Your level

You are visiting this website because you would like to improve your English or Dutch. The tricky thing though is knowing your level. If you are completely new to the language there is not much point filling in this checklist. However, it does give you an idea of what level you might want to achieve.

So, either way, feel free to use this checklist. Once you have ticked the boxes you will know your level approximately. That outcome is shared with me, making it easy to place you in a course at the appropriate level.

Tip! You could get a close friend to help you assess what you are able to do in the target language.

The descriptors on this checklist were taken from The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). It is a widely used reference for describing language learning, teaching, and assessment.

The CEFR describes what a language learner can do at six specific levels:

  • A1 = Elementary
  • A2 = Post-Elementary
  • B1 = Pre-Intermediate
  • B2 = Intermediate
  • C1 = Upper Intermediate
  • C2 = Advanced

    Choose your target language:*

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    Level A1


    1. I can understand when someone speaks very slowly to me and articulates carefully, with long pauses for me to assimilate meaning.

    2. I can understand simple directions how to get from X to Y, on foot or public transport.

    3. I can understand the questions and instructions addressed carefully and slowly to me and follow short, simple directions.

    4. I can understand numbers, prices and times.

    5. I can recognize familiar words and very basic phrases concerning myself, my family and immediate concrete surroundings when people speak slowly and clearly.


    6. I can understand information about people (place of residence, age, etc.) in newspapers.

    7. I can locate a concert or a film on calendars of public events, posters or online, and identify where it takes place and at what time it starts.

    8. I can understand a questionnaire (hotel registration form) well enough to give the most important information about myself (name, surname, date of birth, nationality).

    9. I can understand the words and phrases on signs encountered in everyday life.

    10. I can understand the most important orders in a computer programme such as “PRINT”, “SAVE”, “COPY”, etc.

    11. I can follow short simple written directions (e.g. how to go from X to Y).

    12. I can understand short simple messages such as text messages or social media posts.

    13. In everyday situations, I can understand simple messages written by friends or colleagues, for example, “back at 4 pm”.

    Spoken Interaction

    14. I can introduce somebody and use basic greeting and leave-taking expressions.

    15. I can ask and answer simple questions, initiate and respond to simple statements in areas of immediate need or on very familiar topics.

    16. I can make myself understood in a simple way but I am dependent on my partner being prepared to repeat more slowly and rephrase what I say and to help me to say what I want.

    17. I can make simple purchases where pointing or other gestures can support what I say.

    18. I can handle numbers, quantities, cost and time.

    19. I can ask people for things and give people things.

    20. I can ask people questions about where they live, the people they know, things they have, etc.
    and answer such questions addressed to me provided they are spoken slowly and clearly.

    21. I can indicate time by such phrases as “next week”, “last Friday”, “in November”.

    Spoken Production

    22. I can give personal information (address, telephone number, nationality, age, family, and hobbies) I can describe where I live.


    23. I can say when I don’t understand.

    24. I can very simply ask somebody to repeat what they said.

    25. I can very simply ask somebody to speak more slowly.


    26. I can fill in a form with my personal details (job, age, address, hobbies).

    27. I can write a greeting card, for instance, a birthday card.

    28. I can write a simple postcard (for example with holiday greetings).

    29. I can write a text message to tell somebody where I am or where we are to meet.

    30. I can write sentences and simple phrases about myself, for example where I live and what I do.

    Level A2


    31. I can understand what is said clearly, slowly and directly to me in simple everyday conversation; it is possible to make me understand if the speaker can take the trouble.

    32. I can generally identify the topic of discussion around me when people speak slowly and clearly.

    33. I can understand phrases, words and expressions related to areas of most immediate priority (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local area, employment).

    34. I can catch the main point in short, clear, simple messages and announcements.

    35. I can understand the essential information in short recorded passages dealing with predictable everyday matters which are spoken slowly and clearly.

    36. I can identify the main point of TV news items reporting events, accidents etc. when the visual supports the commentary.


