Levels and equivalents

Whether you want to learn a language or take an accreditation test, it is useful to know a little about the levels defined in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) and their equivalence to other language certificates.

General descriptions of each level can be found in this section. For more detailed information, you can also consult the original framework document published by the Council of Europe.


The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages

The CEFR is structured in 6 levels, from A1 to C2.


To describe the proficiency required at each level, the CEFR offers the following generic definitions:

Level Description
Basic User
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.
Basic User
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.
Independent User
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 while travelling in an area where the language is spoken. Can produce simple connected text on topics that are familiar or of personal interest. Can describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes and ambitions and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans.
Independent User
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.
Proficient User
Can understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts, and recognise implicit meaning. Can express ideas 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.
Proficient User
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.

The Council of Europe framework document contains detailed descriptions of the following skills: listening and reading, spoken interaction and spoken production, and writing.


CEFR levels and equivalences

If you already have a language certificate and would like to know the equivalent CEFR level, information for a range of certificates issued in Catalonia, as well as some international certificates and language-specific certificates officially recognized by the Government of Catalonia, can be found here (information in Catalan).