The EFCS/QUATE aptitude test is an important measure for evaluating quality in cervical cytopathology and for assessing the level of experience and competence in cervical cancer screening. The test, set up in the 1990s by the ECTP/CCS working party, has been performed since 1992 in several European countries: United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Portugal, Slovenia, Hungary and Italy. In Italy, the test has been performed at the Istituto Superiore di Sanità in 1992 and 1993 and in some Italian universities (Padua 1993, Turin 1994, Sassari 1995, Naples 1996, Messina 1998) and in one hospital (Genoa 1997). The minimum passing score is 60/100 (60% in all sections). The aptitude test for cytotechnologists includes: a written test (50 multiple choice questions); a practical test (screening 10 unmarked cervical smears; spot test of 20 slides with a fixed field of view); and an oral test, for borderline candidates when necessary (60%) or for the diploma with 'distinction' (95%). Successful candidates receive the Certificate of Aptitude in Gynecological Cytotechnology and are entitled to use the initials CT (EFCS-GYN) after their names for professional purposes. The aptitude test for anatomopathologists includes an oral test and a practical test (screening 5 unmarked cervical smears, spot test of 20 slides with a fixed field of view, and reading and diagnosing 3 complex cases). Successful candidates receive the certificate of gynecological cytopathology. The first aptitude test for anatomopathologists in Italy, organized and endorsed by the Istituto Superiore di Sanità in collaboration with SIAPEC (Italian Society of Pathological Anatomy and Cytopathology) and in agreement with the European guidelines for cervical cancer screening, was performed on 18 December 1997 in Rome. The total number of aptitude tests carried out in Europe is 15 for cytotechnologists and 4 for anatomopathologists. A total of 317 cytotechnologists and 73 anatomopathologists has taken the test; the success rates are 77% and 70%, respectively.