Comparing English Levels

What are the differences between the different words used for the levels of English?

Why does one school talk about 'Intermediate' and another calls it 'B1'?

Throughout the English Language Learning world, there are lots of words used to describe the different levels of English. It all depends on which assessment format or exam system they are using.

Look at Ingla’s Level Comparison Chart below to understand the different levels across these popular systems. 

From our Level Comparison Chart, you can see that a ‘B1’ in the CEFR system is the same as ‘Entry 3’ in ESOL, or suitable for the PET level in Cambridge English Qualifications. Another way to describe this level is ‘Intermediate’ in EFL Classes or score 4.0, 4.5. or 5.0 in IELTS. If you wanted to take a Trinity Exam, you could do a GESE 5 with this level of English. 

This can be a little confusing! So it’s important to compare the various qualifications to see which one is most suitable for your needs. 

Do you need it for a university application or proof of your level of English for an employer? Once you decide on what kind of qualification you need, it is easy to see what words you use to describe your English Learning goal. 

How long do I need to study English to improve?

This is a tricky question as so much depends on you! 

It depends on your first language, on your personal preferences and abilities, on the way that you learn, and how often you can practice English

Taking all of the above into consideration, the British Council (the governing body that regulates and accredits schools like Ingla) suggest that, on average, it takes about 200 hours of guided learning to go from one EFL level to the next. You can see from the Level Comparison Chart above that it takes approximately 200 guided learning hours to go from Beginner to A1, another 200 hours to go from A1 to A2, and so on.

Finally, “guided learning hours” means time spent in the classroom with a teacher helping you. How much you study in your own time will affect how many guided hours you’ll need to improve.