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Defining your level of language knowledge

On a scale of 1 to 9, all of the levels of language knowledge are described below. In order to locate your own level in relation to the demands of schools and levels required for exams, read carefully the descriptions of the levels of language knowledge and define which is yours. Then, refer to our progress scale to evaluate the level you could reach by staying for a certain amount of time abroad.

1. Beginner level :
  • You do not have any knowledge of the language
  • You understand and can say a few set expressions without necessarily forming complete sentences

2. Elementary level (A1) :
  • You understand simple sentences, instructions and descriptions of everyday life
  • You manage to make yourself understood in very simple everyday situations (with the help of hand gestures, if necessary)
  • You use isolated expressions and incomplete sentences without grammatical content.

3. Upper elementary level (A1-A2) :
  • You master certain typical phrases and know how to write them
  • You barely understand everyday language
  • You answer with school language and simple turns of phrase

4. Lower intermediate level (A2) :
  • You have a certain amount of difficulty in understanding the language except in very precise situations
  • You are capable of having a simple conversation, but without real flow
  • You understand a simple written text or isolated words
  • You still make a lot of mistakes of expressions, vocabulary and grammar

5. Intermediate level (A2-B1) :
  • You manage to enter into a discussion but do not always find the appropriate turns of phrase
  • You manage to express your opinion and to understand the person you're speaking with
  • You understand voice recordings (radio, telephone, answering machine, skype, etc.)
  • You have difficulty understanding a person who speaks quickly
  • You still make pronunciation, grammar and precision mistakes

6. Upper intermediate level (B1) :
  • You understand everyday language
  • You manage to express yourself using nuances in spite of gaps in grammar and vocabulary
  • You have enough knowledge to be able to use it in a professional context
  • You don't have a problem understanding people in spite of their accents
  • You manage to read and understand complex texts even if you are not familiar with all of the vocabulary used

7. Advanced level (B2) :
  • You master the structure of the language, both witten and oral
  • You are capable of expressing yourself confidently in different situations
  • You understand natives and their different accents
  • You still use many expressions learnt by heart and do not master idiomatic expressions

8. Proficiency level (C1) :
  • You have developed your own style for expressing yourself
  • You understand everything, whatever the accent or text
  • You are not fazed by unfamiliar situations which require a specific type of vocabulary or rhetoric
  • You master a large number of expressions specific to the language

9. Mastery (near-native) level (C2) :
  • You have spent a long time in total immersion in the country
  • You master the foreign language fluently and with precision
  • You sometimes have a level which is superior to that of the natives