CELI and CILS exams are the most popular exams today, where people can obtain certificates to prove their knowledge of the Italian language. These documents, which are especially necessary for international students who want to study undergraduate and graduate degrees in Italian, are also important as they are globally valid. CILS, which stands for Certificazione di Lingua Italiana per Stranieri (Certification of Italian Language for Foreigners), is implemented by Siena University for Foreigners. CILS certificate holders are qualified to prove their language proficiency in both their academic and career life. In addition, the CILS A2 certificate is also recognized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as a certificate of proficiency in the Italian language for long-term residents in Italy in order to obtain an EC Permit of Residence. This certificate, which confirms linguistic and communicative competence in Italian, is given through exams applied at 6 different levels. B2 level certificate required by the Italian consulate and is a compulsory certificate for students who want to study for an undergraduate and graduate degree in Italian. The CILS exam is regularly organized at the University of Siena and also at the Scuola Leonardo da Vinci. The history of the CILS qualification is said to date back to 1588, when Ferdinand, Grand Duke of Tuscany, established a school for German students to learn the Tuscan Italian language at that time. Subsequent movements for the spread of the Italian language and Italian culture have also been established and promoted throughout history. Today, the University of Foreigners of Siena plays the most important role for the official establishment of the CILS qualification.

The CELI (Certificato di Conoscenza della Lingua Italiana) exam is organized by the University of Foreigners of Perugia and allows successful participants to obtain a Certificate of Knowledge of the Italian Language. The CELI is a certificate for foreigners who wish to verify their relative fluency in Italian language and is recognized as an official qualification by the Italian Ministry of Education and Research and the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Used by foreigners to enroll in any Italian university or higher education institution, it is also an important document aimed by people coming for immigration purposes, employment and training needs. In addition to the traditional CELI certificates, there are also CELI Immigrati (immigrants) and CELI Adolescenti (adolescents) certificates. The CELI Immigrati is aimed at foreign citizens who have immigrated to Italy and is also open to students with lover level of education. CELI Adolescenti is a language proficiency certificate for children between 13 and 17 years old. The CELI exam is held annually in three different sessions, in spring, summer and in autumn, in Italy at the University of Foreigners of Perugia, in numerous authorized offices and also abroad at Italian Cultural Institutes.

Which sections does the CELI exam consist of?

CELI and CILS Exams

The CELI certification examinations are administered at 6 different levels adapted to the levels of the Common European Framework of Reference. The Ministry of Education, University and Research (MIUR) recognizes CELI 3 as a valid certificate of knowledge of Italian language for the purpose of studying at a university in Italy, while CELI 4 and CELI 5 are considered equal in terms of knowledge. Accordingly:

  • CELI Impatto, Basic level for foreigners with no knowledge of Italian.
  • CELI 1, It is the basic level recommended for foreigners who can make short sentences but do not fully master the spoken language.
  • CELI 2, It is the level that provides a moderate command of the language.
  • CELI 3, is a higher intermediate level, useful for mastering the language without too much effort.
  • CELI 4, is the advanced level necessary to understand long and complex speech and sentences.
  • CELI 5, is the advanced level that ensures full command of the language.

How to Obtain CELI Certificate? | CELI and CILS Exams

A candidate wishing to obtain the CELI qualification must register to take the examination appropriate to his/her level and pay the examination fee at least two months before the official session of the examination. The results of the candidate who has completed the exam are assessed by the University of Foreigners of Perugia according to the European Union guidelines. The official certificate is issued on average three months after the exam date.

Which Sections Does the CILS Examination Consist of?

CELI and CILS Exams

Proof of competence within the CILS certificate rules is determined in accordance with the Council of Europe’s Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. Accordingly, the certificate, which varies at different levels, is officially awarded upon successful completion of a certain level. Six different levels of difficulty are represented in the exams to suit each level. The beginner level is assessed under the name A1, followed by the most advanced level under the name C2. The qualification is therefore similar to the DELF and DALF exams used to determine French language skills. The language proficiency to be demonstrated in this context consists of four levels (from CILS Uno to CILS Quattro (B1 to C2 according to the European Framework)). In each exam, speaking, reading, writing, analyzing communication structures and listening skills, which are seen as the most important elements in language acquisition, are measured.  The CILS levels for candidates of all ages are as follows:

  • Beginner Level: CILS A1 and CILS A2
  • Independent Student Level: CILS Uno and CILS Due
  • CILS Tre and CILS Quattro at Advanced Learner Level

CILS Uno is the first of the advanced levels and requires passing a three-hour exam that tests the applicant’s basic knowledge of Italian. CILS Due requires to pass a four-hour examination of increased difficulty. This level is recognized as a recognition of the applicant’s sustained ability to speak Italian and is known as the level at which one can apply for entry to an Italian university without the need for the normally mandatory language assessment. CILS Tre represents a high level of competence in the command of Italian. The applicant must pass a five-hour exam to obtain this level of proficiency. CILS Quattro is the highest level of CILS qualifications. An applicant who successfully completes the five and a half hour examination of this level is recognized as having reached a mastery point of language almost similar to his/her native language level.

How to Obtain CILS Certificate? | CELI and CILS Exams

To take the CILS certification exam, candidates must register and then take the exam at authorized centers or on site at the university. Upon completion of the exam, the University of Foreigners of Siena evaluates the result following the European Union guidelines. The exam scoring is assessed out of 60 for A1 and A2 levels and out of 100 for B1, B2, C1 and C2 levels. In the evaluation process, each section is handled independently from each other. Candidates who are deemed successful accordingly are entitled to receive the qualification certificate appropriate to the level they have entered. The exams are traditionally held in June and December of each year.

What are the Advantages of CELI and CILS Certificates?

What are the Advantages of CELI and CILS Certificates?

CILS and CELI exams are useful for learners of Italian, those who work and study in an Italian context and those who wish to assess their Italian language skills. Each CILS and CELI level expresses the ability to speak, understand, read and write in different contexts and situations. These certificates, which prove that the person has the necessary language knowledge to study, work and most importantly, to communicate correctly with people in Italy, are effective in opening different doors of opportunity in terms of both education and career point of view with their international validity. Many organizations around the world offer exam preparation courses and studies so that candidates can obtain information about what is required. In this way, candidates can prepare for the exams in the right way and easily prove their language proficiency by getting the results they aim to.