Goldilocks and the CEFR levels: Which proficiency level is just right? (2023)

Learning a language doesn't have to mean learning everything in the language you're studying. (Even native speakers have to learn new words!) Learners often have particular goals in mind when studying a new language, so what counts as success for one learner might look pretty different from the finish line for another.

That's why it's so hard to decide what exactly it means to be "fluent" in a new language. The number of words and kinds of grammar you need in order to arrange a weekend at the beach with your best friend are really different from the vocabulary and complex structures needed to write a dissenting opinion for the U.S. Supreme Court.

(Video) My Thoughts On Duolingo CEFR Levels Graphic (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages)

At Duolingo, we use the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) to set goals for different language proficiency levels when we design our courses. The levels are labeled A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, and C2, and they cover increasingly complex language needs. For example, Academy-Award-winning director Bong Joon Ho used A1 English to express thanks ("Thank you, I will drink until next morning"), but in order to express more complex sentiments about his cinematic inspiration, he spoke in B1 Korean and used an interpreter.

Goldilocks and the CEFR levels: Which proficiency level is just right? (1)

Thanks to Hope Wilson for these CEFR examples!

Most people don't need to master all, or even most, of the levels! It's all about what you want to do with the language. To make those beach plans, you can probably manage fairly well at B1, but to give Ruth Bader Ginsburg a run for her money, you'll need to work your way up to C2, the highest level on the CEFR scale. Many speakers don't need to use C1 or C2 vocabulary and grammar, even in their first language.

(Video) Maximise your Lesson Planning with the GSE Teacher Toolkit

People often use "fluent" to describe their language goals, but "comfortable" might be what they're really getting at – and you can feel "comfortable" at a lot of those CEFR levels! Which level aligns best with what you'll be doing in the language you're studying?

Español: Ricitos de oro y los niveles del MCER: ¿Cuál es el nivel de dominio adecuado?

Aprender un idioma no significa aprender todo en ese idioma (¡incluso los nativos tienen que aprender nuevas palabras!). Quienes están aprendiendo un nuevo idioma a menudo tienen diferentes metas en mente, así que lo que cuenta como una victoria para un estudiante puede ser muy distinta de la línea final de otro.

(Video) A Formula for success at B2 First by Michael Brand

Por eso resulta tan difícil decidir qué significa exactamente hablar “con fluidez” un nuevo idioma. El número de palabras y el tipo de gramática necesarios para coordinar un fin de semana en la playa con tus amigos es muy diferente del vocabulario y las estructuras complejas que se necesitan para escribir un voto disidente en la Corte Suprema de los Estados Unidos.

En Duolingo utilizamos el Marco Común Europeo de Referencia (MCER, o CEFR en inglés) para determinar las metas para los diferentes niveles de dominio al momento de diseñar nuestros cursos. Estos niveles están designados como A1, A2, B1, B2, C1 y C2 y cubren necesidades lingüísticas cada vez más complejas. Por ejemplo, el ganador del premio de la Academia Bong Joon Ho utilizó inglés de nivel A1 para dar las gracias (“Thank you. I will drink until next morning”, es decir “Gracias. Beberé hasta la mañana siguiente”), pero para poder expresar sentimientos más complejos acerca de su inspiración cinematográfica, habló en coreano de nivel B1 y utilizó un intérprete.

Goldilocks and the CEFR levels: Which proficiency level is just right? (2)

(Video) LTI Colloquium: Improving Language Learning and Assessment with A.I.

¡Gracias a Hope Wilson por estos ejemplos del MCER!

¡La mayoría de las personas no necesitan dominar cada uno (o incluso la mayoría) de los niveles! Todo depende de lo que quieras lograr con el idioma. Para hacer planes para ir a la playa, probablemente te vaya bien con el nivel B1, pero si quieres acercarte al nivel del galardonado escritor Eduardo Galeano, deberás escalar hasta el C2, el mayor nivel de la escala del MCER. Muchos de los hablantes del idioma no necesitan vocabulario y gramática de nivel C1 o C2, incluso en su lengua materna.

La gente a menudo utiliza “fluidez” para describir sus metas de idiomas, pero quizás “cómodo” es a lo que se refieren. ¡Puedes sentirte cómodo en muchos de esos niveles del MCER! ¿Qué nivel se ajusta mejor a lo que estás haciendo en el idioma que estás aprendiendo?


What CEFR level is proficient? ›

The CEFR includes six standard reference levels — A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, and C2. Each level features "can-do" descriptors to describe the language user's proficiency. In general, the A level refers to a basic user, the B level refers to an independent user, and the C level refers to a proficient user.

Is CEFR level C1 higher than CEFR level B1? ›

It is an alternative naming convention for CEFR levels where Vantage means B2 level. Other level names in this convention are: A1- Breakthrough, A2- Waystage, B1- Threshold, B2- Vantage, C1- Advanced, C2- Mastery.

