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What is the CEFR?

As a language learner or teacher you may have heard of Common European
Framework of Reference or CEFR, but what is it and why does it matter for English
language learners? It’s actually pretty simple. Different learners have different levels of language ability but opinions about your English level can
be subjective. Your friends may think your English is
good but an employer might think it is not good enough and you may be better at some skills
than others, for example you may be able to read better than you can speak. We need a clear objective way to
describe language skills that everyone can agree on. This is what the
CEFR provides. The CEFR breaks down language learning into six levels which it calls A1 to C2. The starting point A1 describes a
very basic language level. As a learner you can move up the levels
until you reach Proficiency, C2 level. This is a really advanced level. By describing what you can do in reading writing, speaking and listening the
CEFR will tell you where you are on the journey from beginner A1 through to Proficiency C2. There are many Cambridge English exams
available for different ages and stages of learning all matched to CEFR levels from
young learners through to university and the workplace
or simply for travel. The CEFR was developed by the
Council of Europe with extensive support from
University of Cambridge ESOL examinations. People from all over the world use the
CEFR to explain what level of English they are at and what level of English they need. It is used by learners, teachers, universities, governments and employers. The CEFR has been very influential and not only in Europe. It’s been published in more than 35 languages and descriptions of individual
languages have also been developed. Cambridge is a partner in the English
Profile program which provides very useful descriptions
of English grammar and vocabulary at each level of the CEFR. Understanding your language level will help you to achieve your goal whether it’s going on holiday abroad,
studying at school or university or getting a job and that’s why the CEFR levels are useful for everyone.

37 Replies to “What is the CEFR?”

  • To Cambridge English : is there a version of this video with English subtitles to make it accessible to deaf people?

  • To Cambridge English : is there a version of this video with English subtitles to make it accessible to deaf people?

  • I'm B1 and I've never been in the US or England, but people who has been in an English speaking country gets B2 or C1, I hope to get B2

  • Hi MissSissiG
    English subtitles are currently available through Captions then
    Translate Captions >> English. 
    We’re in the process of updating all our videos on the channel to have English transcriptions as default.

  • Hi. I got a question. Are there any common exams for CEFR? Because for the job I want to apply in the future, I need C1 level of language proficiency. But how is it tested to have exact (objective) representation of my skill level? Because I thought about making my second foreign language Japanese, but I didn't find any exams for CEFR levels. I thought it was only intended for European languages, but no. My native language is Polish and there are only a few tests for CEFR levels (C2, B1, B2) and the rest are missing. So if I wanted to learn that language do I need to make sure there are CEFR exams for that or it's not really necessary and those levels don't mean anything?

  • Hello Cambridge English team, I've got a question. On the last picture in video red column of IELTS is blurred in C2 level, what does it indicate?

  • Hello English language students! Soon, I will be teaching English (EFL). Any advice on how I can be a good English teacher?

    Good look with your studies.

    Thanks 🙂

  • A lot of tables about CEFR show that IELTS overall 8.0 falls into C2 or between C1 and C2, and they are not very consistent. Even the publication from Cambridge University shows 8.0 in IELTS is C2 level, but the CEFR that appears on the score report is C1. Which should I believe; the officially published scale on the Internet or the actual evaluation from the IELTS test center?

  • I did a B2 (First For Schools) exam but I scored a 180 overall, that means I got an A. So they moved my CEFR level up to C1 c:

    My scores were :
    Reading : 169
    Use of English : 190
    Writing : 162
    Listening : 190
    Speaking : 188

    (Oh yeah, for anyone who has to take an exam soon, the speaking part is nothing to worry about. I had a really nice man taking the speaking exam and it was really fun! 🙂 )

  • I got a B2 for German… which is funny, cos I learned German for three school years and 8 months independently… and I live in the UK… EGGS DEEE XD

  • Shouldn't it be ABCDEF?

    Determined (I couldn't think of anything more appropriate for D)

    Of course, that's just me. ;-p

  • Hello, my name is Cristina Orrantia, and I am a C1 level student, and I would be delighted if you could tell me where to study so I could study for the C2 level test, and how much money I need to pay to enroll in the course, and I would be really happy if you could how much does the certificate need to be given to me, if I pass the test, that is all, have a lovely day

  • I have noticed this CEFR requirement on many job advertisements, including customer service at requirement of C2 . How does this fair for persons who have many years experience with GCSE English wanting to progress within a different field.

  • come here after I got my result as C1 advanced and C2 Proficient, glad to find this video here, even if I still don't think I deserve that high level yet, and my big question is; why my teachers never explain about it?

  • CEFR isn't designed for testing ONLY English, but for any languages. Why focus on merely English? Very ridiculous and absurd!

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