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Find your level

ALC Level Guide 

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, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, 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 Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swahili
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, Japanese, 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, French

Find your language level

ALC language modules are offered at six 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.

As a general guide, if you have studied the language to Leaving Certificate level, you should register to a Stage 4 module (LANG20440 French 4, LANG20450 German 4, LANG20470 Spanish 4).

If you have studied the language to Leaving Certificate level and still register to a lower stage, you may be removed from the module automatically. 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 at our Help Desk.

How to self-assess your level

  • 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.
  • You may also have spent time in countries where the language is spoken, attended special courses, or had other opportunities to use the language.
  • All these factors, as well as your wider experience of learning other languages, are relevant in helping you assess which level best matches yours.
  • *The Common European Framework for Reference for Languages (CEFR) provides a common basis for the elaboration of language syllabuses, curriculum guidelines, examinations, textbooks, etc. across Europe. It describes in a comprehensive way what language learners have to learn to do in order to use a language for communication and what knowledge and skills they have to develop so as to be able to act effectively. Self-assess via the CEFR Self-Assessment Grid 

Still not sure of your level?

  • ALC staff will offer you every assistance to select a language at a level suited to you. 
  • There will be a Help Desk in the ALC (1st floor Daedalus Building) to advise you at the start of each trimester.
  • 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 Help Desk is operating, feel free to call into the Applied Language Centre to speak with our staff or email languages@ucd.ie.
  • All decisions on your choice of language and level must be made by the third week of the semester as this is a University requirement. 
  • For a full list of ALC language electives offered at different levels, click here.
  • If you would like to take an English module, please register for a placement test here.
Bronagh McMullan image
I chose French 4 as I wanted to pick up from my school French and it worked a treat as the classes are small and conversational practice is so easy. I loved it!
Bronagh McMullan, French for General Purposes 4 & 5, 2018/19, Chemistry

UCD Applied Language Centre

Daedalus Building, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.
T: +353 1 716 7900 | E: languages@ucd.ie