Alternatives to O CIPLE, including online

If you live in Portugal, you may be able to get into free Portuguese courses with an exam at the end that fulfills the requirements for citizenship. There are long waiting lists to get in, and they can be rather intense courses. But it is an option that at least one of us has successfully managed.

There is another. offers intensive online courses at multiple different times, so people outside of Portugal have overlap with waking hours. The A1/A2 final exam is sufficient to establish legal credentials for citizenship. I have signed up for their course running late April to early July, and it is basically a part-time job with 15 to 20 hours a week of class time alone.

I am also signed up for the November O CIPLE. I figure this online course will be a good preparation and if I happen to manage to pass the exam in July, so much the better. The online course topic areas map nicely to some areas from Practice Portuguese. I am sure I will be leaning hard on the learning notes in particular since they are the best I’ve seen.

There are other companies offering similar things. If anyone has experience or impressions, I’d love any tips you have to share. And I’ll try to remember to update here in July after I’ve completed the course.

EdPro certainly sounds like an interesting option. I have lots of questions :grin:.

The website is very vague in places and I’m left wondering whether there is a catch; they refer to fees, but never say how much (and persistently evade questions about this on their Facebook page); they talk about certification, but again the details are unclear; the website appears to be entirely in English, which seems unusual. Call me a cynic, but is this too good to be true? Language schools in Portugal typically charge about 2000€ for 150 hours of tuition, without the CIPLE, and can present lots of student testimonies.

I look forward to your update. In the meantime, I wish you happy learning and much success with Portuguese.

Some thoughts on the free courses sponsored by ACM: We didn’t experience any waiting list, but it is important to recognise, the courses line up with the academic year, so you need to apply at the right time. They are anything but intensive – two hours a week is the very opposite of intensive. As far as I know, they all take place at 19:00 to 21:00 – After school hours when the classrooms are available. That is also a good time for a lot of students who have day jobs (and they were in the majority) but it’s probably not the time when most people are most receptive to learning. Additionally, there were a lot of people in the class (Maybe 40?? - It was a while ago.) and in our opinion the teaching method was pretty old fashioned, very grammar based, but that is true of quite a lot of language teaching in Portugal – it’s as if Chomsky’s work bypassed Portugal, or maybe it was just never translated into Portuguese – who knows. (BTW: I haven’t studied any Practice Portuguese courses, so this is absolutely not a comment on them. I’ve no reason to believe they aren’t excellent!) And a second caveat: We only attended the free classes twice. For the reasons above and because we were already studying twice weekly at a private school and having private lessons - we thought this might be useful additional study, but it didn’t feel right for us. We decided very quickly it was too late in the day, (Time to be opening a bottle of wine and to start thinking about preparing dinner!) too slow, too old fashioned, too many people, etc, etc. Of course, as always, YMMV!

I can at least help a little here on the actual offering from EdPro: 700 euros, class size up to 20, 150 hours of instruction.

It is 100% online, mostly in Portuguese with a little English for explanations. For April - July the afternoon class is 4 hours per day, typically every weekday except Tuesday (but that’s highly variable and there are shorter days scattered too.)

Cameras must on at all times, with at least 90% attendance, or they just fail you. I have hints that they record everything so they can be audited to show they are meeting national standards, but that is not yet explicit. Bleh. So it goes.

Topics, taken verbatim from email (I guess this is 1 per week)
UFCD 6452 – Me and my daily routine.
UFCD 6453 – Eating habits, culture and leisure.
UFCD 6454 – The human body, health and services
UFCD 6455 – Me and the job market
UFCD 6456 – My past and my present
UFCD 6457 – Communication and life in society

“All in accordance with the National Qualification Framework”

I share your hesitation. I asked a few times and in different ways: does this really replace O CIPLE? Really really? In part because there are other online courses that do not, including some others also recommended by our immigration lawyers, but it takes a while to figure it all out. Here is the legal justification to one of my questions:

“Edpro as a promoter entity provides this (intensive) PLA courses with our partners Qualifica Centre Network and relevant authorities under regulations and the guidelines of Ordinance No. 184/2022 of 21 July and 183/2020, of August 5.”

