What is my language level?

You want to enrol on a modern language course and are not sure about your language level. The notes below offer guidance to help you make the right decision.

Our courses put the emphasis on speaking, listening and improving understanding. There are five levels to help you progress:

  • Beginner
  • Beginner 2
  • Post Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced 

Read below for details of the levels. For more information about which level of course to enrol for, refer to the detailed course description on the website.

Beginner Level

Most beginners already know a few words or phrases of the language they are interested in but have no knowledge of how that language works. You may not know how to ask questions or know how to answer them. You may not know anything about pronunciation and are not able to read the language in any meaningful way.

If you recognise yourself in that description then beginner level is for you. If you do not know how to use the word bonjour in French or ciao in Italian, beginner level is for you.

Beginner 2 Level

Beginner 2 courses are usually offered in our January programme. They are essentially the second part of a ten week beginner level course, building on what has already been learned in courses which have come to an end in our previous term.

You should only enrol for a Beginner 2 level course if you already know:

  • basic vocabulary – days of the week, numbers, greetings, common expressions relating to travel, ordering a meal, giving and taking directions
  • common phrases in everyday use
  • how to ask very simple questions and understand simple answers.

Post Beginner Level

Ideally, you should have completed a beginner 2 level course on the Adult Education Programme (AEP). Or you may have spent some time in the country where the target language is spoken, have studied it at school, or picked up many of the essentials of the language through friends whose mother tongue is the language to be studied. What post beginner level students have in common is a basic understanding of the language, but little confidence in their performance and a recognition that they need guidance and practice to progress effectively.

You should only enrol for a Post Beginner level course if you already know:

  • vocabulary relating to everyday situations
  • a range of common phrases and expressions
  • a basic knowledge of the most commonly used grammatical structures

Intermediate Level

If you have lived in the country where the language is spoken, or have studied it in more depth at school it is likely that an intermediate level course is for you. The course concentrates on authentic situations, dialogues and documentary materials such as newspapers and magazines. Tutors will also explain some of the more challenging grammatical structures in common use and generally encourage fluency.

You should only enrol for an intermediate level course if you are:

  • competent in the basics of the language
  • able to sustain simple conversations
  • able to understand simple passages, but not complete, newspaper articles.

Advanced Level

You should enrol for an advanced level course if you are fluent in the language but would like to practise, maintain and develop your fluency.

Community Learning

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