English skills: a guide to determine your level (2023)

Understanding English levels with the CEFR

The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages ​​(CEFR) is an international standard for language ability and comprehension. This standard includes 6 different levels of English: A1, A2, B1, B2, C1 and C2. Some institutions also recognize the pre-A1 level, although this is not as common. What do these terms really say about your English skills?

All CEFR language levels were originally created by the Council of Europe to standardize language ability. These standards are used to determine the language ability of speakers around the world. Let's take a look at each level of English to see what they mean:

A1 - Beginner (Basic)

Average time to reach A1affairsVoice rate (words per minute)pronunciation and grammarvocabulary
1-3 funSimple questions and answers, information about yourself, very common and familiar topics.60 words per minute or lessVery basic knowledge with common mistakes.specific situation

Level A1 refers to speakers who have a basic knowledge of the English language. If you are at A1 level, you can understand some common phrases and words in English. You can ask and answer simple questions (for example, how old are you? Where do you live? What is your favorite color?).

Your interactions will be relatively easy and you may need others to speak slowly to understand.

This level is common for people who have been learning English for a short time (less than 6 months) or people who have not studied English for many years and do not practice regularly.

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A2 - Beginner (Basic)

Average time to reach A2affairsVoice rate (words per minute)pronunciation and grammarvocabulary
6-12 funSame topics as A1 level plus extended social interactions such as various greetings, hobbies, shaping the future, etc.80 words per minute or lessBasic knowledge with common mistakes.specific situation

At A2 level, you can speak simple topics in sentences and complete sentences. His vocabulary covers a wider range of topics than at the A1 level, but his interactions are still limited to the direct exchange of information.

You can probably have a whole conversation about yourself and the different areas of your life. Even if your listening skills have improved, you may still need others to speak to you slowly or repeat yourself from time to time.

This level is common for adults in their first year of college or for those who have not studied English in many years.

B1 - Intermediate (independent)

Average time to reach B1affairsVoice rate (words per minute)pronunciation and grammarvocabulary
1-2 yearsThe same topics as at A2 level plus cultivated discourse in a wide range of contexts, including personal opinions and other informal discussions.100 words per minute or lessCommon mistakes made with new or complex wordsAdapted to a variety of circumstances.

Once you reach the B1 level of English, your English skills will be at the "intermediate" level. This means that you can speak and understand English for everyday matters. You can also describe your life and experiences in a much more descriptive way. Finally, you can talk (in relatively simple terms) about more abstract or subjective topics like wishes, dreams or opinions.

This level is common for adults who have been studying English continuously for more than a year or who have had the opportunity to practice English on a semi-regular basis.

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B2 - Intermediate (independent)

Average time to reach B2affairsVoice rate (words per minute)pronunciation and grammarvocabulary
2-4 yearsThe same subjects as at level B1 plus the ability to express points of view, arguments and more complex hypothetical situations.120 words per minute or lessOccasional mistakes with new or complex wordsA good working knowledge of conversational English plus some basic technical vocabulary related to work or personal hobbies.

The B2 level is often referred to as "upper intermediate". As a B2 English speaker, you can participate in conversations on a wide variety of topics, both concrete and abstract. They may not know much specialized vocabulary, but they can still convey complex thoughts, explanations, experiences, or concepts with moderate accuracy.

This level of English is common among adults who have been learning and practicing English for several years.

C1 – Advanced (proficient)

Mean time to reach C1affairsVoice rate (words per minute)pronunciation and grammarvocabulary
4-6 yearsThe same topics as at the B2 level plus the ability to speak spontaneously on completely new topics140 words per minute or lessRare mistakes in new or complex wordsExtensive knowledge of conversational English and specialized vocabulary.

Upon reaching level C2, you are considered an advanced learner of the English language.

You now have a better understanding of more complex grammatical structures, implicit meanings in text and speech, and the ability to speak English fluently in virtually any setting. Although you will make some mistakes from time to time, they are likely to be small and infrequent.

To reach level C1, you will probably need to study English formally for several years and practice speaking or reading English on a regular basis. This level of English proficiency is common among people who have lived in an English-speaking country for some time.

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C2 – Advanced (proficient)

Mean time to reach C2affairsVoice rate (words per minute)pronunciation and grammarvocabulary
6-8 yearsAll or most of the same topics as a native English speaker160 words per minute or lessvery rare bugsExtensive knowledge of conversational English and specialized vocabulary.

C2 is the highest rating of the 6 CEFR levels.

