Portuguese as a Foreign Language certification


Portuguese language proficiency is certified by the Portuguese as a Foreign Language Assessment Centre (CAPLE), a division of Lisbon University’s Faculty of Letters. With scientific autonomy, this centre is developing its activities in the areas of assessing the proficiency of Portuguese as a foreign language (PLE) and the training and research connected to it, which is authenticated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the Camões, I.P. and by the Ministry of Education through the Directorate-General for Education.

CAPLE’s PLE exams are strictly for foreigners and recognised by a variety of national and overseas institutions for people looking to study, pursue an academic career, work and/or obtain Portuguese nationality, etc. The six CAPLE exams assess competence in Portuguese as a foreign language on six levels (A1 to C2) in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), regardless of their reasons for learning the language and the place where they are studying. Candidates can apply at over one hundred study centres around the world, which are managed by the respective co-ordinators.

Please visit the CAPLE website at http://caple.letras.ulisboa.pt for more information about the exams and where to take them.

Camões Júnior – e-certification Portuguese as a Foreign Language

The Portuguese as a Foreign Language Camões Junior exam is a progressive exam, aimed at a young public, in an e-certification/e-assessment format. Camões, I.P., awards a certificate for the language proficiency in Portuguese achieved by students throughout the course of secondary education, which enhances their curriculum to access the academic or the professional world.

The exam allows an external evaluation of students’ proficiency in Portuguese as a foreign language and to assess, through a single exam of progressive difficulty, their overall abilities in Listening and Speaking (50% of the total score), Reading and Writing (50% of the total score).

The final result is shown on a scale of 0 to 100, with clear-cut sections, placing candidates on the A1, A2 or B1 levels of proficiency of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

The exam has four parts and the overall duration of 120 minutes:

  • Part 1 – Listening (25 minutes);
  • Part 2 – Speaking (10 minutes);
  • Part 3 – Reading (45 minutes);
  • Part 4 – Writing (40 minutes).

The exam is taken in digital format, using an electronic e-assessment platform (TAO), which makes the process more efficient and effective, simplifying it, reinforcing the application uniformity and optimizing the assessment procedures. 

The exam includes, as supporting materials, audio texts, written texts and images, integrating closed items (multiple choice, matching exercise and completion exercise) and open items (short and long answers). Part 4 – Writing – has one short answer item and one long answer item, with a word count of 40-60 words, and 100-120 words respectively.

The Camões Júnior exam complies with ALTE (Association of Language Testers in Europe) conceptual model and fulfils core principles which are considered as essential to ensure the reliability and validity (contextual validity, cognitive validity, and scoring validity) qualities, adjusting to its purpose.

The exam can be taken by young people, between the ages of 12 and 17. Candidates cannot be citizens of Portuguese-speaking countries.

Demo acess: https://exames.instituto-camoes.pt/tao/Main/login 

USA – NEWL exam

NEWL® is an online language assessment available in Portuguese. NEWL exams measure functional language proficiency across four skills: reading and listening comprehension, speaking, and writing.

These language proficiency exams provide high school students—both traditional foreign language learners and heritage learners—with AP®-style score reports that can be used to apply for college credit and/or placement.

NEWL scores have previously been accepted by a number of prestigious universities, including University of Maryland, DePaul University, Purdue University, Cornell University and others. A growing number of states also accept NEWL scores as a valid measure of proficiency for the Seal of Biliteracy award.

Read more: NEWL