Levels Common European Framework of Reference for Languages

What level system is used? What do the levels A1, A2, B1, B2, C1 and C2 mean?

UvA Talen uses the internationally recognised Common European Framework of Reference to identify language proficiency levels. This international standard means you always know the language level of the course you are taking. The language level is also stated on the course certificate.

Would you like to know what your level of proficiency is in Dutch, English, French or Spanish? Why not take the short, free language test?

The table below gives an overview of the skills per level.

A - Basic User


Can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very basic phrases aimed at the satisfaction of needs of a concrete type. Can introduce him/herself and others and can ask and answer questions about personal details such as where he/she lives, people he/she knows and things he/she has. Can interact in a simple way provided the other person talks slowly and clearly and is prepared to help.

At UvA Talen, this level is divided into two sub-levels: A1.1 (part of level A1) and A1.2 (complete level A1).


Can understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to areas of most immediate relevance (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography, employment). Can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters.  Can describe in simple terms aspects of his/her background, immediate environment and matters in areas of immediate need.

At UvA Talen, this level is divided into two sub-levels: A2.1 (part of level A2) and A2.2 (complete level A2).

B - Independent User


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

At UvA Talen, this level is divided into two sub-levels: B1.1 (part of level B1) and B1.2 (complete level B1).


Can understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in his/her field of specialisation. Can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible without strain for either party. 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 UvA Talen, this level is divided into two sub-levels: B2.1 (part of level B2) and B2.2 (complete level B2).

C - Proficient User


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

At UvA Talen, this level is divided into two sub-levels: C1.1 (part of level C1) and C1.2 (complete level C1).


Can understand with ease virtually everything heard or read. Can summarise information from different spoken and written sources, reconstructing arguments and accounts in a coherent presentation. Can express him/herself spontaneously, very fluently and precisely, differentiating finer shades of meaning even in more complex situations.

Found out what your level is? Take a look at more information about our language courses.