q Mastering The A2 Portuguese Exam - Expert Tips! 2024 2024

Mastering the A2 Portuguese Exam – Expert Tips! 2024

Imagine a five-year journey through Portugal’s picturesque landscapes, with delectable pastel de natas, mesmerizing sunsets over the Tejo River, and… a perplexingly modest grasp of the Portuguese language.  That’s me, a resident dreaming of gaining Portuguese nationality but with linguistic skills that can generously be described as “nascent.” Here’s the story of how I embarked on the quest for the Holy Grail of Portuguese naturalization: the CIPLE – A2 exam.

Keeping reading to the last, there are alot of informations on the A2 exams and we also have an alternative for you so you don’t have to take the exam!

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Registering for the A2 Portuguese Exam

As you probably know, passing the A2 level Portuguese exam is required for getting both permanent resident or citizenship. With my five-year residency clock ticking down this summer, I hurried to register for the exam early this year (yes, this 5 years pass like a breeze, and before I knew it, it’s 5 years already!)

You can sign up for the exam here: https://caple.letras.ulisboa.pt/exames. The cost is €79.

Choose CIPLE for the A2 level, and select your location from several exam centers around the world.  I chose Portugal, which offers multiple cities for the exam.  Exam slots for 2024 were released in the second week of January, and all cities and times had availability when I first checked.  Unfortunately, technical issues and procrastination delayed my registration until early February, by which time all March and April slots were fully booked in mainland Portugal.  Without hesitation, I registered for the May session.  But I don’t pass this exam, there may not be enough time to retake it before the end of the year, which would delay my citizenship application.

Pro Tip:

Take your test well in advance to avoid last-minute stress. The CIPLE exam doesn’t expire, so take it as early as possible.

After registering, I received an email detailing the exam structure:

  • Reading Comprehension and Written Expression: 1h15m, starting at 9:00 a.m., includes reading short passages with multiple-choice questions; Written expression requires writing short messages from 30 to 80 words.
  • Oral Comprehension: 30 minutes, starting at 10:45 a.m., includes listening to conversations and answering multiple-choice questions
  • Oral Expression: 15 minutes, scheduled between 12:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m., involves speaking with an examiner or another candidate
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My Portuguese Level

I studied A1 level at the Lisbon University language school, where I scored 19 out of 20 and was the top student in my class.  A1 level is basic and covers self-introduction, family members, ordering food, shopping, and visiting the doctor.  However, what is taught is not what is learnt.  So don’t expect anyone in the A1 class to be able to communicate in Portuguese at the doctor’s office. 

So after my A1 level course, I hadn’t done any type of studying of the Portuguese language (BTW, really regretting not continuing to A2 with Lisbon University when I had the time, it is one of the recognised course, meaning if I had completed the A2 course there, I wouldn’t need to take the A2 exam). 

They say I would become fluent in no time since I was living here, right? 


I’ve lived in Portugal for over five years, but my Portuguese remains unimpressive. I offer myself these excuses:

1. I’ve been out of the country for over a year during this time.
2. The pandemic prevented me from going out and speaking Portuguese.
3. I don’t need Portuguese for my work.
4. Native Portuguese speakers talk quickly, eating their words, making them hard to understand.
5. Many Portuguese are fluent in English and often switch to English when I try speaking Portuguese.
6. My pronunciation is poor, which makes it hard for them to understand me.

My main expertise of the Portuguese language is on………food.  I can confidently read menus, know most of the name of the fruits, veggies and meat, can navigate the supermarket, and ask the butcher to debone chicken thighs.  Besides that, I can tell a delivery driver I’m not home and ask them to return the next day.

Preparing the A2 Exam

I had three months for preparation after registering for the exam.  I purchased an A1/A2 book but couldn’t get past the fourth lesson due to my own laziness and lack of discipline. 

One month before the exam, I knew I couldn’t do it alone.  So I joined a one-on-one online class, spending five hours per week with a private tutor across three days (initially I was planning to have a class everyone, but it was too intensive).  I also began studying on weekends and tried to speak Portuguese whenever possible.  I spoke more Portuguese in these three weeks than I had in five years.  My Portuguese improved significantly.

With limited time, my teacher and I focused on mock exams.  Remember, you only need a 55% to pass.  So we didn’t really touch on verb conjugasion (for A2, you should know the present indicative, Pretérito imperfeito, Pretérito perfeito).  

The first time I did the mock exam I was shocked at how much I didn’t know and I was in a panic.  Fortunately in just a few weeks, my Portuguese has improved to an acceptable level that I could probably pass the exam.

After having tried in-person group class and private online class, I think the latter is superior.  The most noticeable difference would be on oral expression.  My teacher would correct my pronunciation right away.  If I had taken private lessons in the beginning, maybe I wouldn’t have so much trouble being understood by the local as my pronunciation was really bad.  Also, progress is so much faster with private lesson.  Because it is very interactive, a 1.5 hours of private lesson is more intensive than a 3 hours group lesson/ lecture.  I suggest anyone doing private lesson not to do more than 1.5 hours each time.  

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Pro Tips: Tips and Resources

Mock Exams – these are the official links of the mock exam:

Reading Comprehension and Written Expression

Oral Comprehension: answer sheetaudios

Answer Keys

  • Practice Portuguese (www.practiceportuguese.com): A helpful podcast/YouTube channel on improving your listening skiils.  Episodes are labeled with the appropriate level of A1 – B2. Paid options include transcripts and grammar lessons.  Download their app on your phone/ ipad.
  • www.easytalk.pt: One-on-one classes costing €22-30 per hour.
  • www.infopedia.pt: on verb conjugation

Prepare and memorize passages for oral expression, such as:
– Your bio
– Ordering food
– Seeing the doctor
– Asking for directions

The A2 level focuses on everyday life, and if you can handle simple conversations in common scenarios, you should be ok.

And remember, you can always lie about yourself.  The test on Portuguese.  If you think saying that you are a world class musician come more natural and fluent to you, then why not?

My professor also told me to talk more about yourself, so you can control more of where the conversation goes.  

For more information about the CIPLE – A2 exam, see the LAPE-FLUL page.

Before coming to take the exam, you should be aware of the CAPLE rules for taking the PLE exams. 

Access HERE to videos and interactive tests explaining the CIPLE exam at LAPE-FLUL.

No Need to Take The A2 Level Exam

Take a recognized online A2 Level course anywhere in the world, at your own pace.

Alternative to the Exam

If taking the exam isn’t appealing, you can present a recognized A2 course certificate instead.  Finding a recognized course outside Portugal is challenging, but we have found one for you.  The program provides 150 hours of lessons for A1 and A2.  It is an online course and can be taken anywhere in the world.  They have group classes (group of 6) or private classes (perfect for the whole family to study together at their own pace). 

Completing this 150 hours of course exempt you from the need to take the A2 level exam.  

The Golden Portugal clients now receive an exclusive 5% discount (one of the many perks for our clients)!  Contact us if you would like to learn more about this.  

To be honest, I would have preferred the online course over the stress of the exam, but my friends, colleagues, and teacher are confident I will pass. This exam journey has taken a toll, leaving me with a headache and fever while writing this.  Time to head off to my Portuguese lesson…

To Be Continued…

Stay tuned for the next article, where I’ll share details of my exam experience to give you a closer look!

We have helped more than 500 families on their Portugal Golden Visa journey. 

We are also the pioneer firm to help clients to invest through funds back from 2020 until now. Come talk with us.

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