Studying in the UK

Language Levels

The ability to communicate effectively in English is a key factor for us at St George International and the English language level chart helps in many different ways:

Language Levels

It provides objective descriptions of what tasks can be performed at different levels of ability

  • It helps us place you in a class at the right level when you arrive on your first day
  • It helps you assess what you can do in the language at a particular level as opposed to what you know
  • It indicates what examinations are available at what level
  • It helps you define language objectives that you can aim for

Please note that some of our study programmes demand minimum levels of competence in English - the key in Language Level Chart indicates which courses may be taken at which levels. It is important that we determine your level of English before you enrol.


Minimum levels

  • General English groups: minimum level: from Elementary-Advanced
  • Business English: minimum level: from Intermediate-Advanced
  • IELTS courses: minimum level: from Intermediate-Advanced
  • University Foundation course: from Intermediate-Advanced
  • Private Tuition: minimum level: from Beginner-Advanced
  • Cambridge First Certificate (FCE): from Upper Intermediate-Advanced
  • Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE): Advanced

View the SGI language level chart

The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning Teaching Assessment (CEFR) is an EU system which acts as a guideline to help learners and teachers of foreign languages in Europe to understand language levels, knowledge and communication abilities. The six levels from the lowest A1 up to the highest C2 are widely accepted as the standard way of grading an individual student’s proficiency with using a foreign language, other than their mother tongue language. The CEFR levels closely match the scoring system of the SGI online English test results table.
The Common European Framework describes learners in this lowest division as a ‘Basic User’. This means that a student at this level has very little knowledge of English, or has extreme difficulty in communicating their ideas in the foreign language. A student at A1 or A2 has typically only just recently started learning the foreign language and lesson content will be dominated by simple communication activities such as describing your friends and family and daily activities.
The ‘Independent User’ (CEFR Division description) has progressed beyond the most simple levels of foreign language communication and can now form more complex sentences and be able to interact more confidently. There is still a lot of improvement to be made and several frequent communication errors will be present due to interference and translation attempts from the mother tongue. At the intermediate language level there is a lot of vocabulary and grammar to be absorbed as the student has surpassed the most basic elements of speaking in English and wishes to have the ability to express more complex opinions and ideas.
Advanced English students are categorised as ‘Proficient Users’ in the CEFR descriptors. Learners at this stage will typically have spent many years studying and practising the language to be able to communicate very confidently with perhaps only an occasional minor grammar error or vocabulary difficulty. Reading authentic newspaper articles or watching TV and films in English will not be a problem for a proficient user. In fact, when someone is a strong C2 foreign language speaker, the only clue as to them not being a mother tongue speaker may be their slight foreign accent that is still noticeable.