PLIDA B1: The Structure.

What’s the PLIDA Exam?

The P.L.I.D.A (Progetto Lingua Italiana Dante Alighieri) is an Italian exam created by the Italian Ministry of Education to test language proficiency at different levels in Italian. It’s intended for people who don’t live or study Italian outside the country, immigrants in Italy or those who apply for Italian Citizenship through marriage or residency. 

There are six levels of the exam: A1 (beginner), A2 (lower- intermediate), B1 (intermediate), B2 (upper-intermediate), C1 (advanced), C2 (natitve). 

The PLIDA B1 for Citizenship 

If you’re planning to take the PLIDA exam for citizenship reason, you should book the PLIDA B1. 

What does ‘B1’ mean?

A B1 level in a language, is often referred to as the threshold stage. According to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), represents an intermediate level of proficiency. Here’s a brief description of what a B1 level typically entails:

B1 Listening

At the B1 level, you can understand the main points of clear, standard speech on familiar matters. You can follow the main ideas of a conversation or discussion, as long as the language is not too fast or complex

B1 Reading

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.

B1 Grammar

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
B1 writing

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..).

B1 speaking

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.

The Structure of the Plida B1 Exam

PLIDA Exam PartDurationTasks Breakdown
Listening~30 min– Four sections (5-7 min each)
– Actor-narrated dialogues or messages
– Multiple-choice quizzes or vocabulary exercises
Reading~40 min– Four sections
– Multiple-choice or matching exercises
Writing~60 min– Two sections
– 1st: 110-150 word essay based on prompts
– 2nd: 70-100 word email writing
Speaking~15 min– Three sections
– 1st: Self-introduction
– 2nd: Paired conversation
– 3rd: Individual conversation with examiner

How to Prepare for the PLIDA B1

The Plida B1 (as well as any other B1 exams) will attest your intermediate Italian proficiency. This means that if you are a total beginner, you should first acquire language proficiency in A1 and A2, and only then should you start working on B1.

Regarding the actual exam preparation, I suggest breaking it up into two parts: 

First Part – make sure you have solid grasp of desired level for the exam. You can do this alone, in a school or with a private instructor.  

Second Part – prepare for navigating the exam structure. Each exam has a unique format. Being familiar with the structure (e.g. how and where to fill in your answers!) on the day of the exam will help you pass it with easy and prevent some headaches. Work on exam samples or the PLIDA textbooks to accomplish this.

How is the PLIDA B1 for Citizenship different from the CILS UNO B1 or CELI 2?

The PLIDA B1 exam’s structure and input make it more accessible and overall simpler than the CILS and CELI B1 exams, despite the fact that it lacks a citizenship format.

Pros: easier and shorter than the CILS and CELI B1

Cons: There aren’t many PLIDA’s examination centers in the US.

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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