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External certificates

English language certificates

Universities in English-speaking countries as well as those European Universities which provide curricula taught in English, require their future students to pass a language-level test and obtain a certificate. There are several institutions providing such certificates, described here below.

What certificate can a Secondary School pupil take?

Cambridge IELTS

This is the most common certificate required by English-speaking universities. Many universities however accept both THE Cambridge Advanced (CAE) and TOEFL certificates. This certificate has a 2-year validity. Marks range from 1 to 9. Universities generally expect a mark of about 6.5 but it is necessary to consult the individual university website since mark expectations can vary according to the university and the subject chosen.

Cambridge FIRST (B2) or ADVANCED (CAE) (C1)

Contrary to IELTS, Cambridge First, Advance or Proficiency certificates have a permanent validity. This type of test is very similar to the IELTS tests.


This is the certificate required by American universities, especially necessary for MBA or certain multinational enterprises. It tests listening, reading, speaking and writing abilities. TOEFL assesses the candidate's linguistic skills with a multiple-choice questionnaire. For this reason an adequate preparation is essential for this test.

USMLE (United States Medical Licensing Examination)

This certificate is designed for future students in the US faculties of Medicine.

BULATS (Business Language Testing Service)

This certificate tests linguistic skills for future careers in business.

TOEIC (Test of English in International Communication)

As the TOELF certificate, this is a reference test to test and/or assess all English linguistic skills. These two exams were devised in the US and are recognised all over the world. TOEIC gives students the opportunity to access numerous international enterprises and Écoles Supérieures. For this reason an adequate preparation is essential for this test. The threshold mark varies according to the university or enterprise concerned.

Where and when can a student sit these exams?

The exams are organised by the various institutions authorised by the international bodies concerned. Here is a list of these institutions in Rome. Please refer to their websites to find out where and when exams are held in the several annual sessions.

  • For Cambridge exams (IELTS, FIRST, ADVANCED etc.) in Rome, please consult the British Council.

  • For the TOEFL in Rome, please consult the British Institute (to see the dates for scheduled exam sessions, click here). General information on TOEFL are available on this site.

  • For the USMLE, please refer to this site.

  • For the BULATS in Rome, please consult the British Council.

  • For the TOEIC, find all the necessary information on this website.

Training for the tests at school

Since our school cannot replace the international institutions which provides the certificates here above (Cambridge, TOEFL etc.), and since many of our students spontaneously apply for these tests, we have adopted the training policy:

- For 2nde students, all English teachers will provide a training session at the end of the year, immediately after the teachers' conference. Students will take a mock test (Cambridge FIRST for instance) so as to become familiar with the test format as well as to be able to assess one's own language level within the grid (A1-C2) of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.

- For 1ère and Terminale students, we provide a two-session training for a language test (mainly IELTS, during the first and second term), addressed to voluntary students.

Italian Languages Certifications

In Italy, various organizations validate the level of Italian language ability within the criteria established according to the CEFR - Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. These organizations are recognized by the Ministero dell'Istruzione dell'Università e della Ricerca (MIUR).

The main organizations present in Rome are the following.

CELI – Certificazione Italiano Generale dell'Università per Stranieri di Perugia

L'Università per Stanieri in Perugia is among the founding members of ALTE, The Association of Languages Testers in Europe, together with Salamanca University, the Cervantes Institute, Cambridge University, the Generalitat de Catalunya, the Goethe Institut and Lisbon University. It is the only institution representing the Italian language within ALTE.

The CELI certificates for general Italian and the CIC pour commercial Italian are the only language certificates within the ALTE framework. These guarantee easy comparison with language certificates of other European languages.

The CELI - Certificate of Knowledge of Italian Language - are general Italian certifications for students and adults. They are granted by the Centro di Valutazione e Certificazione Linguistica de l'Università per Stranieri di Perugia.

CELI exams are divided into two different varieties: CELI standard for students and adults and the CELI adolescenti for students aged 13 to 17.

CELI Standard

These are divided into 6 levels following the CEFR framework.

CELI Impatto – A1

Certifying the CEFR A1 level of ability in the Italian language.

CELI 1 – A2

Certifying the CEFR A2 level of ability in the Italian language.

CELI 2 – B1

Certifying the CEFR B1 level of ability in the Italian language.

CELI 3 – B2

Certifying the CEFR B2 level of ability in the Italian language.

CELI 4 – C1

Certifying the CEFR C1 level of ability in the Italian language.

CELI 5 – C2

Certifying the CEFR C2 level of ability in the Italian language.

Certification exams are available three times a year: in March (only for CELI impatto, CELI 1, CELI 2, and CELI 3), June and November.

CELI adolescenti

The CELI adolescenti (CELI a) are dedicated to students aged 13 to 17. These evaluate language ability with communicative situations adapted to students in this age group.

