The Common European Framework of Reference

The CEFR is a system which can be used to compare language levels for teaching and testing languages in Europe. It was developed by the Council of Europe in order to set a clear set of standards at different levels of language learning for European languages. We use it as the reference for our teaching of English at both a general EFL standard and at an EAP level. You can find descriptions of the different levels below.

CEFR Levels


Beginners level

Basic knowledge of the language, familiar everyday expressions and simple phrases.


Elementary / Pre-Intermediate level

Familiarity with frequently used expressions and conversation on routine matters.


Intermediate level

At B1 level, a person can understand the main points on familiar matters encountered in work, school, leisure, etc., can deal with most situations likely to arise whilst travelling in an area where the language is spoken, and can produce simple connected text on topics, which are familiar or of personal interest. They can also describe experiences and opinions.


Independent User
(Upper Intermediate)

At B2 level, a person can understand the main ideas of complex text on both factual and abstract topics, including technical discussions in their own field of interest. They can interact with a enough fluency that interaction with native speakers is comfortable. They can produce clear, detailed text to explain an idea and give advantages and disadvantages of various options.


Advanced level

A person can understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts, and recognise meaning. They can express themself fluently and easily, adapting their style to various situations. They can produce clear, well-structured, detailed text on complex subjects.


Proficient User

A person at C2 level can understand easily most of what is heard or read. They can summarise information from different spoken and written sources. They can express themself fluently and precisely in complex situations.

CEFR Comparison

You can compare the different grade systems below.