At this level, you can understand the vast majority of the English you will encounter, both written and spoken. Although you may make rare mistakes, your command is close to or equal to that of a native English speaker. Even in complex text or situations, you can understand the finer nuances of intonation, tempo, and word choice.

C2 level speakersYou have probably studied English for many years and have been practicing the language regularly or even daily with native speakers.

How to determine your level of English

Excellent! Now you know the 6 different levels of English. But how can you determine your own level of English? While the summaries above can give you a rough idea of ​​where you stand on a scale from A1 to C2, you need to test your skills to be sure. You can easily check your level of English with ourfree english test.

There are also several free online resources and English tests to assess your level of English:

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We recommend using more than one source to test yourself, as no single test will provide a perfect guess. Learning how many words you know is another fun wayDiscover your level of English.


You can also assess your level of English by testing your IETLS or TOEFL scores. Here is a useful graph to see what your results mean for your level of English:

That being said, these tests are designed to give you a general idea of ​​where you stand on the CEFR English scale. Once you know your level of English, you'll be in a better position to create a study plan that works for you!

Few products on the market offer a true human assessment of your ability to speak. Even if you take an expensive personal test like IELTS for example and get your grades/level back, you still don't know how to improve from where you are now. Today we bring you two bonuses.

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  1. SpeakUpsThe lead teacher will talk about specific areas/concepts that students of different levels need to focus on to advance

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  1. we bring you afree, personalized, human-rated diagnostic test, so you not only know what your level is, but also how to get from here


How do you answer what is your English level? ›

You can describe your language skills as Basiс, Conversational, Fluent, or Proficient. Basic – you can communicate on simple topics or know some phrases in this language. Conversational – you can communicate on everyday topics with minor grammar or vocabulary mistakes but you can't write in this language.

What is the level of your English skills? ›

The 6 language proficiency levels (CEFR)
CEFR Level A1Beginner
CEFR Level A2Pre-intermediate
CEFR Level B1Intermediate
CEFR Level B2Upper-Intermediate
CEFR Level C1Advanced
1 more row
Feb 11, 2021

What is A1 A2 B1 B2 C1 C2 language proficiency? ›

There are six levels of language proficiency (A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2) according to the CEFR scale. They are grouped into three broader levels: A1-A2 (Basic User), B1-B2 (Independent User), and C1-C2 (Proficient User).

How do you assess English level in an interview? ›

One of the most effective ways to determine a candidate's listening skills is to have them listen to a pre-recorded audio file in English, followed by additional questions to assess how well they understood the conversation and the actions required.

What are level questions in English? ›

Factual questions (level one) can be answered explicitly by facts contained in the text. Inferential questions (level two) can be answered through analysis and interpretation of specific parts of the text. Universal questions (level three) are open-ended questions that are raised by ideas in the text.

How do I improve my English level? ›

7 ways to quickly improve your English language skills
  1. Watch movies in English. ...
  2. Immerse yourself in English language news. ...
  3. Start a vocabulary book of useful words. ...
  4. Have conversations in English. ...
  5. Practice, practice, practice. ...
  6. Curiosity doesn't always kill the cat. ...
  7. Don't forget to have fun while you learn.

How do you describe English level on a resume? ›

You need to spend time and energy on finding the perfect alternatives you'd like to use to describe your language level:
  • Advanced: native, fluent, superior, proficient, highly developed, mother tongue, distinguished.
  • Mid-range: professional, advanced, conversational, competent, upper-intermediate.

What is a full proficiency in English? ›

Full professional proficiency is rated 4 on the scale. A person at this level is described as follows: able to use the language fluently and accurately on all levels and as normally pertinent to professional needs. able to understand all forms and styles of speech pertinent to professional needs.

What are the 4 different types of skill levels? ›

Skill level is a term that can be used to define a person's knowledge of a particular subject. Words such as novice, intermediate, proficient or expert can be assigned to your personal and professional attributes to demonstrate the level of experience you have with a particular skill.

Are native speakers C1 or C2? ›

A well-educated native English speaker is technically at a C2 level. Relatively few English learners reach this level because their professional or academic goals do not require it.

Is B2 considered fluent? ›

Level B2: Basic Fluency

Reaching B2 is generally considered by most people as having basic fluency. You'll have a working vocabulary of around 4000 words.

Is B1 considered fluent? ›

Level B1 corresponds to independent users of the language, i.e. those who have the necessary fluency to communicate without effort with native speakers.

How do you know if you are at B2 level in English? ›

B2 English level (upper intermediate)
  1. They can understand the main ideas of complex texts on concrete or abstract topics, including some technical discussions.
  2. They can express themselves fluently and spontaneously enough to comfortably communicate with other English speakers.

