What will I learn at each level of English?

If you're thinking about learning English, you've probably noticed that the process is divided into levels, ranging from beginner to post-advanced. This can be a little strange for many students who are just starting to learn English. What topics are addressed at each level? Why is following a topic guide so important?

 In this article, we're going to answer all these questions.

Why is English divided into levels?

English teaching is divided into levels to facilitate students' knowledge and assessment. It follows the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), which is the most widely used system in the world for defining levels of English proficiency, whether for academic or professional purposes.

 It is precisely this standard that ensures that you learn the course content progressively, systematically, efficiently and achieve your language goals. The international system defines the levels of study of a foreign language, from beginner to post-advanced, and serves as a guide for students, teachers and educational institutions, as it establishes the objectives and content of each level. In other words, it makes it possible for all English learners to have access to the same level of instruction, to be assessed fairly and to monitor their learning progress.

The CEFR is made up of six main skill areas that students must develop: reading comprehension, listening comprehension, written production, oral production, oral interaction and sociocultural competence. To facilitate the development of these skills, the teaching system divides learning into categories, ranging from A1 (beginner) to C2 (post-advanced).

In addition, it provides guidance on the English content that should be covered at each level, which also makes it easier to take English language proficiency exams such as TOEFL, IELTS, among other types of programs. Following this topic guide is also important so that students don't feel lost or overwhelmed by the amount of information in the course.

What content is covered at each level of English?

Now that you know the importance of following a well-defined itinerary, it's time to find out what English content is studied at each level. We've listed the main ones below.

Beginner (A1)

The beginner level is the student's first contact with the language. At this level, students learn to read and speak in simple, everyday situations, using short sentences and basic vocabulary. Subjects covered include greetings, numbers, colors, days of the week, months, seasons, family, professions, hobbies, routine, time, weather, food, clothes, places and directions.

By the end of this level, students should be able to greet other people, formulate basic everyday phrases, answer personal questions and interact with people they know. To do this, they must learn:

  • Alphabet and numbers in English;

  • Definite and indefinite articles;

  • Greetings and personal introductions;

  • Personal, possessive and demonstrative pronouns;

  • The verb to be;

  • Present, past and future modes;

  • Regular verbs;

  • Adjectives and more.

Basic (A2)

The basic level is a continuation of the beginner level and prepares the student for slightly more complex challenges. Subjects covered include travel, shopping, health, work, studies, sports, culture, the environment and technology, for example.

At the end of this level, the student will be able to communicate with other people - in short - about simple everyday situations, because they will have learned:

  • Adverbs of mood, time and place;

  • More regular verbs;

  • Interrogative and reflexive pronouns;

  • Variations of the verb to be;

  • Comparative and superlative adjectives;

  • The formation and order of questions in English;

  • Quantifiers (much/many/a lot of);

  • Basic vocabulary words and phrases related to topics such as work, school, hobbies, travel, etc.

Intermediate (B1)

The intermediate level, on the other hand, marks the beginning of linguistic independence. At this level, the student is able to interact with English speakers on familiar subjects and can use this knowledge to read and formulate simple reports, take part in online meetings and write about their interests.

The subjects covered include reading comprehension and exercises on education, work, leisure, relationships, international travel, global culture and more.

Check out the English content for B1 level:

  • Modal verbs (can, could, may, might etc.);

  • The simple future with will and with going to;

  • Irregular verbs;

  • If-clauses

  • Simple past (verb to be and there is - there are);

  • The most common phrasal verbs;

  • Indirect speech in the present, past and simple future etc.

Post-intermediate (B2)

The post-intermediate level is the refinement of all the previous content. Here, students improve their communicative competence and their accuracy when using English. At the end of this level, they are able to take part in discussions and debates on a variety of topics, understand longer and more complex texts and audios.

The English subjects covered include society, politics, economics, science, art, literature, among others. As for grammar, English courses generally cover reading and exercises on the following topics:

  • The continuous perfect past and the continuous perfect future;

  • The passive voice in the other verb tenses;

  • Indirect speech with a change of tenses;

  • More conditional clauses (including the third type);

  • Modal verbs of deduction, obligation, permission and advice (may, might, must, have to, should, would, among others);

  • The more complex or less frequent phrasal verbs;

  • Formation and use of nouns and compound verbs etc.

Advanced (C1)

In practice, the C1 level prepares students to formulate more complex, sophisticated and lengthy discourses, as well as to express and understand nuances of meaning (implicit meanings). Subjects covered include philosophy, psychology, history, culture, etc.

At the advanced level, the student must learn:

  • Verb tenses and moods to express and recognize nuances of meaning;

  • Conditional clauses and phrasal verbs to express and recognize implicit meanings;

  • Using connectives to express logical relationships between ideas;

  • Use of prefixes and suffixes in word formation;

  • Conditional tense in the past;

  • Use of idioms and proverbs;

  • Use of formal and informal language in different contexts;

  • Mastery of direct and indirect speech;

  • The sophisticated vocabulary of subjects such as science, art, philosophy, etc.

Post-advanced (C2)

Finally, we have the post-advanced level, i.e. excellence in the language. At the end of this level, the student should be able to read, speak and produce texts of different genres and styles, and understand all the language spoken quickly, as if it were their native language.

But what content is covered at this level? In this case, the subjects include any content of personal or professional interest to the student. The grammar part involves reading and exercises focused on:

  • Review and consolidation of all previous topics;

Exploring more advanced aspects of the language, such as collocations, phrasal verbs and more.

The importance of learning English with a school that understands the subject

Nowadays, studying English is an essential skill for personal and professional development. After all, it is the most widely spoken language in the world and the official language of many countries and international organizations. Mastering English therefore opens the door to study, work, travel and leisure opportunities all over the world.

However, learning English is not an easy task. In fact, you need to develop the four communicative skills (speaking, listening, reading and writing), broaden your cultural repertoire and your critical sense. To do this, it is essential to have a school that understands the subject and offers quality, personalized and effective teaching.

EF English Live is the world's largest online English school, with more than 20 years' experience in teaching the language and more than 20 million students worldwide. The school offers English courses for all levels and ages, through an interactive platform with hundreds of video, audio and text lessons, as well as practice exercises and online tests.

With EF English Live, you learn English at your own pace, at your own time, in the place you prefer and respecting your level of knowledge. What's more, you study English with the support of qualified, native-speaking teachers and have access to live classes, constant feedback and internationally recognized certificates.

And you can also take part in group or private classes, depending on your level of content and interest, to interact with other students from all over the world and practice the language even more. Don't waste time and start studying English with EF English Live today.