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!

How to reach level C1 in English?


What does level C1 in English contain?


What skills?

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.

How to reach level C1 in English?

The list of grammatical constructions has been adapted from the British Council and EAQUALS .


What vocabulary?

Here is the vocabulary needed to reach C1:

In EnglishIn French
Travel and services vocabularyVocabulary of services and travel
Colloquial languageThe familiar language
Approximating (vague language)Express approximations, remain vague
Differentiated use of vocabularyThe differentiated use of vocabulary
Work and jobsWork and occupations
Books and Literaturebooks and literature
News and current affairsNews and news
MediaThe media
science and technologyscience and technology
Technical and legal languageTechnical and legal language
foodThe food
lifestyleThe lifestyle
Formal and informal registersFormal and informal registers
idiomatic expressionsIdioms

What subjects?

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 individualThe people
Ambitions / career buildingCareer ambitions
The individual and the societyThe individual in society
Problems of social integrationSocial integration problems
Forms of partnershipThe different types of relationships
Nationalities / MinoritiesNationalities and minorities
The social status of families/the system of family allowancesThe social status of the family; the family allowance system
Family / careerfamily and career
Place of livingPlace of life
Housing situation /difficulties of building a houseHabitat; difficulties in building a house
Homelessness / its causes / problemsThe homeless ; the causes and related problems
Housing and mobilityHousing and mobility
Problems of city traffic / public transport versus using carsTraffic problems in the city; public transport vs private car
Transport and environmental protectionTransport and environmental protection
Tourism as a source of incomeTourism as a source of income
Development in transport/its aspectsThe evolution of transport; its aspects
Consumers’ societyThe consumer society
Buying on credit / with credit cards / on the InternetBuy on credit, by bank card, on the Internet
shopping tourismCommercial tourism
Communication/keeping in touchCommunicate, keep in touch
The Internet in business communicationInternet in business communication
Fax, email versus traditional letter writingFax and e-mail versus traditional correspondence
Less widely used languages versus EnglishLesser spoken languages vs English
Quality/guarantee of servicesQuality of service and guarantees
Role, significance of servicesThe role and importance of services
Electronic services/online orderingOnline services; order online
culture/entertainmentCulture, leisure
Role of arts in the past and presentThe role of the arts in the past and today
Public collections and their maintenance / art / historic relics / monumentsPublic collections and their preservation; art, historical relics, monuments
Mentoring / sponsorship / advertisingPatronage, sponsorship, advertising
Time/weatherThe weather, the seasons
Natural disasters and their consequencesNatural disasters and their consequences
Hole in the ozone layer/dangers of global warmingThe hole in the ozone layer, the dangers of global warming

How to go from level b2 to c1 in English?How to reach level C1 in English?

Science / research serving medical care / geneticsScience, medical research, genetics
Alternative methods of healingAlternative Medicines
health tourismmedical tourism
First-class sports – mass sports / dopingThe most popular sports, mass sports; doping
Professionalism in sports / amateur sports / extreme sportsProfessional and amateur sport; extreme sports
Sport and women (chess, boxing, weightlifting, soccer)Women in sport (boxing, football, chess, weightlifting, etc.)
Sports and commercialssports and advertising
MediaThe media
Objectivity/impartiality of providing informationObjectivity and impartiality of information
Stars/celebritiesStars and celebrities
Promoting traditionsEncourage 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/workingstudies and work
(Over)qualification/chances on the work market(Over)qualification; opportunities in the labor market
Lifelong educationThe formation continues
Finding work/mobilityTo find a job ; mobility
Chances of the underprivilegedOpportunities for the disadvantaged
European UnionThe European Union
The role of the EU in world politicsThe role of the EU in world politics
Common / national currencyCommon currency, national currency
Culture and civilisation. The home country and the target language countryCulture and civilization (country of origin and target country
Fame / recognition in the world / their relationship to each otherFamous sites; world heritage; their relationships to each other
Their picturetheir picture
Differences in traditions / customs / ideologyDifferences in traditions, customs, ideologies
Public lifepublic life
The purity of public life / corruptionIntegrity and Corruption in Society
Political parties / elections / referendumPolitical parties, elections, referendum
Environmental protectionThe environmental Protection
Prevention in environmental protectionPrevention in environmental protection
Environmental disasters and their consequencesEnvironmental disasters and their consequences
Current topics/eventsHot topics
Public life / politics / NGOsPublic life, politics, NGOs
Economy / arts / sportsEconomy, arts, sports
Uniformity (dressing, eating, culture, consumer products, etc.)Uniformity (clothing, food, culture, consumer products, etc.)
Globalization / maintaining national characteristicsGlobalization and the preservation of national specificities
Current questions of ethicsCurrent issues
Animal experimentsanimal experiments
Nuclear experimentsnuclear tests
Current questions on economy/societyEconomic and social news
Smuggling: goods/peopleTraffic of goods and people
Smoking / dangers of drug addictionSmoking; 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 .

How to reach level C1 in English?


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 levelHours invested
C2Approximately 1,000 to 1,200 hours
C1Approximately 700 to 800 hours
B2About 500 to 600 hours
B1Approximately 350 to 400 hours
A2Approximately 180 to 200 hours
A1About 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:

Cambridge English: Advanced (from 2015), Raphael and Maude

English exam level C1

IELTS Speaking Test Full Part 1,2, 3 || Real Test

Video in English, level C1

CAE Practice for Certificate in Advanced English Speaking Test (Full Video)

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
  • Englishtag

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! 🙂