Learning languages is more efficient when it is organised in a good, structured manner. Appropriate institutions have already developed some ways to evaluate one’s English proficiency and have provided defined proficiency levels to that end. There is an international standard called Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. This is the first thing you would probably like to know.
There are six of them, starting with the most basic: A0/A1 (Beginner/Elementary), A2 (Pre-Intermediate), B1 (Intermediate), B2 (Upper Intermediate), C1 (Advanced) and C2 (Proficiency). Each one contains a brief definition which tells us what an English user needs to be able to do to be assigned this particular level. This way, each English user can find their place on the English proficiency scale.
There are some other methods, as well. You can refer your skills to the Cambridge English Scale which has been designed to complement the CEFR. You can find more about this scale at: https://www.cambridgeenglish.org/exams-and-tests/cambridge-english-scale/.
As you can see, The University of Cambridge, Cambridge English Qualifications, use their own scale. It spans from 80 to 230, with A1 scoring the lowest, in the range of 80 to 100. Upon reaching 100 points, an English speaker reaches Level A1, and then may advance further by achieving good grades in subsequent levels. However, Business English starts with B1 Preliminary. To get there, you need to master Level A2 first. Achieving the B section of the scale, you leave the pool of “basic” users and become “independent”. Once in the C section, you become proficient.
What is your English proficiency level?
To evaluate your level, you need to take an appropriate test. You may choose to take it at the same website as given above, a selection of four tests for different users is available here: https://www.cambridgeenglish.org/test-your-english/. During the test, you are asked to answer a few dozen questions. Upon completion, you are informed of your suggested English level. To have it documented, you may also take an official exam.
There are two alternatives for evaluation of non-native English language speakers. The British Council, the University of Cambridge and IDP Australia have developed the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). It is recognised by major universities, companies and professional institutions all over the world. It’s used by many to evaluate one’s progress in the field of English. In Australia, Canada and New Zealand, you need to pass the exam to be allowed in if emigrating.
You may also try the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), developed by the Educational Testing Services, and provided with their registered trademark. This is mostly used by English-speaking universities, helping them assess students to be admitted to their courses.
What exactly is Level 1 English?
The English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) is a system of qualifications allowing the assessment of English proficiency. It includes 5 levels: Entry Level 1, Entry Level 2, Entry Level 3, Level 1, and Level 2. The first three are for speakers who still need to work a lot to achieve English proficiency. Level 1 proves you are an independent English speaker. It is equivalent to Level B2 (Upper Intermediate) in the CEFR. This is the level of knowledge you need to be able to communicate with other English speakers, including native speakers, more precisely, to speak in a coherent way, to write comprehensive sentences, to listen and to understand what other English speakers are saying. Particularly, this is a starting point for further education that will perhaps allow you to master English at the level comparable to natives.
However, to get there, you need to pass a suitable test, and Cambridge English Qualifications are the best way to do it. The IELTS will allow you to understand how advanced your English is, and to notify any institution you want to be admitted to of your English proficiency. Alternatively, you can use ESOL qualifications, however, these are no longer recognised as formal qualifications, but may be useful as a way to verify your communication level. You need to choose which one is most suitable for you.