CELI exams for adolescents are always based on the objectives and methods used within the CEFR framework.

CELI a exams take place once a year and are divided into three levels:

  • CELI 1 a: A2

  • CELI 2 a: B1

  • CELI 3 a: B2

The Ministero dell'Istruzione dell'Università e della Ricerca recognizes the CELI 3 (B2 level) as a valid certificate required for applications to universities in Italy, depending on the number of places available for foreign students. CELI 4 (C1 level) and CELI 5 (C2 level) are recognized as valid certifications allowing applicants to be recognized as having the same Italian language ability as native speaking Italian students. Faculties may however require specific entrance exams.

CELI 5 is also recognized as a valid certification attesting to the necessary Italian language ability for applications to teaching jobs in Italian schools.

Exam costs 2016

For all levels and all varieties: 100€.

Exam centre

CEDIS, c/o ITIS Galileo Galilei, via Conte Verde, Rome – near Termini train station. For further information and applications, contact Mrs. Sandra Monaco, Responsabile Didattico Esami CELI, e-mail – phone +39 328 5733571.

Centro CILS – Certificazione di Italiano come Lingua Straniera de l'Università per Stranieri di Siena

The CILS is a certification attesting an L2 level of linguistic-communicational ability of the Italian language. It also adopts the 6 level framework used by the CEFR - Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. The Centro CILS is part of EALTA – European Language Testing Association, the European association which promotes testing practices and linguistic evaluation in Europe.

For further information:

Ufficio Certificazione de l'Università degli Studi Roma Tre

This office delivers language ability certifications recognised by the Italian Ministero degli Affari Esteri and the Ministero dell'Istruzione dell'Università e della Ricerca. They conceive, draft, organize and evaluate L2 Italian language ability certifications.

For further information:

PLIDA (Progetto Lingua Italiana Dante Alighieri) conferred by the Società Dante Alighieri, Scuola d'Italiano di Roma

PLIDA certifications are delivered by the Società Dante Alighieri and are recognized by the Ministero degli Affari Esteri, the Università “La Sapienza” di Roma, the Ministero del Lavoro e delle Politiche Sociali and the Ministero dell'Istruzione dell'Università e della Ricerca.

The Società Dante Alighieri is a founding member of the association CLIQ (Certificato Lingua Italiana di Qualità – authorized by the Ministero degli Affari Esteri and other certifying entities).

PLIDA certifications attest to language ability of Italian as a foreign language.

PLIDA certifications adopts the six levels used in the CEFR framework.

PLIDA Juniores

The PLIDA Juniores is an Italian language ability certification for adolescent students aged 13 to 18. Although drafted according to the same general linguistic abilities adopted by the normal PLIDA, the PLIDA Juniores exams use linguistic contexts proper to students aged 13 to 18. The PLIDA Juniores evaluates and certifies the Italian language abilities of adolescents according to the first four levels of the CEFR: A1, A2, B1 and B2.

For further information:

Spanish language certificates

DELE (Diploma de Español como Lengua Extranjera)

This is the only internationally valid certificate issued by the Spanish Ministry of Education, accepted by private and public educational institutions as well as in the working environment. It certifies the level of Spanish acquired by non-native speakers and has no validity limit.

There are six levels: A1, A2, B1 (Inicial), B2 (Intermedio), C1 and C2 (Superior).

  • The DELE Nivel A1: The pupil can cope with simple communicative situations related to basic everyday topics and understands and uses phrases aimed at the satisfaction of the needs of a concrete type.

  • The DELE Nivel A2: The pupil can understand sentences and use expressions related to areas of most immediate relevance (e.g. very personal and family information, shopping, local geography, employment).

  • The DELE Nivel B1 (Inicial): the pupil can cope with frequent everyday situations and express requests and needs in simple terms.

  • The DELE Nivel B2 (Intermedio): The pupil can cope with common everyday situations in the normal communication contexts, if these do not require technical language.

  • The DELE Nivel C1: The pupil can understand a wide range of long and complex texts and recognise implicit meaning. The speaker can express ideas fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions.

  • The DELE Nivel C2: The pupil can cope with situations requiring a very good linguistic command as well as an understanding of implicit cultural habits.

The exams take place at the Instituto Cervantes of Rome. Ufficio DELE Via di villa Albani 16-00198 Roma.

Useful links

Mandarin Chinese language certificates

The HSK (Han Yu Shui Ping Kao Shi) official test assesses the linguistic level of non-native speakers of Chinese.

The test consists of a written part, divided into six levels (1 to 6), and an oral one, divided into three levels (elementary, intermediate and advanced).

All necessary information about HSK in Rome is available on the Confucius Institute of Rome website: