CILS B1 Cittadinanza (Citizenship): Listening Part 

  • The exam lasts a total of 2.05 hours. 
  • To complete the listening portion, you’ll be given 30 minutes (which is going to be the first one of five different tasks) 
  • Listening is broken down into two parts:  prova n.1 and prova n.2. In prova n.1, you’ll have to listen to six short texts and answer a multiple-choice question. In prova n.2, you must listen to two short passages and then identify which passages contain information and which do not.

How to do well on the listening portion of the exam

  • Get at least a pre-intermediate level of proficiency,  in order to gain the ability of understanding intermediate level sentences and topics. 
  • Work independently with the CILS B1 study materials and take as many practice exams as you can manage.Check out the PDF of the complete B1 Cittadinanza(Citizenship) test here.

How do you get to the level of listening required to pass the 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 variety of reasons: opportunities to be exposed to the language are limited if you don’t live in Italy, and finding appropriate listening Italian content to practice can be hard at times. 

Particularly the last one. 

Listening to content that is tailored to your level is one of the best ways to learn to understand Italian better. To put it another way, you won’t need to be exposed to native content to improve your Italian listening comprehension skills to the B1 intermediate level.  And it’ s not enough to listen to something slowly; what’s importanti is that the content you’re using has the appropriate vocabulary and grammar for your level. 

This does not mean you should read children’s books (which I never recommend to my private students) because they contain complex Italian tenses (for example, passato remoto or the subjunctive) that you will not require at your level. 

It means you should listen to Italian audio content for beginners or intermediates. 

What is the best way to find such content? 

There are basically two ways to improve your listening skills at the beginner or intermediate level, in my opinion. 

  • Read and listen to short stories with audiobooks, likethese ones.
  • Listen to podcasts in simple Italian (with transcription), like these ones.

The rest, in my experience, does not work.

The importance of reading and listening simultaneously 

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 preparation? 

It all comes down to your Italian level. If you’re an intermediate learner who thinks your listening skills are stuck at a beginner level, make a commitment to listen to one short story book a month or week and you’ll notice your listening skills improve by leaps and bounds without even realizing it.

If you’d like to have your listening skills assessed by me, this is the place to go.


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.