This is a system of six levels used to classify language skills. Detailed information can be found on Wikipedia. Official CEFR exams are available for most European languages, and there is also a self-evaluation checklist.

In very vague terms, the six levels are:

  • A1 and A2 ("Basic user").
  • B1 and B2 ("Independent user"). At these levels, the student is expected to be able to function independently using the language. B1 is generally enough to carry on basic one-on-one conversations and handle most tourist tasks. B2 is sufficient to survive indepently in a wide range of situations, and a few universities will admit foreign students with a B2 certificate.
  • C1 and C2 ("Proficient user"). A large number universities will admit foreign students with a C1 certificate, and it's generally considered to be enough to handle many professional tasks. A few law schools, literature programs and other advanced courses may demand a C2 certificate.

For more detailed descriptions of each level, please see the links above. Note that it's difficult to assess your own level accurately, but the self-evaluation checklist may help.

Hours of study required to reach each levelEdit

According various sources mentioned on Wikipedia :

Deutsche Welle suggests A1 is reached with about 75 hours of German tuition, A2.1 with about 150 hours, A2.2 with about 225 hours, B1.1 with about 300 hours, and B1.2 with about 400 hours.
Cambridge ESOL said that each level is reached with the following guided learning hours: A2, 180–200; B1, 350–400; B2, 500–600; C1, 700–800, and C2, 1,000–1,200.

Note that these study times may not always include homework, and the students studying for the more advanced levels often use the language extensively outside of class. Also, not all CEFR exams are equally difficult at any given level.

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