European Youth Portal
Information and opportunities for young people across Europe.

How to prove your knowledge of a foreign language

Learning languages enriches your cultural awareness and broadens your mind, but it can also enhance your CV if you get your learning certified. Find out which certificates are more widely accepted and how you can get them.

What is the CEFR?


The Common European Framework of Reference for languages (CEFR) (teaching, learning, assessment) was created to provide a basis for the foreign language proficiency. It is used in Europe but also in other continents and is available in 39 languages.


This reference framework grades language proficiency on six different levels; the official language examinations are also based on these:

  • A1 and A2 – Basic level
  • B1 and B2 – Intermediate level
  • C1 and C2 – Advanced level


Proving your knowledge


You can take an exam to prove your language knlowedge in almost every language: the language certifications are very appreciated by employers and requested by most of the Universities when it comes to studying abroad (usually at least a B2 level is required).


You can check the official language institute of the language you are interested in. For example, the British Council for English, Institut Francais for French or Instituto Cervantes for Spanish are only some of them. In these institutions you will find out which certificates you can obtain, the structure of the exams, the fees and when the examinations take place.


To do your best in the exam, you should focus on the preparation of every single part. Some people take a specific course, but do not worry if you do not have the time or the financial resources: there are different ways to prepare and test your knowledge for the exams on your own.


The Europass Language Passport


Did you spend a period abroad and can understand a foreign language, but you cannot write it? The Europass Language Passport is not an official document but it can include competences gained either inside or outside formal education. Through the Common European Framework of Reference, you can present your language proficiency here in a clear way, which is also comparable at international level.