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CEFR Level B2

The Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) defines Level B2 as follows:

B2 level may be referred to as an intermediate stage of proficiency. Users at this level are expected to be able to handle the main structures of the language with some confidence, demonstrate knowledge of a wide range of vocabulary and use appropriate communicative strategies in a variety of social situations. Their understanding of spoken language and written texts should go beyond being able to pick out items of factual information, and they should be able to distinguish between main and subsidiary points and between the general topic of a text and specific detail. They should be able to produce written texts of various types, showing the ability to develop an argument as well as describe or recount events. This level of ability allows the user a certain degree of independence when called upon to use the language in a variety of contexts. At this level the user has developed a greater flexibility and an ability to deal with the unexpected and to rely less on fixed patterns of language and short utterances. There is also a developing awareness of register and the conventions of politeness and degrees of formality as they are expressed through language.

Examinations at Level B2 are frequently used as proof that the learner can do office work or take a non-academic course of study in the language being learned, e.g. in the country where the language is spoken. Learners at this level can be assumed to have sufficient expertise in the language for it to be of use in clerical, secretarial and managerial posts, and in some industries, in particular tourism. 

For more information about the Common European Framework, visit the ALTE website.

Speaking
In social and travel contexts, users at this level can deal with most situations that may arise in shops, restaurants, and hotels; for example, they can ask for a refund or for faulty goods to be replaced, and express pleasure or displeasure at the service given. Similarly, routine situations at the doctor's, in a bank or post office or at an airport or station can all be handled. In social conversation they can talk about a range of topics and express opinions to a limited extent. As tourists they can ask for further explanations about information given on a guided tour. They themselves can show visitors around, describe a place and answer questions about it.

In the workplace, users at this level can give detailed information and state detailed requirements within a familiar topic area, and can take some limited part in a meeting. They can take and pass on messages, although there may be difficulties if these are complex, and can carry out simple negotiations, for example on prices and conditions of delivery.

If studying, users at this level can ask questions during a lecture or presentation on a familiar or predictable topic, although this may be done with some difficulty. They can also give a short, simple presentation on a familiar topic. They can take part in a seminar or tutorial, again with some difficulty.

Writing
In social and travel contexts, users at this level can write most kinds of letters connected with accommodation, and can also write personal letters on a limited range of predictable topics.

In the workplace, users can produce a range of written documents but may need to have these checked by a native speaker if accuracy and register are important. They can produce texts which describe and give detailed information, e.g. about a productor service, as long as it is within a familiar area of work and they can write requests, also within a predictable range. They can take and pass on messages, but may have difficulty if these are lengthy or complex. They can take dictation if the pace is fairly slow, and there are opportunities for checking.

If studying, users at this level can make notes in lectures and seminars which are of some limited use for revision purposes, but may find this difficult unless extra time is given. They can also make notes from written sources, although key points may be missed, and they may not be sufficiently selective. They can write an essay which shows some ability to communicate, or an account of an experiment which demonstrates basic understanding of the work done.

Reading
In social and travel contexts, users at this level can read texts which are longer than the very brief signs, notices, etc. which are characteristic of what can be handled at the two lower levels. They can go beyond routine letters and the most basic newspaper and magazine articles, and have developed reading skills related to factual topics in which they have a special interest or to their own tastes in fiction. In everyday, practical situations, such as eating out, shopping and using services such as banks, they can read competently enough to deal with anything which does not involve some kind of specialised language (such as legal terms in a tenancy agreement).

In the workplace, they can deal with routine letters and understand the general meaning of a fair range of non-routine correspondence, although complex situations and the use of non-standard language would cause problems. They can handle short reports or articles on predictable topics, and grasp the general meaning of a report or article on a less familiar topic, but misunderstanding is likely where information is not clearly expressed. Instructions and product descriptions within the learner's own area of work can be understood, but only the general meaning of more theoretical material (e.g. technical reports) can be understood without access to support such as dictionaries, even when it is within the learner's area of expertise.

At this level, users are likely to have enough language ability to cope with some non-academic training courses which are conducted in the language being learned. Users at this level can follow a lecture, presentation or demonstration on a familiar topic or where the context is well known, but are likely to have difficulty in following abstract argumentation. They can read simple textbooks and articles, but cannot read quickly enough to cope with an academic course.

Listening
In social and travel contexts, users at this level can cope with casual conversation on a fairly wide range of familiar, predictable topics, such as personal experiences, work and current events. They can understand routine medical advice. They can understand most of a TV programme because of the visual support provided, and grasp the main points of a radio programme. On a guided tour they have the understanding required in order to ask and answer questions.

In the workplace, they can follow presentations or demonstrations of a factual nature if they relate to a visible, physical object such as a product.

If studying, they can understand the general meaning of a lecture, as long as the topic is predictable.