A few weeks ago, I wrote about identifying your level of English and making the intention of moving to the next level. We received a lot of great feedback from that post. So today I want to share with you the levels of English (according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages or CEFR) so that you can do a self-assessment.
Many international tests such as IELTS, TOEFL and TOEIC are aligned to the CEFR, so I hope this will be helpful for you.
Choose the description that best fits your language abilities:
Basic User (A1)
- I can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very basic phrases aimed at the satisfaction of needs of a concrete type.
- I can introduce myself and others and can ask and answer questions about personal details such as where I live, people I know and things I have.
- I can interact in a simple way provided the other person talks slowly and clearly and is prepared to help.
Basic User (A2)
- I can understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to areas of most immediate relevance (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography, employment).
- I can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters.
- I can describe in simple terms aspects of my background, immediate environment and matters in areas of immediate need.
Independent User (B1)
- I can understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc.
- I can deal with most situations likely to arise whilst travelling in an area where the language is spoken.
- I can produce simple connected text on topics which are familiar or of personal interest.
- I can describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes and ambitions and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans.
Independent User (B2)
- I can understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in my field and specialisation.
- I can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible without strain for either party.
- I 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 (C1)
- I can understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts, and recognise implicit meaning.
- I can express myself fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions.
- I can use language flexibly and effectively for social, academic and professional purposes.
- I can produce clear, well-structured, detailed text on complex subjects, showing controlled use of organisational patterns, connectors and cohesive devices.
Proficient User (C2)
- I can understand with ease virtually everything heard or read.
- I can summarise information from different spoken and written sources, reconstructing arguments and accounts in a coherent presentation.
- I can express myself spontaneously, very fluently and precisely, differentiating finer shades of meaning even in more complex situations.
Now, according to the English Language Standards and Quality Council of Malaysia in this article, the target for graduates is B2.
So if you’re a working adult, you should be aiming for B2 so that you can function adequately in English.
The higher level of C1 is required for those in specific careers such as English language teachers. These are minimum expectations.
So what’s your level of English? And what’s your plan to go to the next level?