Language skills

Most of the training courses offered require:  

  • Partial knowledge of spoken and written language in a context.  
  • The ability to understand the subject of everyday texts or conversations without necessarily feeling comfortable participating. 
  • Use of a few common words, phrases and/or expressions. 
  • Taking a placement test to assess your level of language proficiency. 

In a language immersion, anyone interested can learn one of the languages offered as a beginner.  

Mandatory placement test  

The Centre d’évaluation de compétences linguistiques (CECL), a partner of Non-Credit Language Courses, administers the mandatory test in the following languages:   

  • French 
  • English  

NCLC program administrators can then train groups based on the overall language proficiency level.  

Technical details  

  • Placement tests are completed online. 
  • Details regarding the tests are sent to individuals enrol in the courses, where applicable.  
  • If a person registers for more than one course in the same language, only one placement test will be required in a given year.  
  • Results are not shared with registered individuals. They are primarily used to create groups based on proficiency levels. 


  • Take the test on a computer using a headset equipped with a microphone.  
  • Set aside at least one (1) hour to complete the test.  

Language proficiency levels  

Non-Credit Language Courses use the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference) to establish proficiency in a foreign language.   

Level Pre-A1 – Beginner

Participants can barely communicate, communicate with difficulty and/or understand a few words or parts of sentences in the studied language (both orally and in writing). Without any help, they experience serious difficulties to understand and to be understood by others. 

Level A1 – Elementary

Participants understand and use familiar everyday expressions. They use simple phrases to express basic needs. They can introduce themselves and others. They are able to ask and answer questions about personal details such as where they live, people they know and things they have. These participants interact in a simple way provided the others talk slowly and clearly while being willing to help. 

Level A2 – Pre-intermediate

Participants understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to areas of most immediate relevance (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography, employment, and so on). They communicate in simple and everyday tasks requiring a succinct and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters. They manage to describe, in simple terms, aspects of their background, immediate environment and matters related to immediate needs. 

Level B1 – Intermediate

Participants get the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered to work, to school, in leisure activities, etc. They can deal with most situations likely to arise whilst travelling in an area where the studied language is spoken. They are able to produce simple texts on familiar topics or on subjects of personal interest. Participants are comfortable to describe experiences, events, dreams, hopes and ambitions. They can also briefly give reasons and explanations on opinions and plans. 

Level B2 – Upper-intermediate

Participants understand the main ideas of complex texts on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in their fields of specialisation. They interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible without strain for either party. They are able to produce clear and detailed texts on a wide range of subjects as they can explain viewpoints on an issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options. Participants seize subtleties in speeches and writings. 

Level C1 – Advanced

Participants understand a wide range of longer challenging texts, and recognise implicit meaning. They express themselves fluently and spontaneously without any obvious searching for expressions. They can effectively handle language subtleties for social, academic and professional purposes. Participants can produce clear, well-structured, detailed texts on complex subjects, showing controlled use of organisational patterns, connectors and cohesive devices.