It’s challenging to measure language proficiency because we all have different weaknesses, strengths, and learning styles. We can quickly tell the difference between a native English speaker and someone that just speaks a few words of English, but what about everyone in between? How can you determine your level of English proficiency?
Here are Day Translations, our love for languages runs deep, and what we love more than languages is helping people bridge the gaps between one language and another. That’s why we’ve decided to shed some light on the topic and help you better understand how English proficiency testing works!
Understanding the Levels of English
The Common European Framework of References for Languages (CEFR) is the international standard for language ability and comprehension. It features 6 English levels that say a lot about your English abilities.
Initially created by the Council for Europe to standardize language ability, CEFR language levels are used to determine language proficiency for all speakers worldwide. Here’s a look at the levels of English:
A1 – Beginner
The A1 level refers to people that have a considerably basic grasp of English. They understand common phrases and words and might be able to ask simple questions. If you’re at A1 level, your interactions with English speakers will be basic, and you might need an interpreter to help you bridge the language gap.
A2 – Elementary
The A2 level of English is also a beginner stage, but it’s a little more advanced than A1. At the A2 level, people can speak in full sentences on simple topics. Although your vocabulary covers a broader range of subjects than it did at A1, your interactions are still limited to direct exchanges of information.
B1 – Intermediate
You officially reach the intermediate phase of English proficiency once you score a B1 level in English proficiency. B1 means you’re able to speak and understand English as long as it’s related to your daily routine. B1 also allows you to be more descriptive about your life and experiences.
B2 – Upper-Intermediate
B2 is often regarded as an advanced intermediate level of English proficiency. B2 English speakers can participate in conversations on a variety of abstract and concrete topics. Although B2 speakers can convey complex thoughts and concepts with moderate accuracy, they aren’t yet familiar with many technical terms.
C1 – Advanced
C1 speakers are considered advanced English language students. They have a firm grasp of complex grammar structures, and they can speak the language fluently in most environments. It’s natural for C1 speakers to make errors from time to time, but these are infrequent and small.
C2 – Proficient
C2 speakers can understand the majority of written and spoken English, and their proficiency is close to native. They understand finer nuances of tone, pacing, and word choice in complex texts and situations.
Testing Your Level of English Proficiency
The summaries above give you a rough idea of where you are on a scale of 1-6, but to know for sure, it’s a good idea to test your abilities. There are several online resources that can help you determine what your level of proficiency is. We recommend the following three:
- Cambridge English Language Proficiency Test Online
- Online English Level Test from the British Council
- EFSET English Proficiency Test Online
It’s always best to use more than one source when testing yourself because no single test will do a perfect assessment.
You can also determine your proficiency by completing the IELTS or TOEFL tests which are designed to give you a general idea of where you stand on the proficiency scale. These tests, however, are not free of charge but can help you determine where and how to improve your English skills.