1000 to 1200 hours mean something

English Language Levels: Determine your level and find out how you can improve

"I speak practically fluent English!"

Have you said that before and then questioned the statement yourself? What does “practically fluent” actually mean? Does that mean that you have level C2 and have already reached the summit of the Sprachlernberg? Or are you preparing for an ESOL test in English and don't know which language level to aim for?

In fact, “fluent English” starts a few levels below C2! We know that thanks to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages ​​(CEFR). The GERS is an international guideline for measuring language skills that uses a scale from A1 (beginners) to C2 (approximately native speakers).

There are many free online tests that you can use to check your GERS level. You can also take official language tests (articles in English) such as the IELTS, which provide certified evidence of your English proficiency for employers, colleges, and universities.

The following guide will help you compare your skills with each language level and estimate how long it will take you to reach a higher level. You will also receive useful tips to help you achieve your next goal. Here we go!

English Language Levels: A Brief Overview

levelstepGERSdescription
BeginnerA1You can use simple sentences for your basic needs. At level A1 you can have simple conversations if the person you are talking to speaks slowly and clearly.
Basic knowledgeA2You can use English for everyday tasks and activities. You will also understand common expressions relating to topics such as information about you and your occupation.
Intermediate levelB1You can have simple conversations about familiar topics. At level B1 you can describe experiences, events and various situations such as travel.
Upper intermediateB2You can communicate confidently on many topics. At level B2 you can talk to native speakers without difficulty and with a certain amount of spontaneity. You can also understand the main ideas of texts within your subject area.
AdvancedC1You can be fluent in almost any situation without searching for words. You are able to complete complex tasks related to work and study. You can also write clear, detailed texts on challenging topics.
Almost native speakerC2You have a complete command of the language. You can read, speak, and write about any type of topic, emotion, or opinion. You can differentiate finer nuances of meaning in the language even in complex situations.

Do you want to improve your language level? Find out more about the best online English courses

1. Beginners: GERS level A1

"I am Groot"
- Groot, Guardian of the Galaxy, English level A1

What you should know about English at A1 level

Also known as a “complete beginner”, you only have very limited knowledge of the English language at A1 level. Nevertheless, you are able to find your way around common expressions and basic vocabulary in everyday situations, as long as the circumstances are familiar. That means you can find your way around London, Vancouver or Los Angeles, but you will likely rely on Google Translate a lot! A1 learners speak slowly and with pauses as their brain searches for the right word, so having a proper conversation may take a little patience on the part of native speakers.

The vocabulary at this level includes about 700 words. That might sound like a lot, but it's a surprisingly limited amount to express yourself in different situations. To pass the Cambridge exam for A1 you are about 100 hours with the English language required.

What you can do with A1 level

A1 level English learners can:

  • Introduce yourself in a simple way and use simple greetings and beginnings of a conversation (e.g. on the subject of weather).
  • Understand very simple geographic descriptions and driving directions from locals.
  • Find your way around cities by reading simple signs, posters and notices.
  • Write very simple descriptions of your hobbies and interests.

Tips for reaching level A1

The best way to achieve A1 level is start learning and stick with it! When it comes to learning something new, everyone has to start from scratch. One of the biggest challenges is staying on target and staying motivated. In the beginning you will be embarrassed and you are guaranteed Make mistakes. But you have to accept that if you want to improve your English skills. At this point, you should also consider popular language learning apps like Duolingo or Babbel (in English), which are intended for complete beginners and are no longer as helpful as soon as you reach level A2. You can use the vocabulary from the apps to create lists in notebooks or index cards.

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2. Basic knowledge: CEFR level A2

“Try not. Do or do not. There is no try. "
- Yoda, Jedi Master, English level A2

What you should know about A2 level English

At A2 or “Elementary Level” you can take part in everyday small talk and express your opinion, but still in a very simple way and only on familiar topics. In this phase you begin to really understand the past and future forms and begin to talk about your past (“Before I came here, I lived in Italy”) and ambitions (“In the next 5 years, I am going to start my own company ”). Even so, you usually only have brief conversations and rely on a native speaker to conduct the conversation. However, it is much easier for native speakers to speak to you than to an A1 user!

If you reach level A2, you should have an active vocabulary of approx. 1500 words and have a solid grasp of grammar. To pass the Cambridge exam for A2 you are about 180-200 hours English learning required.

