CILS B1 for Citizenship – The Listening Part

The Exam Structure

Here’s a breakdown of the exam structure:

  • Total Exam Duration: 2.05 hours
  • Listening Section Duration: 30 minutes

Listening Section Details:

  1. Prova n.1:
    • Task: Listen to the recording of six short texts.
    • Question Type: Multiple-choice questions.
  2. Prova n.2:
    • Task: Listen to two short passages.
    • Question Type: Identify which passages contain information.

How to do well on the listening part of the CILS B1 for Citizenship exam:

  1. It’s important to have at least a pre-intermediate level of proficiency so that you can understand intermediate-level sentences and topics.”
  2. “Once you’ve reached a solid B1 listening level, you can start using the CILS Citizenship B1 prep textbooks (Percorso CILS B1 Cittadinanza, Pronti per la Cittadinanza) to practice the listening sections.

What if you haven’t reached a B1 listening level yet? How can you reach the required listening level to pass the B1 citizenship exam?

If you’re concerned about your ability to understand spoken Italian or just want to improve it, let me assure you that I hear you! Listening is one of the most complex linguistic areas to master for a number of reasons: opportunities to be exposed to the Italian language are limited if you don’t live in an Italian-speaking country, and finding appropriate listening content to practice can be hard at times.

What is the best way to find listening content that is appropriate for your level?

In my opinion, there are essentially a few ways to improve your listening skills at the beginner or intermediate level.

  1. Read and listen simultaneously to short stories in easy Italian with audiobooks suitable for your level, such as these.
  2. Listen to audio sources in the form of dialogues that you can easily find in textbooks designed for your level.

In my experience, the rest doesn’t work. For example, podcasts at this level appear to be too long or overwhelming.

The importance of reading and listening simultaneously while learning Italian

All the options I suggested also include a written transcript. The reason for this is that you may have trouble deciphering what’s going on, even if the input is slow and simple. This is due to the fact that you will be exposed to a large number of new words (especially if your native language is very different from Italian). 

Having a written text or transcript allows you to read and listen at the same time, which is the only way to improve your listening skills in my experience. 

After a while, you’ll be able to get rid of the transcripts and become a more confident learner. 

When you read, you’ll visualize the sounds you hear in written form, especially if you’re a visual learner like me.

How will this fit into your CILS B1 for Citizenship preparation?

It all comes down to your Italian level. If you’re an intermediate learner who believes your listening skills are stuck at a beginner level, make a commitment to prioritize listening in your daily study plan. If you concentrate on listening, for example, by listening to chapters of short story books and reading the transcripts, you’ll notice your listening skills improve significantly without even realizing it. Don’t spread yourself too thin by juggling too many resources. Choose one and stick to it until you see progress.

Do you enjoy watching videos to learn Italian?

Lingopie is a Netflix-like platform that allows you to improve your Italian by watching TV shows, documentaries, and vlogs (separate by genre and level). They offer a beginner-friendly option too.

About the Author

Serena Capilli

I’m the creative force behind both this blog and my collection of short stories in simple Italian for language learners, available on Amazon.

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Ciao, I'm Serena!

I’m the creative force behind both this blog and my collection of short stories in simple Italian for language learners, available on Amazon.

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