And from their FAQ, which was in a PDF via email:

" If I complete the Português Língua de Acolhimento (PLA) course successfully, do I have to take the Portuguese Language Exam, commonly known as the “Nationality Exam” or CIPLE?

No. After you complete 150 hours and pass the course sucessfully, you are exempted from taking the Portuguese Language Exam. You will receive a A2 Proficiency language."

My expectation is that I mostly need to teach myself, then perform what I have learned in class. In other words, depend upon Practice Portuguese and maybe some iTalki tutoring. But perhaps I will be pleasantly surprised and get something out of the course beyond reinforcement and practice. It could happen. :slight_smile:

The course starts late April, and ends the first week of July. We’re targeting a move to Portugal in late July, so taking on basically a new part-time job while packing is not my favorite. I am signed up for O CIPLE in November in Porto. If I can pass and be done in July, I will be surprised but thrilled. If not, it should put me in a better position to navigate early days after moving and then pass in November. I would REALLY like to be done in 2024.

@samarang: thank you! That’s super interesting to hear! Which region and year was this, please?

Thanks for that detailed reply. I’ve dug around a little and the ACM confirms that an A2 certificate issued by a PLA course will be accepted when applying for Portuguese citizenship or long term residence:

There is no word, however, on how the PLA courses perform the evaluation.

I’m resident in Madeira, which cares infinitely about its diaspora in Venezuela and South Africa, but not in the slightest about the immigrant population on its own shores. It’s therefore a very long swim to the nearest ACM sponsored course.

That was Almancil in the Algarve and probably 2020(ish)

Thanks @samarang! I think that will really help other community members to better understand their options. I know there are other folks floating around here with experience; they might stop in with stories to tell. :slight_smile:

@paulwells Adoro a Madeira! As praias com areia preta e as montanhas são ótimo! :rofl: Não necessita nadar! :joy: Que bom, pode tomar as aulas da manhã ou tarde porque fica em Portugal. EdPro é um pouco caro, mas não usa uma roupa de mergulho!

I would love to know the pass rate for the final exam from EdPro, or even the format. My starting assumption was I would fail yet the list of topics looks reasonable, especially the overlaps with Practice Portuguese. EdPro do have enough students who pass to not be shy with the fees to mail the certificate, so maybe that’s a hopeful signal in some way.

I think I heard that the ACM classes @samarang found lacking in pedagogical strength have a high drop out and low final pass rate. But apparently I am off on my other impressions, so perhaps I am off there too. Here I am quietly grumbling that the 9 am to 1 pm online class time competes with my espresso schedule, never thinking through that later hours would compete with wine. Morning sounds just slightly better now from the contrast.

Honestly? 20 hours a week on camera attempting to survive the class seems rather ghastly. I really want to be done with the exam. It will be good to get back to learning for the joy of it, não é?

Boa sorte!

Updated to add: appears to be another online course that is an alternative to O CIPLE

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I’m currently on the A2 course arranged for free and held at a (not so local for me) school. It is heavy on the grammar, quite tedious in many ways, although the teachers have done their best to make it entertaining for us. Given the materials available to use, that’s not so easy. I’m finding that although I know more than I think I do, being able to pull what I need out of my brain in a moment in order to hold a conversation is still something of a struggle. I don’t want to take the CIPLE exam, so this course is the right choice for me. If we don’t meet the standard required at the end, we can just remain on the course and take the final test again, which takes a lot of the pressure off.


Ótimo! Thanks for providing this information!

I am right there with you on the challenge of being able to pull things out of my brain to speak in real time. As an example, it took a long time to figure out how to request something to drink in a cafe – grammar, vocabulary, agreement, &c. At first I had to write everything out in advance. Then I could get by just from rehearsing everything in my mind before walking into the cafe. I look forward to being able to just walk through the door without giving it a second thought. Being able to understand RTP reliably may never happen for me, but I’d like to be able to navigate basic daily life without apologizing for being such a dolt, and making life harder on others around me. I think it just takes a whole lot more practice than I would have imagined.

Good luck in your course! Please update when you pass! :trophy: