What is the CEFR Level in IELTS?: A Comprehensive Guide



Updated On 16 August 2023


Read Time 8 minutes


Are you wondering about the adventurous journey of studying abroad? Before entering a new culture, you must dive deeply into the English language proficiency exam as it is a gateway to the exploration of your study-abroad dreams.


The more you will discover English proficiency exams, the more you come across terms like IELTS and CEFR English levels. So today, let’s get educated about these terms because these are essential to evaluating your linguistic skills and enthusiasm for diverse possibilities.


Read on as the blog explains CEFR levels, its comparison chart and its importance in the context of IELTS.


What is the CEFR Level?

The Council of Europe developed the CEFR test in the 1990s to check how well people know English language. It helps universities and employers assess a person is English proficiency. It has different levels, such as B1, and each level has tasks that you should be able to do in the English language, such as writing essays, answering MCQ questions, etc.


The CEFR test uses a scale from A1 to C2 to measure your proficiency. It's not just for the IELTS exam but other tests like TOEFL tests also use it. This scale is better than saying "beginner" or "advanced."It helps the universities to understand the level of your understanding English.


The CEFR test has goals like tracking progress, making better learning materials, and working together to teach languages. The CEFR levels also helps make fair tests and lets you compare the band score with other English proficiency exams. 


The CEFR tests also encourages the institutions thoughts to teach students’ learning English. It allows them to understand at what English level they can teach courses to you. And have an understanding for yourself too so that you will know what field of study you should learn.


Before understanding IELTS scores and CEFR English levels, it's essential to know that sometimes IELTS test results are changed to CEFR English levels. Such levels help employers and universities understand better your English proficiency. 


IELTS exam rates English skills from 1 to 9, with Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking wherein these scores show how skilled someone is.

Score Bands

Skill Levels




Very Good










Extremely Limited






Did not take the test 

How to Compare CEFR with IELTS Scores?

IELTS is a renowned test for testing individuals’ English language ability. People use the IELTS exam for university, moving to new countries, and jobs. It matches with CEFR English levels to show your English proficiency. This comparison chart also helps universities and companies know your language skills.


Look at the table to see how CEFR and IELTS scores compare. It shows the levels one by one and explains the differences.

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


Non - User


Result Availability (maximum)

13 working days

Score Validity

2 Years 

CEFR Language Levels Explained

Level A1: This is the basic level. You can understand and use simple words. You can talk about yourself, ask for information, and discuss everyday things.


Level A2: Your English needs improvement but better than basic level. You can understand common phrases for shopping, work, and more. You can give directions and talk about what you want.


Level B1: Now you're getting independent. You can discuss your family, friends, work, and fun activities. Apart from this, You can also write a bit about your interests and experiences.


Level B2: You're more independent now. You can write about different topics and understand more problematic texts. Further, you can even have natural conversations with native speakers.


Level C1: You're outstanding. You can understand complex talks and explain challenging ideas in serious or social situations. Also, you can write long texts about deep subjects.


Level C2: You're an expert. You can understand anything easily and explain your ideas or opinions in challenging situations. You can express yourself well, even in hard times.


Why Should You Compare CEFR and IELTS?

Well, comparing CEFR and IELTS exams can provide you with valuable information about English language proficiency assessments. This comparison helps you understand similarities and differences between both the language proficiency asssessments and identify which would suit you better. It’s helpful to explore some reasons for the comparison:


  • Understanding How Good You Are: Imagine your language skills are like levels in a video game and CEFR English levels are like a game stages here that shows you how good you are. Thus, you can compare these levels to your scores in the IELTS exam, which is like a big test. These levels help you know exactly where you are on the language scale.


  • Being Known Everywhere: Consider CEFR and IELTS exams as popular brands. As everyone knows about a famous movie or song, these are famous tests people worldwide understand. So, if you're good at a language according to these tests, people in different countries and schools will readily know and believe you.


  • Having a Target: Imagine you want to reach a certain level in a video game. You know the score you need to get there. Similarly, if you reach a certain CEFR level for a specific reason, you can set a goal for your IELTS score. This way, you know exactly what to do to get to that level. 



Q. What does the CEFR level mean in IELTS?

A. The CEFR level in IELTS is a worldwide standard that rates IELTS scores from 0 to 9 and aligns them with six levels (A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2). These levels (A1 to C2) are grouped into three categories: Basic User, Independent User, and Proficient User. Many countries use CEFR to improve language skills and literacy.


Q. Why is CEFR important?

A. CEFR's primary goal is to create a common foundation for making language syllabuses, textbooks, tests, and teaching plans across Europe.


Q. What's good about comparing CEFR and IELTS levels?

A. A recent study in Europe's Council of States found that CEFR has helped countries create language policies and valuable teaching materials. It has also encouraged more practical and communication-focused language teaching.


Q. Is IELTS 6.5 a B2 or C1 level?

A. An IELTS score of 6.5 sits between B2 and C1. But the language level shown in the result stays the same.


Q. What CEFR level is IELTS 7?

A. An IELTS score of 7 equals a C1 level in CEFR.


Q. What's the CEFR level for an IELTS score of 7.5?

A. As a general guide, an IELTS score of 7.5 corresponds to a C1 level in CEFR.


Q. What's the CEFR level for IELTS B2?

A. A B2 in CEFR is like an upper intermediate in the IELTS exam, meaning "you are a confident English speaker."


Q. Is IELTS 7 a B2 or C1 level?

A. Based on the CEFR level and IELTS conversion chart, a score of 7 is a B2 level.


Q. What's CEFR level C1 in IELTS?

A. A C1 in CEFR matches a band score of 6.5 or 7.0 in IELTS.


Q. Is CEFR level C1 good for IELTS?

A. CEFR C1 equals an IELTS score of 6.5 or 7, which is quite good. Similarly, a C1 Advanced grade C in Cambridge English, scoring between 180 and 192, aligns with CEFR Level C1.



To summarise, the CEFR level in IELTS functions as a global translator for your language abilities. It assists you in understanding your level of skill and links your IELTS test results with internationally recognised language norms.


Knowing your CEFR level in connection to IELTS scores gives you a definite edge in displaying your language talents, whether you are pursuing education, career prospects, or immigration. We hope you enjoyed learning about what is the CEFR Level in IELTS.


If you would like to get a deeper insight into the CEFR Level in IELTS, we encourage you to speak with our team of expert counsellors at Meridean Overseas Education Consultants (MOEC). Our counsellors will provide you with guidance throughout your study abroad journey.


Get help with the application process, SOPs, and filing for a visa. Visit us and get one-to-one counselling or avail yourself of free video counselling via our website. We will be happy to help you, so please do not hesitate to contact us at application02@meridean.org or 1800-1230-00011.

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