CEFR - European Language levels

French language CEFR levels

CEFR stands for "Common European Framework of Reference" for languages.  It started off as a reference scale developped by Cambridge University for the Council of Europe to assess people's English levels and help design English courses. It has since been applied to all European languages with success, including French. It's based on 6 levels called A1 and A2 (elementary); B1 and B2 (intermediate) and CA and C2 (advanced). It is wide use all over Europe and has spread to the rest of the world.

French language level test

Different CEFR language levels

Elementary

A1 : Beginner

En savoir plus sur les niveaux C1 et C2

 

A2 : Elementary

En savoir plus sur les niveaux C1 et C2

 

Intermediary

B1 : Intermediate

En savoir plus sur les niveaux C1 et C2

 

B2 : Fluent

En savoir plus sur les niveaux C1 et C2

 

Advanced

C1 : Advanced

En savoir plus sur les niveaux C1 et C2

 

C2 : Bilingual

En savoir plus sur les niveaux C1 et C2

Detailed descriptors

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 Niveau A1 cecrl

A1 - Beginner

At this level

  • You understand and you know how to use some very simple familiar expressions that help you satisfy basic needs (ordering a coffee or a beer for instance).
  • You know how to answer simple questions, like what is your name, or where do you live ?
     

Practical consequences

This level could be sufficient for tourists travelling to France, so long as their English is good enough. But it would be mostly insuffiscient to live in France and work there. You would have to rely on English for all your contacts. Taking part in an ordinary work team outside the corporate headquarters of large businesses would probably be mostly impossible.

Recommended French lessons

At this level, doing online classes only will not be enough. You need the intense practice and support which only a human teacher can provide. This is why we suggest you book into the 3 month CLUB course with unlimited teacher classes and a comprehensive virtual campus.

Discover our French courses

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Niveau A2 cecrl

A2 - Preintermediary level

Congratulations, you got somewhere from 11 to 15 answers right ! Your level is level is A2 on the european scale (CEFR). It's a ELEMENTARY level, you have some vocabulary and can get simple things done in French. Lot's of people in the UK leave school with this level. It's a good beginning and will definitly help you buy a beer when you are in France!

At this level

  • You understand common sentences that are widely used (e.g. personnal information, questions about shopping, about your immediate environment...)
  • You successfully communicate about simple tasks, familiar topics and matters of immediate need.
  • You are quickly lost as soon as the topic gets more complex or unfamiliar. People speaking too fast also represent a problem.

Practical consequences

At this level, travelling to a francophone country is absolutly possible. You should cope when going through basic repetitive processes (navigating the menu in a restaurant, booking a hotel). But you will probably find that understanding a tourguide during a visit is challenging. You cannot integrate into a workplace with this level, it will be considered too low by businesses.

Recommended French lessons

This level is compatible with all our French trainings. We however recommend the OPEN trainings, with an unlimited number of small group classes, because that is where you will get the maximum interactivity.

 Discover our French courses

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Niveau B1 cecrl

B1 - Intermediate level

Congratulations, you got somewhere from 16 to 20 answers right ! Your level is level is B1 on the european scale (CEFR). It's a INTERMEDIATE level, which makes you an “independant speaker”.

At this level

  • You understand anything that is said clearly and refers to pretty standard terms (work, education, hobbys, etc).
  • Travelling through a French speaking country should be easy and unproblematic.
  • You successfully communicate about familiar topics and things you are interested in.
  • You can describe events, experiences, goals and provide arguments to support your ideas.
     

Practical consequences

Travelling through a French speaking country should not be a problem for you. You should be able to make meet people and deal with the organisation and enjoy listening to tour guides. Your syntax is still imperfect but does it really matter ?
Your level is compatible with holding a French speaking job so long as the requirements are not too high. It's OK to consider a job as a barman, a receptionnist or a steward, but not as an international lawyer or manager !

Recommended French lessons

This level is compatible with all our French trainings. For those who just want to expand their vocabulary we recommend the CAMPUS training courses. For those who want the interactivity and excitement of unlimited small group classes, we recommend the OPEN training courses.

Discover our French courses

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Niveau B2 cecrl

B2 - Fluent speaker (independant speaker)

Congratulations, you got somewhere from 21 to 25 answers right ! Your level is level is B2 on the european scale (CEFR). That makes you into a “FLUENT French speaker”

At this level

  • You understand the essential content of any abstract or pratical communication, even in a complex text with a link to your job and speciality.
  • You are at ease to communicate in a spontaneous way. You can work in French and there will be not hiccups in your communication with French people.
  • You can express yourself in a clear and detailed way on a wide range of topics. You can give your opinion on current affairs and outline the drawbacks and advantages of doing anything.

Practical consequences

At this level, travelling, surfing on the French web, spoken and written communication with francophones should be no problem at all, although you might still lack some vocabulary or idioms in more specialised areas.

This is the level that is recommended for most intellectual professions working in France : engineers, architects, managers, scientists, doctors, business lawyers, etc.

Recommended French lessons

This level is compatible with all our French trainings. For those who just want to expand their vocabulary we recommend the CAMPUS training courses. For those who want the interactivity and excitement of unlimited small group classes, we recommend the OPEN training courses.

Discover our French courses

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Niveau C1 cecrl

C1 - Advances (experimented user)

Congratulations, you got somewhere from 25 to 27 answers right ! Your level is level is C1 on the european scale (CEFR). That makes you into a “ADVANCED French speaker”

At this level

  • You understand a large variety of complex and long texts. you grasp implicit meanings.
  • You can express yourself spontaniously and fluently.
  • Your use of French is efficient and flexible in all areas of your life: professionnal, social, accademic.
  • You can speak about just about anything, including complex topics in a well structured way. You have excellent control over how you organise and articulate your speach.

Practical consequences

Living and working in France should not be a problem for you. You can apply to just about any job and do it about as well as a native French speaker. You might just have to learn some technical vocabulary, but that will not be a problem.

Living in a French speaking environnement is actually strongly recommended at this level if you want to progress to next level C2! Because one needs to be totaly immersed in French culture (and provide a little personnal work) to get there.

We also advise you to sit for a French language certification that will give you diploma to show for your achievement. If you apply for a work permit or to become a French citizen, you will have to sit through a certification anyhow.

Recommended French lessons

This level is compatible with all our French trainings. For those who just want to expand their vocabulary we recommend the CAMPUS training courses. For those who want the interactivity and excitement of unlimited small group classes, we recommend the OPEN training courses.

Discover our French courses

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Niveau C2 cecrl

C2 -  Bilingual level (mastery)

At this 6th and last level of the CEFR you are bilingual or almost and have an absolute mastery of the French language.

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Any questions about French language training? Call us at +33 499 74 22 74 or book a short phone appointment with our training counselor!

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