A quick guide to understanding the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages CEFR


What is the CEFR?

It’s common to think of learning levels as Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced, but this is often too broad.
At CORE, we use the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) to define learners’ progress. Why a European standard? This well-defined standard has become an international beacon used by countries around the globe to create additional standards for example; ILR and ACTFL.
CEFR is an internationally recognized standard that describes your learning progress in more detail. In simpler terms, the framework helps you to explain your level from Beginner (A1) to Intermediate (B1) to Advanced (C1).
The CEFR levels build on each other all the way up to native-level fluency.

How we use CEFR levels at CORE Languages

From English to French, to German and Spanish, all languages are aligned with the CEFR levels, so once you know your level, we can suggest the best classes and topics to get your progress going immediately. If you’re not sure about your level, you’ll have the opportunity to take our CEFR level tests

I can introduce myself, as well as ask and answer simple personal and direct questions.

  • Can understand and use familiar everyday expressions.
  • Can introduce yourself and others, as well as ask and answer personal questions.
  • Can interact in a simple conversation with a slow-speaking conversation partner.

I can describe my background and routine tasks in simple terms but struggle to keep the conversation going.

  • Can understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to familiar topics.
  • Can communicate routine tasks in simple terms.
  • Can describe your background and immediate environment in simple terms.

I can take part in a simple conversation on my own but make mistakes and fish for words quite often.

  • Can understand the basics of matters like work, school, leisure, etc.
  • Can deal with most situations likely to arise whilst travelling in an area where the language is spoken.
  • Can write simple connected text on familiar topics.

I can interact easily with native speakers but still struggle with colloquialisms and academic language.

  • Can understand a complex text on both general and specific topics. This includes technical discussions in your field of specialisation.
  • Can interact with native speakers, easily understand them and express yourself without thinking about language.
  • Can write clear, detailed text and explain viewpoints on a certain topic by giving pros and cons.

I can express myself fluently without very evident effort. I can also use language creatively for social, academic and professional purposes.

  • Can understand and write a variety of long or complicated texts.
  • Can express yourself fluently without fishing for words.
  • Can use language creatively in various ways for social, academic and professional purposes.