What are the CEFR levels?

What do the A1 to C2 levels mean?

The Common European Framework for Language (CEFR) is an international standard to measure your language skills. It can be applied to many different languages, but on this site we focus only on English.

The CEFR has 6 different levels – A1, A2, B1, B2, C1 and C2.

The ‘A’ levels are for basic users – A1 is a beginner and A2 is elementary.

The ‘B’ levels are for independent users – B1 is intermediate and B2 is upper intermediate.

The ‘C’ levels are for proficient users – C1 is  advanced, and C2 is proficiency.

What should I know to complete each CEFR level?

Here are the abilities you need to have in order to ‘complete’ a level (take a look at the individual pages for each level to see more detail).

CEFR Level A1:

You can:

  • understand and use basic expressions
  • introduce yourself and give / ask for personal details
  • talk about basic familiar topics


CEFR Level A2:

You can:

  • understand frequently used sentences in common situations like going shopping or work
  • give and understand simple instructions
  • talk about needs and wants


CEFR Level B1:

You can:

  • talk about and understand conversations about family, education, employment and leisure related topics
  • be able to communicate travel requirements
  • write simple paragraphs about areas of personal interest
  • describe and understand experiences, hopes, opinions and events in brief detail


CEFR Level B2:

You can:

  • understand the main ideas is a complex text or recording
  • have natural conversations with a native speaker
  • write a detailed text and a range of different subjects


CEFR Level C1:

You can:

  • understand complex texts or conversations
  • express complex ideas with little or no hesitation
  • express yourself in professional, social or formal situations
  • write formal and detailed texts on complex topics


CEFR Level C2:

You can:

  • understand what you hear or read in almost any situation
  • summarise information from different sources to create a clear presentation
  • be precise in meaning in complex situations

Not sure what level you are? Click here to take a quick test to find out!

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