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What level is your  English? 

Beginner (A1)?

Elementary (A2)?

Intermediate (B1)? 

Upper-Intermediate (B2)? 

Advanced (C1)?

Proficient (C2)?

Unless you have taken an exam that uses these levels for assessment, you're unlikely to know for certain. And the three main international tests of English proficiency, Cambridge, IELTS & TOEFL all relate to them.

They are the levels within the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). The CEFR has six levels from beginner (A1) to very advanced/proficient (C2).

The CEFR isn’t just used in Europe. It’s used all around the world. It is a practical tool that can be used to organise study content in classes, curriculum, learning resources and exams. It is also what is used by employers and academic institutions to assess your English language ability.

The videos below explain more about the CEFR and as they say, it is not easy to assess yourself. But the descriptions of what you should be able to do at each level will give you an idea.

I will be able to make some assessment after speaking with you and even more so after we explore some reading comprehension, writing and listening exercises.


The A levels
Basic English User

The B levels
English Independent User

The C levels
Proficient English User

English test A1 (Beginner)

Can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very basic phrases aimed at the satisfaction of needs of a concrete type. Can introduce him/herself and others and can ask and answer questions about personal details such as where he/she lives, people he/she knows and things he/she has. Can interact in a simple way provided the other person talks slowly and clearly and is prepared to help.


English test A2 (Elementary English)

Can understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to areas of most immediate relevance (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography, employment). Can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters. Can describe in simple terms aspects of his/her background, immediate environment and matters in areas of immediate need.

Cambridge Key English Test (KET)

English test B1 (Intermediate English)

Can understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc. Can deal with most situations likely to arise whilst travelling in an area where the language is spoken. Can produce simple connected text on topics that are familiar or of personal interest. Can describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes & ambitions and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans.

Guideline test/exams:

Cambridge Preliminary English Test (PET)

IELTS level 4

English test B2 (Upper-Intermediate)

Can understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in his/her field of specialisation. Can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible without strain for either party. Can produce clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects and explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options.

Guideline test/exams

Cambridge First Certificate in English (FCE certificate)

English test C1 (Advanced English)

Can understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts, and recognise implicit meaning. Can express him/herself fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions. Can use language flexibly and effectively for social, academic and professional purposes. Can produce clear, well-structured, detailed text on complex subjects, showing controlled use of organisational patterns, connectors and cohesive devices.

Guideline test/exams

Cambridge Advanced (CAE)

IELTS level 7

English test C2 (Proficiency)

Can understand with ease virtually everything heard or read. Can summarise information from different spoken and written sources, reconstructing arguments and accounts in a coherent presentation. Can express him/herself spontaneously, very fluently and precisely, differentiating finer shades of meaning even in more complex situations.

Guideline test/exams

Cambridge English Proficiency (CPE)

IELTS exam 8-9.

Why does the level of your English matter?


• Knowing your level enables you to further your career opportunities. It is recommended to use CEFR levels in job resumes (curriculum vitae, CV, Europass CV) and other English levels references. Even better if you have actually taken and passed an exam at that level.

• Achieving a high level is essential if you wish to pursue your academic studies at an English-speaking university.

• Even if you don’t wish to further your job opportunities or need English for academic purposes, knowing your level gives you a baseline from which to improve, so you can enjoy using and understanding English in many scenarios,


Cambridge Exam Cert.jpeg

If you wish to assess your current  CEFR level of English I can provide the official Cambridge Listening and Reading placement test. Please note that the test must be taken using a computer, not a phone or tablet. 

Please contact me if you are interested.

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