Skills and language levels

Competences tested by the CLES

The CLES certifies competences based on Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) language levels and assesses candidates on their current language level.

Spoken interaction is central to obtaining the CLES certification.  Candidates are asked to negotiate and exchange points of view with the aim of reaching a compromise.

In writing, the CLES tests a candidate’s ability to select and summarise information. These skills are notably useful in everyday situations, study or in the world of work.

The quality of the CLES and the skills tested are widely recognized, including by the French government which supports CLES development.

The CLES certifies the following skills :
  • Reading comprehension
  • Listening comprehension
  • Written expression
  • Oral expression
  • Spoken interaction
To obtain the CLES certificate in a given language level, the candidate must validate the level in the five above-mentioned skills e.g. a CLES B2 cannot be awarded if a candidate has a B1 level in written expression, even if they have C1 level in oral comprehension. This ensures that those who pass the CLES have an overall good command of the language.

CLES language levels

The CLES is available in 10 languages and in 3 levels: B1, B2 and C1 as defined by the CEFR.

B1 level

The skills required at level B1 are:
  • Adapt to a new environment abroad
  • Manage your mobility abroad: telephone booking, writing emails, ordering, etc.

B2 level

The skills required at level B1 are:
  • Summarise information and present different points of view
  • Communicate in a real situation in a professional context
  • Interact and negotiate to solve a problem and reach a compromise

C1 level

The skills required at level B1 are:
  • Take part in a specific professional or scientific context
  • Lead a professional or scientific event: teaching, writing a report, etc.
Published on  March 13, 2023
Updated on July 7, 2023