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From A0 to Level 4 - Understanding Stanag and the CEFR

Updated: Mar 21

Whether you learnt English at secondary school or in a private language school, you have probably come across the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages or CEFR. It is a system that standardises all language learning in Europe, from English to Turkish and Italian to Swedish!

Most textbooks for learning languages use this system and you probably know what level you are. It is so popular now that even Cambridge University has adapted its system to suit CEFR.

But have you ever wondered where Stanag 6001 fits into this? If you have a Level 2 certificate for example, how far are you from getting Level 3? As a military language teacher and former military examiner I often get questions about levels 3 and 4 and how difficult they are. Well now we have a definitive document which lays out how Stanag 6001 Proficiency Levels compare to CEFR.

Below is a table taken from the recent regulations of the Polish Central Examinations Board for Foreign Languages (CKEJO MON) which can be downloaded here.

As can be seen from the table, Level 3 starts at B1 and goes into C1 (B2 or 70% needed to pass) with Level 4 being completely in the C2 band. This helps to illustrate the jump that is needed from Level 3 to 4. Level 2 on the other hand is firmly in the B1 band.

Today, most school leavers will have at least B1 in English and so can comfortably move straight onto preparing for the Level 2 exam. But if you are thinking of taking Level 3 or 4 exams and are not able to attend a dedicated course then at least you now have some idea of what preparation you need.

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