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.
- 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
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- 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 B2 level in English?
At this level, you can function effectively in the workplace in English. Many non-native English speakers in international workplaces have this level of English. However, you may lack nuance (i.e., differentiating finer shades of meaning) particularly outside your field of work. You may also not understand some of the indirect and implied meanings in conversations.
What level should you be at?
The target for university and college graduates is B2. Since this is your current English level, you can already function independently in a variety of academic and professional environments in English. The higher level C1 is a requirement only for those in specific careers such as English language teachers.
What should you be focusing on?
Since you’re already at the level where you can function effectively at work, you may want to work on expressing your feelings better and improving your comprehension of more complex expressions. As with any learning process, practice is very important if you want to be more advanced. The next level for you is C1: Advanced.
It will take approximately 200 hours of learning to get to the C1 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.
What’s next for you?
You should be focused on learning to express your feelings better and improving your comprehension, and we believe that the best way to do that is through a lot practice.
You can start learning how to practise by watching these video lessons on our blog:
- How to Elaborate When You Speak English
- How to Improve Your Listening Skills
- How to Stick to Your Point & Avoid Rambling
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?
Based on your current level of English, we believe that the most suitable programme for you is Communicate with Confidence. This online course will teach you how to better express your feelings and opinions, with tips and techniques to improve your communication skills, and coaching calls to practise with other students.