CEF Levels

The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEF or CEFR) was put together by the Council of Europe as a way of standardising the levels of language exams in different regions. It is very widely used internationally and all important exams are mapped to the CEFR.

There are six levels: A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2. These are described in the table below.

Click here to see which exams are at which CEFR levels.

Click here to do a test to see which level to study at and here to see what grammar you should know at each level.

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Council of Europe levels

Description

C2

Mastery

The capacity to deal with material which is academic or cognitively demanding, and to use language to good effect at a level of performance which may in certain respects be more advanced than that of an average native speaker.
Example: CAN scan texts for relevant information, and grasp main topic of text, reading almost as quickly as a native speaker.

All practice tests at this level

C1

Effective Operational Proficiency

The ability to communicate with the emphasis on how well it is done, in terms of appropriacy, sensitivity and the capacity to deal with unfamiliar topics.
Example: CAN deal with hostile questioning confidently. CAN get and hold onto his/her turn to speak.

All practice tests at this level

B2

Vantage

The capacity to achieve most goals and express oneself on a range of topics.
Example: CAN show visitors around and give a detailed description of a place.
All practice tests at this level

B1

Threshold

The ability to express oneself in a limited way in familiar situations and to deal in a general way with nonroutine information.
Example: CAN ask to open an account at a bank, provided that the procedure is straightforward.

All practice tests at this level

A2

Waystage

An ability to deal with simple, straightforward information and begin to express oneself in familiar contexts.
Example: CAN take part in a routine conversation on simple predictable topics.
All exams and practice tests at this level

A1

Breakthrough

A basic ability to communicate and exchange information in a simple way.
Example: CAN ask simple questions about a menu and understand simple answers.