Common European Framework Levels

The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) divides foreign language ability into six levels (from A1 – beginners – to C2).

It describes and illustrates what a learner is supposed to be able to do in the different language skill areas (like reading or speaking) as well as describing language competencies (e.g. vocabulary knowledge), and communication strategies.

Please select a level:


Levels A1 & A2:
Basic users

Levels B1 & B2:
Independent users

Levels C1 & C2:
Proficient users

A1: The Breakthrough level

  • Can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very basic phrases aimed at the satisfaction of needs of a concrete type.
  • 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.
  • Correspond approximately to a foundation Tier GCSE (Intermediate 2, ex. Standard Grade in Scotland)

A2: The Waystage level

  • 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.
  • Correspond approximately to Higher Tier GCSE (National 5 in Scotland)

B1: The Threshold level

  • 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 while travelling in an area where the language is spoken.
  • Can produce simple connected text on topics that are familiar or of personal interest.
  • Correspond approximately to a AS level / lower grade A2-level (Higher in Scotland)

B2: The Vantage level

  • Can understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including the 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.
  • Correspond approximately to Higher Grade A2-level (Advanced Higher in Scotland)

C1: The Proficiency level

  • Can understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts, and recognise implicit meaning.
  • Can express ideas 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-structures, detailed text on complex subjects, showing controlled use of organisational patterns, connectors and cohesive devices.

C2: The Mastery level

  • 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 him/herself spontaneously, very fluently and precisely, differentiating finer shades of meaning even in the most complex situations.