    37. I can identify important information in news summaries or simple newspaper articles in which numbers and names play an important role and which are clearly structured and illustrated.

    38. I can understand a simple email in which the writer tells or asks me about aspects of everyday life.

    39. I can understand simple text messages from friends or colleagues, for example saying when we should meet to play football or asking me to be at work early.

    40. I can find the most important information on leisure time activities, exhibitions, etc. on the Internet.

    41. I can skim small advertisements in newspapers, locate the heading or column I want and identify the most important pieces of information (price and size of apartments, cars).

    42. I can understand a simple user’s instruction for equipment.

    43. I can understand feedback messages or simple help indications on a smartphone or in a computer programme.

    44. I can understand short narratives about everyday things dealing with topics which are familiar to me if the text is written in simple language.

    Spoken Interaction

    45. I can make simple transactions in shops, at markets or in banks.

    46. I can use public transport: buses, trains, and taxis ask for basic information and buy tickets.

    47. I can get simple information about travel times and such.

    48. I can order something to eat or drink.

    49. I can make simple purchases by stating what I want and asking the price.

    50. I can ask for and give directions.

    51. I can ask how people are and react to news.

    52. I can make and respond to invitations.

    53. I can make and accept apologies.

    54. I can say what I like and dislike.

    55. I can discuss with other people what to do, where to go and make arrangements to meet.

    56. I can ask people questions about what they do at work and in my free time, and answer such questions addressed to me.

    Spoken Production

    57. I can describe myself, my family and other people.

    58. I can describe where I live.

    59. I can give short, basic descriptions of events.

    60. I can describe my educational background, my present or most recent job.

    61. I can describe my hobbies and interests in a simple way.

    62. I can describe past activities and personal experiences (e.g. the last weekend, my last holiday).


    63. I can ask for attention.

    64. I can indicate when I am following.

    65. I can very simply ask somebody to repeat what they said.

    Language Quality

    66. I can make myself understood using memorised phrases and single expressions.

    67. I can link groups of words with simple connectors like ”and”, ”but” and ”because”.

    68. I have a sufficient vocabulary for coping with simple everyday situations.


    69. I can write short notes in the form of text messages, post-its or emails.

    70. I can describe an event in simple sentences and report what happened when and where (for example at a party or an accident).

    71. I can write about aspects of my everyday life in simple phrases and sentences (people, places, job, school, family, hobbies).

    72. I can fill in a questionnaire giving an account of my educational background, my job, my interests and my specific skills.

    73. I can briefly introduce myself in an email with simple phrases and sentences (family, school, job, hobbies).

    74. I can write a short email using simple expressions for greeting, addressing, asking or thanking somebody.

    75. I can write simple sentences, connecting them with words such as ”and”, ”but”, ”because”.

    76. I can use the most important connecting words to indicate the chronological order of events (first, then, after, later).

    Level B1


    77. I can follow clearly articulated speech directed at me in everyday conversation, though I sometimes have to ask for repetition of particular words and phrases.

    78. I can generally follow the main points of extended discussion around me, provided speech is clearly articulated in standard dialect.

    79. I can listen to a short narrative and form hypotheses about what will happen next.

    80. I can understand the main points of radio news bulletins and simpler recorded material on topics of personal interest delivered relatively slowly and clearly.

    81. I can catch the main points in TV programmes on familiar topics when the delivery is relatively slow and clear.


    82. I can understand the main points in short newspaper articles about current and familiar topics.

    83. I can read columns or interviews in newspapers and magazines in which someone takes a stand on a current topic or event and understand the overall meaning of the text.

    84. I can guess the meaning of single unknown words from the context thus deducing the meaning of expressions if the topic is familiar.

    85. I can skim short texts (for example news summaries) and find relevant facts and information.

    86. I can understand the most important information in short simple everyday information brochures or on websites.

    87. I can understand simple emails and letters (for example from businesses, clubs or authorities).

    88. I can understand those parts of emails or text messages dealing with events, feelings and wishes well enough to correspond regularly with a friend.

