How long you need to progress through the CEFR levels depends on many different factors. This means there is no ‘magic number’ of hours to determine when you will move from one level to the next.

This is different for every learner, depending on:

  • Your language learning background: previous language learning experience can be an advantage. How closely related your native language is to the target language can also play a role.
  • The regularity and intensity of your study (short, frequent study sessions are best)
  • How often you are able to practice and apply the new language skills you’re studying
  • The amount of study/exposure outside of lesson times

Cambridge English and ALTE (The Association of Language Testers of Europe) offer a guideline of 200 guided learning hours to progress from one level to the next:

Whilst it is difficult to measure the time required to attain a language level, these estimates clearly demonstrate that the higher you get, the tougher it becomes.

Learning a language is not like climbing a staircase, with each step posing the same challenge. It’s more like climbing a mountain: it gets harder the higher you climb.

  • It takes more time to progress from B1 to B2 than, for example, from A1 to A2
  • As you progress with the language, you require an increasingly broad range of language knowledge and competencies
  • Beyond B1 level, language learners often reach a linguistic plateau. This doesn’t mean that learning stops, but it slows down as you begin to learn more complex structures and sophisticated language.

As you need more time to move onwards and upwards and to demonstrate your abilities at the corresponding levels during assessments we divide the CEFR levels from B1 – C2 levels into sub-levels to ensure that every learner spends enough time acquiring the skills needed at each level before progressing to the next one.

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