Know your language level!

ALC language modules are offered at seven levels of proficiency, from Stage 1 (absolute beginners) to Stage 6 (advanced). Each one of these broadly corresponds to the CEFR* levels for proficiency in language learning. If you are not a beginner, you have to choose a module at a level which best matches your language skills.

Your current level of proficiency is the result of many different experiences you have had in learning that language. You have probably studied the language in school or university and have taken one or more examinations. But you may also have spent time in countries where the language is spoken, attended special courses, or had other opportunities to use the language at work or with friends and family. All these factors, as well as your wider experience of learning other languages, are relevant in helping you assess which level best matches yours. ALC staff will offer you every assistance to select a language at a level suited to you. We will do this at Languages@ALC Advisory Meetings. There will also be an advisory desk in the ALC (1st floor Daedalus Building).

CEFR Self-Assessment Grid.PDF|20KB


Note: These are merely a guide to determine your language level and in no way are they applications for places on courses.

If interested, please provide us with your contact information and

  1. Your language learning profile (based on CEFR* levels)
  2. Information about exams you have taken or courses followed
  3. Your choice of language and level (Fill in a separate Language Level Form for each language you may be interested in studying).

Before and at the start of the semester, ALC staff will guide you and check that you have selected a module level which is most suited to you. All decisions on your choice of language and level must be made by the second week of the semester as this is a University requirement. For a full list of ALC language electives offered at different levels, click here.

ALC Level Guide

**Please note that as of the 2012/13 academic year a new 3b (CEFR A2.2) language level has been introduced.

The purpose of this new level is to bridge the gap between A2 and B1

ALC Stage CEFR level (on exit) Required level on entry Exclusions Languages
1 A1.1 Absolute beginner with no prior knowledge Any prior knowledge of the target language Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Russian, Spanish, Swahili
2 A1.2 1 semester of third level study or 1-2 years of second level study at junior cycle Junior or Leaving Cert level Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Spanish, Russian
3a A2.1 2 semesters of third level study or Junior Certificate or equivalent Leaving Cert level   Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Spanish
3b A2.2 3 semesters of third level
(*Leaving Certificate Higher for Japanese)
Leaving Cert level
(*Except Japanese)
French, German, Japanese, Spanish
4 B1 Leaving Certificate Higher level or equivalent Fluency in target language English, French, German, Spanish
5 B2.1 Leaving Certificate Higher level or equivalent plus 1 semester third level Native speaker in target language (C1) English, French, German, Spanish
6 B2.2 Entry at level B2.1 Native speaker in target language (C1) English

The ALC language helpdesk will be in operation during orientation week and the first two weeks of term. ALC language advisors will be available for consultations to give advice on the level best suited to your current ability. Outside of the period that the helpdesk is operating, feel free to call into the Applied Language Centre to speak with our staff or email

Certain students may fall outside of the guidelines outlined above (eg. Students returning to education after an extended period of time or students coming from a different school system). In such cases the student should make an appointment for a language consultation.