What you can do at level A2

A2 level English learners can:

  • Conversing and networking with English-speaking people and colleagues about familiar topics.
  • Understand slow-spoken, common expressions about topics such as shopping, family, and work.
  • Write in simple terms about matters of immediate need and provide basic descriptions of family and friends.
  • Read short, simple texts that contain frequently used words and internationally known expressions.

Tips for reaching level A2

Although technically A2 is still a “beginner's level”, it takes a while to get to this level. This is where you should start having (uncomplicated) conversations! A good tip: Practice with topics of conversation that may arise in everyday life - "Survival English", as it were (article in English). Another effective study method is to prepare a “cheat sheet” or journal with anything you might need for a basic conversation, such as: B. Background information about yourself, your hobbies, which restaurants you recommend, etc. In this phase you should also seriously deal with the conjugation of verbs and past and future tenses.

3. Intermediate level: CEFR level B1

“'Gray Worm' gives me pride, it is a lucky name. The name this was born with was cursed ”

- Gray Worm, Warriors of the Immaculate (Game of Thrones), English level B1 (at the end of the 8th season)

What you should know about B1 level English

The step between A2 and B1 is big, as this level means that you have achieved a certain level of confidence in English. You can go to clothing stores and restaurants and have no problem making requests to staff. However, if you talk about a topic that you are not familiar with, you will still have trouble. At this level, learners know more than the basics of the language, but are not yet able to work or study entirely in English. You can deal with problems in everyday life, e.g. For example, with conversations that you were not prepared for or with problems that arise while traveling.

By the time you reach B1 you should have a vocabulary of about 2500 words about half of which you can quickly access. To pass the Cambridge B1 exam you are approx. 350-400 hours with the language required.

What you can do with B1 level

B1 level English learners can:

  • Describe experiences and wishes and substantiate your opinion with evidence.
  • Understand TV series in English with English subtitles.
  • Read simple books in English and understand the main ideas behind newspaper articles.
  • Write simple texts on familiar topics and topics of personal interest.

Tips for reaching B1 level

In order to reach intermediate level in learning English, the most important tip is to take your learning seriously and plan a regular, engaging study routine. 10 minutes a day is good, but 30 minutes is much better! That way, you will see faster and more satisfying results. In order to cross the threshold from beginner to intermediate, you should also take a look at your recurring mistakes and try to eliminate them little by little. An online English teacher can help you identify common mistakes and create a plan on how to eliminate them. To expand your vocabulary, you should also start adding more phrases to your vocabulary. Make conversations easier by learning “blocks” of the English language, such as: B. whole sentences, collocations or phrasal verbs instead of single words.

4. Upper intermediate level: CEFR level B2

“Offend Dobby? Dobby has heard of your greatness, sir… but never has he been asked to sit down by a wizard, like an equal. ”
- Dobby, house elf, English level B2

What you should know about B2 level English

Welcome to the first level of what we can call “fluent English”! With English at level B2 you have confidence and control when speaking, writing and reading. This is enough to work or study in English. You can now use more complex sentences to express ideas. You still make mistakes and are certainly not the most experienced or nuanced speaker. However, you now have the necessary language skills to live in an English-speaking country and work in an English-speaking office.

If you want to reach level B2, your vocabulary should be around 4000 words include. To pass the Cambridge exam for B2 you are approx. 500-600 hours Study of the language required.

What you can do at B2 level

English learners at level B2 can:

  • Actively participate in discussions in familiar contexts and contribute relevant explanations and arguments.
  • Understand standard language spoken at normal speed, provided the subject is reasonably familiar.
  • Understand key ideas in complex texts as well as contemporary literary prose, articles and reports.
  • Write clear, detailed texts on topics related to your interests or area of ​​expertise.

Tips for reaching level B2

In order to reach language level B2, you should start taking more risks. This means talking about unfamiliar topics, writing articles in English, and forcing yourself to explain complicated concepts. As you take these risks, your vocabulary will grow and you will start filtering out your recurring mistakes. During this phase, you should pay attention to how native speakers construct sentences and learn a few little tricks to improve your pronunciation and mimic the flow of language (article in English). At this level, it often feels like your progress is slowing down. The most important thing, however, is that you pay close attention to what you are doing wrong. If you need help reaching this level, the best thing to do is to find a native English teacher who can help you practice and correct your mistakes.

