The CILS certification released by the University for Foreigners of Siena is definitely one of the most valued in the world.

See more about the exam here.

The CILS exam C1 and C2 are the most challenging levels to take and they require a structured preparation. Probably you agree with me if I say that one of the most scary parts of the exam is the Speaking Section.

Let’s see it!

The Speaking Part is made of two activities:

  • A conversation or a role play with the examiner about a topic chosen by the candidate among 4 options: candidates can prepare the activity for 2-3 minutes and then the conversation lasts 3-4 minutes either in C1 and C2.
  • A monologue about a topic chosen by the candidate among 4 options: there are 3 minutes preparation, then candidates have to talk about the topic for 2-3 minutes at a C1 and C2 level.

Be careful! During the preparation candidates can’t write anything down, so they have to use the minutes given only  to think about what they want to say and organise their ideas.

The whole Speaking Section is recorded and evaluated by a team of professionals in the CILS Centre in Siena.

What are the main difficulties and the best methods to prepare the section?

The topics given are definitely complicated and sometimes very specific: that is why it is important to choose the one which is more manageable, easy in terms of vocabulary and inspiring. Preparing the speaking carefully is also important: the preparation time is precious to organise different ideas and think about how to explain a specific point of view or talk about advantages and disadvantages about a topic.

In the first activity the focus is the interaction with the examiner in a natural and spontaneous way: before the exam it is important to have some sessions with a teacher who knows the exam and how to approach this task.

For the second task, only the daily practice can give the confidence and competence to talk about the kind of topics given: talking about controversial issues read in a newspaper or news listened in a radio programme can be a very good preparation, together with the continuous vocabulary building work.

You can have a look at a C1 Speaking Section here and at a C2 Speaking Section here.

Have you already tried one of the activities? Well, it’s time to take this challenge!