How to reach level C1 in English?
We are now in the category of advanced levels, the C levels. The time has come to study the famous C1 level in English : the sacred ground of learners, the long-awaited advanced level. It is not by chance that we call this level autonomous; it is indeed the one that will allow you to do practically everything entirely in English!
What is the C1 level in English?
C1 is the level where you can finally say that you are multilingual in English and that you speak it fluently or fluently. It’s always a bit of a controversial topic because it’s not entirely clear what C1 contains or what it really means to speak a language fluently. For most learners, and according to a large part of the polyglot community, having the C1 level in English will allow you to:
- read long complicated texts without too much difficulty, such as novels , for example;
- listen to English for long periods of time without getting tired;
- begin to understand content that is not directly related to your specialty . Until now, the things to focus on were those that affected us directly, whereas now you will learn and be able to understand information related to other areas. You will enrich your general culture in English!
- you will be able to make presentations and speeches without too much hesitation, if for example you use English in your work;
- enrich your use of oral English : you will start to use idiomatic expressions , more slang , you will be able to make jokes in English (humor and what is funny differs according to culture!). You will be able to distinguish language registers easily and notice small nuances between different ways of expressing the same thing.
And, of course, it will be YOU who talks with the taxi driver about current issues during your stay in an English-speaking country!
What does level C1 in English contain?
According to the CEFR, this is what one should be able to do:
- Understand a wide range of long and demanding texts, as well as grasp implicit meanings.
- Express themselves spontaneously and fluently without seeming to search for words too much.
- Use the language effectively and fluently in their social, professional or academic life.
- Express yourself on complex subjects in a clear and well-structured way and use with ease the elements of organization, articulation and cohesion of speech.
The list of grammatical constructions has been adapted from the British Council and EAQUALS .
Here is the vocabulary needed to reach C1:
|In English||In French|
|Travel and services vocabulary||Vocabulary of services and travel|
|Colloquial language||The familiar language|
|Approximating (vague language)||Express approximations, remain vague|
|Differentiated use of vocabulary||The differentiated use of vocabulary|
|Work and jobs||Work and occupations|
|Books and Literature||books and literature|
|News and current affairs||News and news|
|science and technology||science and technology|
|Technical and legal language||Technical and legal language|
|Formal and informal registers||Formal and informal registers|
Here are the topics that you will need to be able to talk about and that you will need to be able to understand. Keep in mind that there is a good chance that you will be asked to speak about one of these during your speaking test , if you want to obtain a C1 level certificate:
|The individual||The people|
|Ambitions / career building||Career ambitions|
|The individual and the society||The individual in society|
|Problems of social integration||Social integration problems|
|Forms of partnership||The different types of relationships|
|Nationalities / Minorities||Nationalities and minorities|
|The social status of families/the system of family allowances||The social status of the family; the family allowance system|
|Family / career||family and career|
|Place of living||Place of life|
|Housing situation /difficulties of building a house||Habitat; difficulties in building a house|
|Homelessness / its causes / problems||The homeless ; the causes and related problems|
|Housing and mobility||Housing and mobility|
|Problems of city traffic / public transport versus using cars||Traffic problems in the city; public transport vs private car|
|Transport and environmental protection||Transport and environmental protection|
|Tourism as a source of income||Tourism as a source of income|
|Development in transport/its aspects||The evolution of transport; its aspects|
|Consumers’ society||The consumer society|
|Buying on credit / with credit cards / on the Internet||Buy on credit, by bank card, on the Internet|
|shopping tourism||Commercial tourism|
|Communication/keeping in touch||Communicate, keep in touch|
|The Internet in business communication||Internet in business communication|
|Fax, email versus traditional letter writing||Fax and e-mail versus traditional correspondence|
|Less widely used languages versus English||Lesser spoken languages vs English|
|Quality/guarantee of services||Quality of service and guarantees|
|Role, significance of services||The role and importance of services|
|Electronic services/online ordering||Online services; order online|
|Role of arts in the past and present||The role of the arts in the past and today|
|Public collections and their maintenance / art / historic relics / monuments||Public collections and their preservation; art, historical relics, monuments|
|Mentoring / sponsorship / advertising||Patronage, sponsorship, advertising|
|Time/weather||The weather, the seasons|
|Natural disasters and their consequences||Natural disasters and their consequences|
|Hole in the ozone layer/dangers of global warming||The hole in the ozone layer, the dangers of global warming|
How to go from level b2 to c1 in English?
