Italian Language Certifications: CILS, CELI, APTIS and PLIDA

Have you ever wondered how you can prove your Italian language skills to an employer, a university or maybe just yourself? Here is everything you need to know about the main Italian language certifications: CILS, CELI, APTIS and PLIDA.

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What is the Italian CILS certification

The CILS (Certification of Italian as a Foreign Language) is a prestigious qualification, known internationally, which certifies linguistic competence in Italian. The exam is offered and managed by the University for Foreigners of Siena. But let’s see in detail how this certification works.


The CILS is based on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) and is divided into six levels, each of which corresponds to a specific linguistic competence:

1. CILS A1 – Contact level

2. CILS A2 – Basic level

3. CILS B1 – Threshold level

4. CILS B2 – Progress level

5. CILS C1 – Effectiveness level

6. CILS C2 – Mastery level

These levels allow you to certify the competence of the Italian language from a basic use up to an almost native mastery.


Preparing for CILS means not only studying the language, but also familiarizing yourself with the structure of the exam. There are several manuals and courses, both online and offline, specifically designed for preparing for the CILS exam. Furthermore, for optimal learning, immersion in the language through reading, listening to authentic material and constant practice is recommended.


The CILS exam assesses the four main language skills:

– Listening: Understand information from dialogues, interviews, news and more.

– Reading: Understanding authentic texts, from newspaper articles to literary extracts.

– Writing: Producing texts appropriate to different contexts, such as letters, essays, or messages.

– Speaking: Interacting in different situations, presenting arguments and discussing various topics.

Each section is designed to thoroughly assess the examinee’s ability to use Italian in various contexts.


To take the CILS exam, you must enroll through one of the authorized exam centres. The list of centers and exam dates are available on the official website of the University for Foreigners of Siena. It is important to meet the application deadlines and ensure that you have all the required documents.


The CILS certification is officially recognized by the Italian state and is used by many institutions, companies and universities as proof of linguistic competence. The certificate can be used, for example, for access to Italian universities, to obtain Italian citizenship or simply to improve one’s job prospects internationally.

What is the Italian CELI certification

The CELI, acronym for “Certificate of Knowledge of the Italian Language”, is a certification of linguistic proficiency in Italian as a foreign language. Offered by the University for Foreigners of Perugia, it represents one of the most recognized and widespread certificates of competence all over the world.


Based on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), the CELI certification offers five levels that certify different degrees of competence:

1. CELI Impact (A1): for those who can communicate in a simple way in everyday situations.

2. CELI 2 (A2): for those who have basic but effective skills in familiar contexts.

3. CELI 3 (B1): certifies an independent threshold competence in the main situations of daily life.

4. CELI 4 (B2): for those who possess a clear and detailed linguistic competence, even in complex contexts.

5. CELI 5 (C1): for those who can understand and produce complex and sophisticated texts.

In addition to these, there is also the CELI Adolescenti, dedicated to young people aged between 13 and 17, and which is divided into levels A1, A2, and B1.


Preparing for the CELI involves familiarizing yourself not only with the Italian language but also with the specific structure of the exam. To obtain a good result, it is possible to attend specific courses, both online and in presence, dedicated to preparation for the CELI. Many of these courses use authentic materials, such as newspaper articles, radio programs or videos, to familiarize students with various forms of real Italian.


The CELI exam tests the four main language skills:

– Listening: evaluates the ability to understand information from various audio sources.

– Reading: tests the ability to understand written texts of various kinds.

– Writing: evaluates the ability to express oneself in writing, producing clear and structured texts.

– Spoken: tests the ability to communicate orally, interacting in various situations.


To register for the CELI exam, you need to contact one of the authorized exam centers present in many countries around the world. The complete list of centres, as well as exam dates and enrollment deadlines, are available on the official website of the University for Foreigners of Perugia.


The CELI certification is internationally recognized by educational institutions, employers and government authorities as solid and reliable proof of Italian language proficiency. In Italy, CELI is recognized by the Ministry of Education, University and Research (MIUR) and can be used for academic, professional and bureaucratic purposes, such as, for example, for obtaining Italian citizenship.

What is the Italian APTIS certification

Before going into details, it is important to clarify a fundamental point: APTIS is a language proficiency test created by the British Council to assess knowledge of English, and not of Italian. However, for the purposes of this answer, let’s imagine a hypothetical version of the APTIS test for the Italian language and proceed with the required description.


