, a young musician was murdered in Venice. And now? A new and exciting adventure for detective Antonio Esposito in the world of opera and good cuisine.
  4. Libertà , by Cinzia Medaglia, Achim Seiffarth: Fabrizio is a successful man, he runs a great society, he has a beautiful wife, adorable children and a very dear and special friend, Bruno, with whom he shares happy days and fond memories. But one day, Bruno's disappearance breaks the charm of his happy existence. What mystery is hidden behind this disappearance? Has Bruno really committed suicide as the police claim?
  5. Dolce Vita , by Alessandro De Giuli, Ciro Massimo Naddeo: we move to the year 1960, exactly to the city of Rome. The meeting between a young actress and a photographer, involved in a mysterious adventure in Venetto Street, the Trevi Fountain and Cinecittà. A good opportunity to experience the great city of Rome up close and delve into its mysteries, whether you know it or not.
  6. Il sangue di San Genaro , by Sandro Manetti: curator De Angelis returns to Naples for any day to attend the miracle of San Genaro. But the blood of the saint will not be the only one that runs ... And it is that our most particular character is involved in each labyrinth that is worth following. Don't miss out on this haunting adventure, this mystery to be solved. This time you can enjoy the charming Neapolitan land.
  7. Il mistero di Veronica , by Cinzia Medaglia: Veronica and Massimo are very different: she is a businesswoman; he, an artist. Anyway, they meet and get to love each other. However, when Massimo asks him to marry him, Verónica leaves him. He, who does not want to point himself out, and who has the impression that Veronica is hiding something from him, begins to investigate her mysterious past ... An exciting story wrapped in intrigue that will accompany the reader through northern Italy from the metropolis of Milan to the ligurian riverbank.
  8. Il segreto del vecchio olmo , by Daniela Folco: in a town on Lake Maggiore, they celebrate Andrea's return from Austria and her niece Paola's wedding night. The joy of the moment is destined to transform into anguish. An inexplicable murderer is about to happen, just on the night of the honeymoon.
  9. Scoprire l´Italia , by Sara Cianti, Simona Gavelli: the Bella Italia cultural association organizes a treasure hunt for foreign students with stages in Florence, Naples, Venice, Siena, Milan, Agrigento. What better opportunity for Mark, an American student in Italy, to get to know the peninsula? Join him in his search! Help him to correctly interpret the messages that indicate the right route, discover with him fascinating places, a pleasant atmosphere, the landscapes, the traditions that wonderful and splendid Italy offers!
  10. Via dei Mughetti : How can a quiet stay in Italy be transformed into a real adventure? This is what happens to Anna, a German student who comes to Bergamo to perfect her Italian. One day he finds the diary of Luisa, the previous tenant, in his room: he flips through it and finds a truly disturbing page. Curious, Anna begins to investigate to solve the mystery with the help of a friend.
  11. Mediterranea , by Alessandro De Giuli, Ciro Massimo Naddeo: this is the story of Prince Arux, a Norman warrior, and of Elisa, a beautiful and young Sicilian girl. Travel, adventure, war, love: an Italian story from a thousand years ago.
  12. Line A , by Antonella Santini: along line A of the Rome metro, because of a strange joke in the case, the destinies of a man and a woman meet… What will happen? Don't miss out on this haunting story.
  13. Habemus papam , by Carlo Guastalla, Ciro Massimo Naddeo: it is a book of suspense and terror, what in Italian is known as the giallo genre , set during the conclave, in the days when an international conspiracy threatens the cardinals gathered in the Sistine Chapel to elect the new Pope. This book, in addition to all the material explained in the introduction to the article, includes voices of professional actors, music and sound effects.

Production of written texts: it is essential that you write, that you redact. Take a good look at the exam model and the guides proposed by the University of Siena. When you are clear about the tests you have to face, work by that guideline. The goal is to be as well prepared as possible for that particular test and to work hard on exactly what is asked of you on the exam. Possibly these articles can help you: how to work the connectives in Italian and how to write good writing in Italian.

Oral expression: it is about speaking, if possible with native speakers; practice will ensure success. You must make the effort and make the most of all the vocabulary that you have acquired in your readings or in your series, songs, movies. This will help you to converse more richly and fluently. Listening will help you when you speak to be more fluent, so don't stop working on it. Work this part a lot, it is essential if you do not live in Italy.

Books to prepare for the CILS UNO-B1 exam

To prepare the test directly you have the following books:

—Percorso CILS Uno B1: Certificazione di Italiano Lingua Straniera - Manuale di Preparazione e Approfondimento.

—In addition, we remind you of this list of books to work on the B1 level of general Italian, which will surely help you.


Test scores

All exam tests are centrally assessed in the CILS Certification Center, which has developed the criteria for evaluating skills and the various types of tests, and the relative method for scoring. The decision to evaluate all the tests under the direct control of the CILS Center, including the oral production tests, which are specifically recorded in audio during the exam, represents a guarantee of impartiality for the candidates. In this way, all are subject to homogeneous treatment and reliable evaluation. The evaluation is administered by specially trained evaluators on an ongoing basis, sharing the CILS philosophy, criteria, and application options through ongoing comparison and discussion. The evaluation of oral production tests at the various exam sites Also carried out through precise grids given to the evaluators, it does not seem to guarantee the use of evaluation criteria and similar points by all and, therefore, their homogeneity and reliability. Explanation, exchange, coherence, discussion of criteria and choices is considered the only way, to date, to at least limit the influence of subjectivity in the judgment. The overall score is 100 at level B1. Each skill gets its own score (variable from 0 to 20). To achieve the CILS certification it is necessary to reach the proficiency threshold in each of the skills that make up the exam. Candidates who are not proficient in all skills are awarded a certificate indicating passed and unsuccessful skills. The certificate can be saved in subsequent certification exams. Skills in which the proficiency threshold has been reached can be maintained for up to 18 months. The candidate can only come forward to support skills in which they have failed. The results of the CILS exams are communicated to the venues and candidates within 3 months of the exam date.

Registration for the next CILS UNO-B1 tests

To prepare for your exam and control when you can take the exam, the University of Siena has posted all the next exam dates.

The exams will take place in places with which the University for Foreigners of Siena has signed a special agreement. The Italian cultural institutes abroad and the other representatives coordinate and organize the exams on the spot. To find a CILS exam place, you have the following link available where you must select in which part of the world you want to take the exam, and from here find your exam center. If you are going to take the test in Spain, you can get directly and easily to the exam centers.

To take a CILS exam, you must contact the exam venue in Italy or abroad, where you intend to take the exam. You must contact the office and follow the instructions that will be provided to you. From this link, you can access it if you want to take the exam at the Siena office.  If there are candidates with disabilities (temporary or permanent disability), they must communicate their needs to the CILS Center by email ( or by phone at 0577-240365 to agree on the methods and aids necessary for the exam. Candidates must present the medical certificate at the time of registration and send it to Please discuss all this with your exam center and they will explain it to you more clearly and accurately. FOR THE WITHDRAWAL OF CERTIFICATES, CANDIDATES MUST CONTACT THE OFFICES WHERE THE EXAMINATION WAS TAKEN. If you want to see your tests, you must contact the CILS Center within 30 days from the date of publication of the results on the web. You must send your request to You must indicate name and surname, place and date of birth, serial number, email address. You must attach a copy of a valid identity document and pay the fee for access rights to the exam and review. With this issue, it is also best to process it with your exam center or ask them before doing anything.

We use cookies on our website to give you the most relevant experience by remembering your preferences and repeat visits. By clicking "Accept All", you consent to the use of ALL the cookies. For more information, please visit our cookie policy page. I accept all