CEFR Levels in IELTS: A Gateway to Global Opportunities

Understanding CEFR Levels in IELTS: A Comprehensive Guide

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Understanding CEFR Levels in IELTS


When it comes to preparing for the IELTS exam, understanding the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) levels and how they align with the various sections of the IELTS exam, including listening, reading, writing, and speaking, is quite crucial. The CEFR provides a standardised way to assess and describe language proficiency, and it's closely integrated into the IELTS scoring system. Therefore, in this blog, we will explore and learn about CEFR levels in IELTS. 

What is CEFR?

The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, often abbreviated as CEFR, is a standardised framework used to evaluate and describe an individual's language proficiency in various languages, particularly in Europe. The CEFR provides a common reference point for language learners, teachers, and institutions to understand and communicate language skills effectively.

The CEFR is widely recognised and utilised across Europe, but its influence extends globally, serving as a reference for language learning and teaching worldwide. It helps learners set clear goals, educators tailor their teaching, and employers assess language skills, making it a valuable tool for language education and communication.

Different CEFR English Levels

The CEFR categorises language proficiency into six levels, from A1 (beginner) to C2 (proficient). These levels are designed to be progressive, with each subsequent level requiring a higher degree of language competency. Here's a brief overview of the CEFR English levels:


CEFR Level A1 (Beginner)

Learners at this level understand and use basic terms and phrases relating to personal information, everyday activities, and simple interactions. They can make an introduction and ask and answer simple inquiries about common themes.


CEFR A2 (Elementary)

Learners at the A2 level can understand and use typical terms and phrases linked to personal and family information, shopping, and their near surroundings. They can interact in simple and everyday jobs that need direct information sharing.


CEFR Level B1 (Intermediate)

Learners at the B1 level can comprehend the main themes of clear and conventional speech on known topics. They can handle the majority of scenarios that may happen while travelling in a language-speaking area. They can write basic, coherent sentences about familiar topics, as well as recount experiences, events, and dreams.


CEFR Level B2 (Upper Intermediate)

Learners at the B2 level can comprehend the major points of difficult texts on both concrete and abstract issues. They can converse with a level of fluency and spontaneity that allows for regular interaction with native speakers. They can write clear and extensive texts on a variety of themes and explain various points of view.


CEFR Level C1 (Advanced)

Learners at the C1 level can comprehend a wide range of hard, longer texts and recognise hidden meanings. They can communicate themselves fluently and spontaneously without having to look for words. Also, they can use language in a variety of ways for social, academic, and professional objectives.


CEFR Level C2 (Proficient)

At the C2 level, students can grasp almost all they hear or read. They may synthesise information from several verbal and written sources, reconstructing arguments and accounts in a logical presentation. Further, they can communicate spontaneously, eloquently, and precisely, distinguishing finer shades of meaning even in more complex contexts.

What is the Benefit and Purpose of CEFR Levels in IELTS?

Now, you must be wondering what is the purpose of the CEFR English test. So, here is the purpose of the CEFR test:


Consistency in Measuring Language Skills

The CEFR's main idea is to develop a common language framework for articulating language competence levels, guaranteeing clarity and consistency in measuring language skills across varied contexts and languages.


Facilitating Mobility and Communication

The CEFR intends to encourage mobility and communication throughout Europe and beyond by allowing individuals to exhibit their language competencies in a variety of settings such as school, work, and social interactions.


Mobility and Employability

The CEFR is critical in facilitating linguistic mobility and improving employment. The CEFR, with its standardised descriptors, facilitates cross-border recognition of language qualifications and allows individuals to demonstrate their language skills consistently and transparently.


Language Learning and Teaching Support

By giving precise descriptors of language ability, the CEFR test supports language learners and educators in setting realistic learning targets, devising appropriate curricula, and effectively measuring progress.

How to Compare CEFR Levels With IELTS Scores?

Comparing CEFR English levels with IELTS scores can be a helpful way to understand the language proficiency required for specific purposes, such as academic or immigration purposes. However, it's important to note that there is no direct one-to-one correlation between CEFR English levels and IELTS scores because different exams have unique scoring systems. The relationship between them is approximate. Below is a general comparison table:


CEFR Level Language Proficiency Level Corresponding IELTS Band Score


Expert User

8.5 - 9.0


Very Good User


Good User

7.0 - 7.5


Competent User

6.0 - 6.5

Modest User

5.0 - 5.5


Limited User

4.0 - 4.5


Extremely Limited User



Intermittent User





The CEFR level in IELTS serves as a global interpreter for your language talents as it helps you identify your level of proficiency and correlates your IELTS test results with internationally established language norms. Also, knowing your CEFR level in relation to IELTS scores gives you a distinct advantage in demonstrating your language abilities, whether you are pursuing education, looking for employment opportunities, or immigration. We hope you enjoyed learning about the IELTS CEFR Level. 

So, if you intend to appear for the IELTS exam and want to plan your test strategically, we recommend you sign up for our IELTS Courses designed by our experts. If you need further guidance, please contact Prepare IELTS (PI) expert counsellors. Our team of education experts is dedicated to assisting you in the best possible way for the IELTS exam. You can also get a one-on-one counselling session online via our platform. Contact us at info@prepareieltsexam.com or call us at +91 9773398388


According to recent research conducted by Europe's Council of States, the CEFR has assisted countries in developing language policies and effective teaching resources. It has also promoted more practical, communication-focused language instruction.

The major purpose of the CEFR is to establish a consistent foundation for developing language syllabuses, textbooks, examinations, and teaching programmes across Europe.

The CEFR level in IELTS is a global standard that evaluates IELTS scores from 0 to 9 and corresponds to six levels (A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2). These levels (A1 to C2) are classified as Basic User, Independent User, and Proficient User. CEFR is used in many nations to promote language skills and literacy.

A 6.5 IELTS score falls between B2 and C1. However, the language level displayed in the result remains constant.

CEFR C1 is equivalent to an IELTS score of 6.5 or 7, which is very good. Similarly, a C1 Advanced grade C in Cambridge English, with a score of 180 to 192, corresponds to CEFR Level C1.


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