What is the CILS Uno B1?
The CILS Uno B1 is an official Language Certificate issued by the University for foreigners of Siena, Italy, to prove the Italian government, an Italian university institution or an employer in Italy a B1 (intermediate) level of competence in the Italian Language.
What does B1 stand for?
The level B1 is often referred to as the threshold stage, because it’s the point at which an Italian speaker moves beyond the simplest use of language usage and is able to deal with most scenarios that can happen when living or traveling in Italy.
At the B1 level, a student of Italian should be able to understand the general sentiment of clear and standard input of everyday conversation about things like work, family life, leisure, as well as understanding the main idea of television shows or radio stations, when the topics discussed are simple, clear, and don’t deal with complicated topics (e.g. politics, finance, economics, science, etc.).
At the B1 level, a student is able to read and understand a simple magazine article or blog post on affairs and uncomplicated general topics of general which don’t use advanced or technical language.
At this level, the learner should be proficient in both the A1 and A2 levels of Italian, as well as have a firm grasp of the B1 grammar. The standard grammar topics for B1 include:
- The use of articulated prepositions (e.g., di, dalla, sulla, etc..)
- The direct and indirect Italian pronouns (e.g. gli dico v lo dico)
- The particules ci e ne (e.g. ne parlo / ci parlo)
- The double object pronouns (e.g. me lo, te lo, glielo..)
- The use of most frequent Italian connectors (anche se, perciò, siccome, quindi, etc..)
- How to use and differentiate the imperfetto from the passato prossimo
- The use of the pronouns with the imperative and modal verbs
- The informal and formal imperative
- The use of the main Italian connectors (perché, poiché, quindi, etc…)
- The future tense and the present conditional
- The use of the present subjunctive
A student of Italian who has reached the B1 should be able to produce simple essays or emails in both formal and informal settings about personal experiences of interests. Additionally, he or she should be able to write formal emails to request information in general (e.g. to a school of Italian, to a hotel, to a city council, etc..).
A student of Italian who has reached the B1 is able to handle the majority of real-word situations. Additionally, he or she is also able to briefly give his or her opinion on topics of interest (such as the environment, education, healthcare, and lifestyle habits) and describe personal events and experiences. He or she is expected to construct Italian sentences with a variety of verb forms (present, past, future, conditional), connectors, and pronouns.
What’s the structure of the CILS UNO B1 exam?
The CILS B1 exam consists of five sections, and it’s a writing and oral exam which lasts about 3.30 h.
- Test di ascolto – listening comprehension (30 minutes)
- Test di comprensione della lettura – reading comprehension (45 minutes)
- Test di analisi delle strutture di comunicazione – grammar and vocabulary (1 hour)
- Test di produzione scritta – writing production (70 minutes)
- Test di produzione orale – speaking practise (10 minutes)
The test di ascolto (listening part) lasts 30 minutes and consists of three short listening prompts. After listening to the audio prompts, you will complete a set multiple choices questionnaires about the audios.
The test di comprensione della lettura (reading part) will last 45 minutes and consists of three short reading exercises with texts to read and filling the gaps exercises.
The test di analisi delle strutture di comunicazione (grammar and vocabulary part) will last 1 hour and consists of four assignments: you will you to fill the missing parts in some short texts with the missing grammar (prepositions, verbs, articles) or vocabulary.
The test di produzione scritta (writing part) lasts 70 minutes and consists of two short writing prompts to chose from: one is usually about describing an event concerning your life, and another one is about writing an email. email in prova 1. Each text should be 90-120 words long.
Example of a writing assignment for the CILS Uno – B1
- Descrivi una persona della tua famiglia. Devi scrivere da 100 a 120 parole.
- Scrivi una e-mail ad un tuo amico italiano per invitarlo a visitare la tua città. Devi scrivere da 80 a 100 parole
The test di produzione orale is the speaking part and will last about 10-12 minutes. Your Italian speaking exam will be recorded. The tested is divided into two short sections, and you will need to:
- briefly present yourself
- carry out a role play with the examiner based on a visual prompt (ex. complain at a restaurant, giving a piece of advice to a friend)
- describe a visual prompt – the examiner might ask you questions
How can I take the CILS Uno B1 exam?
You can take the exam virtually worldwide at any accredited Italian Language Centers in the world or in Italy.
You should sign up and pay for the exam with at least one month’s notice.
Every year there are three to five dates for taking the exam depending on the examination center you decide to use.
The cost of the CILS Uno B1 is around 140/180 USD. It may cost slightly more depending on your chosen center for the exam.
You should also know that…
If you pass just two sections in five, let’s say test di ascolto e di produzione orale – on your next exam you will need to complete just the other three, and the cost of the whole exam will be reduced.
Helpful prep textbooks for the CILS Uno B1 exam
Do you offer an exam preparation course for the CILS UNO B1?
I offer individual courses for highly motivated students who want to perfect their Italian and get in the right shape for the exam.
If you don’t have time to commit to regular meetings or just need a quick fix for the exam (e.g., a customized learning plan, language assessment, etc..), you can book a one-time session with me here.