It takes approximately 200 guided learning hours for a language learner to progress from one level of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) to the next.
For example, a candidate who has passed B2 First (previously known as Cambridge English: First), at level B2 on the CEFR, might need approximately 200 hours of lessons and supervised study to prepare for the C1 Advanced (previously known as Cambridge English: Advanced), which is aligned to level C1 on the CEFR.
However, there are a number of factors that can affect how long it will take to increase your level of English, including:
- your language learning background
- the intensity of your study
- your age
- the amount of study/exposure outside of lesson times
The table below is sourced from Cambridge , and suggests how many guided learning hours you might need to reach each level of the CEFR. These figures are intended as a guideline only. You may require more or less time and support depending on your own needs.
Common European Framework Guided Learning Hours (from beginner level)
|Cambridge English Exam
|Hours of Instruction
|C2 Proficiency – previously known as Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE)
|C1 Advanced – previously known as Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE)
|B2 First – previously known as Cambridge English: First (FCE)
|B1 Preliminary – previously known as Cambridge English: Preliminary (PET)
|A2 Key – previously known as Cambridge English: Key (KET)
|A1 Starters/Movers – previously known as Cambridge English Starters/Movers (YLE)
Looking at the above table, we can see that an absolute beginner would need 1,000 hours of instruction to reach C2 proficiency. Alternatively, reaching the B2 level, which typically represents English skills that allow the user to be functional and carry out a wide range of tasks, would require 600 hours from start to finish. However, if you’re not an A0, the following table shows how many class hours you would need to move up a level. Essentially, it takes about 200 hours per level.
Number of hours/lessons needed to move up one CEFR level:
|Hours of Instruction
|C1 to C2
|B2 to C1
|B1 to B2
|A2 to B1
|A1 to A2
|A0 to A1