English Language Levels

A Guide to your English Language Level

The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) is a set of guidelines used to describe achievements of learners of foreign languages across Europe and, increasingly, in other countries. Developed by the Council of Europe, it provides a method of learning, teaching, and assessing which applies to all languages in Europe.

The CEFR has six levels: A1 and A2 (basic user), B1 and B2 (independent user), and C1 and C2 (proficient user). It’s widely accepted as a way of benchmarking language ability, from beginner to advanced, and it’s recognized by educational institutions and employers worldwide.

LevelCEFRExam Equivalence to CEFRDescription
BeginnerA0IELTS 1 – 2
TOEIC 0 – 150
Can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very basic phrases.  Can introduce him/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.
ElementaryA1IELTS 2 – 3
TOEIC 151 – 300
You can understand language used in everyday situations if the speaker speaks slowly and clearly, improve by developing your listening and vocabulary.
Pre-IntermediateA2IELTS 3 – 4
TOEIC 301 – 400
You can communicate in a range of everyday social and travel contexts. Improve by developing your speaking, grammar and vocabulary.
IntermediateB1IELTS 4 – 5
TOEFL 30 – 35 / 
TOEIC 401 – 525
You can speak English with some confidence. Improve by developing you fluency, your understanding of grammar and by widening your vocabulary.
Upper – IntermediateB2IELTS 5 – 6
TOEFL 36 – 60 / 
TOEIC 528 – 750
You can use English effectively, improve by learning to discuss, argue and express opinion in a culturally acceptable way. Refine your use of grammar and vocabulary.
AdvancedC1IELTS 6 – 7
TOEFL 61 – 94 / 
TOEIC 528 – 750
You can use English in a range of culturally different ways. Improve by extending your vocabulary and refining your use of style and register.
ProficientC2IELTS 7 – 8
TOEFL 95 – 110 / 
TOEIC 901+
You can use English with ease and fluency, improve by increasing your understanding of the nuances of the language and engaging in independent reading to develop your vocabulary further.

Full details of the CERF Levels

Accreditation and Memberships

Dorset College is recognised by ACELS, a service of Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) for English Language Teaching (ELT)

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