    89. I can understand the plot of a clearly structured story and recognise what the most important episodes and events are and what is significant about them.

    Spoken Interaction

    90. I can start, maintain and close simple face-to-face conversation on topics that are familiar or of personal interest.

    91. I can maintain a conversation or discussion but may sometimes be difficult to follow when trying to say exactly what I would like to.

    92. I can deal with most situations likely to arise when making travel arrangements.

    93. I can ask for and follow detailed directions.

    94. I can express and respond to feelings such as surprise, happiness, sadness, interest and indifference.

    95. I can give or seek personal views and opinions in an informal discussion with friends.

    96. I can agree and disagree politely.

    Spoken Production

    97. I can narrate a story.

    98. I can give detailed accounts of experiences, describing feelings and reactions.

    99. I can describe dreams, hopes and ambitions.

    100. I can explain and give reasons for my plans, intentions and actions.

    101. I can relate the plot of a book or film and describe my reactions.

    102. I can paraphrase short written passages orally in a simple fashion, using the original text wording and order.


    103. I can repeat back part of what someone has said to confirm that we understand each other.

    104. I can ask someone to clarify or elaborate on what they have just said.

    105. When I can’t think of the word I want, I can use a simple word meaning something similar and invite ”correction”.

    Language Quality

    106. I can keep a conversation going comprehensibly, but have to pause to plan and correct what I am saying – especially when I talk freely for longer periods.

    107. I can convey simple information of immediate relevance, getting across which point I feel is most important.

    108. I have sufficient vocabulary to express myself on most topics pertinent to my everyday life such as family, hobbies and interests, work, travel, and current events.

    109. I can express myself reasonably accurately in familiar and predictable situations.


    110. I can write simple connected texts on a range of topics within my field of interest and can express personal views and opinions.

    111. I can write emails to friends or acquaintances asking for or giving them news and narrating events.

    112. I can describe in an email the plot of a film or a book or give an account of a concert.

    113. In a personal email, I can express feelings such as grief, happiness, interest, regret and sympathy.

    114. I can ask for more complete or more specific information about products (for example a car or an academic course) using a form on a company’s website.

    115. I can write my CV in summary form.

    Level B2


    116. I can understand in detail what is said to me in standard spoken language even in a noisy environment.

    117. I can follow a lecture or talk within my own field, provided the subject matter is familiar and the presentation straightforward and clearly structured.

    118. I can understand most radio programmes delivered in a standard language and can identify the speaker’s tone etc.

    119. I can understand TV documentaries, live interviews, talk shows and the majority of films in standard dialect.

    120. I can understand the main ideas of complex speech on both concrete and abstract topics delivered in a standard dialect, including technical discussions in my field of specialization.

    121. I can use a variety of strategies to achieve comprehension, including listening for main points; checking comprehension by using contextual clues.


    122. I can rapidly grasp the content and the significance of news, articles and reports on topics connected with my interests or my job, and decide if a closer reading is worthwhile.

    123. I can read and understand articles and reports on current problems in which the writers express specific attitudes and points of view.

    124. I can understand in detail texts within my field of interest or the area of my academic or professional speciality.

    125. I can understand specialised articles outside my own field if I can occasionally check with a dictionary.

    126. I can read reviews dealing with the content and criticism of cultural topics (films, plays, books, concerts) and summarise the main points.

    127. I can read letters on topics within my areas of academic or professional speciality or interest and grasp the most important points.

    128. I can quickly look through a manual and find and understand the relevant explanations and help for a specific problem.

    129. I can understand in a story or a film the motives for the characters’ actions and their consequences for the development of the plot.

    Spoken Interaction

    130. I can initiate, maintain and end discourse naturally with effective turn-taking.

    131. I can exchange considerable quantities of detailed factual information on matters within my fields of interest.

    132. I can convey degrees of emotion and highlight the personal significance of events and experiences.

    133. I can engage in extended conversation in a clearly participatory fashion on most general topics.

    134. I can account for and sustain my opinions in a discussion by providing relevant explanations, arguments and comments.

