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Language levels and consultation

Ever wonder what language levels like A1 and B2 actually mean? This page will explain what the levels mean and how you can determine your own language level.

Levels explained

Each of our language courses comes with a starting level, and sometimes an attainment level. We use the language levels as set out in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), an international standard for language levels:

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The starting level and attainment level are indicated in the title of each course. For example, the title Dutch A1>A2 means that the course starts at level A1 and that during the course, you will work towards the attainment level A2. We also work with sublevels: for example, the level between A1 and A2 is referred to as A1/A2.

These language levels apply to all four skills: reading, speaking, listening, and writing. You will have attained a level once you score sufficient marks for all of these skills.

Explanation of all skills per level


Complete beginner.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • Can understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in his/her field of specialisation.
  • 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.


  • Can understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts, and recognise 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 organisational patterns, connectors and cohesive devices.

What is my level?

Wondering which language level you have reached? There are a number of tests you can take online to determine your level. You can also attend a free consultation with a teacher at the Language Centre, which will result in a personal advice on your language level. This consultation is compulsory for some courses. This is indicated on the course pages.

Assessing your own level

Plan a consultation


A consultation is compulsory for our Dutch courses. You will not be able to register for a course if you have not received an advice. This means that, if you have not previously followed a Dutch course with us, you will always have to attend a consultation first. An advice is valid for one year. If you received an advice from us more than a year ago, you will have to attend a new consultation.

The consultation will result in a binding advice from a teacher. This advice will be immediately recorded in our system, so that you can then register for a course at your level. You cannot register for a level that is higher than the level advised.

Three exceptions apply to the consultation requirement.

A Dutch language level consultation is not required in the following cases

  • Students and staff members of the UG can directly register for beginners’ courses in Dutch (starting level 0).
  • Students of the Hanze University of Applied Sciences or Windesheim University of Applied Sciences can directly register for beginners’ courses in Dutch (starting level 0).
  • If you would like to follow a Dutch course as part of your civic integration process, please register for the Study Skills Test first.
Civic integration

Are you an asylum migrant and would you like to follow a Dutch course at the Language Centre? Or are you a family migrant or are you going to do the course voluntarily and would you like to pay for the course by means of a DUO loan? Please register for the Study Skills Test first.

If you are an asylum migrant or family migrant and you fall under the scope of the new Civic Integration Act – please see the letter titled Notification of Civic Integration Requirement: Wi2021 – it is also important:

  • that your contact person of the municipality you live in gives you permission to follow a course at the Language Centre,
  • that you have a civic integration and participation plan (PIP, Plan Inburgering en Participatie),
  • that you follow the B1 path (we are not allowed to accept participants from the Educational path).

Please check this before you register for the Study Skills Test.

Study Skills Test

The Study Skills Test is a short test that provides information about the speed with which you are able to learn a language. The test will assess the skills that make learning a language easier. It will not test your Dutch language skills, so it does not matter whether you already speak Dutch or not.

The test will be done on the computer. At the start of the test, you will receive instructions from one of our staff members in English and Dutch. You will have to do the test completely independently, of course, and without any resources. The explanation included in the test is available in many languages. The test is held roughly once every two weeks, in a group setting.

Within two business days after completing the test, you will receive an email with your test result. There are three options:

  • If you score 15 or more points out of the maximum 25, it is very likely that a Language Centre course is suitable for you. We will then invite you to do an online intake interview with a teacher.
  • If you score somewhere between 11 to 14 points, our courses are probably too high-paced for you. We will still invite you to do an online intake interview with a teacher, because sometimes it is still possible to do a course with us.
  • If you score 10 points or less, a course at a lower pace at a different language institute is probably a better fit for you. In that case, you will not be able to book an appointment for an intake interview at the Language Centre and will not do a course with us.

If you have been given permission to book an online intake interview, you can pick a day and time of your choosing on our website. Usually, the interview can take place within five business days. During the intake interview, you will talk to a teacher about your background, your experience with learning new languages, your current situation, and your plans in the Netherlands. At the end of this interview, the teacher will decide whether you can start with a course at the Language Centre and, if so, at what level. After that, you can register for a course at the Language Centre via our website, provided there is enough space.

The advice you receive after the Study Skills Test is binding. You are not allowed to do this test more than once.

Pronunciation (for our Dutch pronunciation course and Voice coaching)

If you want to register for one of the following courses, please make an appointment for a speech therapy consultation:

Consultations are held online and by appointment only. They are free of charge. During the consultation, we will discuss your wishes and see what we can do for you.


This consultation is meant for students who want to take the C-test.

Before you are permitted to take the test, you must make an appointment to have a short conversation with a teacher. Make an appointment by sending an email to our Support Office for the Dutch section: Mention explicitly that you would like to make an appointment to discuss the C-test.

The teacher will contact you to initiate a short conversation on your linguistic background. During this conversation, the teacher will determine whether you are eligible for the C-test. If this does not appear to be the case, the teacher will refer you to the State Examination in Dutch as a Second Language (NT2) or to the Certificate for Dutch as a Foreign Language (CNaVT) tests. If you are eligible for the C-test, the teacher will make an appointment with you regarding the test date. After the conversation, you will receive an email stating the teacher’s official recommendation. You can use this to register and pay online.


General and specific skills courses

If you would like to register for a general or specific English skills course, but you are not sure which level you are at, please feel free to plan a consultation. This is a brief online conversation with a teacher that will result in a personal advice. English language level consultations are not compulsory, with the exception of the English for healthy ageing course.

Academic writing skills course

If you want to register for English academic writing skills, you will be asked to submit a text that you have written in order to assess your starting level. This intake assessment is compulsory. More information about the texts you should submit can be found in the form.

Modern foreign languages

Modern foreign languages consultations are available for the following languages: Arabic, Chinese, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese and Spanish. You will have a brief conversation with a teacher that will result in a personal advice.

These consultations are not compulsory. For beginners' courses with starting level 0, there is no need to book an appointment as your level does not need to be assessed.

Last modified:12 June 2024 4.52 p.m.
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