What are the Six Levels of Learning German?
If you've seen the combinations A1, B2 or C1 on your German books but you don't know or understand what they mean, this post is for you!
There are six total combinations of letters and numbers: A1, A2, B1, B2, C1 and C2. These are simply guidelines for figuring out where you are in the German learning process.
The name for this straightforward scale is the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages or the CEFR.
Why the CEFR is so helpful
This scale is so clear, so helpful for German learners and teachers that it's the only framework I have or will use. I've looked at others and I find them to be unclear and even downright confusing.
What's clearer when you use the CEFR is that each stage is its own path, its own adventure, its own journey. It helps you break down the principles what you need to learn so you can learn German in a way that is achievable, makes sense, and gives you the greatest rewards for your efforts.
Learning German is a Progression
Another way of thinking this is by comparing it to graded readers, like one of my clients did. She is a librarian and works with children's literature and in a German lesson she was having a hard time understanding why she had learned a bunch of German but couldn't read a regular adult book someone had gifted her.
Once she realized that learning German has its own progression, much like when children learn to read graded readers, then young-adult books, and then go on to full-fledged adult books of any kind, it clicked. She said "Oh, so if I think of this as a beginning book, then I'll move on to a late beginning/elementary book, and then after that to intermediate?" Ja, genau.
You have to start somewhere
So start at the beginning.
Allow yourself--give yourself permission to begin at the beginning.
If you want to plant a garden, what do you start with? You look at the landscape, consider what you'd like the result to look like, and begin in one section. You can only work on one section at a time, so sink into it. Enjoy it.
Here's an overview of the six levels of learning German: