How to Book A CAPLE Language Exam

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Last updated on June 4, 2024 | Est. Reading Time: 3 minutes

At some point in your journey of learning European Portuguese, you’ll want to sit down and book the Portuguese exam. Most people sit the A2 (usually referred to as CIPLE on Portuguese websites) which is the minimum level required to apply for Portuguese citizenship, but there are others that sit the other levels, often for personal or professional reasons. 

There are test locations throughout Portugal and around 100 different test locations in 35 countries across the globe, including the UK, US, Canada, South Africa, and Germany. 

It’s recommended that you book early. This is primarily because spots are limited and more and more people are sitting the exams, particularly the A2 for citizenship purposes. Also, having the exam booked and paid for will give you more motivation to study. 

Speaking of study, there are some fantastic resources out there to help you.

Practice Portuguese has great audio content (called ‘shorties’) which are great for listening practice. There are one or two practice papers available. And, while not specifically geared to the exam, there are some great European Portuguese courses out there, including those specifically focused on a level, like the A2

Taking the Test in Portugal

If you’re already living in Portugal, you’ll most likely sit the exam here too. You may also decide to visit Portugal and take the exam here, and enjoy a few days in Portugal at the same time. 

There are testing locations in several parts of Portugal and it’s possible to sit the exam at around 6 different times of the year. Outside of Portugal, it’s normally only possible to sit it at three different times of the year. (See the language ‘season’). 

The cities that have CAPLE test centres are:

  • Lisbon
  • Porto 
  • Faro
  • Coimbra
  • Aveiro 
  • Chaves
  • Évora
  • Ponta Delgada 

In Lisbon, it’s normally possible to sit the exams in February, March, April, June, September, and October. However, this isn’t always the case at all test centres. Your nearest test centre may have fewer dates available. 

You can register on the CAPLE website. Sometimes it can be hard to know whether the test dates are unavailable or whether the website hasn’t been updated yet. 

Outside of Portugal

If you’re learning Portuguese in another part of the world, the good news is that there are test centres in more than 35 countries around the world. This includes places like the US, UK, and many European countries like Spain, Germany, France, and Italy. It also includes a few more distant locations like China, Mozambique, India, and Australia. 

You can register on the CAPLE website. Sometimes it can be hard to know whether the test dates are unavailable or whether the website hasn’t been updated yet. Sometimes it just says ‘Este exame não tem data disponível. Consulte o calendário em Épocas de Exame.’

According to the CAPLE website, the language ‘season’ takes place three times per year in May, July, and November. However, for various reasons, you may not get three date options. 

In the US, for example, it’s not uncommon for one testing location (e.g. Newark) to get one test date and another (e.g. Washington, DC) to get another. Also, you may find that there are more test dates for the more popular exams (e.g. the A2/CIPLE) but fewer for the harder levels, as fewer students sit these exams. 

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James Cave is the founder of Portugalist and the author of the bestselling book, Moving to Portugal Made Simple. He has visited just about every part of Portugal, including Madeira and all nine islands of the Azores, and lived in several parts of Portugal including Lisbon, the Algarve, and Northern Portugal.

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