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Language Course Levels

The typical levels at our partner schools range from 100% beginner to well advanced speakers. In most cases, these levels are divided into 6 or 7 stages, in accordance with the CEF (Common European Framework). 
This framework was being developed in various workgroups since 1971 and the results consolidated by the Council of Europe. The result is a standardized levels system which allows a better comparison between languages. It is applicable to English, German, French and Spanish language tests and is used throughout the world.

The levels are:

  • A1 - Can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very basic phrases aimed at the satisfaction of needs of a concrete type. Can introduce him/herself and others and can ask and answer questions about personal details such as where he/she lives, people he/she knows and things he/she has. Can interact in a simple way provided the other person talks slowly and clearly and is prepared to help.
  • A2 - Can understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to areas of most immediate relevance (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography, employment). Can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters. Can describe in simple terms aspects of his/her background, immediate environment and matters in areas of immediate need.
  • B1 - Can understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc. Can deal with most situations likely to arise whilst travelling in an area where the language is spoken. Can produce simple connected text on topics which are familiar or of personal interest. Can describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes & ambitions and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans.
  • B2 - Can understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in his/her field of specialisation. Can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible without strain for either party. Can produce clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects and explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options.
  • C1 - Can understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts, and recognise implicit meaning. Can express him/herself fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions. Can use language flexibly and effectively for social, academic and professional purposes. Can produce clear, well-structured, detailed text on complex subjects, showing controlled use of organisational patterns, connectors and cohesive devices.
  • C2 - Can understand with ease virtually everything heard or read. Can summarise information from different spoken and written sources, reconstructing arguments and accounts in a coherent presentation. Can express him/herself spontaneously, very fluently and precisely, differentiating finer shades of meaning even in the most complex situations.
Depending on the school there may be more detailed levels (up to 12).
Depending on the course, there may be special starting dates for 100% beginners or minimum level requirements for certain course types (often exam preparation and business courses). 
Please refer to the details of each course description to find out about possible restrictions in level or date.

How to determine your current language level 

Your level will usually be determined upon arrival by the school staff on your first day of school. Sometimes, it will be necessary to fill in an online questionnaire before your departure. However, this can never replace a face-to-face interview, which also tests your speaking and listening skills that are essential to master a language. The test at the school will be the only relevant rating for your course level.
To have a first estimate of your possible language level, the below table can give you a first orientation. Please be AWARE that this is just a rough guide and not a binding document:

  • None: You may be able to say “Yes, No, Thank you”
  • Beginner: About 5- 80 lessons taken so far (any group course)
  • Elementary: About 80 – 160 lessons taken so far (any group course)
  • Intermediate: 160 – 320 lessons taken so far (any group course)
  • Advanced: 320 – 480 lessons taken so far (any group course)
  • Very Advanced: more than 480 lessons taken so far (any group course)

How to estimate your language learning progress

The below table will enable you to estimate the approximate time to improve from one level to another. The time neededin order to improve depends on your current level in a language (does not apply to Chinese or Russian). Please bear in mind that this is only a rough guide and the evaluation test at the beginning of your course will determine your entry level.
     Current Level
 Beginner  Elementary  Intermediate  Advanced  Well



 A1  4 weeks  2 weeks  -  -  -  -
 A2  10 weeks  6 weeks  2 weeks  -  -  -
 B1 16 weeks   12 weeks  6-8 weeks  2 weeks  -  -
 B2  22 weeks  18 weeks  12-14 weeks  6-8 weeks  2 weeks  -
 C1  26 weeks  22 weeks  18-20 weeks  12-14 weeks  6-8 weeks  2 weeks
 C2  32 weeks  28 weeks  24-26 weeks  18-20 weeks  12-14 weeks  6-8 weeks

Mapping a language exam to the CEF

For each language you can take exams which certify your capabilities. All European language exams (English, German, French, Spanish) have been restructured in recent years in order to match to the CEF. More information on the details can be found on our language exam preparation website.

The equivalent of the European framework to local exam standards.
     Exam name
 Level  Official name  Bulats  Cambridge  IELTS




DELE Goethe
 A1 Breakthrough



 -  -  -  -


 120 -225

DELF A1   -  SD1 /
Fit 1
 A2 Way stage KET   -  -  -


 225 -550

Fit 2 
 B1 Threshold PET  4.0- 5.0  - Preliminary


 550 -785

DELF B1 Inicial  ZD 
 B2 Vantage  FCE  5.5-6.5





 785 -945

DELF B2 Intermedio  B2 or
ZDfB or
 C1 Operational 
CAE  7.0-8.0 Higher



DALF C1 C1 /
 C2 Mastery CPE  8.0-9.0  -



DALF C2  Superior


Above C2  -  GDS

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