How long does it take to reach a good level?

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We are often asked how long it will take to reach a good level.  The chart below has been specially designed by us to answer this.

To reach fluency in a foreign language is a long-term goal and you should not be unrealistic.  Having said that, even a short course of 12 hours (our minimum booking) can produce very good results.  Provided that you consolidate your learning between sessions (our teachers will always set a “homework” assignment) and assuming good motivation on your part, you will be speaking and understanding basic language in no time.

Take it step-by-step and enjoy your achievements along the way.  The first time you successfully order a drink or something to eat using your language skills is something to celebrate!

Understanding the spoken language takes a long time to master, because while you can control what you say to other people, you can’t easily control what they say back!  The key thing is not to panic!  Pick up what you can, build up your repertoire of vocabulary and set phrases and you will find the fog will begin to clear.

Don’t worry too much about writing unless you feel this is a skill you will need to master.  Reading a European language is relatively easy as you can take your time, go back and check things and use your dictionary. 


Here’s our unique chart that shows how long it will take you to reach various levels.  You need to self-assess your aptitude and motivation first!

Add the motivation score to the aptitude score.  The total score will equal the number of hours we estimate you will need to reach the relevant level (two example levels are given).  See below for a definition of motivation and aptitude.



So with medium motivation and aptitude we estimate you need 55 hours to reach this level. 

At this level the sort of language you can handle is as follows: give information about yourself | ask and answer simple questions | function in predictable everday situations (eg ordering drinks, food, buying transport tickets) | use the present tense to talk about routine actions | use numbers |



So with medium motivation and aptitude we estimate you need 150 hours to reach this level.

At this level the sort of language you can handle is as follows: have a good conversation about common topics, giving your own opinion/views | function well in a wide range of everyday situations (eg hiring a car, enquiring about accommodation | use the past tense to talk about, for example, your past life, as well as the simple present and any progressive tenses (eg “I am working on my new project”)


Motivation is, put simply, how much you really want or need to learn.  The ultimate motivation would be love of the language and related culture combined with a move to the country in question with a need to integrate there.  Other high motivation factors would be owning a property in the country or marrying into the culture.

Aptitude is difficult to define and, despite their best efforts, linguists have found it hard to explain why some people (or even whole nations!) appear to have a greater aptitude than others.  Things such as good aural memory (being able to repeat a string of things that are said to you), musical ability, having one or two languages under your belt already are all good signs.  A good level of education is probably positive, especially if this includes some study of language concepts.

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