English Language Levels

On your first day at school, you will be given a test to assess your reading, writing, speaking and listening skills. (don't worry: it's quite informal!) and you will join your class later that day or the next day.

At Castle School exam classes are monitored very carefully through a strictly maintained routine of testing and feedback. General English classes are monitored by a more relaxed testing regime supplemented by questionnaires.

If you are not sure what level you are now, have a look at the descriptions below. Of course, it's quite possible to be (for example) one level in your grammar and writing, and quite another in your fluency or listening. If that is the case, you will be put in a class that helps you concentrate on the areas that need it most.





In our school, the levels go from Elementary to Advanced. Each level is roughly equivalent to an IELTS, TOEFL, TOEIC or Cambridge Examinations score, which you can also see below.

* We do not offer a Beginner level course.

The seven levels are roughly equivalent to Elementary to Advanced, so for example if you reach level four, you are around the Intermediate level.


If you are at Elementary level, you can communicate in a very basic way, mainly in the present and past simple. Your vocabulary covers everyday useful subject areas.

Your ability:

By the end of Elementary level, you can make simple sentences and reply to questions on a range of personal and common subjects. You can talk about your likes and dislikes, family, and routines. You can order a meal in a restaurant or go shopping in English.

Equivalent to:

IELTS score 3

TOEFL iBT score 20

TOEIC score 150 – 300

You can:

• Begin to study sports, leisure or practical subjects in English


If you are at Pre-intermediate level, you have a good basic ability to communicate and understand, but you can make great improvement in all areas.

Your ability:

You can talk about many subjects and give your opinion on them. You can talk with confidence in the present, past and future simple tenses. You can perform tasks such as shopping, booking a hotel room, travel, and making conversation in English. Your grammar includes an understanding of adjectives, adverbs, comparatives, articles, possessives, and basic prepositions.

Equivalent to:

IELTS score 3.5 – 4.5

TOEFL iBT score 32

TOEIC score 300 – 450

You can:

• Study basic practical subjects in English

• Start to prepare for Internship


If you are at Intermediate level, you understand and speak English with some confidence.

Your ability:

Starters at this level will have a good grasp of basic tenses and grammatical structures and can generally use them appropriately. You are comfortable in everyday situations, but may feel anxious if asked to use English in a new situation. You may still make noticeable errors in your pronunciation; especially regular past simple tense verb endings.

As you progress you will find you have the grammar and the vocabulary to talk and read about a wide number of subjects. You have some understanding of tone and style. You can assess and consciously improve your own pronunciation. You have studied all the main tenses and can confidently make sentences, question forms and clauses in all of them. You are beginning to look at phrasal and modal verbs.

Equivalent to:

IELTS score 4.5 – 5.5

TOEFL iBT score 55

TOEIC score 450 – 650

Cambridge PET

You can:

• Comfortably talk about topics you are familiar with

• Begin to realise the importance of correct pronunciation

• Start to focus your attention on new topics and expand your range of vocabulary and expression

• Study on some courses at an English speaking college

• Enter university on a Foundation course

• Start to focus your English on specifics such as English for Business or Academic purposes


If you are at Upper-Intermediate level, you have an effective, but not perfect, use of English.

Your ability:

You can talk almost fluently and almost completely accurately. Everyday situations in an English- language environment do not worry you. You can take part in extended conversations or discussions and your vocabulary covers almost every circumstance. If you do not know a word you can almost always find a way of describing it. You have a knowledge of some idiomatic English, phrasal verbs, and colloquial expressions. You have studied all main areas of English grammar.

Equivalent to:

IELTS score 5.5 – 7.0

TOEFL iBT score 80

TOEIC score 650 – 800

Cambridge FCE

You can:

• Study on some degree and diploma level course at an English speaking university

• Work on an Internship in an English speaking environment


Advanced is the highest level most students attain without the total immersion of living in another country.

Your ability:

On starting you you are familiar and comfortable with a range of tenses and grammatical components. You are confident and fluent and make minimal mistakes – you may still have a few fossilised mistakes that are noticeable.

You will have a good Upper-intermediate / FCE competence and be comfortable talking about quite complex and abstract ideas. You will be able to take the opportunity to manipulate the language that you already have and develop and consolidate new structures.

Upon completion of a course at this level your spoken English will be both fluent and accurate. Your vocabulary will be wide and you will have a good knowledge of collocation, phrasal verbs, colloquial expressions and idioms. All common areas of grammar will be familiar to you.

Equivalent to:

IELTS Score 7 – 9

TOEFL Ibt score 93

TOEIC score 800 – 900

Cambridge CAE

You can:

• Study on a degree course or diploma level course at an English speaking university

• Work in an English speaking environment





Student Services

Student Services

Here at Castle School, staff can offer students help on: Welfare & Counselling, Passports & Visas, Insurance & Personal Security, Health & Safety, University Placement Advice and Airport Transfer.

Our Location

Our Location

We are situated a stone's throw from the main Brighton Shopping Centre of Churchill Square and a mere 10 minutes walk from the train station.

Accommodation in Brighton

Accommodation in Brighton

With both Home Stay and Self Catering accommodation on offer, you can find the right accommodation suitable for you. The average commuting time from nearby accommodation to school is just 15-30 mintues.

Photos on FLICKR