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» Our Levels Explained

Level Test Scores

  1. 0
  2. 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. 4
  6. 5
  7. 6
  8. 7
  9. 8
  10. 9
  11. 10
  12. 11
  13. 12
  14. 13
  15. 14
  16. 15
  17. 16
  18. 17
  19. 18
  20. 19
  21. 20
  22. 21
  23. 22
  24. 23
  25. 24
  26. 25
  27. 26
  28. 27
  29. 28
  30. 29
  31. 30
  32. 31
  33. 32
  34. 33
  35. 34
  36. 35
  37. 36
  38. 37
  39. 38
  40. 39
  41. 40
  1. Beginner
  2. Elementary
  3. Intermediate
  4. Upper Intermediate
  5. Advanced
  6. Proficient
  1. Beginner
  2. Elementary
  3. Intermediate
  4. Upper Intermediate
  5. Advanced
  6. Proficient

CEFR*/ ACTFL** Reference

CEFR*
Level Names

ACTFL**
Level Names

Cactus
Levels

A1

Beginner

Novice (Low/Mid/High)

Beginner 1

Beginner 2

Beginner 3

A2

Elementary

Intermediate (Low/Mid)

Elementary 1

Elementary 2

Elementary 3

B1

Intermediate

Intermediate High

Intermediate 1

Intermediate 2

Intermediate 3

B2

Upper Intermediate

Advanced (Low/Mid/High)

Upper Intermediate

C1

Advanced

Superior

Advanced

C2

Proficient

Distinguished

Proficient

Our course levels are based on these internationally recognised systems, so you have a universally accepted reference for your studies:

*Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR)

**American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages Proficiency Guidelines (ACTFL)

We recommend you need at least 100-200 hours of study to adequately cover each CEFR/ ACTFL level. This represents a mix of guided study and self-study in the form of homework and other revision/practice.

The course structure reflects this. It is designed to give you a solid foundation in the language and provide you with enough time to cover each level sufficiently. The structure is of course flexible and adaptable, depending on your prior language skills, individual preferences and goals.

If you are unsure where to start or progress to, take our online level test and read our level descriptions for guidance.

» Level Descriptions

Beginner

Test score: 0-9

Choose this level...

If this describes you...

Beginner 1:

You are a complete beginner and have no prior knowledge of the language, with the exception of perhaps a few key words.

Beginner 2:

You are a "false beginner" – i.e. you have some prior, but very basic, knowledge of the language, and find it difficult to produce more than a few key words and phrases. Maybe you haven’t used the language in a while and/or want to start at ‘the beginning’.

Beginner 3:

You have a very basic knowledge of the language. Your vocabulary is very limited and you have no real understanding of the grammar.

E.g. you can introduce yourself, ask simple directions and order food & drink in a café or restaurant.

At the end of Beginner (A1):

  • You can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very basic phrases aimed at the satisfaction of needs of a concrete type.
  • You can introduce yourself and others.
  • You can ask and answer questions about personal details such as where you live, what you do, people you know and things you have.
  • You can ask and give directions.
  • You can order food and drink
  • You can make very basic travel and accommodation arrangements.
  • You can have a basic conversation, provided the other person talks slowly and clearly and is prepared to help.

French | German | Italian | Portuguese (Brazilian) | Spanish | more

Elementary

Test score: 10-19

Choose this level...

If this describes you...

Elementary 1:

You can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and basic phrases, but your ability to communicate is limited and you find it difficult to understand everyday spoken language.

Elementary 2:

You can use and understand simple sentence structures and have come across different grammatical structures, but are not confident in applying them correctly/consistently.

Elementary 3:

You can produce sentences and formulate, and respond to, everyday questions. You have a basic knowledge of grammatical structures, including different tenses and word order, and have enough vocabulary to 'get by' in predictable situations.

At the end of Elementary (A2):

  • You can understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to areas including basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography and employment.
  • You can communicate in simple and routine tasks, requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters
  • You can describe, in simple terms, aspects of your background, immediate environment and matters in areas of immediate need.
  • You can comfortably ‘get by’ when visiting the country, albeit with some difficulty.

French | German | Italian | Portuguese (Brazilian) | Spanish | more

Intermediate

Test score: 20-29

Choose this level...

If this describes you...

Intermediate 1:

You can use and understand simple structures fairly consistently, and can respond to a wide range of questions on familiar subjects.

Intermediate 2:

You have a reasonable idea of how the verb system works and an active vocabulary of around 700 words. You can express yourself in familiar contexts, albeit with quite a few mistakes still.

Intermediate 3:

You can communicate effectively, if not always accurately, in most everyday situations and could consider working in the country using the language (e.g. bar/counter work, service in cafés, basic office work).

At the end of Intermediate (B1):

  • You can understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc.
  • You can deal with most situations likely to arise whilst travelling in an area where the language is spoken.
  • You can produce simple connected text on topics which are familiar or of personal interest.
  • You can describe experiences and events.
  • You can talk about dreams, hopes and ambitions
  • You can briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans.
  • You could consider working in the country using the language (e.g. bar/counter work, waiting service in cafés or basic office work).

French | German | Italian | Portuguese (Brazilian) | Spanish | more

Upper Intermediate

Test score: 30-35

Choose this level, if this describes you...

You can understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc. You can deal with most situations likely to arise whilst travelling in an area where the language is spoken. You can produce simple connected text on topics which are familiar or of personal interest. You can describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes and ambitions, and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans.

At the end of Upper Intermediate (B2):

  • You can understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in your field of specialisation.
  • You can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible, without strain for either party.
  • You 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.
  • You can do business with speakers of the language in most run-of-the-mill situations.

French | German | Italian | Portuguese (Brazilian) | Spanish | more

Advanced

Test score: 36-39

Choose this level, if this describes you...

You can understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in your field of specialisation. You can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible, without strain for either party. You 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.

At the end of Advanced (C1):

  • You can understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts, and recognise implicit meaning.
  • You can express yourself fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions.
  • You can use the language flexibly and effectively for social, academic and professional purposes.
  • You can produce clear, well-structured, detailed text on complex subjects, showing controlled use of organisational patterns, logical flow of text, and clear awareness of the audience.

French | German | Italian | Portuguese (Brazilian) | Spanish | more

Proficient

Test score: 40

Choose this level, if this describes you...

You can understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts, and recognise implicit meaning. You can express yourself fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions. You can use the language flexibly and effectively for social, academic and professional purposes. You can produce clear, well-structured, detailed text on complex subjects, showing controlled use of organisational patterns, connectors and cohesive devices.

At the end of Proficient (C2):

  • You can understand with ease virtually everything heard or read.
  • You can summarise information from different spoken and written sources.
  • You can reconstruct arguments and accounts in a coherent presentation.
  • You can express yourself spontaneously, very fluently and precisely.
  • You can differentiate finer shades of meaning, even in the most complex situations.

French | German | Italian | Portuguese (Brazilian) | Spanish | more

» Level Tests

Our online level test is a multiple-choice grammar test, which will give you an approximate indication of your ability level, based on the Common European and American Council Reference framework.

To accurately assess your level and interpret your test results, please also read our level descriptions above.

The test consists of 40 questions. You do not have to answer them all. Please only answer questions which you know the answer to. The outcome of the test assumes that you did not guess any of the answers.

Please choose your language level test below.

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