What does language level A1 A2 B1 B2 C1 and C2 mean? ›

The three broad levels are A1/A2 ("Basic User"), B1/B2 ("Independent User"), and C1/C2 ("Proficient User").

Is CEFR level A1 good? ›

An A1 level of English would be sufficient for very simple interactions, for example as a tourist in an English-speaking country. An A1 level would not be sufficient for other academic or professional purposes.

What is a good CEFR score? ›

CEFR is an international standard used to measure language proficiency. Using a 6 point scale it identifies an individual's English level – with A1 being the score for beginners and C2 for those who have mastered English.

Is CEFR level B2 good? ›

Level B2 corresponds to a more advanced, more independent level than previous levels. A B2 user can communicate easily and spontaneously in a clear and detailed manner. This is not yet an experienced speaker, but a B2 user is able to understand and be understood in most situations.

Is CEFR level C2 good? ›

A C2 Proficiency qualification shows the world that you have mastered English to an exceptional level. It proves you can communicate with the fluency and sophistication of a highly competent English speaker.
Key facts.
CEFR level:C2 What's this?
No. of papers:4
Exam length:About 4 hours
2 more rows

Is CEFR C1 fluent? ›

CEFR-level C1 (advanced)

You can express yourself fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions. You can use language flexibly and effectively for social and professional purposes.

Is C1 a good CEFR level? ›

You will also be given a grade and Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) level.
C1 Advanced Scale Scores.
Cambridge English Scale ScoreGrade/CEFRCEFR level
200–210Grade AC2
193–199Grade BC1
180–192Grade CC1
160–179Level B2B2

Is B2 level fluent? ›

Level B2 corresponds to independent users of the language, i.e. those who have the necessary fluency to communicate without effort with native speakers.

Is CEFR level B1 good? ›

However, a B1 level is not adequate to function fully in the workplace in English. According to the official CEFR guidelines, someone at the B1 level in English: Can understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc.

What happens if a1 A2 B1 B2 C1 C2? ›

If a1a2=b1b2=c1c2, the system of equations are consistent , coincident lines and have infinite solutions.

What is the lowest level of CEFR? ›

The CEFR levels provide a way of describing a person's language proficiency. There are six levels: A1, A2, B1, B2, C1 and C2. A1 is the lowest level in terms of ability and C2 is the highest.

How do I check my CEFR level? ›

The best way to find out your CEFR level is to take a well-designed standardized test. In English, the EF SET is the best choice because it is free and the first standardized test to be fully aligned to the CEFR. You will need to set aside 50 minutes to complete the test and find out your CEFR level.

Is C1 Advanced or fluent? ›

C1 English (Advanced)

Level C1 corresponds to users who can express themselves fluently and spontaneously. They can use language flexibly and effectively for all purposes.

What is a passing score for CEFR? ›

Listening, Reading, Writing (L, R, W) aggregate 75-100 points for Pass, and 101-150 for High Pass; Speaking 25-37 for Pass, and 38-50 for High Pass.

How do you answer what is your proficiency in English? ›

You can say, for example, that your level of proficiency in writing English is B2, whereas your spoken English is C1. The CEFR also helps you to give a very detailed description of your language skills if you are applying for a job for which languages are a key aspect of the job.

Is CEFR accepted? ›

The CEFR is used in many countries around the world and is an accepted standard.

How long is CEFR level B1 valid for? ›

If your qualification has run out

Some recognised test qualifications only last for 2 years. You can still use a B1 level qualification that you took more than 2 years ago in 2 situations.

Which is better B2 or C1? ›

The B2 is the better choice if you need something to use in a well-lit room because it gets brighter in SDR. However, their HDR brightness is similar, and the C1 has better gradient handling, so if you watch HDR content, it's better to go for the C1.

What is CEFR B2 equivalent to? ›

CEFR B2 is equivalent to an IELTS score between 5.5 and 6.5. You are considered an “Independent user” as well. It means that you can communicate easily and spontaneously in a clear and detailed manner. You are able to understand and be understood in most situations.

Is C2 full professional proficiency? ›

C2 (Mastery or proficiency): C2 is the highest of all CEFR levels. Those who achieve it can understand everything they hear or read and are able to express themselves with the same degree of spontaneity as native speakers.

Is C1 a proficiency? ›

Level C1 corresponds to users who can express themselves fluently and spontaneously. They can use language flexibly and effectively for all purposes.

Should I do C1 or C2? ›

You can expect to encounter more complex, nuanced texts and questions in C2 Proficiency compared to C1 Advanced. However, both tests are at a high level and success in either qualification will be accepted as proof of English proficiency by most universities.

What CEFR level is bilingual? ›

English level C2 is the sixth and final level of English in the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR), a definition of different language levels written by the Council of Europe. In everyday speech, this level might be called “bilingual”, as in “I am bilingual in English and French.”

What is CEFR C1 equivalent to? ›

Candidates who have secured a C1 Advanced grade C, having scored between 180 and 192 on the Cambridge English Scale, are at Level C1 of the CEFR and can be expected to be comparable in ability with candidates who have secured 6.5 or 7.0 in IELTS.

