- What are your personal or professional goals for learning Spanish?
- What kind of Spanish do you want to learn? I.e. conversational or business focused.
- Do you want to get to know the basics, or would you like to gain complete fluency in the language?
- Are you interested in solely learning the language, or do you want to learn about culture as well?
Once you’ve addressed those questions, you’ll be able to determine more or less the average learning time. In this blog, we’ll break down the different levels of Spanish language learning that exist, which will help you figure out which level of Spanish you are currently at, and what level you hope to achieve.
Learning Spanish According to Cervantes
The Cervantes Institute, the Spanish institute and system of accreditation responsible for the proper education and teaching of the Spanish language, has 6 different levels of Spanish language proficiency. These levels correlate to the student’s ability to communicate and express themselves verbally as well as written on paper. When examining these levels, it’s important to have two things in mind: what level of Spanish you are currently at, and what level of Spanish you hope to achieve at the end of your Spanish immersion program. We’ve outlined the different language levels below with the average study time from one category to the next.
The most basic Spanish language level is categorized as “A1”. This level can best be described as a complete beginner, meaning that the student has little to no experience with the Spanish language. At the beginning level, the student might be able to understand simple expressions, such as “hola”, “gracias”, or “baño”, but grammar structures and complex vocabulary are yet to be learned. Students may or may not be able to communicate basic needs and may have limited understanding of simple phrases. From beginner to elementary, the average study time is 4 weeks.
This level, just one step up from basic, is categorized as “A2”. It suggests that the student understands elementary aspects of the language, perhaps being able to communicate and understand basic information. The student has a wider knowledge of words and phrases, which can be used to communicate elementary subjects, such as describing physical surroundings or immediate needs. At an elementary level, students are able to converse in Spanish regarding simple concepts and issues that are habitual. From elementary to intermediate (I), the average study time is 4 weeks.
The intermediate level is broken down into two different categories: intermediate (I) and upper intermediate (II). Intermediate (I) is categorized as “B1”, and consists of those students who are able to understand and are capable of producing basic, coherent texts. The student may be able to handle most situations that arise during conversation. From intermediate (I) to upper immediate (II), the average study time is 8 weeks.
Upper immediate (II) students are categorized as “B2”. These students have a more complex, better understanding of the language structure and usage. They will be able to understand the main ideas of difficult texts, while producing their own texts. They will also be able to defend a point of view on general topics using pros and cons. From upper immediate (II) to advanced, the average study time is 10 weeks.
A student who is categorized as advanced, “C1”, is able to maneuver the language with minimal difficulty. They are able to understand more complex texts and can recognize implicit meanings. The student is able to effectively use the language to discuss topics such as social activities, academics, or professional themes. They are able to produce clear, well-structured and extremely detailed texts on more complex topics. From advanced to master of proficiency, the average study time is 10 weeks.
Master of Proficiency
Categorized as a master of proficiency, “C2”, a student is able to easily understand everything they hear or read. The student has no difficulty understanding the Spanish language as well as local sayings and accent recognition. They are able to reconstruct information and arguments from various sources and present them in a coherent and summarized way. The student is able to understand and engage in complex conversations with native speakers with no difficulty. For beginners looking to advance to master of proficiency (A1 to C2), the average study time is 44 weeks.
Learning Spanish as a foreign language isn’t a one-size-fits-all situation. Some students may learn the language quicker, while others need a bit more time to grasp the concepts. This blog should be used as a quick guide for students looking for average language times for their personal or professional language goals. Whatever your starting point, we at Expanish are here to help you reach your Spanish language learning goals.