Guide to Levels

Our guide is based on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.

A1. BEGINNER 1-1 training

No autonomy. Can understand some words if simple, slow and clear, but cannot understand or construct basic phrases. No grammar base. Probably didn’t learn English at school. Possibly nervous about ability to learn a foreign language.

A2. ELEMENTARY 1-1 training

Autonomy limited to simple one-to-one conversations, needing a lot of repetition and explanation. Has a basic vocabulary (possibly work-related) and some basic phrases, but has difficulty recognising them. Can understand simple written items but has difficulty with e-mails, faxes. No sentence structure. Very hesitant. Cannot respond appropriately in common everyday situations, or participate in meetings or telephone calls. Permanent reference to dictionary. Problems with articulation, pronunciation, word stress.

B1. LOWER INTERMEDIATE 1-1, group* or combined training

(TOEIC minimum 550 estimated) Some autonomy in familiar subjects at a slow speed. Needs time to think. Can participate in one-to-one meetings; but group discussions present difficulties for understanding and intervening in time. On the telephone, has some basics, but needs repetition. Misunderstands figures, dates, times, spelling. Knows about verb tenses but uses them inaccurately, relying on the root form of the verb. Relies on the goodwill of the other party for effective communication. A limited range of idiomatic language. Grammatical and vocabulary errors often lead to misunderstandings. Can present concrete information if given time, but has only a limited ability to express abstractions.

B2. INTERMEDIATE 1-1, group* or combined training

Autonomy in a range of situations at normal speed. Can understand in most one-to-one situations. Can intervene in group discussions. Still relies on “international” phrases and vocabulary; does not have a wide range of idioms or abstract language. Can communicate on the telephone and present information effectively, but may still find question-and-answer sessions difficult. Knows a range of grammatical structures but makes habitual errors. Can understand new vocabulary from context. Aware of word-stress and pronunciation. Limited range of register.

C1. UPPER INTERMEDIATE 1-1, group* or combined training

(TOEIC minimum 880 estimated) Considerable autonomy, even in unfamiliar or challenging situations. Retains an accent, and may misuse or misunderstand some idiomatic language, but has strategies to deal with this and can perform nimbly and effectively in a wide variety of situations. Is able to adapt register to the occasion. Understands newspaper articles and news broadcasts, and can interpret and discuss them immediately. Aware of cultural differences and their implications for communication. Has a contribution rate in meetings approaching that of a native speaker; can present information with humour and adaptation to the audience; no problems on the phone. Writing is mostly adequate but contains slips of idiom, register and appropriacy.

C2. ADVANCED 1-1 training

Speakers at this level have a very high degree of autonomy. However they may still require training in specific areas such as public speaking, report writing, or negotiation. We are able to provide tailor-made solutions at this level: please contact us for more information.

* If a suitable group is not available, we reserve the right to convert group training to an equivalent value of one-to-one training, plus guided use of our Resource Centre.

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