The CILS exam, released by the University for Foreigners of Siena, is recognised worldwide to certify the Italian language level of competence.

Get more information about it reading this article.

One of the most scaring exam’s sections is definitely the one focused on the Italian grammar, called “Analisi delle strutture della comunicazione” (Analysis of the structures of communication).

Let’s see how it looks like in CILS A1 and A2.

In these levels, the Grammar section is composed by 3 activities and candidates have to complete a text with a specific grammatical element:

  • in the first activity, in level A1 they have to insert Definite Articles, in A2 to agree the Qualifying Adjectives provided with the noun they refer to
  • the second activity is about the past tense called Passato Prossimo: in level A1 the Past Participle is already in the text and candidates are asked to complete it with the correct auxiliary verb (essere or avere); in A2 they have to complete it with the whole Passato Prossimo (auxiliary verb + Past Participle)
  • in the third activity candidates have to choose among three options for each gap

As you can see, the two levels of the exam are quite similar in terms of structure, but the difficulty is different: this is why the section lasts 30 minutes for the A1 level and 40 minutes for the A2 level.

So what is the best way to get ready for this section?

Well, studying grammar is definitely the first step to get confident, as in some activities candidates have just to apply rules: for example, the first two activities require a good knowledge of how some elements work within a sentence.

Regarding the third activity, candidates should skim the text to understand it globally; after that, the best strategy is reading carefully the three options and consider them in the specific context.

Have a look at an A1 exam sample here or at an A2 exam sample here.

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