Cils B1 Cittadinanza (CILS B1 for Citizenship): How to Prepare for the Speaking Part
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This article aims to dispel any doubts and help you succeed in the speaking part of the Cils B1 Citizenship test.
As you are aware, the Citizenship exam also includes reading, listening, grammar, and writing sections; however, many students find the speaking portion to be the most intimidating, as you will be put on the spot right in front of the examiner and will be prompted to discuss topics in a foreign language.
In my opinion, the speaking part is not the most difficult section of the exam, as long as you learn how to talk about the most common speaking prompts for the B1 level.
How long does the speaking section last?
The total time for the Cils B1 Cittadinanza exam is 2 hours and 5 minutes. The speaking section is only 10 minutes long and consists of two tasks:
- first task: a brief introduction of yourself.
- second task: a topic of your choice to develop in the shape of a conversation with the examiner or a photo to describe and talk about.
Tips and ideas for first task (breve introduzione personale)
Get ready to talk about yourself; this will be the examiner’s first question.
While introducing yourself, I suggest mentioning:
- your name.
- your age.
- where you live, your job/your studies.
- if you have a family or not, and the reason why you’re sitting for the exam.
My recommendation is to also explain how you’ve learned Italian so far and why. This is a fairly easy topic to discuss and will easily help you speak more and make a good impression on the examiner.
Tips and ideas for second task (Prova 1)
During the speaking section of the Cils B1 Cittadinanza exam, you’ll be presented with four different topic questions or images. You get to choose the one that you’re most comfortable discussing. If you happen to get a yes-or-no question, make sure to elaborate on your response. For instance, if the question is “Is vegetarian food healthy?” don’t just say “yes” or “no.” Instead, provide a reason or comment to support your answer, such as “Yes, because vegetarian food often includes fresh fruits and vegetables that are essential for a balanced diet.”
During this task, the examiner may interrupt you to ask questions related to the topic you choose. If you have difficulty understanding their questions, don’t hesitate to ask them to repeat themselves. You can use phrases like “Mi scusi, non ho capito la domanda. Potrebbe ripeterla per favore?” (Excuse me, I didn’t understand the question. Could you please repeat it?) or “Mi scusi, non ho capito il significato della parola ‘X.’ Potrebbe aiutarmi?” (Excuse me, I didn’t understand the meaning of the word ‘X.’ Could you help me?)
It’s important to address the examiner formally by using “Lei” throughout the exam, as sitting for an exam in Italy is considered a formal situation.
How to Perform Well in the Speaking Part of the Exam
- Have a solid grasp on intermediate Italian grammar topics. To pass this test, your Italian level should be between A2 and B1.
- Complete as many practice tests as you can and have your teacher correct them.
- Examine the available CILS B1 Cittadinanza prep-textbooks to become acquainted with the test structure (Percorso CILS B1 Cittadinanza, Pronti per il test B1 Cittadinanza)
- Practice your Italian speaking skills by writing down your responses to speaking prompts.
Why is writing the way to pass the exam?
Imagine if your teacher asked you an impromptu question about the traffic situation in your hometown and you had to respond for at least five minutes. How would you handle it? Maybe your Italian is good enough to discuss traffic and cities, but you don’t have a formalized opinion about it, even in your native language.
This is where writing comes in.
When writing, you’ll have all the time you need to formalize your ideas and thoughts, look up words in a dictionary, and possibly have your sentences corrected by a teacher who can point out common errors, polish imperfections, and help you elevate the level of your sentences and fluency.
When you’re writing you’re essentially warming up for you speaking part.
A good exercise is simply to answer in writing to the most common speaking prompts used in the exam.
List of common topics used in the CILS B1 Citizenship test:
- Ti piace viaggiare? (racconta un tuo viaggio).
- Ti piace leggere o andare al cinema (racconta un libro che hai letto o un film che hai visto).
- Ti piace cucinare? (racconta una ricetta e/o una storia legata alla cucina o al cibo)
- Ci sono delle differenze tra la cultura italiana e la tua? (racconta una somiglianza e una differenza tra le due culture)
- Fai la raccolta differenziata? Quali sono le principali regole da seguire? Pensi che sia una cosa giusta? Nel tuo Paese è presente?
- Preferisci la città o campagna? Spiega i perché della tua risposta.
- Hai la patente di guida italiana? Ci sono delle differenze tra l’esame di guida in Italia e quello nel tuo Paese?
- Quando cerchi una casa da prendere in affitto o comprare a che cosa fai attenzione? Quali sono le tue esigenze?
- A PDF file most common speaking prompts used in the CILS B1 Cittadinanza exam followed by my answers in intermediate Italian (with tips and tricks on how to pass the exam).
- A sample test of the CILS B1 cittadinanza (link here)
- Information on my 1-to-1 exam preparations classes
- Useful CILS B1 prep textbooks and guides
Exam Dates (2023)
These are the upcoming dates for the CILS Cittadinanza Exam in 2023, both in Italy and abroad
- June 8th
- July 20th
- October 23rd
- December 5th
Remember that you must register for the exam at least 40 days before the exam.
The exam costs around between 120 and 180 USD, this varies slightly depending on the examination center.
This page contains an up-to-date list of CILS B1 Citizenship examination centers in Italy and abroad.