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CEF Levels

The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEF or CEFR) was put
together by the Council of Europe as a way of standardising the levels of language exams in
different regions. It is very widely used internationally and all important exams are mapped to
the CEFR.
There are six levels: A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2. These are described in the table below.
Click here to see which exams are at which CEFR levels.
Click here to do a test to see which level to study at and here to see what grammar you should
know at each level.
Council of Europe
levels

Description

C2

The capacity to deal with material which is academic or cognitively


demanding, and to use language to good effect at a level of performance
which may in certain respects be more advanced than that of an average
native speaker.
Example: CAN scan texts for relevant information, and grasp main topic of
text, reading almost as quickly as a native speaker.
All practice tests at this level

Mastery

C1
Effective
Operational
Proficiency

B2
Vantage

B1
Threshold

A2
Waystage

The ability to communicate with the emphasis on how well it is done, in


terms of appropriacy, sensitivity and the capacity to deal with unfamiliar
topics.
Example: CAN deal with hostile questioning confidently. CAN get and hold
onto his/her turn to speak.
All practice tests at this level
The capacity to achieve most goals and express oneself on a range of topics.
Example: CAN show visitors around and give a detailed description of a
place.
All practice tests at this level
The ability to express oneself in a limited way in familiar situations and to
deal in a general way with nonroutine information.
Example: CAN ask to open an account at a bank, provided that the
procedure is straightforward.
All practice tests at this level
An ability to deal with simple, straightforward information and begin to
express oneself in familiar contexts.
Example: CAN take part in a routine conversation on simple predictable
topics.

All exams and practice tests at this level

A1
Breakthrough

A basic ability to communicate and exchange information in a simple way.


Example: CAN ask simple questions about a menu and understand simple
answers.

Comparison of CEF levels and scores for the various exams


The following gives an approximate comparison between the different exams. The exams all use
the Common European Framework (CEF) proficiency levels.
Click here for a free test to check your level.

A2
Cambridge English Key (KET)
PTE General Level 1
PTE Academic 30-42

B1
Cambridge English Preliminary (PET)
BEC Prelim
IELTS 4-4.5
TOEFL iBT 57-86
TOEIC 550
PTE General Level 2
PTE Academic 43-58
Trinity ISE I

B2
Cambridge English First (FCE)
BEC Vantage

IELTS 5-6.5
TOEFL iBT 87-109
Michigan ECCE
PTE General Level 3
PTE Academic 59-75
Trinity ISE II

C1
Cambridge English Advanced (CAE)
BEC Higher
IELTS 7-8
TOEFL iBT 110-120
TOEIC 880
PTE General Level 4
PTE Academic 76-84

C2
Cambridge English Proficiency (CPE)
IELTS 8.5-9
Michigan ECPE
PTE General Level 5
PTE Academic 85+

Levels
Level test
CEFR Levels