Here's a summary of the CEFR:
- Can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very basic phrases aimed at the satisfaction of needs of a concrete type.
- Can introduce himself/herself and others and can ask and answer questions about personal details such as where he/she lives, people he/she knows and things he/she has.
- Can interact in a simple way provided the other person talks slowly and clearly and is prepared to help.
- 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).
- Can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters.
- Can describe in simple terms aspects of his/her background, immediate environment and matters in areas of immediate need.
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- Can understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc.
- Can deal with most situations likely to arise whilst travelling in an area where the language is spoken.
- Can produce simple connected text on topics which are familiar or of personal interest.
- Can describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes & ambitions and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans.
B2: Upper Intermediate
- Can understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in his/her field of specialisation.
- Can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible without strain for either party.
- 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.
- Can understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts, and recognise implicit meaning.
- Can express himself/herself fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions.
- Can use language flexibly and effectively for social, academic and professional purposes.
- Can produce clear, well-structured, detailed text on complex subjects, showing controlled use of organisational patterns, connectors and cohesive devices.
- Can understand with ease virtually everything heard or read.
- Can summarise information from different spoken and written sources, reconstructing arguments and accounts in a coherent presentation.
- Can express himself/herself spontaneously, very fluently and precisely, differentiating finer shades of meaning even in more complex situations.
Other than using this free self-assessment tool, you can take a standardised test to determine your level of English. Standardised tests are usually scored and will determine your level based on those scores. Such tests include IELTS, TOEIC, the Cambridge English Scale, TOEFL iBT, and the Global Scale of English (Pearson).
So what else can you do with a B1 level in English?
At this level, you can interact with English speakers on familiar topics. At work, you are able to read simple reports on familiar topics and write simple emails on subjects within your field. However, the B1 level is not adequate to function effectively in English at work.
What level should you be at?
The target for university and college graduates is B2. As a working adult at the B2 level, you should be able to understand more complex text, handle more abstract topics and technical discussions, and interact comfortably with native speakers. The higher level C1 is a requirement only for those in specific careers such as English language teachers.
What should you be focusing on?
You should focus on progressing to your next level, which is the B2 English level to function effectively at work. Your goal as an intermediate learner is to surround yourself with English, especially focusing on topics you are interested in or areas that you are planning to work in. This will help you to learn how to express feelings and understand more complex sentences.
It will take approximately 200 hours of learning to get to the B2 English level from your current level. But remember, your progress will depend on the type of course or class you take, and other factors such as your language learning background, the intensity of your study, your age, and the amount of your exposure to English outside of those lessons.
So the sooner you start, the better.
What’s next for you?
Since you should be focused on surrounding yourself with English, you will need to be reading and listening to English-speaking content on a consistent and continual basis.
You can start by watching these video lessons on our blog:
- How to Elaborate When You Speak English
- How to Think in English
- Five Things You Can Do At Home to Improve Your English
Or listen to our podcast, The My English Matters Podcast. It’s available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts. We update the podcast with new episodes regularly!
Are you ready to take your learning to the next level?
If you’re ready to take the next step in learning, we’d love to see you in our monthly programme, Members Monthly. Based on your answers in the self-assessment tool, we believe that this is the right programme for you to learn how to express feelings and understand more complex sentences.