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Everything you need to know on your B1 French exam

A breakdown of all the required skills for you to achieve B1 level in French.

Get Your French B1 Certificate Online

Lingoda’s online language school offers French language students the chance to earn official certificates and our system for issuing these certificates is based on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). Essentially, this framework divides language users into six ability levels, with the third level being called B1.

Level B1, which is sometimes referred to as ‘Threshold’ or ‘Breakthrough’ stage, is the point at which a French speaker moves away from the most simplistic language usage and is able to cope with most of the situations they are likely to encounter when travelling around a French-speaking country.

In particular, a student at B1 level should be able to understand the key points from authentic speech, connect written phrases into simple text and start to communicate more complicated ideas. For example, it should be possible to describe events, experiences, expectations, ambitions and hopes, while also giving their own opinion.

Skills Breakdown

Students who study a language with Lingoda will develop a well-rounded education, which will focus on their listening, reading, speaking and writing skills. With that in mind, here is a breakdown of the specific skills a learner will need in order to earn a French B1 certificate:

  • Listening
    In terms of listening, a B1 level student should be able to understand the main points from authentic French speech regarding familiar matters like work, family life or school. For example, it should be possible to understand the kind of questions asked in a job interview, or to listen to a radio station or watch a television programme and grasp the main points being discussed; especially if speech is clear or slowed down.
  • Reading
    At B1 standard, a student should be able to read texts that focus on familiar topics or everyday situations. It should be possible, for instance, to read an interview in a magazine or a description of events in a newspaper. This stage also marks the point at which it should be possible to comprehend opinions, so a French learner should be able to understand a film critic’s main points, or understand an opinion expressed in a letter.
  • Speaking
    A French speaker who has reached B1 stage should find it possible to cope with most situations they are likely to encounter on a day-to-day basis in a country where French is the main language. This means they should be able to make travel arrangements, explain intentions or have simple conversations centred on familiar topics. Moreover, a student at this point should be able to explain their opinion, and describe feelings and events.
  • Writing
    Finally, a B1 level French student should be able to write simplistic, connected texts on topics that are of personal interest to them and explain their own opinion. It should be possible to write a letter to a friend or family member and describe experiences or relay events. In addition, a student should have the ability to convey basic facts and figures, or outline the plot of a film or book.



  • I can understand an interview.
  • I can understand a short presentation on a familiar topic.
  • I can understand main information in authentic situations.


  • I can understand interviews in newspapers and magazines.
  • I can understand events, feelings and wishes expressed in private letters.
  • I can understand a testimony.
  • I can understand the main points of a critic about a film.
  • I can understand the main points in an article about a familiar topic.
  • I can understand a short biography.


  • I can have simple conversation on topics that are familiar.
  • I can deal with most situations when making travel arrangements or when travelling.
  • I can express and respond to feelings.
  • I can explain and justify my plans, intentions and actions.
  • I can relate the plot of a book or film.
  • I can explain my situation to a doctor when I need to.
  • I can give advice to a friend or colleague.
  • I can give my opinion and react to someone’s point of view.
  • I can do a short presentation on a topic of personal interest.
  • I can answer the phone and spontaneously deal with various situations.


  • I can write personal letters to friends asking for or giving them news and narrating events.
  • I can convey facts and numbers to friends or colleagues.
  • I can write simple connected texts on topics within my field of interest and express my opinion.
  • I can describe the plot of a film or a book in a personal letter.

Tips that will help you at this level:

  • You should be able to repeat back part of what someone has said to confirm that you understand each other.
  • You should be able to ask someone to clarify what they have just said.
  • If you can’t think of the word you want, you should be able to replace it with a word meaning something similar.
  • You should have a sufficient vocabulary to express yourself on everyday life topics such as family, hobbies, work.
  • You should be able to express yourself quite accurately in familiar, predictable situations.

Lingoda Certificates

Lingoda’s French language courses are structured around the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, which means the certificates we issue to students enjoy international recognition. In fact, our certificates are accepted by a huge number of global employers, schools, immigration services, and more.

Every time one of our students completes a course at a specific level, they then receive the corresponding certificate, which can serve as evidence of their learning to that point. So, for instance, completion of a course at B1 level will result in the student earning a B1 French certificate. All certificates are included in the price of the course.

One of the key benefits of the CEFR’s global reputation is the fact that institutions around the world are familiar with what each level means. Therefore, if a student has a French B1 certificate, an employer or university would be able to check the framework and understand their precise language capabilities.