English level C1 is the fifth level of English in the Common European Framework of Reference, a definition of different language levels written by the Council of Europe. In everyday speech, this level might be called “advanced”, and that is the official level descriptor for this level as well, also used by EF SET. At this level, students can function independently and with a great deal of precision on a wide variety of subjects and in almost any setting without any prior preparation.

At this level you can understand Lengthy speech on abstract topics with relative ease, Longer texts and their implicit meaning, and details in complex texts, even if not relating to your own specialty

What can you do with a C1 level in English?

A C1 level of English allows for a full range of functionality at work or in an academic setting. The C1 level would allow for full autonomy in a native English-speaking country.

According to the official CEFR guidelines, someone at the C1 level in English

  • Can understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts, and recognize implicit meaning.
  • Can express ideas 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.

C1 level English skills in detail

The official can-do statements are broken down into smaller chunks for teaching purposes. This more detailed skill breakdown can help you assess your own English level, or help a teacher assess a student’s level. For example, a student at the C1 level in English will be able to do all the things that a student in level B2 can do, and in addition he will be able to:

  1. discuss in detail issues related to success, including building a motivated, successful team.
  2. talk in some detail about your favorite paintings and the architecture of buildings that you like.
  3. discuss societal problems, possible solutions for problems and what role corporations can play.
  4. participate in discussions about conservation, sustainability and habitat protection.
  5. talk about events and issues in the news and how they affect people and companies.
  6. talk about risks in life, including changing jobs and doing dangerous sports.
  7. compare and contrast various forms of education and individual schools.
  8. discuss various types of humor, including subtle forms like sarcasm.
  9. understand various communication styles, including direct, indirect, formal and informal.
  10. discuss issues related to your quality of life, including work-life balance and home environment.
  11. understand and discuss issues related to ethics, like civil disobedience.

Although progress will depend on the type of course and the individual student, students can expect to reach the C1 level in English with 800 hours of cumulative instruction.

Learning English is a continuous process and even at an advanced level, there’s always something new to learn. Using your English daily will ensure you develop your advanced English and maintain your fluency. Whether you are selling your company’s products, negotiating a business deal, or hosting an event in English, set goals for yourself, and use that as motivation to add value to your already fluent English.

Here is some advice for achieving and maintaining an advanced level and becoming fluent in English:

Keep in mind that within the English language, there are many accents – American English, British English, Australian English, Indian English, etc. To improve your fluent English, challenge yourself by exposing your ear to a wide range of English accents. Better yet, spend time in an unfamiliar English-speaking country. Put yourself in social, academic, or work situations where only English is spoken and do your best to pick up every word and every nuance.

Immerse yourself in advanced English. Watch movies and TV and listen to the radio from many different countries without subtitles. Make phone calls in English. Meet and spend time with English speaking friends and colleagues. Jump into professional conversations rather than sitting in the back row.

Listen carefully and try to get more than the basic meaning. If you listen carefully to fluent English speakers—to the way humor is expressed, to the way they share their frustrations—and start to tune in to the nuances used by those who know fluent English, you’ll find your advanced English mastery broadening every day.

Even if you think you’re at an advanced level, continue to assess your advanced English by taking the EF SET. The test measures all levels from beginner to fluent, and it is an accurate way to check your English level.

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