CEFR levels

Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR)

In 2001 the Common European Framework of References for Languages was published after many years of research. This framework, also called CEFR, describes what language users who have acquired a new language can do and how well and efficiently they do so. These CEFR levels indicate the various levels of language proficiency of users of a language.

A Beginners levelA1 Breakthrough
A2 Waystage
B Intermediate level

B1 Threshold
B2 Vantage

C Advanced level

C1 Effective Operational Profiency
C2 Mastery

At the Language & Training Centre you generally need to take two language courses to increase your language proficiency by one CEFR level. For non-European languages you need to take more than two language courses to reach the next level. For more information please see the relevant language

 

  • Breakthrough - a basic command of the language, familiar with everyday expressions and
    able to make very simple sentences.

    Spoken interactionYou can interact in a simple way provided the other person is prepared to repeat or rephrase things at a slower rate of speech and help me formulate what you are trying to say. You can ask and answer simple questions in areas of immediate need or on very familiar topics.
    Spoken productionYou can use simple phrases and sentences to describe where you live and people you know.
    ListeningYou can recognise familiar words and very basic phrases concerning yourself, your family and immediate concrete surroundings when people speak slowly and clearly.
    WritingYou can write a short, simple postcard, for example sending holiday greetings. You can fill in forms with personal details, for example entering my name, nationality and address on a hotel registration form.
    ReadingYou can understand familiar names, words and very simple sentences, for example onnotices and posters or in catalogues.
  • Waystage - familiar with frequently used expressions and able to express oneself in everyday situations.

    Spoken interaction

    You can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar topics and activities.
    You can handle very short social exchanges, even though I can't usually understand enough to keep the conversation going yourself.

    Spoken production

    You can use a series of phrases and sentences to describe in simple terms your family and other people, living conditions, your educational background and your present or most recent job. 

    Listening

    You can understand phrases and the highest frequency vocabulary related to areas of most immediate personal relevance (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local area, employment). You can catch the main point in short, clear, simple messages and announcements. 

    Writing

    You can write short, simple notes and messages relating to matters in areas of immediate needs. You can write a very simple personal letter, for example thanking someone for something.

    Reading

    You can read very short, simple texts. You can find specific, predictable information in simple everyday material such as advertisements, prospectuses, menus and timetables and you can understand short simple personal letters.
  • Threshold – can describe experiences, events, dreams and expectations and give his or her own opinion.

    Spoken interaction

    You can deal with most situations likely to arise whilst travelling in an area where the language is spoken. You can enter unprepared into conversation on topics that are familiar, of personal interest or pertinent to everyday life (e.g. family, hobbies, work, travel and current events).

    Spoken production

    You can connect phrases in a simple way in order to describe experiences and events, your dreams, hopes and ambitions. You can briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans. You can narrate a story or relate the plot of a book or film and describe your reactions. 

    Listening

    You can understand the main points of clear standard speech on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc.
    You can understand the main point of many radio or TV programmes on current affairs or topics of personal or professional interest when the delivery is relatively slow and clear. 

    Writing

    You can write simple connected text on topics which are familiar or of personal interest. You can write personal letters describing experiences and impressions. 

    Reading

    You can understand texts that consist mainly of high frequency every day or job-related language. You can understand the description of events, feelings and wishes in personal letters.
  • Vantage – can understand the main ideas of complex text and can produce clear detailed text.
    Can spontaneously enter into a conversation.

    Spoken interactionYou can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible. You can take an active part in discussion in familiar contexts, accounting for and sustaining your views.
    Spoken productionYou can present clear, detailed descriptions on a wide range of subjects related to your field of interest. You can explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options.
    ListeningYou can understand extended speech and lectures and follow even complex lines of argument provided the topic is reasonably familiar.
    You can understand most TV news and current affairs programmes. You can understand the majority of films in standard dialect.
    WritingYou can write clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects related to my interests. You can write an essay or report, passing on information or giving reasons in support of or against a particular point of view. You can write letters highlighting the personal significance of events and experiences.
    ReadingYou can read articles and reports concerned with contemporary problems in which the writers adopt particular attitudes or viewpoints.
    You can understand contemporary literary prose.
  • Effective operational proficiency – able to express oneself fluently and use the language flexibly and efficiently for social, academic and professional purposes.

    Spoken interactionYou can express yourself fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions. You can use language flexibly and effectively for social and professional purposes. You can formulate ideas and opinions with precision and relate your contribution skilfully to those of other speakers.
    Spoken productionYou can present clear, detailed descriptions of complex subjects integrating sub-themes, developing particular points and rounding off with an appropriate conclusion.
    ListeningYou can understand extended speech even when it is not clearly structured and when relationships are only implied and not signalled explicitly.
    You can understand television programmes and films without too much effort.
    WritingYou can express yourself in clear, well-structured text, expressing points of view at some length. You can write about complex subjects in a letter, an essay or a report, underlining what you consider to be the salient issues. You can select style appropriate to the reader in mind.
    ReadingYou can understand long and complex factual and literary texts, appreciating distinctions of style. You can understand specialised articles and longer technical instructions, even when they do not relate to your field.
  • Mastery – can understand with ease virtually everything heard or read. Can express him/herself spontaneously, very fluently and precisely, differentiating finer shades of meaning even in the most complex situations.

    Spoken interactionYou can take part effortlessly in any conversation or discussion and have a good familiarity with idiomatic expressions and colloquialisms.
    You can express yourself fluently and convey finer shades of meaning precisely.
    If you do have a problem you can backtrack and restructure around the difficulty so smoothly that other people are hardly aware of it.
    Spoken productionYou can present a clear, smoothly-flowing description or argument in a style appropriate to the context and with an effective logical structure which helps the recipient to notice and remember significant points.
    ListeningYou have no difficulty in understanding any kind of spoken language, whether live or broadcast, even when delivered at fast native speed, provided. You have some time to get familiar with the accent.
    WritingYou can write clear, smoothly-flowing text in an appropriate style. You can write complex letters, reports or articles which present a case with an effective logical structure which helps the recipient to notice and remember significant points. You can write summaries and reviews of professional or literary works.
    ReadingYou can read with ease virtually all forms of the written language, including abstract, structurally or linguistically complex texts such as manuals, specialised articles and literary works.