CEFR Europe

Know Your CEFR General English Level with The English Navigator

CEFR Europe

Do you know your CEFR skill level?

The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) does not use the same terms found in language courses. Instead it breaks up language use into:

  • General Competences (Knowledge, Skills)
  • Existential Competencies (Linguistic, Sociolinguistic, Pragmatic)

The CEFR also divides language ability into three principal dimensions:

1) Language activities

  • Reception (listening and reading)
  • Production (spoken and written)
  • Interaction (spoken and written)
  • Mediation (translating and interpreting)

2) Domains

General and particular communicative competences are developed by producing or receiving texts in various sectors of social life that the CEFR calls domains. Four broad domains are distinguished:

3) Competences

A language user is assessed by CEFR according to their competence in each domain, as described in the table below.

Listening SkillsReading SkillsSpeaking SkillsWriting Skills
Beginner / Breakthrough
You can understand familiar words and phrases about yourself, your family, and concrete situations you know well.
You can understand familiar words and sentences, for
example on notices and poster
You can interact in a simple way if the other person speaks slowly and repeats themselves. You can ask and answer simple questions and can use simple sentences to
describe people you know, etc.
You can write a short
postcard. You can fill in a
form with personal details.
Elementary /
You can understand
sentences about familiar topics if they contain high frequency vocabulary. You
can catch the main point in simple announcements.
You can read short, simple texts. You can find specific
information you need in everyday materials such as advertisements, menus, etc.
You can communicate in
simple and routine tasks.
You can manage simple
social exchanges. You can describe your educational background and your present or most recent job.
You can write simple notes and messages. You can write a simple personal letter.
Intermediate / Threshold
You can understand the main points when listening to a native speaker if the topic is familiar. This includes listening to radio or television.You can understand texts which contain high frequency or job-related vocabulary. You can understand descriptions of feelings or wishes.You can manage in most
travel situations. You can
join in discussions without preparation if the topic is familiar. You can give reasons and explanations, and can narrate an event.
You can write a short
connected text on a familiar topic. You can write personal letters describing experiences and impressions.
Upper Intermediate / Vantage
You can understand
lectures if the topic is
familiar. You can
understand the news on television reasonably well.
You can read reports or articles which express
opinions or attitudes.
You can interact quite
fluently and spontaneously,
and take an active part in
discussions on familiar
topics. You can give
detailed descriptions, and
explain opinions quite
You can write clear, detailed texts on familiar topics. You can write an essay or a report, and give reasons in support of an argument.
Advanced / Effective Proficency
You can understand
extended speech, even when it is not clearly structured. You can understand most television programmes.
You can understand
complex factual and literary texts. You can understand specialised articles on unfamiliar topics.
You can express yourself
fluently and spontaneously.
You can explain and justify opinions precisely and relate them to the
contributions of others.
You can express yourself in clear, well-structured text. You can write about
complex subjects in
different styles.
Upper Advanced / Mastery
You have no difficulty in
understanding any kind of spoken language.
You can read any form of written language with ease, including technical or literary matter.You can take part
effortlessly in any
conversation. You can
present clear, smooth-
flowing descriptions.
You can present a case,
whether general or
specialised, which helps the reader notice and
remember significant points.

Your CEFR skill level is a good guide to your real ability

We can help you reach the English level you need

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