CILS Exam Preparation Courses, in Florence or Online

The CILS Certification of the University for Foreigners of Siena is one of the most requested Italian language certifications which attests to the degree of linguistic-communicative competence in Italian as a foreign language.

Level B1 is necessary to obtain Italian citizenship, while other levels are necessary, or highly beneficial, in the domains of both work and/or study.

CILS certification overview

Recognized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Education, the CILS Certification is the first Italian certification to have adopted the system of six levels of linguistic-communicative competence proposed by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages of the Council of Europe.

CILS certificates are divided into 6 different levels of competence, of which the CILS B1 Citizenship level is also referred to as a simplified B1.

The exams consist of a listening test, a reading test, an analysis of communication structures, a written test, and an oral test.

To obtain the CILS certification, the candidate must be proficient in all areas.

NOTE: CILS certificates do not expire.


The CILS A1 is designed for those who are starting their first steps in the study of the Italian language.

The CILS A1 exam lasts two hours.

» Check your Italian language level, take our A1 Italian test


The CILS A2 is the necessary certificate for those who wish to obtain a residence permit to live in Italy.

The CILS A2 exam lasts two hours.

» Check your Italian language level, take our A2 Italian test

CILS Level One

“Level One” corresponds to level B1 of the European Framework and confirms a basic level of competence, among users of Italian, which is necessary for the autonomous use of the language in everyday contexts.

The “Level One” certification allows foreign students to be admitted into the Italian high school system.

The CILS level one exam lasts three hours.

» Check your Italian language level, take our B1 Italian test

CILS B1 Citizenship

CILS B1 Citizenship corresponds to level B1 of the European Framework, but presents some slight differences compared to “Level One”.

Law n. 132, established in December 2018, requires the possession of a B1 level certificate to obtain Italian citizenship, for this reason, the University of Foreigners of Siena has developed a simplified B1 exam that does not cover language proficiency levels for both academic and/or work purposes.

The CILS B1 Citizenship exam duration is the same as the classic B1, three hours.

» Check your Italian language level, take our B1 Italian test

CILS Level Two

“Level Two” – B2 of the European Framework, is considered an intermediate level, in which students are able to demonstrate their ability to use the basic foundations of the Italian language, in a wide variety of contexts and situations.

“Level Two” is required for university admission at an Italian university in Italy.

The CILS level two exam at this level takes about four hours.

» Check your Italian language level, take our B2 Italian test

CILS Level Three

“Level Three” – C1 of the European Framework, demonstrates a high level of competence in the use of the Italian language. It confirms the ability to use Italian effectively in a much wider range of contexts.

This level is highly beneficial in the workplace.

The CILS level three exam lasts about five hours.

» Check your Italian language level, take our C1 Italian test

CILS Level Four

“Level Four” – C2 of the European Framework, is the most advanced level. This testifies to a use of the Italian language as comparable to that of a native speaker.

This certificate represents an excellent added value to an academic curriculum and can be a very usable qualification in the workplace.

The CILS level four exam lasts about five and a half hours.

Dates and CILS centers

CILS exams usually take place five times a year, simultaneously all over the world.

You can consult the list of exam dates on the website of the University for Foreigners of Siena.

  • In Italy, exams take place at the University of Siena (about an hour’s drive from our school in Florence) and other affiliated locations.
  • Abroad, exams take place at some affiliated centers and Italian Cultural Institutes. Discover the office closest to you.

Attention: In order to take the exam, it is necessary to follow strict deadlines, for example, registration must take place at least 45 days before the exam date.

Please note: It is not possible to take CILS exams online.

CILS Exam Preparation

To pass a CILS exam it is not necessary to enroll in a course with specific contents or a set method, but it is important to be well prepared as per the competence profiles of the different levels.

For this reason, we offer (in Italy and online) a 15-minute consultation where one of our instructors can help you choose the learning path that best suits your needs in preparing for the CILS exam.

While preparing for a CILS exam, you will also have the opportunity to simulate an exam session using old CILS exam papers.

This will help you get used to the exam, its structure, and the amount of time provided. Furthermore, you can check your predicted score.

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