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What is the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages?

Updated: Aug 5, 2021

Adeline, our Assistant Manager, demystifies the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.

Medical School application tips

Whether you are a polyglot or only remember fragments of your French lessons at school, it might be useful to try and assess what your level is. For each language, it is often a bit tricky to say if you would call yourself “advanced” or “intermediate”. That’s where the Common European Framework comes in!

There are three broad levels: Basic User (A), Independent User (B) and Proficient User (C). All three are subdivided into 2 levels each: 1 and 2 (2 being the most advanced out the two).

But you’ll have to be honest with yourself when you look at the grid: the levels are “can-do” statements, which describe various things you might feel confident doing in the language. For instance, someone on C2 “can understand with ease virtually everything heard or read”, whereas someone on A1 “can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very basic phrases aimed at the satisfaction of needs of a concrete type”. Take a look at the global scale to see what level you are!


This will give you a general idea, but you may find that you are much better at reading a language than speaking it — this is often the case when you studied a language at school but haven’t practised it much. On the other hand, if you have spent some time in a foreign country without having studied the language a lot beforehand, you may find that you are more confident chatting than writing. In this case, it is very useful to focus on specific language competencies to spot any weak points or strengths. There are again three main categories here: Understanding, Speaking, and Writing.

Take a look at the grid below: what is your strong suit? What could you improve?


Now that you have a clearer idea, you’ll be able to be more precise when you describe your language skills on CVs on applications, and also target specific areas and skills to work on to move up to the next level!

Blog Post Crafted by Adeline

Adeline assists Leticia in running our Admin Team. With a PhD in English, she can call herself a doctor but can’t write prescriptions!

Adeline manages the staff on our Admin Team, and liaises with tutors, clients and applicants. She is responsible for processing the ID, Qualifications, DBS Check and References for all our newly joining tutors.


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