Internationally-valid Italian language exams are available at levels from A1 (the lowest) thru A2, B1, B2, C1 and C2 (the highest).
In general, I think that including exams in your language learning is helpful, as an external benchmark of your progress and, assuming you pass, as something to boast about – I passed A2 in Swedish back in 2018 and never get tired of mentioning it!
I’m not promoting Italian exams here, because they are a money-making machine for institutions that don’t deserve (and in any case haven’t asked for) my help. Make your own decision.
But here’s a question for you: who is better at Italian, the student who answers every question perfectly on the A2 (second from bottom) test, or the student who has a go at the C2 (near-native speaker competences) but only scrapes through, just barely getting enough points to pass?
Think about that before answering… It could, after all, be the same person, taking both exams, perhaps in the same week. It’s not unheard of for students to try different levels, though in this example the difference between them is extreme.
OK, then it could be two different people, both capable of scraping though the top-level exam, but one of them a really ambitious have-a-go type, while the other (perhaps with more money and time to burn) prefers to do things ‘properly’.
So who’s better at Italian? With just the exam scores, without making the assumption that each student is doing the ‘right’ exam, whatever that might be, it’s clearly impossible to say for certain.
But whichever answer springs mostly easily to your mind (the student who aced the low level test is better, or the person who scraped through the highest level is), probably says a lot about your attitude to language-learning.
Are you aiming for ‘perfect’? Do you prefer to get things ‘right’? Does making ‘mistakes’ pain you? Then you are one sort of learner.
Or perhaps you’re more into getting the big picture when you read and listen? You’ll view grammar as, at best, an irritation, and take pride in being able to chat to native-speakers of the language you’re learning, even though every other word that comes out of your mouth is wrong in some unique-to-you way. Then you’re evidently another, very different sort of learner.
Here’s a fun distraction – read though some of the (genuine, unedited) reviews for our most popular one-to-one online Italian lesson package. People often describe their learning journeys there. Have a go at identifying what sort of learner each reviewer is, or was.
Anyway, back to my point.
Scored 100% on the test?
Then you were doing the wrong test.
Or the test was qualitatively ‘bad’.
Either way, you were probably wasting your time.