Oxford University
Language Centre

Italian Entry Level Requirements

Lower Intermediate

Students have knowledge of present, perfect, imperfect and future tenses, although some basic mistakes are made. They can understand the gist of simple conversations, and can extract general information from easy texts and short newspaper articles.


Students can understand sympathetic native speakers and are fluent enough to hold basic conversations about a limited range of topics. They can use a range of tenses in the indicative, including the present, the past simple, the imperfect and the future, although consolidation is required. They can deal with everyday tasks correctly and with a degree of confidence, but do need to extend knowledge of lexis. Students can understand written material, identifying ideas, information, and opinion, with the help of a dictionary.

Upper Intermediate

Students can use a variety of tenses and expressions with reasonable accuracy; they have at least a passive knowledge of the subjunctive, and can use all tenses in the indicative. They can express opinions on various topics, but need to broaden their vocabulary. They can understand more complex conversations with standard accents on most topics. They can deal with authentic written texts with the help of a dictionary.


Students can use and recognise all the tenses and more complex grammatical structures. They are able to cope with TV programmes, films and radio reports without major difficulties, and to understand different accents and registers. They can take part in conversations by expressing their views and arguments on a broad range of topics (culture, politics, education...), and can understand, analyse and discuss articles from the major Italian newspapers and magazines (La Repubblica, La Stampa, L'Espresso...), with occasional recourse to a dictionary.

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