How long will it take me to learn English?


The answer to this question depends on your current level and which level of English you wish to reach. The divisions of ability in English are as follows:

Level in English

What this means.


You can use a full range of language with proficiency approaching that in the learner's own mother tongue.


You can use a very wide range of language effectively and with confidence in all situations.


You can use a wide range of language with confidence in all but the most demanding situations.

Upper Intermediate

You can use a good range of language effectively for all practical needs and personal conversation. You speak and write fluently and with few errors.


You can use a moderate range of language effectively for all practical needs and personal conversation. However, your range of vocabulary is restricted and you often make errors when speaking and writing.


You can use a limited range of language, sufficient for everyday practical needs. However, you often find it difficult to express yourself in English.


You can use a simple range of language, sufficient for basic everyday practical needs.


You can use a few words or phrases such as common greetings.

Complete Beginner

You have no knowledge of English.


It takes around 120 hours of class time to pass from one level to the next (this may take longer if you need to study areas of grammar or vocabulary normally covered at a lower level). A minimum of one hour per week dedicated to homework exercises and English related activities (reading, listening etc.) is also essential.

These levels refer to ability in English in all skills - Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. Therefore it is possible for someone to be at one level in their speaking, but with lower ability in writing. This represents a disadvantage professionally and would result in failure when taking an externally marked examination.

There are externally marked examinations administered by the University of Cambridge to test successful completion of the following levels: Intermediate (PET), Upper Intermediate (First Certificate), Advanced (CAE) and Proficiency (Cambridge Proficiency).

IELTS (Europe & Oceania) and TOEFL (USA) are proficiency tests, which means that they can be taken at any level and give an overall evaluation of your current level of English. They also show your strengths and weaknesses in reading, writing, listening and speaking.

The minimum level for comfortable survival in English is generally recognised as having successfully completed Intermediate level. However, in order to work or study using English as the first language, completion of the upper-intermediate level is recommended.

If you are studying English with Viv, when you were first evaluated for classes your current level was assessed and is listed on your student record. A minus sign (-) shows that you are between levels and need supplementary work, either before starting the next level, or during the course.