What is my level of English? It's not always easy to know your level, especially when you think you're a beginner but getting closer to the intermediate level. To make it easier, it’s possible to estimate your level of English using the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), which includes 6 levels.
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The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (or CEFR) was created to facilitate language learning at the European level and, above all, to have a common scale for students' levels. This "Common Framework" consists of 6 levels: A1, A2, B1, B2, C1 and C2. Level A1 corresponds to the beginner level, while level C2 corresponds to the advanced or even expert level. The CEFR is particularly useful for people who wish to highlight their language level abroad, or who want to take language courses in another country.
Rather than relying on overly academic skills (knowing how to conjugate, repeating vocabulary words), the CEFR takes into account various skills, such as reading, listening, speaking and writing. Thus, the focus is not only on oral and written comprehension, but also on oral and written expression. Once all these skills have been studied and tested, an average level between A1 and C2 can be established.
What is the A1 level in English?
Level A1 corresponds to the "Discovery" or "Introductory" level. It focuses on simple language elements, such as simple questions about the immediate and familiar environment. At this level, you learn to introduce yourself, to ask questions to the person you are speaking to and to tell more about your hobbies or work.
Oral comprehension: Students should be able to understand familiar words and very common expressions about themselves or their family when spoken slowly and clearly.
Reading comprehension: The student can read and understand familiar names, simple words and phrases. For example, they can read signs, announcements, and posters.
Oral expression within a conversation: At level A1, the student must be able to communicate with someone as long as the interlocutor speaks slowly and is willing to rephrase sentences if necessary. He/she can ask simple questions on familiar topics, but also express simple needs.
Speaking (monologue): Understanding what we are told is important. But at level A1, the student must also be able to use simple expressions and sentences to describe himself, talk about his home and the people he knows.
Written expression: This is often the category that poses a problem for beginners... And yet, you must be able to write a short text, like a holiday postcard. Finally, it is advisable to be able to understand and write personal details in a questionnaire (write your name, nationality and address on a hotel or airport card).
What is the A2 level in English?
If you are at level A2, then you are expected to be able to give simple descriptions or have short conversations. This level is also called the "Intermediate" or "Survival" level.
Listening comprehension: At this level, students are able to understand a variety of expressions and vocabulary related to areas of most immediate relevance to them. The vocabulary list is more extensive and includes words about family, shopping, the immediate environment, hobbies and work. It is easier to understand public announcements and clear messages.
Reading comprehension: The student is able to read short, simple texts, in addition to finding specific information in everyday documents (advertisements, leaflets, menus and timetables). They can understand short personal letters and emails.
Oral expression in conversation: Looking for somewhere to sleep while travelling abroad? If you have an "intermediate" level, you can communicate simple requests or tasks, as long as it only requires an exchange of information on familiar topics. With this level, it is possible to have very brief exchanges even though it is usually more difficult to continue a conversation.
Continuous oral expression: Students can describe in simple words their family and relatives, their education and professional activity, as well as their hobbies. It is advisable not to be afraid of making mistakes: the important thing is to express oneself.
Written expression: It is possible to write short notes and simple messages, such as a letter, messages on social networks, or an e-mail. It's interesting to find someone to send short messages to for practice.
What is the B1 level in English?
You are in what is called "the beginning of autonomy", which means that you are better able to handle conversations and express your opinion. This is the "threshold" level.
Listening comprehension: Students can understand the main points of a conversation as long as the vocabulary remains clear and basic, and as long as it relates to familiar topics such as work and leisure. When students watch television and programs on current events or topics of interest to them, they understand most of it, as long as it is spoken in a relatively slow and distinct manner.
Reading comprehension: Texts written in fluent English and related to work or leisure are understandable.
Speaking in Conversation: At this level, it is possible to get by on a trip, when asking for information or otherwise. As long as it is about familiar topics or everyday life, students are able to exchange a few words in English.
Continuous Oral Expression: Students can use simple expressions to tell about experiences, dreams, or events. It is also possible to tell a story or the plot of a book or film.
Writing: By the time students reach B1 level in English, they are expected to be able to write simple, coherent text on familiar topics, as well as personal letters.
What is level B2 in English?
This is the level that can be described as "advanced" or "independent", because the student is able to give his or her own opinion and to argue. Conversations become more complex and it is possible to read more works in the original language.
Oral comprehension: In addition to conversations, the student can follow and understand lectures and speeches that are quite long. He or she can watch most television programs and movies in English in the standard language, but may need to use subtitles if the movie uses a particular vocabulary.
Reading comprehension: It is possible to read articles on current and contemporary topics, in which the authors adopt a certain point of view. Often students will be able to read more challenging books.
Oral expression in conversation: When reaching level B2, it is possible to communicate with more spontaneity and ease. Take the opportunity to exchange with a native speaker. It is also easier to argue and defend one's opinions.
Continuous oral expression: Students can express themselves clearly and in detail on subjects related to their interests. The B2 level student is able to develop his or her own point of view on a current topic. Better still, he can argue and explain the advantages and disadvantages of various situations.
Writing: Do you want to write an essay or a report full of information? Students are able to argue in writing for or against a given opinion.
What is the C1 level in English?
Welcome to the independent level! At this level you can express yourself spontaneously and fluently, and you can be said to have a fairly good command of English. In order to continue to improve your English, it is advisable to focus on conversations with English speakers, or to study specific vocabulary.
Listening comprehension: Once this level is reached, students are able to understand a long speech, even if it is not clearly structured. There is no need to ask a speaker to speak more slowly! And the student can also watch films in English without subtitles.
Written comprehension: Long and complex literary texts are understandable and, above all, the student is able to appreciate the differences in style. Better still, he can understand long technical instructions, even when they have nothing to do with his professional field.
Oral expression: The student is able to express himself spontaneously without having to search for words too much. At this level, he’s able to make full use of his knowledge of English in social and professional relationships.
Continuous oral expression: When the student has to make a presentation in English, he is able to present clear and detailed descriptions on complex subjects. He can expand on certain points and easily answer additional questions.
Written Expression: It is possible to express oneself in a clear and structured text in which one develops one's point of view. You write about complex topics in a letter, essay or report, highlighting important points. The student is so comfortable that he or she can use a style appropriate to the recipient.
What is the C2 level in English?
Level C2 is the advanced level, which allows the student to understand English effortlessly and, above all, to express himself/herself spontaneously.
Oral comprehension: The student has no difficulty in understanding oral language, whether live in the media or when the interlocutor speaks quickly. Of course, it may take time to become familiar with a particular accent.
Written comprehension: Once at level C2, the student can effortlessly read any type of text, even abstract. It is possible to read more specific works, such as a textbook, a specialized article or a literary work.
Oral expression in conversation: What a pleasure it is to be able to take part effortlessly in any kind of conversation or discussion! Students are very comfortable with idioms, slang and common phrases. In the event of a mistake, they are able to go back and correct themselves.
Continuous oral expression: It is easy to have a clear and fluent argumentation in a style adapted to the interlocutor.
Written Expression: Students are able to write clear and fluent text, as well as complex letters and reports. It is even possible to summarize and criticize a literary work in writing.
Now that you have seen what each level corresponds to according to the CEFR, do you think you have found your level of English? If you would like to know your level of English, take a free test on the Global Lingua website.