Our school will place you in a group at an appropriate level. On your first day at school, you will be given a test in grammar, writing, listening and speaking and you will join your class the next day. If you find it too easy or too difficult, it is normally not a problem to change up or down a level.
Here are some fundamentals to help you decide which level to choose when making a booking:
Beginner - No prior knowledge of the language.
Elementary - Basic knowledge such as counting, reciting the alphabet, introducing yourself, asking and answering simple questions.
Intermediate - Able to use the language on a day to day basis but with limited vocabulary and not familiar with advanced grammatical points.
Advanced - Good knowledge of the language with broad vocabulary and able to use the language at a high level making few mistakes.
Of course, it's quite possible to be one level in your grammar and writing, and quite another in your fluency or listening. If that is the case, you will be put in a class that helps you concentrate on the areas that need it most.
There is The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) which is adopted by many of language schools. The CEFR divides language learners into three broad groups which can then be further divided into six levels.
A Basic User
· A1 Breakthrough
· A2 Waystage
B Independent User
· B1 Threshold
· B2 Vantage
C Proficient User
· C1 Effective Operational Proficiency
· C2 Mastery
A1 - Can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very basic phrases aimed at the satisfaction of needs of a concrete type. Can introduce him/herself and others and can ask and answer questions about personal details such as where he/she lives, people he/she knows and things he/she has. Can interact in a simple way provided the other person talks slowly and clearly and is prepared to help.
A2 - Can understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to areas of most immediate relevance (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography, employment). Can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters. Can describe in simple terms aspects of his/her background, immediate environment and matters in areas of immediate need.
B1 - Can understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc. Can deal with most situations likely to arise whilst travelling in an area where the language is spoken. Can produce simple connected text on topics which are familiar or of personal interest. Can describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes & ambitions and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans.
B2 - Can understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in his/her field of specialization. Can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible without strain for either party. Can produce clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects and explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options
C1 - Can understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts, and recognize implicit meaning. Can express him/herself fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions. Can use language flexibly and effectively for social, academic and professional purposes. Can produce clear, well-structured, detailed text on complex subjects, showing controlled use of organizational patterns, connectors and cohesive devices.
C2 - Can understand with ease virtually everything heard or read. Can summarize information from different spoken and written sources, reconstructing arguments and accounts in a coherent presentation. Can express him/herself spontaneously, very fluently and precisely, differentiating finer shades of meaning even in the most complex situations
The CEFR gives a great basis, with guidelines that describe what the language learner should be able to achieve in reading, listening, speaking and writing at each level.
Many schools break this guideline up further, to accommodate more transitional levels. It is not uncommon to have 9 or even 12 levels and therefore classes so students are taught in the most suitable group for the level they are at. Some of the schools will have two or three classes running at the same time and of the same level, to keep class sizes to the specified size.