If you are one of those students who have begun to take interest in the Portuguese language, the best thing you can do is to try to get an official accreditation of your knowledge. The name of the exam is PLE in Portugal, and CELP-Bras in Brazil.
Learning Portuguese as a foreign language
The best way to credit your skills in the language is applying for the diplomas of Portuguese as a Foreign Language (PLE). There are five different degrees to which one may access, according to the level -which is verified through a series of tests of each student’s language skills-.
The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages -a document that “provides a common basis for the development of language programs, curriculum guidelines, examinations, textbooks…, across Europe”- provides the basis for the different levels of PLE.
To take the exam, the student must choose one of the following levels:
- Certificado Inicial de Português Língua Estrangeira (Beginners’ Certificate of Portuguese as a Foreign Language)
- Diploma Elementar de Português Língua Estrangeira (Elementary Diploma of Portuguese as a Foreign Language)
- Diploma Intermédio de Português Língua Estrangeira (Intermediate Diploma of Portuguese as a Foreign Language)
- Diploma Avançado de Português Língua Estrangeira (Advanced Diploma of Portuguese as a Foreign Language)
- Diploma Universitário de Português Língua Estrangeira (Bachelor Diploma of Portuguese as a Foreign Language)
Different levels, different examinations
The exams at all levels have a very similar structure, always based on tests that evaluate writing, reading, speaking and listening comprehension.
In addition, the exams of the highest levels include tests that evaluate the grammar skills that each student has achieved, as well as the use of different structures.
With a score of 55/100, the student obtains an Aprovado (pass); with a score between 70 and 84, the student obtains a Bom (good), and with scores of 85 or higher the student merits a Muito Bom (very good).
Even though their structure is very similar, each level has an increased difficulty. For example, in the second level there are two separate tests for the reading and writing skills. The Intermediate Diploma of Portuguese as a Foreign Language already includes the structural competence evaluation. As for the two upper levels, the length and complexity of the tests enhance even more, in a way that the students can fully demonstrate their skills.