How do you prove fluency for a job? ›

How to include language proficiency levels on a resume
  1. Test your proficiency. Find out how proficient you are in the languages you know. ...
  2. Use a clear and measurable scale. ...
  3. Place this information in an ideal location. ...
  4. Include the languages you're most skilled in.
Apr 7, 2023

How do you pass a language proficiency test? ›

How to pass a foreign language exam
  1. Know your level across all four skills. ...
  2. Know the format. ...
  3. Discover what the examiners are looking for. ...
  4. Practise the tasks you'll be tested on. ...
  5. Practise timing and plan your time out in the exam room. ...
  6. Effort should follow the marks. ...
  7. Think tactically about answer order.

What are the 5 basic English questions? ›

  • What is Your Name? Learn the question What is your name? ...
  • Where Are You From? Learn the question Where are you from? ...
  • Where Do You Live? Learn the question Where do you live? ...
  • What Do You Do? ...
  • Do You Speak English? ...
  • How Long Have You Been Studying English? ...
  • Where Did You Learn English? ...
  • Can You Play Musical Instruments?

What are the 4 types of English questions? ›

There are four types of questions in English: general or yes/no questions, questions using wh-words, choice questions, and disjunctive or tag/tail questions. Each of these different types of questions is used commonly in English, and to give the correct answer to each you'll need to be able to be prepared.

What are the 4 skills to improve English? ›

Benefits of testing the four skills (reading, listening, writing and speaking) When we say that someone 'speaks' a language fluently, we usually mean that they have a high level in all four skills – listening, speaking, reading and writing.

What are 5 ways to improve your English skills? ›

Try including these 5 learning strategies into your daily routine, and see how much your English language improves.
  • Watch TED Talks. ...
  • Read about your favourite topics. ...
  • Use a vocabulary notebook. ...
  • Enjoy songs and films. ...
  • Keep talking.
Oct 10, 2018

What are 5 ways to improve your speaking skills? ›

But like any other skill, you can improve your spoken English if you practise regularly and follow these simple techniques.
  1. Listen. The first step in improving your speaking skills is actually working on your listening. ...
  2. Imitate. ...
  3. Read. ...
  4. Reflect. ...
  5. Prepare. ...
  6. Speak. ...
  7. Practise.
Oct 18, 2021

What's the difference between fluent and proficient? ›

To summarize, the major difference when comparing fluency and proficiency is that fluency deals with the smoothness of one's speech, while proficiency pertains to the ability to communicate accurately.

How do you describe your proficiency skills? ›

Using a consistent and clear metric, rate your level of expertise for each hard skill and language on your resume. It's important to show your proficiency so that others will immediately understand, and using words like beginner, intermediate, proficient, and expert are commonly used for this purpose.

What are the 6 levels of proficiency? ›

The six levels within the CEFR are A1, A2, B1, B2, C1 and C2. With these levels, you can easily work out your ability in around 40 different languages. The levels are often used casually by language learners to explain their ability at speaking, reading, writing and understanding a language.

What is the level of proficiency description? ›

The Proficiency Levels are descriptions of what individuals can do with language in terms of speaking, writing, listening, and reading in real-world situations in a spontaneous and non-rehearsed context.

What is your proficiency fluency level? ›

The term "levels of fluency" refers to predetermined levels of language skills that correlate with a person's proficiency when speaking, writing and reading a foreign language. Your level of fluency on a resume helps potential employers decide whether or not you're qualified for a specific job position.

What are the three basic level of skill? ›

Research has found there are three basic categories of skills in the world: knowledges, transferable skills and self-management skills.

How do you categorize skill levels? ›

Use this as a guide:
  1. Beginner: A novice understanding of the skill. You have exposure to the skill and understand basic concepts, but you lack experience. ...
  2. Intermediate: Between a beginner and an expert. ...
  3. Expert: A highly developed skill level.

What is skill level classification? ›

Skill level is a concept used in the ABS's ANZSCO classification, which ranks occupations by their range of complexity of performed tasks.

Does C1 count as fluent? ›


He/she can express him/herself fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for the right expression. He/she can use language flexibly and effectively for social, academic and professional purposes.

Can non native be C2? ›

There are also speakers of foreign languages who have a C2 level who are not native of the language. Other language people reach the native level because they really study hard and achieve good results and are also advocating for a specific field.

Is C2 the same as mother-tongue? ›

Someone with a C2 level speaks the language on a near-native level. Even though the language is not their mother-tongue, they understand, speak and write it really well and have no trouble with the great majority of the slang and idioms.

