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EF EPI proficiency bands

The EF EPI proficiency bands make it easier to identify countries with similar skill levels and to draw comparisons between and within regions. The tasks listed for each proficiency band demonstrate some of what an individual should be able to accomplish at each level. The countries listed are the top three countries in each band.

The EF English Proficiency Index places the surveyed countries and territories into five proficiency bands, from Very High to Very Low. These proficiency bands make it easier to identify countries with similar skill levels and to draw comparisons between and within regions. In the chart below, we give examples of tasks that an individual could accomplish at each proficiency band. The selection of tasks is not meant to be exhaustive, but it is a useful reference for understanding how skills advance across the bands.

It is important to keep in mind that a country’s proficiency band merely indicates the level of the “average” person surveyed there. The EF EPI seeks to compare countries and territories, which necessitates overlooking individual strengths and weaknesses.

  • Very high proficiency
  • Netherlands
  • Sweden
  • Denmark
  • Use nuanced and appropriate language in social situations
  • Read advanced texts with ease
  • Negotiate a contract with a native English speaker
  • High proficiency
  • Germany
  • Austria
  • Poland
  • Make a presentation at work
  • Understand TV shows
  • Read a newspaper
  • Moderate proficiency
  • Bulgaria
  • Greece
  • Lithuania
  • Participate in meetings in one’s area of expertise
  • Understand song lyrics
  • Write professional emails on familiar subjects
  • Low proficiency
  • China
  • Japan
  • Russia
  • Navigate an English-speaking country as a tourist
  • Engage in small talk with colleagues
  • Understand simple e-mails from colleagues
  • Very low proficiency
  • Syria
  • Qatar
  • Morocco
  • Introduce oneself simply (name, age, country of origin)
  • Understand simple signs
  • Give basic directions to a foreign visitor
EF EPI EF EPI proficiency bands
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