AATI National Italian Examination

IMPORTANT: Please note that this page will be updated constantly.

Timeline | Important Information | Exam Levels | Exam Categories | Format of the Exam | Exam Specifications | Questions on the Exams | Cost of Exam and Certificates | Medals & Certificates | Monetary Prizes | 2-week Study courses in Italy for Students and Teachers | Exam Winners | Past Examinations

As Italian instructors, we encourage you to invite your students to participate in the AATI Nation Italian High School Examinations. This examination serves many purposes:




The 2018 AATI National Italian Examination comprises 6 levels: Novice Level, Level I, Level II, Level III, Level IV, Level 5. There are specific criteria to consider when selecting the appropriate exam level for our students. The table below describes the criteria:

Novice Level1
(Grades: 7)
  • Middle school students who are enrolled in 7 th grade and are studying Italian for the first time (in a course that splits over 7 th and 8 th grade)
Level I
(Grades: 8, 9, 10, 11 or 12)
  • Middle school students in 8 th grade who are completing their one-year course of Italian;
  • High school students who are taking the first year of Italian (9th or higher)
Level II
(Grades: 9, 10, 11 or 12)
  • 9th grade students who have completed one year of Italian in Middle school;
  • High school students who are taking the second year of Italian
Level III
(Grades: 10, 11 or 12)
  • High school students who are taking the third year of Italian
Level IV
(Grades: 11, 12)
  • High school students who are taking the fourth year of Italian
Level V
(Grade: 11, 12)
  • High school students who are taking the fifth year of Italian


Considering the wide variety of students' language background and the impact that it might have on the exam outcomes, the NIE presents a series of categories for each of the exam levels. The correct placement of students in the appropriate category is crucial to obtaining reliable and valid results. Teachers and test administrators are encouraged to verify the accuracy of placement and refer it to the exam director who may elect to verify. Whenever there are borderline cases, the teacher and the administrator will decide on the basis of good judgement and consistency or contact the Exam director.

The Novice Level has only one category. In Level I and II we have two categories (A and B), In Level III, IV and V we have 3 categories: (A, B, and C).

CATEGORY A: A student who has studied Italian only in the classroom.

CATEGORY B: A student who:

•  has or has had consistent exposure to Italian outside of the classroom (including heritage speakers and students who might hear or speak some Italian);

•  lived for more than a year in Italy;

•  studied more than 4 months in Italy;

•  has studied or is studying the third year of another romance language or a romance language is his/her native or principal language.

CATEGORY C: A student who:

•  has grown up in a home where Italian is regularly used (predominantly orally);

•  within the last three years attended school for a period of one year or more where Italian was the primary language of instruction.


The format of the exam for the school year 2018 is structured on the following sections:

•  Language competence which includes:

    1. Grammar knowledge , which comprises the knowledge of lexis, morphology, syntax, and other language aspects;
    2. Pragmatic competence: the ability to use the language effectively in a contextually appropriate fashion and involves the functional use of the language (such as formulating a request or a command, giving compliments, formulating apologies, etc.);
    3. Sociolinguistic competence: the ability to use the language effectively in a social context and involves a sensitivity to social norms and customs (such as the use of appropriate registers, rules of address, greeting and politeness, idiomatic, expressions, and various cultural references);

•  Reading Skills . Interpreting Written Text.

•  Listening or/and Viewing Skills . Interpreting Aural Input.


For detailed exam specifications click here. To see the the Development Committee Members and Reviewers, please click here.


Each exam consists of 75 questions. Students have 70 minutes to complete the exam and its preliminary questions. The format will be the same for all levels as follows (please note that some minor changes in the number of questions for each section might be possible):

Test Sections

Items per Competence / skill

Format of Items per Skill /Competence

Language competence

  • 18 questions on grammar competence (see part V of 2017 exam)
  • 7 questions on pragmatic knowledge / sociolinguistic competence (not in 2017 exam)

Multiple-choice with 4 options

Reading: interpreting written text

  • 5 pieces of images with 3 blanks each (see part III of 2017 exam)
  • 2 short dialogues / reading with 5 questions each questions written texts (see part VI of 2017 exam)

Multiple-choice with 4 options

Listening/ Viewing: interpreting aural input

  • 15 audio questions on vocabulary (see part I of 2017 exam)
  • 5 audio questions on mini dialogues (see part II of 2017 exam)
  • 5 audio questions on images or short video (not in 2017 exam)

Multiple-choice with 4 options


The cost per exam is $8.00 per student.

The Certificates will be available online at no cost. Teachers will be able to download the certificates from the AATI webpage (information will be added later).

Disclosure: It is an academic infraction to alter any information about a student's award on the certificate the student receives. Any deliberate offences will result in the school being excluded from future competitions.


All students in all levels (Novice, Level I-V) and categories (A,B, C) will receive a medal or a certificate, according to the table below.

Gold Medal


Silver Medal


Bronze Medal


Achievement Certificate

Participation Certificate

90% or higher

80% - 89%

70% - 79%

50% - 69%

49% or lower


The value and the criteria for the monetary prizes as well as the prizes assigned by the Società Onoraria Italica will be posted at a later stage.


The following language schools will be participating in a scholarship program for the AATI National Italian Exam. They have offered a total 6 scholarships. Each scholarship consists of a 2-week course in one of the above schools. Accommodations and tuition expenses are included. The flight will be at the recipient's expense; however, AATI will we contribute a cash award of $500. Five scholarships will go to the top students in each level; one scholarships will go to teachers of those top students. A draw might be necessary. The recipients will be notified via email.

The language schools participating in this scholarship program are:

NATIONAL ITALIAN EXAM WINNERS: 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007


2017 All levels
2016 level 1-4
2015 level 1 level 2 level 3 level 4 Teacher's script
2014 level 1 level 2 level 3 level 4 Teacher's script
2013 level 1 level 2 level 3 level 4 Teacher's script