|Science / research serving medical care / genetics||Science, medical research, genetics|
|Alternative methods of healing||Alternative Medicines|
|health tourism||medical tourism|
|First-class sports – mass sports / doping||The most popular sports, mass sports; doping|
|Professionalism in sports / amateur sports / extreme sports||Professional and amateur sport; extreme sports|
|Sport and women (chess, boxing, weightlifting, soccer)||Women in sport (boxing, football, chess, weightlifting, etc.)|
|Sports and commercials||sports and advertising|
|Objectivity/impartiality of providing information||Objectivity and impartiality of information|
|Stars/celebrities||Stars and celebrities|
|Promoting traditions||Encourage traditions|
|Exclusive hobbies (golf, horse riding, scuba diving, etc.)||Elite leisure (golf, horse riding, scuba diving, etc.)|
|Hobby and/or professionalism?||Leisure and/or professionalization|
|Studying/working||studies and work|
|(Over)qualification/chances on the work market||(Over)qualification; opportunities in the labor market|
|Lifelong education||The formation continues|
|Finding work/mobility||To find a job ; mobility|
|Chances of the underprivileged||Opportunities for the disadvantaged|
|European Union||The European Union|
|The role of the EU in world politics||The role of the EU in world politics|
|Common / national currency||Common currency, national currency|
|Culture and civilisation. The home country and the target language country||Culture and civilization (country of origin and target country|
|Fame / recognition in the world / their relationship to each other||Famous sites; world heritage; their relationships to each other|
|Their picture||their picture|
|Differences in traditions / customs / ideology||Differences in traditions, customs, ideologies|
|Public life||public life|
|The purity of public life / corruption||Integrity and Corruption in Society|
|Political parties / elections / referendum||Political parties, elections, referendum|
|Environmental protection||The environmental Protection|
|Prevention in environmental protection||Prevention in environmental protection|
|Environmental disasters and their consequences||Environmental disasters and their consequences|
|Current topics/events||Hot topics|
|Public life / politics / NGOs||Public life, politics, NGOs|
|Economy / arts / sports||Economy, arts, sports|
|Uniformity (dressing, eating, culture, consumer products, etc.)||Uniformity (clothing, food, culture, consumer products, etc.)|
|Globalization / maintaining national characteristics||Globalization and the preservation of national specificities|
|Current questions of ethics||Current issues|
|Animal experiments||animal experiments|
|Nuclear experiments||nuclear tests|
|Current questions on economy/society||Economic and social news|
|Smuggling: goods/people||Traffic of goods and people|
|Smoking / dangers of drug addiction||Smoking; the dangers of drug addiction|
The topics are taken from the ECL Examination System site .
How to reach level C1 in English?
How to go from level B2 to level C1? If you already have a B2 level in English and are aiming for C1, then you already have sufficient skills and knowledge to use English as a tool to learn new things ! Read, listen and get informed all in English. It is normal to tend to use Hindi for research or education, but try to do it in English from now on. As you can see, most of the links we have provided are already in English to show you that you can continue your studies entirely in English! Fascinating, isn’t it?
As we have already said in other articles, it is absurd to expect different results when you do the same thing over and over again! Luca Lampariello , one of YouTube’s most famous polyglots, advises to vary the ways of approaching each aspect of learning English . Start reading more complicated texts, such as novels . Listen to more demanding content (linguistically and culturally); I can only recommend that you discover the TEDx talksin English: they are extremely varied, interesting and you can always learn new vocabulary and new expressions! (It’s actually one of the things I’m currently doing to improve my Hindi.) Films and series are another excellent resource that will help you develop your knowledge of the different language registers, and know when and how to use them well. .
