What's My level? Use the Level Checker to decide

If you want to decide what level you should be reading at, then you can use our quick and easy level guide to help you.

First, choose a level that you think may be right for you. Read the text. If you find it easy, try the next level up. Note that underlined words are above level so are defined in the glossary at the back of the book.

Beginner (CEF A2)
  • Extract from Amazing Leaders: Genghis Khan

    When I was a child, my father was the leader of our tribe. He was a soldier and he trained me for war. You had to be a good soldier to stay alive in our times. My mother gave me hard jobs. She asked me to cut wood and carry heavy things from one place to another. In the Mongolian Khentii Mountains, winters were very long and cold, and summers were very hot and dry. Both my parents and the mountains helped me to grow into a strong man.

    When I was 9 years old, my father took me to the Onggirat tribe to arrange my marriage with a young girl named Borte. On our way back home, we were attacked by the Tatars, an enemy tribe, and my father died. I was very young to become a leader, so my tribe chose another man. Now my family didn’t have a tribe. We became very poor and I tried to help my mother. But our situation was very bad. Things didn’t get better when my mother decided to marry a man who had sons.

    Did you understand this text? Then you’re ready to read a Collins ELT Reader at Level 1.

    Too easy? Try the next level!
Pre-intermediate (CEF A2-B1)
  • Extract from Amazing Aviators: Louis Bleriot

    My ambition was to make heavier-than-air machines which could fly. I wanted machines that didn’t need gas inside them. Fortunately, small, light engines had recently been invented. My machines needed engines like that, I thought. One of my first designs, in 1900, was a machine which I called the ‘ornithopter’. I made several of these machines. The ornithopter had engines and it was meant to fly like a bird, with wings which moved.

    Unfortunately, none of the machines worked. They didn’t work because the design was wrong. The moving wings were a mistake. So next, I started to think about fixed-wing aeroplanes. Perhaps the movement of the air over the fixed wings could keep an aeroplane in the sky.

    I established a company with a man named Gabriel Voisin. Voisin had already worked on fixed-wing aeroplanes, but they were gliders. These aeroplanes had no engines, so they had to take off from high places. Now we needed to make machines with engines to pull them forward and pull them up into the sky.

    Did you understand this text? Then you’re ready to read a Collins ELT Reader at Level 2.

    Too easy? Try the next level!
Intermediate (CEF B1)
  • Extract from Amazing Explorers: Christopher Columbus

    By 1488, I was busy making plans for an ambitious voyage – to discover a sea route to China and India. These countries in the East were sources of valuable goods such as silk and spices, which people in Europe wanted. I was sure it would be possible to travel west by sea around the world to reach the countries of the East. In 1483 I spoke to the King of Portugal, and asked him to sponsor me – in other words, to give me money to buy ships and men for my voyage. But I was very disappointed when he refused to support me.

    The First Voyage (1492–1493)

    Next, I spoke to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain. I promised them that if they gave me money for my voyage, I’d bring back great wealth for Spain from the countries in the East. It wasn’t easy to persuade them, especially as my ideas about the size of the Earth and the oceans were different from other people’s. Many people laughed at me, and said I was a fool, and that my ships would fall off the end of the world. But at last the King and Queen agreed to support me. I knew the journey would be dangerous, but I found some brave sailors who were looking for adventure and the chance to become rich. On 3rd August 1492, I set sail from Palos in Spain with three ships and a crew of 90 sailors.

    Did you understand this text? Then you’re ready to read a Collins ELT Reader at Level 3.

    Too easy? Try the next level!

Upper intermediate (CEF B2)
    • Extract from Amazing Thinkers and Humanitarians: Aristotle

      Medicine wasn’t the only subject I was interested in. By nature, I was a curious child and, from an early age, I listened with great interest to the family discussions that often took place at home. These debates – because they were more than just discussions – were about the political situation in our town. They focused on the activities of all the influential people who lived there. I don’t know whether or not it was my father’s wish for me to become a politician. Unfortunately, he died long before I knew myself what I wanted to do with my life.

      When my father died, leaving me an orphan, my older sister Arimneste and her husband Proxenus took me in and looked after me. My father had been a wealthy man and there was plenty of money available for my education. In addition to my existing interest in politics and medicine, what I was really fascinated by was philosophy and science. Not only did I want to continue my studies in these subjects but I also wanted to study in the city that was the most important academic place on the planet. So in 366 BCE, at the age of eighteen, I packed up and moved to Athens.

      Did you understand this text? Then you’re ready to read a Collins ELT Reader at Level 4.

      Too easy? Try the next level!

  • Excerpt from The Mysterious Affair at Styles

    It was a warm day in early July. As we drove, I admired the Essex countryside, green and peaceful in the sun. It was hard to believe that a war was being fought not far away. John said, ‘It’s very quiet here, Hastings. My wife Mary works “on the land” because so many men are away fighting. She’s up at five every morning to milk the cows. It’s a good life – or it would be, if only Alfred Inglethorp wasn’t here!’ We arrived at the fine old house. A lady, who was gardening, stood up as we approached. ‘Hello, Evie, here’s our wounded hero! Mr Hastings, this is Miss Evelyn Howard. We call her Evie.’ Miss Howard shook my hand with a strong grip. She was a pleasant-looking woman of forty, with very blue eyes and a suntanned face. She had a large square body and a deep voice, like a man’s. ‘Come and have tea, Evie,’ said John. ‘You’ve done enough gardening for today.’ ‘Yes,’ said Miss Howard, removing her gardening gloves, ‘I think you’re right.’ She led us round the house to where tea was being served in the shade of a large tree, and as we approached, John’s wife Mary came to meet us. I’ll never forget my first sight of Mary Cavendish. She was tall and slim, with wonderful dark eyes. Although she was very calm and quiet on the outside, I imagined that inside she was wild and free. Her voice was low and clear. Suddenly I was very glad that I had come to Styles.

    Did you understand this text? Then you’re ready to read one of our twenty Agatha Christie ELT Readers at Level B2.