CEFR English Proficiency Levels Explained


This is the European standard, used internationally around the world, for evaluating, teaching and learning languages and assessing language proficiency. Using this standard, student learners are assessed for their level of English proficiency in the following areas:

  • Listening and Reading
  • Writing
  • Speaking
  • Translating and Interpreting


60- 100 HOURS OF GUIDED LEARNING Beginner (Level A1)

At this level the student can use basic phrases and understand simple words and sentences when the other person speaks slowly and helps you along.  You should be able to use basic and every day phrases and expression at this level. For example you can introduce yourself, ask others about themselves, talk about your profession in a basic way. Know things like colors, animals, etc., can pronounce the alphabet and can read basic English text.frequently used expressions related to areas of most immediate relevance (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography, employment).


  • Adjectives: common and demonstrative, Adverbs of frequency, Comparatives and superlatives, Going to, How much/how many and very common uncountable nouns, I’d like Imperatives, Modals: can/can’t/could/couldn’tPast simple of “to be”, Possessive adjectives, Possessives,  Prepositions, common Prepositions of place Prepositions of time, including in/on/at, Present continuous, Present simple, Pronouns: simple, personal Questions; There is/are, To be, including question+negatives Verb + ing: like/hate/love



160 – 200 HOURS OF GUIDED LEARNING Advanced beginner (Level A2)

Can understand on a slightly higher than A1. Ability to understand basic sentences, describe basic family and personal information, shopping, employment, simple expressions



Adjectives – comparative, – use of than and definite article; Adjectives – superlative – use of definite article Adverbial phrases of time, place and frequency – including word order Adverbs of frequency Articles – with countable and uncountable nouns Countables and Uncountables: much/many Future Time (will and going to) Gerunds Going to Imperatives Modals – can/could Modals – have to Modals – should Past continuous Past simple Phrasal verbs – common Possessives – use of ‘s, s’ Prepositional phrases (place, time and movement) Prepositions of time: on/in/at Present continuous Present continuous for future Present perfect Questions Verb + ing/infinitive: like/ want-would like Wh-questions in past Zero and 1st conditional



250 – 400 HOURS OF GUIDED LEARNING Beginner intermediate (Level B1)

Can understand clearly the main point of communication which is familiar. Can converse in the language sufficiently so as to be understood and to understand familiar subjects and topics.



Adverbs, Broader range of intensifiers such as too, enough Comparatives and superlatives; Complex question tags Conditionals 2nd and 3rd, Connecting words expressing cause and effect, contrast etc. Future continuous Modals – must/can’t, deduction Modals – might, may, will, probably Modals – should have/might have/etc Modals: must/have to Past continuous Past perfect Past simple Past tense responses Phrasal verbs, extended Present perfect continuous Present perfect/past simple Reported speech (range of tenses) Simple passive Wh- questions in the past Will and going to, for prediction.

500 – 650 HOURS OF GUIDED LEARNING Intermediate (Level B2)

Can understand the main ideas of more complex text. Can have a technical discussion on a subject of your specialization. Can use vocabulary appropriate to this area of specialization



Adjectives and adverbs; Future continuous; Future; Future perfect continuous; Mixed conditionals Modals – can’t have, needn’t have Modals of deduction and speculation Narrative tenses Passives Past perfect Past perfect continuous Phrasal verbs, extended Relative clauses Reported speech Will and going to, for prediction Wish Would expressing habits, in the past



750-950 GUIDED LEARNING HOURS Upper intermediate (Level C1)

Can communicate verbally and in writing using longer sentence structures and longer texts. Can understand implicit meanings within text. Can express ideas in a spontaneous way without help and coaching. Can communicate effectively in academic and professional contexts.



Futures (revision)Inversion with negative adverbials Mixed conditionals in past, present and future Modals in the past Narrative tenses for experience, incl. passive Passive forms, all Phrasal verbs, especially splitting Wish/if only regret


SOURCE: British Council – EAQUALS Core Inventory for General English

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