OPI Proficiency Interview


OPI Level Descriptions

LEVEL 0 (No Proficiency)
  • No functional ability

Level 1 (Survival)

    The candidate can understand and participate in very simple conversations about:

    • personal welfare and survival on a day-to-day basis
    • basic needs such as meals, lodging, transportation, simple directions
    • simple daily life and routine travel arrangements
    • requests for services such as ordering a simple meal, renting a hotel room, etc.

    The candidate can understand and/or produce:

    • simple questions and answers in face-to-face conversation in a standard dialect
    • main ideas
    • ordinary courtesy requirements
    • can create with the language
    • questions about daily life & routine travel
    • short conversations

    Candidate’s level of linguistic accuracy:

    • requires repetition, rewording, slower than normal speech
    • strong interference from native language
    • makes errors in simple structures
    • has limited vocabulary
    • has poor pronunciation, but makes some distinction in stress and intonation
    • intelligible to native speakers USED TO dealing with non-native speaker
    • interlanguage may dominate
    • Little precision in information understood

Level 2 (Limited Working Proficiency)

    The candidate can understand and participate in routine conversations about:

    • personal background and interests
    • current events
    • concrete topics
    • family
    • work
    • travel

    The candidate can understand and/or produce:

    • facts (but not between or beyond the lines)
    • casual conversations
    • instructions and directions
    • concrete descriptions of people, places, and things
    • narration about past, current, and future activitiesv • a resolution for a familiar situation with a complication

    Candidate’s level of linguistic accuracy:

    • understands and is understandable to a native speaker NOT USED TO dealing with non-native speakers
    • some repetition and rewording still necessary to understand and to be understood
    • sometimes miscommunicates and is misunderstood

Level 3 (General Professional Proficiency)

    The candidate can understand and participate in discussions about:

    • social, economic, cultural, scientific, and global issues
    • professional reports and meetings
    • particular interests
    • special fields of competence

    The candidate can:

    • infer
    • detect emotional overtones
    • describe & explain in detail
    • hypothesize
    • give and support opinion
    • handle unfamiliar and abstract topics

    Candidate’s level of linguistic accuracy:

    • doesn’t understand native speaker who speaks very rapidly
    • rarely requests paraphrasing/ explanations
    • some low-frequency structures evident
    • control of Complex structure
    • native speaker rarely requires repetition or rephrasing to understand or to be understood
    • Appears to be “thinking” in the language

Level 4 (Advanced Professional)

    The candidate can understand and participate in:

    • formal presentations within the range of his/her experience
    • debates, conferences, broadcasts, press conferences
    • meetings, seminars, task groups
    • discussions about editorial and literary material

    The candidate can:

    • counsel
    • persuade
    • negotiate
    • interpret informally for dignitaries
    • represent both sides of an issue
    • tailor language according to context and audience
    • express opinions almost as well as in native language
    • produce highly organized discourse, including extensive use of complex sentence structure and both high- and low-frequency abstract vocabulary
    • understand all standard and some non-standard dialects including common slang / technical jargon
    • understand the type of language heard in speeches when sprinkled with idioms and stylistic embellishments
    • readily and accurately infer meanings and implications”
    • understand all forms and styles of speech pertinent to professional needs
    Candidate’s level of linguistic accuracy:
    • doesn’t readily understand dialect variations and colloquialisms outside the range of experience
    • may have trouble with extreme dialect, some slang, and speech marked by interference
    • may have an accent but rarely mispronounces
    • makes low-frequency errors that a native English speaker wouldn’t make
    • target language culture dominates
    • no patterns of pronunciation and communication errors

OPI General Information

    What is the OPI
    Who can take the OPI
    Level Descriptors
    ILR Descriptors
    OPI Performance Profile
    OPI FAQs
    Info for Examinees

OPI Scheduler/Proctor Info

    OPI Program Guidelines
    Scheduling an OPI
    OPI Request Form
    OPI Testing Procedures
    Proctor Responsibilities
    Interpreting OPI Results

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