Understanding the CEFR

The CEFR has become the industry standard for measuring language proficiency and a key resource for educational policy worldwide

What is the CEFR?

The CEFR measures language ability in a scale of six levels, which start from A1 for beginners to C2 for those who mastered a language. Here are the six CEFR levels with a summary of what one can do at each level.

The "Can-Do" Descriptions

The table below gives a brief detail of the language abilities one can do at a given CEFR proficiency level.

The English Profile

The CEFR has given us new ways to learn, teach and assess English.


On our English Profile page, you can access free tools—based on decades of research—to help teachers use the CEFR to become better educators!

How long do I need to learn English?

How much study is needed?

Vantage is often asked about the number of study hours required to reach a certain CEFR level. It’s not possible to give a simple answer to this.


The study hours needed vary depending upon several factors, such as the number of hours a student studies, the inclinations and age of the individual. Equally important is the amount of exposure to English outside of normal classroom lesson times.

The figures in the table below can be seen as an approximate guideline. The chart assumes the student starts at the absolute beginning level (A1).

Putting it all Together

Here’s an example of how the chart works.

Take an individual currently at the A2 level that wants to reach the B2 level of English proficiency. They would need some 320 to 400 hours of study (500-180=320 and 600-200=400).


If they studied 4 hours a week, it would take approximately 80 to 100 weeks (320/4 and 400/4) to reach this upper immediate level of English.

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