The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) is a way of describing language ability and is often used to help language learners choose learning materials and courses at the right level.

The CEFR has six levels, from A1 for beginners, up to C2 for users who are proficient in the language. Levels are divided into three blocks: A or basic user, B or independent user and C or proficient user. For each level, the CEFR describes what a learner can do when speaking, reading, listening and writing in English. 

For those who need to prove their level of English for study, work or moving to another country, the CEFR allows them to compare the results or level obtained in examinations such as IELTS, Aptis ESOL or Cambridge with those required by educational or other institutions and organisations.

Level (CEFR) British Council IELTS Aptis ESOL 
A1 Elementary - G/T

A2 Pre-Intermediate 3.5 G/T

B1 Intermediate 4-5 G/T
B2 Upper intermediate 5.5-6.5 G/T
C1 Advanced 7-8 G/T
C2 Proficiency 8.5-9 Adv

* Aptis ESOL General and Aptis ESOL for Teachers certify up to C level (the candidate is competent in their use of English), but they do not distinguish whether the candidate is above C1 (with effective operational command of English) or C2 (mastery). Aptis ESOL Advanced does, however, accurately distinguish between C1 and C2.

English levels