    135. I can help a discussion along on familiar ground confirming comprehension, inviting others in, etc.

    136. I can carry out a prepared interview, checking and confirming information, following up with interesting replies.

    Spoken Production

    137. I can give clear, detailed descriptions on a wide range of subjects related to my fields of interest.

    138. I can understand and summarise orally short extracts from news items, interviews or documentaries containing opinions, argument and discussion.

    139. I can understand and summarise orally the plot and sequence of events in an extract from a film or play.

    140. I can construct a chain of reasoned argument, linking my ideas logically.

    141. I can explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options.

    142. I can speculate about the causes, consequences, hypothetical situations.


    143. I can use standard phrases like ”That’s a difficult question to answer” to gain time while formulating what to say.

    144. I can make a note of ”favourite mistakes” and consciously monitor speech for them.

    145. I can generally correct slips and errors if I become aware of them or if they have led to misunderstandings.

    Language Quality

    146. I can produce stretches of language with a fairly even tempo; although I can be hesitant as I search for expressions, there are few noticeably long pauses.

    147. I can pass on detailed information reliably.

    148. I have sufficient vocabulary to express myself on matters connected to my field and on most general topics.

    149. I can communicate with reasonable accuracy and can correct mistakes if they have led to misunderstandings.


    150. I can write clear and detailed texts (emails, reports or texts of presentations) on various topics related to my field of interest.

    151. I can write summaries of articles on topics of general interest.

    152. I can summarise information from different sources and media.

    153. I can discuss a topic in an email, giving reasons for or against a specific point of view.

    154. I can develop an argument systematically in a composition or report, emphasising decisive points and including supporting details.

    155. I can write about events and real or fictional experiences in a detailed and easily readable way.

    156. I can write a short review of a film or a book.

    157. I can express in a personal letter different feelings and attitudes and can report the news of the day making clear what – in my opinion – are the important aspects of an event.

    Level C1


    158. I can follow extended speech even when it is not clearly structured and when relationships are only implied and not signalled explicitly.

    159. I can understand a wide range of idiomatic expressions and colloquialisms, appreciating shifts in style and register.

    160. I can extract specific information from even poor quality, audibly distorted public announcements, e.g. in a station, a sports stadium.

    161. I can understand complex technical information, such as operating instructions, specifications for familiar products and services.

    162. I can understand lectures, talks and reports in my field of professional or academic interest even when they are linguistically complex.

    163. I can without too much effort to understand films which contain a considerable degree of slang and idiomatic usage.


    164. I can understand fairly long demanding texts and summarise them orally.

    165. I can read complex reports, analyses and commentaries where opinions, viewpoints and connections are discussed.

    166. I can extract information, ideas and opinions from highly specialised texts in my own field, for example, research reports.

    167. I can understand long complex instructions, for example for the use of a new piece of equipment, even if these are not related to my job or field of interest, provided I have enough time to reread them.

    168. I can read any correspondence with the occasional use of a dictionary.

    169. I can read contemporary literary texts with ease.

    170. I can go beyond the concrete plot of a narrative and grasp implicit meanings, ideas and connections.

    171. I can recognise the social, political or historical background of a literary work.

    Spoken Interaction

    172. I can keep up with an animated conversation between native speakers.

    173. I can use the language fluently, accurately and effectively on a wide range of general, professional or academic topics.

    174. I can use language flexibly and effectively for social purposes, including emotional, allusive and joking usage.

    175. I can express my ideas and opinions clearly and precisely and can present and respond to complex lines of reasoning convincingly.

    Spoken Production

    176. I can give clear, detailed descriptions of complex subjects.

    177. I can orally summarise long, demanding texts.

    178. I can give an extended description or account of something, integrating themes, developing particular points and concluding appropriately.

    179. I can give a clearly developed presentation on a subject in my fields of personal or professional interest, departing when necessary from the prepared text and following up spontaneously points raised by members of the audience.


