English language proficiency levels

English language proficiency levels

The process of learning any language is complex and confusing. Often people simply do not know where to start this path, and grab everything indiscriminately. Not a very smart move. 

In order to correctly set the right vector of study, it is necessary to determine the level of knowledge of a foreign language. Levels exist in every language. In fact, there are just a lot of tests that will help you find out your level. For now, let's take a look at what they are. 

In English, there are 6 levels of knowledge, they are determined by the code and have long and complex names. In fact, this is because there are only two scales for assessing the level of English proficiency: international and European. The criteria of both systems are the same, in contrast to the names, which use codes or word designations. 

A1 — Beginner/Elementary 

In the common - the initial level. It can also be called survival level, philistine or even tourist level. Requires a minimum of knowledge, or their complete absence. Based on the name, it is not difficult to determine that this is where the path of learning English begins, which, in an ideal scenario, should last five more steps up. 

Simply put, it corresponds to the level of high school. Here you need to be able to answer simple questions about the name and age, talk about your favorite and least favorite food, hobbies, family, be able to count, know about 800-1000 words, be able to read and translate simple texts. If you are at the elementary level, then this assumes knowledge of elementary grammar rules, the ability to read and the presence of a certain vocabulary sufficient to form simple sentences. 

A2 — Pre-Intermediate 

Pre-threshold level, which involves the ability to communicate on a large number of simple topics such as hobbies, food, books, movies, music, etc. You also know what is written on product labels, billboards and signs at the airport and can surprise your acquaintances with a retelling of a simple text or movie. 

The level can also be compared to the simple school knowledge of a high school student who is doing pretty well in school. A bit small for a high score in exams, but already quite enough to be among English-speaking people for some time. 

B1 — Intermediate 

Average, or, threshold level. It's still too early to say, "Congratulations, you've beaten the game!" but “can you please repeat it more slowly” for your teacher will already sound at least twice as rare. If you can watch TV shows, understand the meaning of pop songs, read simple literature, can keep up a conversation in correspondence or in oral dialogue - you are at an average level. In fact, for a comfortable explanation, it is more than enough. 

B2 — Upper Intermediate 

Level for those who decide to go to the end. Now you can use English not only in everyday life, but also in the professional sphere and business correspondence. Preparation for communication with native speakers is not required, because the vocabulary at this level is quite high, and knowledge of grammar will allow you to compose complex sentences. Also, the holders of this level can read non-adapted literature, freely retell it, argue, arguing for and against, and express their opinion on a wide range of topics. 

C1 — Advanced 

The level with which they take on a good job abroad. If you can express yourself fluently without experiencing difficulties in choosing words or compiling a grammatical structure of a sentence, read complex texts and can understand complex phrases or hidden meanings, use language tools perfectly - congratulations, you are an advanced user! To achieve this level means making a lot of effort, learning a ton of words, reading several thousand texts and understanding the intricacies of not only everyday, but also business communication. 

C2 — Proficiency 

The most advanced level, often attributed only to native speakers, that is, those whose native language is English. But here one can argue, because sometimes even carriers do not know it at such a high level. It is assumed that the holders of this level can communicate in English absolutely freely - both orally and in writing, know the smallest grammatical, lexical, spelling and stylistic nuances, are familiar with vocabulary, and also express their thoughts fluently and clearly.


Sometimes, however, we may mistakenly assume our level, subconsciously overestimating it so as not to seem stupid to ourselves. But knowledge of a foreign language, even at the most minimal level, is already a great progress. This suggests that you have made an effort, and even if your English has a strong accent, you know it. Be proud of it!