The graph below shows the average number of study weeks necessary to obtain the desired level. Please note that this guide is approximate and your progress will depend on a number of factors including your commitment to practicing the language outside of class, how much you converse with locals, as well as your natural aptitude for languages.
In theory, the student has no knowledge of the target language. There are two types of beginners:
Absolute beginners, who have had no previous contact at all with the language in question.
False beginners, who have studied the language in the past or have been exposed to it passively.
Elementary level (A1*)
The student can interact in a very simple fashion and produces incomplete sentences, lacking real grammatical content. He/she understands basic instructions and phrases used in specific contexts.
Upper-elementary level (A2*)
The student is able to exchange simple information by using vocabulary that is normally taught in school. He/she can write basic sentences and understands expressions related to relevant topics.
Lower-intermediate level (A2-B1*)
The student is able to read and write very simple texts and can successfully hold a basic conversation about matters that are of personal interest or familiar. He/she gets the general message of what is being said, but normally has difficulties understanding the nuances of the message.
Intermediate level (B1-B2*)
The student can interact quite spontaneously, but often struggles with vocabulary and grammar. He/she is able to understand the main points of a complex text.
Upper-intermediate level (B2*)
The student is able to interact fluently with native speakers. Despite making some grammar and spelling mistakes, he/she can communicate effectively and understands everyday language. His/her level is high enough to use in professional contexts.
Advanced level (C1*)
The student can produce an elaborate discourse and successfully communicate in professional, academic and social contexts. He/she understands practically everything, including idioms.
Proficiency level (C2*)
The student masters the language in question perfectly and can understand practically anything. In fact, his/her command of the language and grammar knowledge is often higher than that of a native speaker. To reach this level, the student usually needs to spend an extended period of time abroad.
*Common European Framework of Reference for Languages