Talk about difficult subjects! A common problem for B2 level learners is that they are already comfortable speaking English and can survive on what they already know so they are not very motivated to expand their vocabulary. They rely on the same words and phrases all the time and they don’t understand why you have to know how to say something is a piece of cake , when they can just say it’s easy ! If you want to reach level C1, you will have to diversify your language and start using idiomatic expressions , even slang, and get to know the culture better, to understand Anglophone humor.
Level C1 comes with longer sentences and more complicated vocabulary . If you compare, for example, the texts of level B2 and those of level C1, you will undoubtedly notice the use of more advanced constructions and rarer words.
In our article on CEFR levels , we talked about selective ignoring , that is, prioritizing what we learn because of lack of time. This is no longer the case here, because you already speak English at a level where you can get by in most situations, thanks to level B2. Now your goal is to expand your vocabulary , your cultural knowledge, improve your understanding of regional differences, etc. Don’t let any unknown word escape you !
- It becomes more difficult to reach each new level and level C1 requires a lot of work and time! At this stage of your learning, you will come across new words more rarely, which means that you will have to revise the vocabulary already studied and put yourself in a situation to come across new ones .
Method to reach the C1 level in English
If you are looking for a method that will help you reach the English C1 level in a structured, progressive and efficient way, then use Click & Speak ! This method includes all the topics, grammar and vocabulary needed to pass the C1 exam!
How long to reach level C1?
Here are the estimates of the time needed to reach the different levels:
|English level||Hours invested|
|C2||Approximately 1,000 to 1,200 hours|
|C1||Approximately 700 to 800 hours|
|B2||About 500 to 600 hours|
|B1||Approximately 350 to 400 hours|
|A2||Approximately 180 to 200 hours|
|A1||About 90 to 100 hours|
Source: Association of Language Testers in Europe (ALTE) cited in Introductory Guide to the CEFR for English Language Teachers, Cambridge University Press
If, for example, you want to go from B2 to C1, you will need around 200 additional study hours. However, take these estimates with a grain of salt , their purpose is to give you a general idea of the time you may need to reach the different levels, but they are only estimates.
Resources for level C1
Listen for level C1
Here are six example sentences taken from the Click & Speak method to give you an idea of the level:
- When he finds out, Edward’s dad is going to be furious! = Edward’s father will be furious when he finds out!
- We’ll be away for two weeks so we expect our mailbox to be full when we come back. = We will be away for two weeks; we are already expecting the mailbox to be overflowing when we return.
- She’s not shy. She’s just not as spontaneous in a foreign language as she is in her native tongue. = She is not shy. It’s just that she doesn’t express herself as spontaneously in a foreign language as in her mother tongue.
- This news has caused shock and outrage all over the nation. = This news shocked and outraged the entire nation.
- You should rub some alcohol on the wound; or else, you risk infection. = You should put alcohol on the wound, otherwise you risk infection.
- She wanted to order a drink, but instead of asking for Coke , she asked for cock. = She wanted to order a drink but instead of saying “Coke” she said “poop” – and if you’re into that kind of nonsense, check out The 7 Most Embarrassing Mispronunciations!
English exam level C1
Here are some examples of oral exams:
English exam level C1
Video in English, level C1
Oral comprehension level C1
Written comprehension level C1
Here are some sites to practice your reading comprehension:
- British Council
- Using English
- Learn English, British Council
C1 level test?
Are you ready to take a C1 level exam in English? Test yourself :
- Exam Français
Congratulations, you’ve finally made it! We hope this article has made you want to continue your studies and progress in English, even if you are able to survive or manage just with B2. If this is the first article on CEFR levels you come across, fear not: you can start with level A1 in English and progress from there.
And if you have already reached level C1 in English, don’t worry, you can still improve: find out what more you can do in our article on level C2 in English! 🙂