Proving your Italian language skills with a diploma

Italian language certificates

Did you say you can speak, read and write Italian? If you wish to be able to prove your language skills, you need to get a diploma in Italian. To study in Italy, most foreign students, especially those who aren’t EU citizens, either must pass a language test organized by the host university or must show they hold and Italian language certificate. Before you set foot in Florence for a year-long study abroad program, travel to Milan for an internship or enroll for master’s degree at the university of Turin, take a language test!

CILS & CELI, the main Italian language certificates

Italian higher education institutions or businesses hiring foreign staff might require a CILS or CELI language certificate. Both tests are approved by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

CILS

The CILS (Certificazione di Italiano come Lingua Straniera) is issued by the University of Siena and is divided into six levels corresponding to the different levels of the Common European Framework for languages (CEFR). Students who have obtained a CILS 2 (B2 CEFR level) certificate are exempt from the language test organized by Italian universities.

What is the exam format?

The CILS exam contains five sections: a listening test, a reading test, an analysis of communication structures, a writing test and a speaking test.

Where can the exam be taken?

To take the CILS test, you need to register in one of the examination centers (such as Italian cultural institutes) which has signed an agreement with the University of Siena. Test fees vary depending on the selected level and the country

CELI

The CELI (Certificato di Conoscenza della lingua italiana) is a certification issued by the University of Perugia and has five levels corresponding to A2 up to C2 CEFR levels. Foreign students holding a CELI 3 certificate (B2 CEFR level) can enroll in an Italian university without having to pass a language test.

What is the exam format?

The CELI exam contains a written test, a listening test and an interview.

Where can the exam be taken?

You can sit the CELI examination in many different countries, in one of the centers in partnership with the University of Perugia. Registration fees vary from one country to another.

Other Italian language diplomas

There are other Italian language certificates, less well known or designed to meet more specific needs, which also allow you to prove your level of proficiency.

PLIDA

The PLIDA (Progetto Lingua Italiana Dante Alighieri) certification is issued by the central Dante Alighieri Society and is approved by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Each of the six PLIDA diplomas corresponds with a CEFR level.

What is the exam format?

PLIDA tests are divided into four sections: oral comprehension, written comprehension, writing, speaking.

Where can the exam be taken?

To take a PLIDA exam, register in one of the 210 Dante Alighieri Society centers. Test fees vary depending on the selected level and the country.

CIC

The University of Perugia issues a diploma which will allow you to prove your ability to use Italian in the workplace: the CIC (Certificato dell’italiano commerciale). There are two different levels: an intermediate certificate (B1 CEFR level) and an advanced diploma (C1 CEFR level).

What is the exam format?

The CIC test contains five sections: reading, listening, grammar and vocabulary, writing, speaking.

Where can the exam be taken?

You can sit the CIC exam in one of the Italian Chambers of Commerce in most countries. Registration fees depend on where you take the exam.

To find out more about Italian language certificates:

Take a look at the Dante Alighieri Society website to learn more about PLIDA certificates.

Date of publication Oct 21 2013

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