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English Level B1

At this level you can understand:

  • Main points on common topics at work, school, or traveling
  • General and specific details given clear speech
  • Factual texts on subjects of interest
A2EF SET 31-40B2EF SET 51-60

Intermediate / EF SET score 41 - 50

English level B1 is the third 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 would be called “intermediate”, and indeed, that is the official level descriptor in the CEFR. At this level, students are beyond the basics but they are still not able to work or study exclusively in English.

How to tell if you're at a B1 level in English

The best way to tell if you are at a B1 level in English is to take a high-quality standardized test. See below for a list of major recognized tests and their corresponding B1 scores:

Test Name

Score equivalent to the B1 level





TOEIC Listening


TOEIC Reading




What can you do with a B1 level in English?

A B1 level of English would be sufficient for interactions with English speakers on familiar topics. In the workplace, people at a B1 level of English are able to read simple reports on familiar topics and write simple e-mails on subjects in their field. However, a B1 level is not adequate to function fully in the workplace in English.

According to the official CEFR guidelines, someone at the B1 level in English:

  1. Can understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc.
  2. Can deal with most situations likely to arise whilst travelling in an area where the language is spoken.
  3. Can produce simple connected text on topics which are familiar or of personal interest.
  4. Can describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes and ambitions and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans.

B1 level English skills in detail

The official can-do statements are broken down into smaller chunks 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 B1 level in English will be able to do all the things that a student in level A2 can do, and in addition he will be able to:

  • discuss your personal and professional hopes and dreams for the future.
  • arrange a job interview and interview for a job in your area of expertise.
  • talk about your television viewing habits and favorite programs.
  • describe your education and your plans for future training.
  • talk about your favorite music and music trends and plan a night out to listen to live music.
  • talk about maintaining a healthy lifestyle and give and get advice about healthy habits.
  • talk about relationships and dating, including meeting people through social media.
  • go to a restaurant, order food, engage in polite dinner conversation and pay for your food.
  • participate in negotiations in your area of expertise, if you have help understanding some points.
  • discuss workplace safety issues, report an injury and explain rules and regulations.
  • discuss polite behavior and respond appropriately to impolite behavior.

Although progress will depend on the type of course and the individual student, students can expect to reach the B1 level in English with 400 hours of cumulative instruction.

What's next?

Learn about the B2 English level and what can be accomplished when the upper intermediate level is achieved.

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