How to move from B2 to C1 in English? ›

If you are on a comfortable B2 level, and want to move it to C1, I suggest that you start using the language to learn new things with online courses. For example, you can use the website www.udemy.com. It has a lot of free courses about everything, any topic that can possibly interest you will probably be there.

Is Duolingo enough for B2? ›

Duolingo claims users can reach B2 in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. B2 is upper-intermediate level or basic fluency. It is considered sufficient to live and work in a country.

Is B2 exam hard? ›

How hard is B2 level German? The German language is complex yet highly systematic. For a systematic language, you need a systematic course structure though. If the course material you are using has a thought-out structure, then it shouldn't be difficult.

How long does it take to go from B1 to B2? ›

How long does it take to learn English?
Level of English (CEFR)Number of hours of instruction
A1 to A2150 hours
A2 to B1300 hours
B1 to B2200 hours
B2 to C1200 hours
2 more rows
Jan 25, 2019

Is B1 more difficult than B2? ›

Based on this instant analysis of vocabulary level of each word, we can see that it should be relatively easy for a reader with a B2 vocabulary should be able to understand this text without much effort but could be a slight challenge for a B1 level learner. And a great challenge for an A2 level learner.

Is B1 English good enough? ›

A B1 level of English would be sufficient for interactions with English speakers on familiar topics. In the workplace, people at a B1 level of English are able to read simple reports on familiar topics and write simple e-mails on subjects in their field.

How do I know my English level as a student? ›

What should I look for when assessing my student's English level?
  1. Fluency: How easily does the student speak and participate? ...
  2. Accuracy: How precise is the student's English? ...
  3. Pronunciation: How well does your student pronounce English words and sounds? ...
  4. Comprehension: How well does the student understand you?

What is the meaning of English level? ›

English levels describe the different levels of proficiency in order to support language learning, language teaching and language assessment. The most common level descriptors are: Classic levels: These divide language proficiency into three levels. Basic (Low), Intermediate (Medium) and Advanced (High).

What is my English level B2? ›

Level B2 corresponds to independent users of the language, i.e. those who have the necessary fluency to communicate without effort with native speakers.

What is level 4 English? ›

ICAO English Level 4, ICAO Level 4 or simply English Level 4 is so-called Operational level of Aviation English. ICAO English Level 4 is minimum proficiency of English language to be demonstrated for operational use as a pilot or ATC.

What is the best English level test? ›

IELTS: Short for International English Language Testing System, IELTS is one of the most well-regarded and widely used English exams and is a must for immigrating to most English-speaking countries.

What does college level English look like? ›

College-level English emphasizes critical thinking

In general, college-level English moves away from formulaic structures, like the five-paragraph essay, and asks you to consider the nuances and complexities of an argument.

How can I know if my English is fluent? ›

For full fluency, you should be able to speak or write off-the-cuff, like you can in your native language. This is a clear marker of ease in using the language, which is a sign of fluency. One way to practice thinking your words out less is to post on social media in your target language.

What is the beginner level of English? ›

What can an A1-level learner of English do? They can understand and use very common everyday expressions and simple phrases for immediate needs. They can introduce themselves and other people and can ask and answer questions about personal details, such as where they live, things they have and people they know.

What is a level English exam? ›

What is the English Language A-Level? The English Language A-Level is the study of spoken and written words and how writers use language to fulfil purposes, target specific audiences, reveal attitudes and evoke emotions.

How important is a level English? ›

It is widely recognised by universities that the skills developed through the study of English Literature are among the most transferable, with English graduates going on to develop the widest range of careers — among the most popular are publishing, broadcasting, marketing and PR, journalism, law, teaching and ...

What is the free app to test your English level? ›

EnglishScore is a great platform through which you can take recognized English tests to check your level of ability with grammar- or vocabulary-related questions, as well as listening comprehension and reading skills.

Is B1 in English good? ›


Is able to understand the main points of clear texts in standard language if they are about topics with which they are familiar, whether in work, study or leisure contexts.

What is level 3 English? ›

The Level 3 Award in English for Literacy and Language Teaching is designed to help you develop the skills needed for the teaching of literacy and language, exploring the varied aspects of speaking, listening, reading and writing.

What is level 5 English? ›

Level 5 This level means you should be able to organise, evaluate and critique ideas from a range of complex texts, as well as generate complex written text, demonstrating sophisticated writing skills.

What is level 6 English? ›

Language proficiency is assessed on a scale of 1 to 6, with Level 6 being the standard of an expert speaker of the language.


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