Roshan Sunthar

updated on 15-03-2023


CEFR Level IELTS - A Score Comparison

CEFR Level IELTS - A Score Comparison

Employers, organisations and teachers worldwide use CEFR Level IELTS scores to compare a student’s language skills and scores with CEFR. Common European Framework for Reference of Language (CEFR) is an international standard framework describing a student's language ability using a six-point scale ranging from A1 (beginners) to C2 (advanced), with IELTS scores ranging 0 (zero) to 9 (nine). IELTS in CEFR scale measures foreign language learners' proficiency at different levels. This post discusses CEFR Level IELTS comparison and how to interpret and overlap, which can be useful for you.

Download IELTS and the CEFR scores comparison PDF

How to Compare CEFR with IELTS Scores?

Refer to the table below to know the comparison between CEFR and IELTS scores.

CEFR Level Language Proficiency Corresponding IELTS Band Score
C2 Expert User 8.5 - 9.0
C1 Very Good User 8.0
Good User 7.0 - 7.5
B2 Competent User 6.0 - 6.5
Modest User 5.0 - 5.5
B1 Limited User 4.0 - 4.5
A2 Extremely Limited User 3.0
A1 Intermittent User 2.0
Non - User 1.0
Result Availability (maximum) 13 working days
Score Validity 2 Years

Why Compare CEFR with IELTS?

If you’re planning to study in European universities, then you must compare CEFR with IELTS. Here’s why:

  • CEFR level uses more standardised scales to determine fluency in the English language.
  • In Europe, teachers, examiners and students compare language skills and scores from tests and qualifications with CEFR. 
  • Since schools, colleges & universities find difficulty in measuring a student’s language proficiency based on the IELTS band (eg. 8.0 - 8.5), they interpret IELTS scores to CEFR levels.
  • Companies and other organisations prefer CEFR-level IELTS scores to measure a candidate’s language fluency. 
  • As the IELTS 7.5 band score equates to the C1 level, and the 4.5 band score equates to the B1 level in the CEFR, IELTS users may know how much in IELTS will lead to achieving B1, B2 or above in CEFR.
  • CEFR level IELTS scores comparison eliminates vague terms like “Basic,” “Intermediate,” and “Advanced” with the help of accurate indicators.
  • Since CEFR stands for reflection, communication and empowerment, they convert IELTS scores recorded in the Test Report Form into the CEFR levels using a simple process. 

What is the CEFR Level?

CEFR level is a scale with six points (A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2) ranging from A1 (basic fluency) to C2 (native-fluency level). It’s developed to replace the old way of describing language ability, like “beginner,” “intermediate,” and “advanced.” Teachers & learners across Europe use CEFR levels to interpret and compare different language proficiency levels with more reliable indicators. In addition, CEFR converts TOEFL and PTE scores.

The CEFR English test is a popularly acknowledged language standard initiated by the Council of Europe in the 1990s to help anyone involved in language teaching and testing. Companies and educational institutions use CEFR to compare language qualifications to other exams in their country. Since CEFR level IELTS is different from others, Cambridge Assessment English (CAE) mapped the correlation between IELTS band scores and CEFR fluency levels.

The main objectives of the CEFR test are as follows:

  1. Based on the learner’s needs, interests, and age group, CEFR helps in defining the can-do statements and positive descriptors.
  2. It helps in enhancing the standardised assessment, teaching and learning processes.
  3. It helps to compare various certifications, such as Linguaskill and IELTS.
  4. It helps an individual back the continued development and progress in language learning. 
  5. It ensures more standardised scales for determining fluency in languages. 


What is the IELTS Band Score?

IELTS (International English Language Test System) is an international standardised test with four sections: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. Non-native English speakers take this test to prove their language proficiency. Scores obtained out of 40 are converted to the band scale of 0 (zero) to 9 (nine). This IELTS score validity is for up to 2 years.

The IELTS Band score and their respective skill levels are the following:

  • 9 - Expert user
  • 8 - Very good user
  • 7 - Good user
  • 6 - Competent user
  • 5 - Modest user
  • 4 - Limited user
  • 3 - Extremely limited user
  • 2 - Intermittent user
  • 1 - Non-user
  • 0 - Did not attempt the test

Note: The overall band score is calculated to the closest half or whole band. If the average score of listening, reading, writing and speaking modules ends in .25, it’s rounded to the next half band. Likewise, if the average score ends in .75, it’s rounded to the nearest full band. 

 Also Read:

Key Notes on Overlapping

By now, you would notice that some IELTS scores overlap on two scores of the CEFR chart. For instance, the IELTS band 6.5 is between B2 and C1 of CEFR. It indicates that when certain applicants have a band score of 6.5, some might fall under the C1 level, while others might have B2 level fluency based on their skills. However, the interpretation of scores varies depending on the expectations set by various universities. So, a top-tier university with high expectations always assigns C1 to band 7 rather than 6.5. Hence you are advised to double-check the university’s minimum language requirements and prepare accordingly.


Students who want to move to Europe to study or work must know everything about CEFR level IELTS. CEFR level is an international framework that describes language proficiency. CEFR interprets IELTS scores through a six-point scale. The CEFR is not linked to any specific language test but has many can-do statements associated with a list of functions. With that said, plan your IELTS preparation based on this CEFR-level IELTS score interpretation and start your journey. For specific information, visit our FAQs given below.  


1. Is 6.5 IELTS B2 or C1?

The IELTS score 6.5 is bordering B2/C1. However, the actual level of language performance given in the result has not changed. 

2. What CEFR level is IELTS 7?

The IELTS band score 7 is equivalent to C1 in CEFR level. 

3. What is CEFR for 7.5 IELTS score?

As a rule of thumb, the IELTS score 7.5 is equivalent to the C1 level in the CEFR.

4. What is CEFR level in IELTS B2?

The B2 in CEFR level is equivalent to upper intermediate in IELTS. This means that “I am a confident English speaker.”

5. Is IELTS 7 B2 or C1?

According to the CEFR level IELTS conversion chart, a band score 7 is equivalent to B2. 

6. Is CEFR level C1 good in IELTS?

CEFR level C1 is equivalent to 6.5 or 7 band score of IELTS. Hence, it is good. Similarly, candidates with a C1 Advanced grade C, scored between 180 and 192 on the Cambridge English Scale, are at Level C1 of the CEFR.

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