Chartered Institute
of Linguists

CIOL Language Level Assessments

CIOL's Language Level Assessments are for adults (over the age of 18) who want to prove to themselves or to employers their current standard of speaking skills in a wide range of languages, including Spanish, French, Italian and German and also a wide range of UK Home, Heritage and Community languages such as Arabic, Cantonese and Mandarin Chinese, Polish, Portuguese, Urdu, Yoruba and many more languages from all around the world.

If you are interested in testing your English visit the Certified English pages.

CIOL Language Level Assessments assess your spoken language skills against the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) and CIOL's Language Level Frameworks. In so doing they enable you to both better understand and demonstrate your current level of spoken fluency in your languages.  

Watch this short YouTube video for a run through of how Language Level Assessments work, click here or on the image below.



Knowing your language level can unlock greater confidence and career and life opportunities. You yourself, employers and other interested parties will be better able to understand where and to what degree you may be able to take on additional roles such as meeting and greeting, presenting, public speaking and negotiation, dealing with stakeholders, partners and clients and international representation and liaison, all of which depend on communication skills in other languages. 

    What are CIOL Language Level Assessments?

    Your speaking skills in a second language will be assessed with the focus on an oral interaction, which is so important for interpersonal communication, and a foundational social skill, which demonstrates the ability to initiate dialogue, manage different topics in a conversation, speak directly and convey relevant information.


    Language Level Assessments provide those with a second or other languages a more formal means to achieve recognition and certification of their language skills through the UK’s international Chartered body for linguists. Candidates will be assessed according to the Common European Framework for Languages (CEFR) and receive a certificate which confirms their level of attainment. 

    How do they work?

    Based on CIOL's extensive language assessment activities, we believe the surest way to gauge speaking skills is with an expert language assessor, who can evaluate how you speak, listen, engage and react - as you would in a real life, professional or working situation.

    CIOL Language Level Assessments assess your speaking and communicative skills in a realistic context, so you can be confident that your language level will be accurately assessed. There are no multiple choice questions based on a recording or video, and your speaking skills will not be assessed through AI or recorded messages. This is an assessment of human-to-human interaction, so the level confirmed by the assessor will accurately reflect your current speaking skill level to any employer, client, partner or stakeholder, which could lead to enhanced career prospects in an international setting.

    Language Level Assessments can also be used as a useful diagnostic tool to ascertain how much further learning time and input is required, if your assessed skills do not meet your needs and expectations.

    Who are they for?

    Language Level Assessments are for over 18 year olds who have some level of spoken language and want to assess their speaking skills in that language for themselves or to demonstrate their aptitude to others, such as employers.

    Language levels are assessed against the CEFR with particular reference to the standards for spoken production

    CEFR C1+ or CIOL Professional Level 

    At the highest level of speaking skills, you would be demonstrating a level of spoken language use which evidences the ability to: 

    • Communicate with ease in professional, business or academic settings

    • Confidently participate in workplace meetings and discussions

    • Articulate complex ideas clearly when speaking or presenting

    At this level, the equivalent of C1 or above according to the CEFR, you would be demonstrating language at the CIOL professional level. 

    CEFR B2 or CIOL Working Level

    If you demonstrate the ability to: 

    • Express opinions and present arguments effectively in one-to-one communication

    • Respond effectively to most requests for explanation and questions from others
    • Participate actively and effectively in meetings, conveying your intended message

    You will be achieving the equivalent of B2 according to the CEFR, and meeting the CIOL working level of language.

    Other Levels 

    If you do not meet these higher 'professional' and 'working level' standards you may still have useful, although more limited spoken language skills, notably if you achieve B1 in spoken language use, according to the CEFR as set out in CIOL's Basic to Independent language skills. 

    However, to avoid any disappointment, you may prefer to work on and practice with your languages some more, unless you feel reasonably confident of meeting the descriptors for the B1 standard as above.

    We are, though, very happy to assess you at beginner levels if that is your choice.  

    Who, What and Why? 

    CIOL is the UK's Royal Charter professional body for linguists. As such, Language Level Assessments:

    • Are only available for those who are 18 years or over.
    • Are not intended for speakers of their first language, they are designed for bilingual, multilingual and speakers of a second or additional language.  
    • Are not valid as an immigration test or a test for international university entry, they are an assessment of a level of language speaking skills to inform career choices and more confident language use in working contexts.