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< The CEFR and EF SET

English level B2

B2

Upper intermediate

EF SET

51-60

C1

B1

At this level you can understand:

  • Main ideas of complex text

  • Standard spoken language, live or broadcast

  • Texts with a broad reading vocabulary and large degree of autonomy

< The CEFR and EF SET

English level B2

At this level you can understand:

  • Main ideas of complex text

  • Standard spoken language, live or broadcast

  • Texts with a broad reading vocabulary and large degree of autonomy

B1

B2

Upper intermediate

EF SET

51-60

C1

Upper intermediate (EF SET score 51-60)

English level B2 is the fourth level of English in the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR), a definition of different language levels written by the Council of Europe. In everyday speech, this level might be called “confident”, as in “I am a confident English speaker”. The official level descriptor is “upper intermediate”. At this level, students can function independently in a variety of academic and professional environments in English, although with a limited range of nuance and precision.


How to tell if you're at an B2 level in English

The best way to tell if you are at an B2 level in English is to take a high-quality standardized test. See below for a list of major recognized tests and their corresponding B2 scores:

Test

Score equivalent to the B2 level¹

EF SET51 - 60
IELTS5.5 - 6.0
TOEIC (R&L) Total785 - 940
Cambridge English Scale160 - 179
TOEFL iBT72 - 94
Global Scale of English (Pearson)59 - 75
  1. For full score comparisons, please visit our English Score page


What can you do with a B2 level in English?

A B2 level of English would allow you to function in the workplace in English, and indeed, many non-native English speakers in international workplaces have this level of English. A person working in English at a B2 level will, however, lack nuance particularly outside his own field. He may also miss some of the subtleties and implied meanings in conversation.

According to the official CEFR guidelines, someone at the B2 level in English:

  1. Can understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in his/her field of specialization.

  2. Can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible without strain for either party.

  3. Can produce clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects and explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options.


B2 level English skills in detail

The official can-do statements are broken down into smaller pieces for teaching purposes. This more detailed skill breakdown can help you assess your own English level, or help a teacher assess a student’s level. For example, a student at the B2 level in English will be able to do all the things that a student in level B1 can do, and in addition he will be able to:

  • participate in meetings in your area of expertise, if you have help understanding some points.

  • discuss gender issues as they relate to perceptions of rudeness and cultural norms.

  • talk about your personal finances and give advice to friends and colleagues about their finances.

  • talk about your personal and professional lifestyle, including a description of your life at work.

  • explain your education, experience, strengths and weaknesses, and discuss your career path.

  • talk about mental processes and how you can use them to improve your effectiveness on the job.

  • talk about what you like to read and make recommendations about good things to read.

  • use appropriate language in social situations, including praising and expressing sympathy.

  • discuss leadership qualities and talk about leaders whom you admire.

  • deal with relatively complex awkward situations that arise in social and business contexts.

  • discuss common political situations and the behavior of politicians.

Although progress will depend on the type of course and the individual student, students can expect to reach the B2 level in English with 600 hours of cumulative instruction.


What's next?

Learn about the C1 English level and what can be accomplished when someone achieves the advanced level.


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