The CILS exam is a great challenge to get the certification released by the University for Foreigners of Siena, which is valid all over the world to attest your Italian level of competence.

Have a look at the exam structure here.

One of the most challenging sections of the exam is definitely the Speaking Part: let’s see in more details how it looks like in CILS B1 and B2.

This Section includes two activities which test different abilities: Oral Interaction and Oral Production. Both tasks are recorded.

  • The first is a dialogue with the examiner about one of the 4 options given: candidates choose the topic and the examiner starts the conversation asking the first question. This part lasts 2-3 minutes.
  • The second activity is a monologue about a topic chosen by the candidate among 4 options (two open questions and two pictures). The duration is around 1 minute and a half. During the monologue the examiner doesn’t intervene, however he could ask a question if the candidate gets stuck.

In both activities, candidates don’t have a preparation time and can’t write anything: they just have to start as soon as they choose the topic.

You can have a look at a B1 Speaking Section sample here and at a B2 sample here.

As you probably noticed the difference between the two levels is the complexity of the topics rather than the duration of the tasks.

What is the right strategy to pass this Section?

Well, going through the topics included in the programme and building an appropriate vocabulary can help manage the activities in a confident way. In order to get ready for the first activity, the dialogue, simulating the same situation is recommended: practicing with a teacher makes candidates focus on the possible questions and realize what they should expect from the conversation.

For the second activity, it could be useful to record the speaking and listen to it to think over strengths and weaknesses. Also, the timing should be monitored as it is difficult to focus on it while speaking.

So let’s choose the first topic and try!

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