If you want to work or study in Portugal, you will probably need to satisfy the company or school to which you want to apply that you have the necessary level of Portuguese. To do this, you’ll need to take the CAPLE exam. The CAPLE is a certificate of proficiency in European Portuguese run by the University of Lisbon and the Instituto Camões (the worldwide institution for the promotion of Portuguese language and culture) on behalf of the Portuguese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Preparing for the CAPLE exam is hard work and the best way of making sure you’re fully prepared is to work on it with a Portuguese tutor who can help you acquire all the skills required to ace the test.
Below is a short overview of the CAPLE exam: how to apply, the different levels, the format of the test, and scoring.
Eligibility & How to Apply
To be eligible to take the CAPLE exam, you need to be 14 or older, and not be a native Portuguese speaker. If you are from a non-Portuguese speaking country, you automatically qualify. If not, you need to fulfill two of the following conditions:
Your parents’ first language is not Portuguese.
Portuguese is not your first language.
Portuguese is not your main language of communication.
All or part of your basic or secondary education was not in Portuguese.
Registration takes place throughout year by filling out an online form. The exam takes place in May, July, and November at all test centers, and is also offered in Lisbon only in February, March, August, September, and October.
CAPLE Exam Levels
There are six CAPLE exams you can take, which are aligned with the six CEFRL (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) proficiency levels numbered A1-C2. Each different exam certifies a different level of proficiency.
A1 - ACESSO (Access to Portuguese). Not available at some test centers. Certifies that the speaker can communicate in a basic way in a limited range of situations. Indicates a limited grasp of basic Portuguese.
A2 - CIPLE (Initial level). Certifies that the speaker can interact in situations requiring a limited level of Portuguese proficiency. Indicates an elementary understanding of Portuguese.
B1 - DEPLE (Elementary level). Certifies that the speaker can interact in a limited range of predictable everyday situations. Indicates a lower-intermediate level of Portuguese.
B2 - DIPLE (Intermediate level). Certifies that the speaker is capable of interacting in everyday work and study situations that mostly require a predictable use of Portuguese. Indicates a strong grasp of intermediate-level Portuguese.
C1 - DAPLE (Advanced level). Certifies that the speaker is capable of interacting in a varied range of less predictable situations–however, some difficulties may occur when encountering idiomatic usage or cultural references. Indicates advanced Portuguese proficiency.
C2 - DUPLE (University level). Certifies that the speaker can use Portuguese creatively and can adapt to unpredictable situations, indicating a near-native level of proficiency.
Depending on the level, the CAPLE exam is broken into either four or five parts.
Reading Comprehension: Read and understand provided texts, and answer questions about them.
Written Production and Interaction: Fill out forms and enter personal information, and write texts such as private letters and notes.
Structural Competence (DIPLE, DAPLE, and DUPLE only): Fill in blanks in texts with appropriate words, or correct and reorganize texts containing errors.
Oral Comprehension: Listen to conversations and interactions, and answer questions based on them.
Oral Production and Interaction: Take part in conversations with the examiner, with other candidates, or both.
The CAPLE exam is scored from 0-100%. There are three different pass levels, and if you score less than 55% you have failed the exam. The result categories are shown below.
Between 85% and 100%: Very Good
Between 70% and 84%: Good
Between 55% and 69%: Sufficient
Between 0% and 54%: Fail
Tutoring Support for the CAPLE Exam
The CAPLE exam is a comprehensive test of all of an applicant’s Portuguese language skills: reading, writing, listening and speaking. Working with an expert tutor will help you to develop all these skills, and prepare you for the challenges you’ll face during the exam. The more familiar you are with the process, the more confident you’ll be when you take the exam, and the better your chances of getting a great score.