    180. I can use fluently a variety of appropriate expressions to preface my remarks in order to grab attention or to gain time and keep the attention while thinking.

    181. I can relate my own contribution skilfully to those of other speakers.

    182. I can substitute an equivalent term for a word I can’t recall without distracting the listener.

    Language Quality

    183. I can express myself fluently and spontaneously, almost effortlessly. Only a conceptually difficult subject can hinder a natural, smooth flow of language.

    184. I can produce clear, smoothly-flowing, well-structured speech, showing control over ways of developing what I want to say in order to link both my ideas and my expression of them into a coherent text.

    185. I have a good command of a broad vocabulary allowing gaps to be readily overcome with circumlocutions; I rarely have to search obviously for expressions or compromise on saying exactly what I want to.

    186. I can consistently maintain a high degree of grammatical accuracy; errors are rare and difficult to spot.


    187. I can express myself in writing on a wide range of general or professional topics in a clear and user-friendly manner.

    188. I can present a complex topic in a clear and well-structured way, highlighting the most important points, for example in a composition or a report.

    189. I can present points of view in a comment on a topic or an event, underlining the main ideas and supporting my reasoning with detailed examples.

    190. I can put together information from different sources and relate them in a coherent summary.

    191. I can give a detailed description of experiences, feelings and events in a personal email.

    192. I can write formally correct emails, for example, to complain or to take a stand in favour of or against something.

    193. I can write texts which show a high degree of grammatical correctness and vary my vocabulary and style according to the reader, the kind of text and the topic.

    194. I can select a style appropriate to the reader in mind.

    Level C2


    195. I have no difficulty in understanding any kind of spoken language, whether live or broadcast, even when delivered at fast native speed, provided I have some time to get familiar with the accent.


    196. I can recognise plays on words and appreciate texts whose real meaning is not explicit (for example irony, satire).

    197. I can understand texts written in a very colloquial style and containing many idiomatic expressions or slang.

    198. I can understand manuals, regulations and contracts even within unfamiliar fields.

    199. I can understand contemporary and classical literary texts of different genres.

    200. I can read texts such as literary columns where much is said in an indirect and ambiguous way and which contain hidden value judgements.

    201. I can recognise different stylistic means (puns, metaphors, symbols, connotations, ambiguity) and appreciate and evaluate their function within the text.

    Spoken Interaction

    202. I can take part effortlessly in all conversations and discussions with native speakers.

    Spoken Production

    203. I can summarise orally information from different sources, reconstructing arguments and accounts in a coherent presentation.

    204. I can present ideas and viewpoints in a very flexible manner in order to give emphasis, to differentiate and to eliminate ambiguity.


    205. I can backtrack and restructure around a difficulty so smoothly the listener is hardly aware of it.

    Language Quality

    206. I can express myself naturally and effortlessly; I only need to pause occasionally in order to select precisely the right words.

    207. I can convey finer shades of meaning precisely by using, with reasonable accuracy, a wide range of expressions to qualify statements and pinpoint the extent to which something is the case.

    208. I have a good command of idiomatic expressions and colloquialisms with an awareness of implied meaning and meaning by association.

    209. I can consistently maintain grammatical control of complex language even when my attention is otherwise engaged.


    210. I can write well-structured and easily readable reports and articles on complex topics.

    211. In a report or an essay, I can give a complete account of a topic based on research I have carried out, make a summary of the opinions of others, and give and evaluate detailed information and facts.

    212. I can write a well-structured review of a paper or a project giving reasons for my opinion.

    213. I can write a critical review of cultural events (film, music, theatre, literature, radio, TV).

    214. I can write summaries of factual texts and literary works.

    215. I can write narratives about experiences in a clear, fluent style appropriate to the genre.

    216. I can write clear, well-structured complex emails in an appropriate style, for example, an application or request, an offer to authorities, superiors or commercial clients.

    217. In an email, I can express myself in a consciously ironical, ambiguous and humorous way.