Folks keep telling us that their Spanish is at level A2 or B1 or we see online courses categorised by level. So what does that mean?

In an attempt to standardise language learning across all European languages, the Council of Europe devised the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. This framework categorises a person’s ability in a given language according to one of six levels – A1, A2, B1, B2, C1 and C2, with A1 being at beginner level and C2 at near native level.

The benefit of this framework is that we know what we get. If we take a course that’s advertised as being at level B2 then we know what we can expect to learn in that course and if our CV says we speak Spanish at level B1 then a prospective employer can have a sense of our proficiency.

Click here to open a pdf that gives an overview of each level – you can download it for your records.

Right, so how do you know your own level of Spanish proficiency? The Instituto Cervantes is a worldwide non-profit organization created by the Spanish government in 1991 and it’s the largest organization in the world responsible for promoting the study and teaching of Spanish language and culture.

The Cervantes website ( is a mine of useful information, but it’s in Spanish and the lay-out isn’t very user friendly so here are some links to interesting pages on the site.

SPANISH LEVEL TEST – this online test takes about 30 minutes to complete and will give you an idea of your own level of proficiency. It’s very useful to know this information about ourselves so I strongly recommend that you take the test.

(PS.  I’ve had feedback that the above link doesn’t open on mobile devices so you would have to open this test on a desktop computer or a laptop).

MORE TESTS – Once you’ve completed the test above and you know your level then you can go to this site and do an online test specifically for that level. This page has a treasure trove of DELE practise tests. These are not online tests that do the marking for us, but the answers are given at the end of each section so that we can mark it ourselves. Another batch of online DELE tests.  These ones do the marking for us.

I hope you find as much value in these tests as I have! If you use any of the resources mentioned here then please leave a comment below and tell other readers what you think of them.

In order to make my blog easier to navigate I’ve done a bit of re-organising and you’ll see that most of my posts have now been sorted according to their level and you can navigate to them from the respective ‘level’ tabs on the menu.


Have you ordered your copy of The Cooking Pot – Spanish / English Reader yet?  It’s a brilliant book!

Go to for more information.