TRKI Levels

There are 6 TRKI levels available, which correspond to the Common European Framework of References for Languages (CEFR).

The lowest level is Elementary (also known as A1). As a rough guide, we consider students require about 100 hours of tuition before attempting this level. The next five levels are: Basic (A2); 1st Certificate (B1); 2nd Certificate (B2); 3rd Certificate (C1); 4th Certificate (C2). The highest level requires native proficiency.

All students taking the exam with RLC are given guidance on which level to sign up for. Internal students may speak to their teachers, who in turn may confer with our Senior Tutor if necessary, and external candidates are encouraged to have a face-to-face assessment with a Senior Tutor to determine which level of the exam is appropriate, and to recommend areas of revision or further study.

To request an RLC TRKI student pack with information in English on syllabus and vocabulary required for each of the lower three levels, please click here. On signing up for the exam you will be issued with a more comprehensive TRKI Preparation Pack, including past papers and detailed syllabus.

Number of hours required to reach each TRKI level
The Russian Ministry of Education publishes guidelines about the number of hours of study required to pass a particular level, which are shown in the table below. However, we believe all of the figures in this table should be treated as approximate: first, because they are designed for students who are studying Russian in Russia, and therefore tend to progress more quickly than those studying outside a Russian-speaking environment; secondly, a number of other factors (e.g. aptitude, frequency of study) clearly mean that they cannot apply equally to all students.

Please also bear in mind that at the higher levels the hours of formal study suggested may appear quite small, but it is assumed that a significant amount of additional time will have been spent in a Russian-speaking environment.

TRKI Level Hours per level Total hours
Elementary 80–90 +/- 100
Basic +150 +/- 250
1st Certificate +345 +/- 600
2nd Certificate +540 +/- 1100
3rd Certificate +210 +/- 1300
4th Certificate +150 +/- 1450

The table below shows how the TRKI levels match up with the CEFR, as well as approximate equivalence with UK academic exams and the four recognised levels used by the UK Foreign Office (FCO).

Elementary Basic User A1 Breakthrough GCSE lower grades
Basic A2 Waystage GCSE higher grades Confidence/
1st Certificate Independent User B1 Threshold 'A' Level, Pre-U Functional
2nd Certificate B2 Vantage lower degree
3rd Certificate Proficient User C1 Effective Operational Proficiency upper degree Operational
4th Certificate C2 Mastery

Some notes on the CEFR
The CEFR was published by the Council of Europe in 2001. It aims to establish common levels of language proficiency across Europe languages. The aim is to say (for example), "Jean-Paul's German is the same level as Dieter's French"; or, from an employer's point of view, "Jean-Paul can do the same things in German as Dieter can do in French".

The usefulness of the CEFR levels when comparing two different languages is a subject of much debate among language teachers. We have strong reservations about how practical it is to compare proficiency in Russian with proficiency in, for example, French. In particular, we think the stated number of hours taken to get from one level to the next needs to be treated with great caution.

Despite these reservations, it is clearly useful to have a measure of proficiency in Russian as a foreign language that crosses international boundaries: the TRKI tests taken by our candidates in London are the same as those taken by students in France, China, and so on – and in Russia itself. This means, for example, that when our students attend courses in Russia they can supply meaningful information about their current level. Equally, a number of our students have studied Russian elsewhere in Europe, and a TRKI qualification gives us a much clearer idea of what they have studied previously.

I quickly found out that the RLC is unique from institutions I had studied at previously in that my teacher individualizes the course structure to the student's needs.
One thing I really like about learning at RLC is that the whole experience is about Russian language and culture.
The course book produced by the RLC makes learning Russian really interesting, and gives a student plenty of opportunity to practice reading, writing and speaking skills.
My teacher also has a very engaging and supportive style and is very passionate and enthusiastic about the Russian language and its culture.
Our diverse and stimulating daytime group receives high quality, engaging tuition which matches our interests and needs.
I'm just finishing my first term and feel really inspired and enthusiastic about continuing.
Our tutor Dmitri Antonov has been an excellent guide to the complexities of the language.
The RLC appealed to me due to its central location and wide range of day and evening classes.
The quality of teaching and course material at the Centre is exceptional.
The use of different teachers also offers different accents, voices and opinions so that one's ears become more attuned to the patterns and rhythms essential to understanding what to me at least is a new language.
I've stuck at it, and my class goers have become friends as well as fellow students. We struggle through our grammar together!
Familiarity leads to greater confidence, which has also been bolstered by our excellent and extraordinarily patient teacher!
The class was young professional people and it was fun but learning was serious and the teacher maintained a strong pace.
After careful research on the internet, RLC seemed the most impressive of the options available. And what a good choice it was.
RLC at Pushkin House means there is a cultural aspect to your learning as it is in the Russian cultural centre of London so I could attend political talks or music recitals and meet others interested in Russian language and culture.
I do definitely recommend RLC. Classes are intense and demanding, but also a good fun, something really important when taking evening lessons after work.
What made me actually enrol was the relaxed, friendly, yet efficient meeting with the course director to establish my level of knowledge.
So when I learned that all the teachers at the Russian Language Centre were Russian I felt confident that I would be in good hands not only learning to speak Russian but also understanding it.
The people in my group are friendly and supportive of each other which is also important as it creates an atmosphere of shared learning.
I joined a group and, unlike large language schools, the groups are small and everyone has plenty of time to practice the language with the teacher's input.
If you are interested in learning Russian, whether as a beginner or someone who might have studied a little before, the RLC is the place to do it.
I chose the RLC after looking at several schools because I liked the flexibility of the courses, and the possibility of having one-to-one tuition, which is the option I took.
The centre has its own set of course books that I've found very effective in helping me to learn.
My teacher also has a very engaging and supportive style and is very passionate and enthusiastic about the Russian language and its culture.
One of the things I most enjoy about the course is that we can now tailor the lessons to meet our various interests.
I would recommend the RLC both for its focus on rigorous learning of the grammar (which is essential to make any real progress in Russian) and then at a later stage for its flexibility in allowing students to pursue their own interests.
I have found the atmosphere at the RLC to be very open and supportive.
From the beginning, the teachers have been motivational and invested in their students' success, giving them confidence to improve. What began as a spontaneous decision to try something new slowly became a serious hobby and then a passion.
I would recommend RLC to anyone wanting to begin learning or improve their Russian language skills.  It's an inclusive and friendly environment.
The course is very practically based and combines grammar and themes which build on the grammar with further vocabulary; for example, travel and directions, conversation about families, the weather, shopping, ordering in a restaurant and much more!
Having completed four terms, I am now having a break from studying, but may return after another few weeks travelling in Russia, for which I am even better equipped than before.
I was pleased to pass my first exams last summer as did the other two of my classmates who took the exam.  I would strongly recommend the school to other potential students.
After less than a year I was able to attend Euro 2012 in Ukraine with a friend and manage my way around without having to resort to English - and more recently, I was able to give half my wedding speech in Russian which went down very well with the in-laws!
After two years people have come and gone from the group but the core few along with our tutor have all become good friends, usually finishing each term with a visit to a Russian restaurant to toast our progress!
I am soon to visit Russia for the first time to take extra lessons and try out my linguistic abilities on the locals! This would not have been possible had it not been for the progress I am making at the RLC.