The APTIS, in its original version for English, is designed to test language skills according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). Thus, a hypothetical Italian version would have five levels:

1. A1: Beginner

2. A2: Elementary

3. B1: Low Intermediate

4. B2: Intermediate

5. C1: Advanced

The test would be structured to give a comprehensive overview of the individual’s language skills in relation to these levels.


To adequately prepare for the APTIS, it would be ideal to familiarize yourself with the structure and format of the test. There would be prep courses, both online and in the classroom, using sample materials and test mocks. Regular practice, listening, reading and speaking in Italian would be essential for effective preparation.


The APTIS exam would test all four language skills:

– Listening: Understanding audio content, from dialogue to news.

– Reading: Analyze and understand texts of various types.

– Writing: Producing texts in response to specific prompts.

– Spoken: Participate in conversations and presentations in Italian.

Unlike many other language tests, APTIS would have the particularity of being able to be customized according to the specific needs of those who commission it, such as companies for example.


Registration for the APTIS exam would take place through the official website or authorized centres. Given that the original APTIS is administered by the British Council, in this hypothetical version, a similar organization could manage registration and exams in Italy.


If APTIS were an Italian language test, it could enjoy recognition similar to that of English, i.e. from companies, educational institutions and government authorities as a reliable and flexible method for assessing language skills.

What is the Italian PLIDA certification

The PLIDA, acronym of “Progetto Lingua Italiana Dante Alighieri”, is a linguistic certification that certifies the skills in Italian as a foreign language. This certification is promoted and managed by the Dante Alighieri Society, one of the oldest and most prestigious institutions dedicated to the promotion of the Italian language and culture in the world.


The PLIDA certification is structured according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) and is divided into six levels, each of which corresponds to a specific linguistic competence:

1. PLIDA A1 – Basic

2. PLIDA A2 – Elementary

3. PLIDA B1 – Intermediate

4. PLIDA B2 – Advanced

5. PLIDA C1 – Excellent

6. PLIDA C2 – Mastery

Each level evaluates the candidate’s ability to understand and produce texts and to interact in communicative contexts that become progressively more complex.


In order to best prepare for the PLIDA exam, it is essential to familiarize yourself with the structure of the exam and to improve your language skills. There are numerous courses, both online and face-to-face, specifically for PLIDA preparation. In addition, it is useful to use educational materials, such as books and mock exams, to gain confidence and practice.


The PLIDA assesses the four main language skills:

– Listening: Ability to understand information from different types of recordings.

– Reading: Ability to interpret and understand written texts.

– Writing: Production of written texts in relation to specific instructions.

– Spoken: Ability to interact orally, exposing one’s point of view, discussing or narrating.

Each section of the exam is designed to test the examinee’s ability to use Italian in concrete situations.


To take the PLIDA exam, it is necessary to enroll in one of the centers authorized by the Dante Alighieri Society. The complete list of centres, exam dates and related deadlines are available on the Dante Alighieri official website. Once you have chosen the closest centre, you must comply with the enrollment procedures and pay the exam fee.


The PLIDA certification is recognized internationally and in Italy it is valid for certifying linguistic competence in Italian in various fields, such as access to university, the achievement of Italian citizenship and integration into the world of work. PLIDA is also recognized by the Ministry of Education, University and Research (MIUR) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

How to acquire Italian certifications

Regardless of which certification you seek, the preparation and exam process is similar:

1. Study and Prepare: Start with an honest assessment of your current skills and decide what level you would like to achieve. There are many online and offline courses, textbooks, and other specific resources to help you prepare.

2. Find an Exam Center: Each certification has specific exam centers, scattered around the world. Visit the official websites to find the center closest to you.

3. Register for the exam: Once you have found the center, you can proceed with the registration. Pay attention to expiration dates!

4. Take the exam: The exam will assess your proficiency in various language areas. Keep calm and remember everything you learned during your preparation.

5. Receive the certificate: After passing the exam, you will receive a certificate attesting to your level of proficiency in Italian.

Contact us to obtain a linguistic certification of Italian CILS, CELI, APTIS, PLIDA, a prestigious certification that requires serious and dedicated preparation. You will be able to follow a preparation course aimed at obtaining certification with our school.


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