The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR): How to know what level of English you/your children are at? 🇬🇧🙄

Every student entering the world of learning English will often have to take an English test to determine his or her level. At this step, students and parents are often confused with information and easily confused by countless different terms such as A1, B1, C2 or IELTS. Therefore, this article will help you understand the The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), the most popular assessment scale, and will make it easier for you to choose the test that best suits you.

What is CEFR?

❓The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) is an international standard for describing language ability. It is used around the world and by Cambridge English itself to describe learners' language skills. The CEFR has six levels – from A1 for the most basic beginner to C2 for the highest level of ability. Below are the levels of English tests according to the CEFR framework:

🔴 Young Learner English (YLE) 

At this level, the test will use real-life everyday situations to bring learning to life. These exams are designed to assess all the key skills of English knowledge - listening, speaking, reading and writing.

YLE được chia thành:

  1. Starters— below level А1 (6 to 12 years old)
  2. Movers — level А1 (7 to 12 years old)
  3. Flyers — level А2 (8 to 12 years old)
  • Pre A1 Starters (YLE Starters) is the first step in a child's language learning journey. These tests help children become familiar with everyday spoken and written English, a great way for them to gain confidence and improve their English.
  • A1 Movers (YLE Movers) is the next step in children's English learning process. The tests are written around familiar topics and focus on the skills needed to communicate effectively in English through listening, speaking, reading and writing.
  • A2 Flyers (YLE Flyers) is the third installment of fun activity-based English tests for children.

All candidates who complete the Pre A1 Starters, A1 Movers and A2 Flyers exams receive a certificate. There is no pass or fail!


🟩 General & Higher Education  vs Schools 

General & Higher Education vs Schools qualifications are at the same level and lead to the same internationally accepted qualification. The only difference is that the Schools exam is for school-aged children and General is for adults and serves academic purposes.


🔴 A2 - KET 

Key English Test (KET) is the lowest level General English exam that shows that you can communicate in basic English in everyday situations.

  • To take the test, you will be able to:
  • Ask and answer questions about yourself and others
  • Understand announcements and instructions when people speak slowly and clearly
  • Tell people what you think about something you read or hear.


🔴 B1 Preliminary - PET 

Pet is an elementary level of English that shows students have mastered the basics of English and now have practical language skills for everyday use.

To take the test, you need to know how to:
  • Express your likes and dislikes, and discuss them with others
  • Understand spoken and written announcements and instructions
  • Write personal letters or notes from a meeting or discussion.

🔴 B2 First - FCE  

A First Certificate in English (FCE) is a general English qualification that demonstrates that you can speak and write English well enough to work or study in an English-speaking environment.
You should study FCE if you want to work in an English-speaking business, live in an English-speaking country or study a university or foundation course taught in English.

To take the test, you need to know how to:
  •  Write short reports and emails
  • Explain an idea or have a detailed discussion in English
  • Understand general English on TV and newspapers.


🔴 C1 Advanced - CAE  

This general level of English shows that your English is of the standard required for a business professional or university student. You should take the CAE if you want to demonstrate to employers or universities that you can communicate confidently in English in professional and high-level academic situations.

To take the test, you need to know how to:
  • Write complex reports and emails, and take notes during meetings or lectures
  • Present complex ideas in English
  • Understand a wide range of texts, from novels to opinion articles

🔴 C2 Proficiency - CPE  

This qualification shows you have mastered English and can use it fluently in demanding research, academic and professional situations. This is the highest certificate of Cambridge English. You should take the CPE if you want to demonstrate to employers that you can use English at senior management level, or if you want to study for a postgraduate or PhD level at an English-speaking university.

To take the test, you need to know how to:
  • Understand almost everything you hear or read in English
  • Use and understand formal, academic and colloquial language
  • Negotiate, debate and discuss sensitive issues of complex topics.



It is the world's most popular English test for higher education and global migration. IELTS is designed to test the language ability of people who want to study or work in places that use English as the language of communication.

Educational institutions, employers and government immigration agencies often require evidence of English language skills as part of recruitment or admission procedures. IELTS is widely accepted for these purposes.

The difference between the IELTS exam and the previously mentioned exams is that it is a MULTI-LEVEL exam. It is intended to assess learners in detail and accurately at CEFR B1-C2 levels.


🔴 Cambridge English Qualifications for business 

Designed to help professionals develop English skills to communicate confidently in international work environments, our Business English certificate helps you demonstrate to employers that you have the skills English for success.

  • B1 Business Preliminary helps you gain the practical language skills you need to start a business in English.
  • B2 Business Vantage shows employers that you are ready to do business on an international level.
  • C1 Business Higher helps you gain the practical language skills you need to work effectively at a senior level in international business.

If you still have any questions about English tests, or which courses you should take, contact us for a free consultation.


Since we have a variety of classes, depending on the needs of all students, we recommend that you contact us directly for more information, evaluation and an estimate of what is best for your child.


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