The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) is an internationally recognised framework that describes 6 levels of language ability from A1 for beginners up to C2 for those who have mastered a language. The CEFR is used by organisations all over the world as a reliable benchmark of language ability. 


A0 – Starter  

A1 – Elementary

A2 – Pre-Intermediate

B1 – Intermediate

B2 – Upper Intermediate

C1 – Advanced



Council of Europe Levels


What can you do in English?

Basic User




You can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very basic phrases. You can introduce yourself and others, and ask and answer questions about personal details such as where you live, people you know and things you own. You can communicate in a simple way provided the other person talks slowly and clearly and is prepared to help. 




You can understand sentences and frequently used expressions in areas of most immediate relevance (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography, employment). You can perform routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information. You can describe in simple terms aspects of your background, immediate environment and matters in areas of immediate need.

 Independent User




You can understand the main points of clear standard English on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure etc.  You can deal with most situations while travelling in an area where English is spoken. You can produce simple connected text on topics which are familiar or of personal interest. You can describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes & ambitions and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans. 




You can understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in your field of specialisation. You can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible without strain for either party. You can produce clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects and explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options.

Proficient User




You can understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts, and recognise implicit meaning. You can express yourself fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions.  You can use language flexibly and effectively for social, academic and professional purposes. You can produce clear, well-structured, detailed text on complex subjects, showing controlled use of organisational patterns, connectors and cohesive devices. 




You can understand with ease virtually everything heard or read. You can summarise information from different spoken and written sources, reconstructing arguments and accounts in a coherent presentation.  You can express yourself spontaneously, very fluently and precisely, differentiating finer shades of meaning even in more complex situations.