The Italian Language Test for Citizenship
Due to the amendments to the Italian law in December 2018, it is now compulsory to obtain an Italian B1 language text for all applicants for Italian citizenship through marriage or residence.
Anyone applying for dual citizenship under these terms must prove an adequate competence in the Italian language.
What does the B1 Italian Certification stand for?
The Italian level B1 is the third level of Italian in the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR), a definition of the different language levels stated by the Council of Europe.
In other words, those who have reached the B1 language level have a level of Italian that is beyond the basics but still not perfect. He or she can interact with the language on a day-to-day basis, deal with most of the situations on a trip to Italy, describe personal experiences, events, or aspirations, and briefly express his opinions.
List of grammar topics to study in order to pass an Italian B1 level test
Before you begin studying for the B1 exam, make sure you grasp the following A1, A2, and B1 grammar topics.
A1 – A2 Italian grammar topics
- The Italian Pronunciation
- The Articles
- The Present Indicative of Regular Verbs
- The Present Indicative of Irregular Verbs
- The Modal Verbs (voglio, posso, devo)
- The Past Tense (passato prossimo)
- The Imperative
- The Direct Object Pronouns
- The Impersonal form “si”
- The possessive adjectives
B1 Italian grammar topics
- The Indirect Object Pronouns
- The Double Double pronouns (me lo, te la..)
- The particles “CI” and “NE”
- The use of the imperfect and past tense
- The correct use of articles and prepositions
- The indefinite adjectives (qualche, alcuni, nessuno)
- The comparatives (più buono, più bello)
- The Imperfect Tense
- The Future Tense
- The Present Conditional
Conversation topics to study in order to pass an Italian B1 level test
- Talking about your work
- Talking about your vacations
- Talking about your personal life
- Talking about your hobbies, like favorite music, movies, sport or books
- Talking about the environment
- Talking about your favorite TV shows
- Talking about relationships
- Describing your educational background and your plans for future training
- and, more broadly, debating the advantages and disadvantages of any particular topic
What are the available certifications for the B1 Cittadinanza test?
- CILS B1 Cittadinanza – the University of Siena for foreigners (more information here)
- CELI 2 Cittadinanza – the University of Perugia for foreigners (more information here)
- PLIDA B1 Cittadinanza – Dante Alighieri Association (more information here)
- CERT – The University of Roma 3
All of the above certifications are available in Italy and at Italian institutions and schools around the world.
What is the structure of the B1 Cittadinanza test?
All of the B1 Italian Language Exams consist of 5 parts.
- A listening section
- A reading section
- A writing section
- A speaking section
- A communication section
However, one task’s specifics and lengths may change from one type of exam to another.
The CILS certification
I would say that the CILS certification is most recognized worldwide as it has the most significant number of examination centers worldwide, spread among Italian schools, universities, or other types of institutions.
It is also easier to access prep material for the CILS certification online in the form of courses or books.
The CILS offers citizenship applicants the possibility to take a specific certification tailored to their needs, the CILS B1 Cittadinanza.
How does the CILS B1 for Citizenship differ from the regular CILS?
This exam has been specially designed for all those applicants that need to obtain the Italian Certification for Citizenship. It thus has a focus on the communicative aspects that the potential passport holder might be involved in.
The CILS B1 level for Citizenship includes a reduced number of tasks compared to the regular CILS B1 exam (two listening tasks, two reading tasks, one speaking task, and one writing task) and takes around 2 hours instead of 5.
The CILS B1 for Citizenship differs from the regular B1 because it has to be passed in full. In fact, in the regular CILS exam, you allow the applicants to retake only those parts of the exam that they have not passed (e.g., listening and writing).
How much time do you need to prepare for the exam?
It all depends on your level. If you are an absolute beginner in Italian, it might take anywhere from 6 to 24 months, depending on your time commitment and native language. If you already have an intermediate level, it might take you a month to handle how the exam works.
In both circumstances, when it comes to taking a language test, what matters is not just the knowledge of the required grammar and vocabulary but a good understanding of how the test is structured.
Cils Exam Centers
If you don’t know where to take the CILS test, here is a list of the authorized examination centers around the world.
Test preparation material
To pass the B1 Cittadinanza exam successfully, you don’t just need to have a good command of the topics I listed above, but you also need to be acquainted with the exam structure. Knowing beforehand in what order the tasks are presented, how much time you will be allowed for every task, and the specific requirements of each task will make the difference on the day of the exam.
My suggestion is to get as many exam samples as you can. You can find them online in the form of a certification or as a textbook on Amazon.Just dial your accreditation and your level.
Useful textbooks for studying for the CILS B1 Cittadinanza exam.
My favorite textbooks for preparing my students for the B1 citizenship level (providing they have already reached an intermediate level of the language)