CILS and PLIDA preparatory courses

CILS: certificazione di italiano come lingua straniera - corsi di preparazione all'esame

The CILS certificate is an official qualification that assesses linguistic-communicative ability in Italian as a foreign language. The CILS system is the first in Italy to have created an assessment method specifically for foreigners working in Italy, following guidelines laid out in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: the European standard for evaluating linguistic competence.

Since 1993, around 100,000 candidates have sat the exam in over 550 centers in Italy and around the world.

Our Italian language school is an authorized examination center for the CILS certificate (Certificazione di Italiano come Lingua Straniera), offered by the Università per Stranieri di Siena (Siena University for Foreigners). The CILS certificate attests to proficiency in the Italian language and is recognized by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

It is an accepted qualification for the admission of foreign students to the Italian higher education system. Successful completion of the Livello CILS Due B2 exam exempts international students from the language proficiency admissions test for Italian university.

Preparatory course for CILS exam

We offer two types of courses providing intensive preparation for the various examination levels, taught by instructors specialized in this area:

Group intensive preparatory course for CILS
Individual preparatory course for CILS

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 put them in daily contact with Italy, or simply for those who wish to evaluate their competence in the Italian language.

Who is the certificate for?

All foreigners and any Italian citizens living abroad can take the CILS examination. It is not necessary to have first successfully completed a CILS examination at a lower level before proceeding to a higher level. Each candidate is encouraged to prepare for the CILS examination in the way that best suits their needs.

You do not need to hold any prior degree or certification to obtain a CILS certificate, you are just expected to possess Italian knowledge appropriate to the level of CILS selected. You must have good general cognitive abilities, adequate linguistic abilities in your own language and famiilarity with the Latin alphabet. CILS exams require basic knowledge of European culture and society and of Italy’s geographic, historical and cultural framework.

CILS levels 1 and 2 are also open to young people and adolescents. Level A1 and A2 certificates have been devised for children.

A cosa serve la Certificazione CILS?

CILS certification can be used to access the labour and academic markets, to enroll in Italian universities, to teach Italian and for any context that requires formal certification of Italian level. The certification represents an objective to be met and, as such, it provides motivation for language learning.

A lot of Italian companies that operate abroad or employ foreign personnel and foreign companies with commercial ties to Italy require the appropriate CILS certificate for the role in question.

The minimum required level to enroll in an Italian university is CILS DUE-B2: non-EU students who have successfully completed this level are exempt from the Italian language entry test.

A student who has obtained a CILS level TRE-C1 or level QUATTRO-C2 can obtain a bonus score for university rankings.

CILS certificate levels

The CILS certification system follows Common European Framework of Reference for Languages guidelines. There are six recognized levels, each of which is indipendent and self-contained and based of the 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 increased competencies still in formation. Neither level assumes an autonomous communicative ability. Preparation for both A1 and A2 of the CILS certification process is in modular format, differentiated according to the needs and circumstances 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 the European Framework, assesses the user's basic level of competence in using Italian with autonomy in authentic everyday contexts. The examination lasts approximately three hours.
  • Livello Due (Second Level) corresponds to B2 of the Framework and is an intermediate level. Individuals at this level of competence demonstrate the ability to use the basics of the language in a wide variety of contexts and situations. At this level, users are capable of using Italian to communicate effectively while staying in Italy, be it for study, work or pleasure. Possession of the certificate at this level allows students from outside the EU to register for university courses without having to undertake further assessment of their Italian. The exam lasts about four hours.
  • Livello Tre (Third Level) is equal to C1 in the European Framework and represents superior compentences 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 and commercial agencies. The examination lasts about five hours.
  • Livello Quattro (Fourth Level), corresponding to C2 in Framework, is an advanced level approaching "native speaker". The user has a mastery of Italian in all formal and informal situations and the capacity to effectively use the language in professional contexts. The examination lasts about five and half hours.

Exam structure

To obtain a CILS certificate it is necessary to pass the relevant examination. This consists of a listening and reading test, an analysis of the structures of communication, and writing and speaking tests. All examination papers are produced and evaluated at the Certification Center of the Università per Stranieri in Siena according to the guidelines laid down by the EU.

CILS examination centers

The exams take place in the centers that have a specific agreement with the Università per Stranieri in Siena, as is the case for our school.

CILS exam dates

Examinations are held twice a year in June and December, on the same dates in all examination centers.
Upcoming exam dates:

  • June 8. 2017
  • December 5. 2017



Please print the following form, complete in block letters and return it by email.

CILS Exam enrollment form


Dal 1984, anno di fondazione della scuola, abbiamo dato vita a un luogo speciale dove persone provenienti da tutto il mondo imparano l'italiano, si incontrano e si scambiano esperienze.