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What is CEFR?

CEFR or CEFRL stands for Common European Framework of Reference for Languages and it was introduced by the Council of Europe to provide language learners and schools with a universal reference point for language level. It is based on 'can do' statements to make it easy to use for both learners and teachers alike to work out your ability within a language. It is both an international standard that you can use to validate your language ability and it is also a way for you to work out your own level before you book a language course either on-line or face to face.

There are 6 levels in the CEFR: A1, A2, B1, B2, C1 and C2. You can see a full version of it here, together with translations into different languages.

Roughly speaking, we use the levels in our school as follows:

A1/A2- Beginner/Elementary

At this level, you can:

  • ask and understand the answers to, basic questions about important basic issues like food, shopping, family, jobs, likes and dislikes

  • introduce yourself to people and ask simple personal questions

  • have a discussion as long as the person you are speaking to speaks slowly and simply

  • ask for help in simple terms involving basic situations in life

B1- Intermediate

At this level, you can:

  • discuss important basic issues like food, shopping, family, jobs, likes and dislikes

  • ask and give help regarding travel, accommodation arrangements and other important topics relating to travelling in an English-speaking country

  • write about simple topics

  • talk about your previous experiences and about your future plans and ideas

B2- Upper Intermediate

At this level, you can:

  • talk about most topics without needing to prepare beforehand and in a way that your listener understands without too much difficulty

  • understand more complex written texts and write your own texts about more complex issues

C1- Advanced

At this level, you can:

  • use the language in most social, academic or professional situations without hesitating too much and in an easy to understand way

  • write in a coherent and well-structured way about complex issues and topics

C2- Proficiency

At this level, you can:

  • easily understand and discuss what most people are saying on a variety of different topics

  • listen and transfer detailed information about different topics

  • discuss complex scenarios and possibilities

These levels are not absolute but they are a start to working out where you are and where you want to be with regard to the language you are learning.

You will find the major exam organisers also link their different exams to this framework in order to make sure that you choose the right exam for your level. If you are doing a Cambridge Exam like FCE or CAE or an IELTS test you may find it useful to see where you fit on the Cambridge version of the CEFR scale which you can see here.

When you have finished your course with us, then we will give you an End-of-Course Certificate which refers to the CEFR framework in order to help you show other people like your school or employer what level of English you have achieved so far and before you book your course, you can use this framework to estimate your level on our enrolment form.


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