Skill level descriptions

Advanced level


Understands a wide range of spoken and written language without difficulty. Experiences only occasional difficulties with subtle differences of tone and nuance in expressions. Speaks and writes extremely fluently in a situationally-appropriate style. Is able to express even subtle nuances of meaning. Has a solid command of grammar and vocabulary in almost all situations; even small inaccuracies are rare.



Understands longer sections of speech at normal speed in face-to-face situations and from TV and radio, even though comprehension sometimes requires a certain amount of effort. Understands structurally and linguistically complex texts and literature of our time. Speaks and writes clearly and fluently on various topics, but the use of less common vocabulary and complex sentence structures may, however, cause difficulties. Generally has a good and versatile command of grammar and vocabulary.

Intermediate level


Understands normal tempo speech in face-to-face situations and discussion on general topics; also understands speech from, for example, TV and radio, but some details may not be understood. Rapid spoken language and dialectal variations, however, cause difficulties. Has no difficulty understanding texts dealing with general topics, although some nuances conveyed in the text may not be clear. Copes fairly well even in less familiar speech situations. Is able to write both private and semi-official texts and to express thoughts as a coherent whole. Makes a distinction in speech and writing between official and unofficial forms of language. Has a good command of basic grammar and vocabulary.



Understands longer stretches of speech and the central idea from many TV and radio programmes, if the topic area is relatively familiar. Understands ordinary texts that do not require knowledge of the subject. In the case of a longer section of speech and an unfamiliar topic, normal tempo speech and more demanding texts may cause difficulties. Can cope in the most common speech situations and is able to write simple, coherent text on everyday topics, even though grammatical and lexical inaccuracies may occasionally hinder comprehension. Has a good command of vocabulary related to everyday situations and of the key basic grammar structures.

Basic level


Understands clear and simplified speech dealing with everyday, familiar matters. Understands with ease short, simple messages and gets the gist of texts dealing with familiar topics. Copes with routine speech situations requiring simple exchange of information, even though pronunciation is still defective. Is capable of writing concise, simple texts about everyday matters, but the text may be fragmented. Has a command of the simplest basic grammar and key basic vocabulary.



Understands from slow and clear speech simple basic expressions that are directly related to the learner’s own life or concern the immediate concrete environment. Is able to retrieve information from simple texts. Copes with the very simplest speech situations, but speech is slow and very disjointed, with defective pronunciation. Is capable of writing extremely short texts that contain numerous linguistic defects. Knows the very commonest basic vocabulary and some basic grammatical structures.