5. Advanced: CEFR level C1

"Confident people have a way of carrying themselves that makes others more attracted to them."
- Sofia Vergara, actress, English level C1

What you should know about English at C1 level

C1 is an advanced language level. With English level C1 you can speak English effortlessly and understand the language in its (almost!) Entire complexity. At this point you will be able to have longer conversations, even on unfamiliar topics. You also understand longer texts. At this level, you can use English in everyday life for business and academic purposes. If B2 is what many consider "fluent" then C1 is "fluent with more nuances and understanding". At level C1 you can understand subtle jokes in the language and use nuanced native expressions.

If you want to reach level C1, your vocabulary should be around 8000 words include - twice as much as for B2! To pass the Cambridge exam for C1 you are approx. 700-800 hours with the language required.

What you can do at C1 level

C1 level English learners can:

  • Express ideas fluently and give presentations in language.
  • Understand subtle jokes and implicit meanings in a conversation.
  • Understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts.
  • Write in detail on a wide variety of topics and also handle unfamiliar topics with ease.

Tips for reaching C1 level

A great way to make the jump to C1 is to learn new information using the English language as a tool. For example, you can have one Online course in English and train yourself for your professional or personal goals while improving your English skills at the same time. In this way, you not only learn a new skill, but also a lot of vocabulary on a topic that is relevant to you. At the same time, you take over the phrases used there in your active vocabulary. To actively learn, write down 5 of the expressions you hear or read in the class in a notebook or index card app. Then practice using each of these phrases or sentences in 5 different ways.

6. Almost native language skills: GERS level C2

“‘ Supposedly, or so I have heard, some expect my speech to pave the way for a fundamental reform of the European architecture which will satisfy all kinds of alleged or actual British wishes. I am afraid they are in for a disappointment. ’"
- Angela Merkel, German Chancellor, English level C2

What you should know about C2 level English

The C2 level is the highest level there is and therefore deserves the title “Mastery”. This implies that the language user is on a similar level to a native speaker (but not entirely "native"), with full security and control over the language. C2 level English means being able to write or speak on any kind of subject, with nuanced expression and coherent presentation. It also means being able to read and understand language without barriers. C2 means that you have very few or no restrictions in managing your daily life in English and that you are extremely comfortable in an academic or professional environment.

If you want to reach level C2, your vocabulary should be around 16,000 words include. To pass the Cambridge exam for C2 you are approx. 1000-1200 hours Study of the language required.

What you can do with C2 level

English learners at level C2 can:

  • Express yourself spontaneously and fluently and deal confidently with confrontational questions.
  • Write coherently and concisely, with the ability to summarize information to construct comprehensive arguments.
  • Understand everything they hear in the language with ease.
  • Read complex, technical texts at high speed.

Tips for reaching C2 level

The key to speaking English at C2 level is to incorporate the language into your life as much as possible. Using it daily and speaking to native speakers will speed up the process and get you to C2 faster. Go outside of your comfort zone and in situations where you need to use the language spontaneously. Over time, you won't need to think about conversations ahead of time.One way to get to this level is to move to an English-speaking country where you cannot use your native language. So you have to adapt quickly. However, if you are looking for a slightly less radical approach, it is also worthwhile to practice regularly with a native speaker.

Achieve your English learning goals

Achieve your English learning goals

The CEFR language levels are a great tool to measure your current language proficiency. Note, however, that many of the numbers mentioned in this article - hours and vocabulary size - are based on averages. Depending on how much exposure you are to the language and how much time you devote to learning, you will see faster or slower progress.

Whatever your circumstances, it will take time, a precise plan, and effective study resources to improve your English skills. There are no shortcuts. If you need help, a Preply instructor can help you create a personal plan and provide guidance and practice to help you progress faster. You can even take a 30-minute test before your first lesson to check your current level of English. This will help your teacher personalize the class and help you achieve your goals.

Though it looks difficult, the journey is des English learning really exciting. It will broaden your horizons in many ways ... You will train your memory, acquire a professional skill for life and learn about the richness of different cultures. Ready to go?

Frequently asked questions about English language levels

What are the 3 levels of language learning?

The three levels of language learning are commonly referred to as beginner, intermediate, and advanced. One of the most widely used English language standards worldwide is the CEFR standard, which divides language proficiency into 3 broader levels (A, B and C) and 6 more specific levels (A1, A2, B1, B2, C1 and C2).

What level is fluent English?

As a rule, fluent use of the language begins at the B2 level, with full use of the language being achieved at the C2 level.

How can I assess my level of English?

The easiest way to assess your level of English is to take a language test that covers basic general areas such as reading, vocabulary and grammar. Take an online test to better understand what level of English you're most likely to be at right now.