What are the CEFR levels simplified? ›

The CEFR organises language proficiency in six levels, A1 to C2, which can be regrouped into three broad levels: Basic User, Independent User and Proficient User, and that can be further subdivided according to the needs of the local context.

How to move from B2 to C1 in English? ›

If you are on a comfortable B2 level, and want to move it to C1, I suggest that you start using the language to learn new things with online courses. For example, you can use the website It has a lot of free courses about everything, any topic that can possibly interest you will probably be there.

Is B2 fluent or intermediate? ›

Level guide
Anglo-Link rankCEFR*
3 more rows

How long does it take to get from B2 to C1? ›

200 hours

What level is better B1 or B2? ›

Elementary: B1. Intermediate: B2. Advanced: C1 and C2.

Which is better B1 or B2? ›

Generally speaking, a B1 visa is for business-related projects, while a B2 visa is for tourism and pleasure-travel. The government can also issue a B1/B2 visa to business travelers who plan to travel within the US for tourist activities during their stay in the United States.

What CEFR level is first certificate? ›

Valid scores on the FCE Exam range from 140 to 190. A score of 160 or above is considered a “pass” and students with that score will receive the Cambridge First Certificate, which corresponds to a level B2 in English on the CEFR.

What happens when A1 A2 is not equal to b1 b2 not equal to c1 c2? ›

Expert-Verified Answer

If a1 / a2 = b1 / b2 ≠ c1 / c2 and the pair of linear equations in two variables is said to be inconsistent.

What happens if A1 A2 is not equal to b1 b2? ›

Expert-Verified Answer

If a1 / a2 ≠ b1 / b2 then, the pair of linear equations is consistent. 2. If a1 / a2 = b1 / b2 = c1 / c2 , then the pair of lines are coincident and the pair of equations is dependent and consistent.

Is A1 A2 b1 b2 c1 c2 parallel? ›

From the figure, it can be observed that these lines are overlapping each other. Therefore, infinite number of solutions is possible for the given pair of equations. Hence, a1/a2 = b1/b2 ≠ c1/c2 Therefore, these linear equations are parallel to each other and thus have no possible solution.

Is proficiency in English C1 or C2? ›

C2 Proficiency, formerly known as Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE), is one of our Cambridge English Qualifications. It is our highest-level qualification – proof that you are a highly competent speaker of English.

Is C1 proficient or fluent? ›

Level C1 corresponds to proficient users of the language, i.e. those able to perform complex tasks related to work and study.

Is C1 full proficiency? ›

C1 (Effective operational proficiency or advanced): C1 speakers understand and use advanced grammar and vocabulary. They can actively participate in many social situations, producing well-structured utterances.

What are the 3 levels of proficiency? ›

The CA ELD Standards define three proficiency levels—Emerging, Expanding, and Bridging*—to describe the stages of English language development through which ELs are expected to progress as they improve their abilities in listening, speaking, reading, and writing English.

How do I know my English proficiency level? ›

The most reliable way to find out your English level is to take a well-designed assessment test. There are many tests to choose from, but taking the EF SET is a good place to start. You can use your EF SET score as an English level certification on your CV and on LinkedIn.

Should I put fluent or proficient? ›

the “proficient” label can refer to someone who is very skilled in the use of a language but who uses the language less easily and at a less-advanced level than a native or fluent speaker. Caution: this term is over used and many people don't bother to use it to define their true level of ability. speakers.

Is B2 considered fluent? ›

Reaching B2 is generally considered by most people as having basic fluency. You'll have a working vocabulary of around 4000 words. It's not always effortless and it's not always perfect, but neither you nor your native speaking partners are having a really hard time in most circumstances at this point.

Is C1 better than B2? ›

The B2 is the better choice if you need something to use in a well-lit room because it gets brighter in SDR. However, their HDR brightness is similar, and the C1 has better gradient handling, so if you watch HDR content, it's better to go for the C1.

Is C1 better than C2? ›

The LG C2 OLED is slightly better than the LG C1 OLED, although the performance of the two is quite similar. The C2 is a bit brighter, especially in SDR and when displaying small, bright highlights in HDR.

What level of proficiency is fluent? ›

5 - Primary fluency / bilingual proficiency. Level five means you are entirely fluent in a language. You were raised speaking the language or have spoken it long enough to become proficient in it. Your accent is either nonexistent or barely recognizable.

What are the 4 levels of proficiency? ›

1 - Fundamental Awareness (basic knowledge) 2 - Novice (limited experience) 3 - Intermediate (practical application) 4 - Advanced (applied theory)

What is basic proficiency level? ›

At this language proficiency level, a person can form basic sentences, including asking and answering simple questions. This is essentially the starting point of the language proficiency levels.

What are the 4 levels of English language proficiency? ›

For each language domain, TELPAS measures four levels, or stages, of increasing English language proficiency: beginning, intermediate, advanced, and advanced high.


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