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A Guide to CEFR Levels


Are you planning to study or work abroad? Then you've probably encountered the terms CEFR and IELTS. But what exactly do they mean, and how do they relate to each other? In this guide, we'll explore CEFR levels in IELTS and other language proficiency tests to help you navigate the world of language assessment.

A Guide to CEFR Levels
Source: Learn laugh speak

What are CEFR Levels in IELTS?

CEFR stands for the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. It's a standardised reference developed by the Council of Europe to assess language proficiency. In the context of the IELTS exam, CEFR levels serve as a scale for measuring candidates' abilities in various languages, including English, French, German, and Spanish.

Introduced in 2001, CEFR levels have become widely adopted not only in Europe but also in Asia and Latin America. They provide a common platform for assessing language skills, making it easier for institutions and employers to understand candidates' proficiency levels.

Understanding CEFR Levels

CEFR levels in IELTS are divided into three major categories: Basic User, Independent User, and Proficient User. Let's break down what each level entails:

Basic User (A1-A2): Candidates at this level have a basic understanding of the language. They can use simple phrases, introduce themselves, and understand basic instructions. However, they may struggle with more complex language and may require assistance.

Independent User (B1-B2): Learners in this category have a more advanced grasp of the language. They can communicate effectively in familiar situations, express opinions, and understand complex texts. They may still encounter difficulties with nuanced language but can generally function well in everyday settings.

Proficient User (C1-C2): At this level, candidates have near-native proficiency in the language. They can communicate fluently, understand complex ideas, and use the language effectively in academic or professional contexts. They have a broad vocabulary and can express themselves with precision.

CEFR Levels and Corresponding Scores

To assess language proficiency, candidates often take standardised tests such as IELTS, TOEFL, or PTE Academic. These tests provide scores that correspond to CEFR levels, making it easier for institutions to evaluate candidates' abilities.

For example, a candidate aiming for a B1 CEFR level might need to achieve a score of 4.0-4.5 in the IELTS exam, 42-71 in TOEFL, or 43-58 in PTE Academic. Similarly, a C1 level might require scores of 7.0-8.0 in IELTS, 95-113 in TOEFL, or 76-84 in PTE Academic.

Why Compare CEFR with IELTS?

Comparing CEFR levels with IELTS scores provides a common reference point for candidates and institutions. It helps candidates understand their proficiency levels and determine their eligibility for academic or professional opportunities abroad.

Language proficiency tests play a crucial role in studying or working abroad. They provide an objective measure of candidates' language skills and help institutions assess their readiness for academic or professional environments.

By understanding CEFR levels and corresponding test scores, candidates can identify their strengths and areas for improvement. This knowledge empowers them to pursue their goals with confidence and succeed in an increasingly globalised world.


CEFR levels in IELTS and other language proficiency tests offer a standardised framework for assessing language skills. By understanding these levels and corresponding scores, candidates can effectively demonstrate their proficiency and pursue opportunities abroad. Whether you're a student, a professional, or a lifelong learner, mastering a foreign language opens doors to new experiences and opportunities. So why wait? Start your language journey today!

We know and understand that the application process can be overwhelming, so we are here for you. The study abroad experts at Hello Study Global are there for you every step of the way. From preparing for entrance exams to college applications, we will guide you to success.

Feel free to reach out to us at Hello Study Global.

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