How much time to spend daily for B2->C1

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desperatemonolingual
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How much time to spend daily for B2->C1

Postby desperatemonolingual » Sat Oct 03, 2020 11:01 pm

I'm frustrated with my learning plateau (and even regression) and I've decided that I cannot be complacent with my B2 anymore and that I need to really step up my passive learning and restart active learning. I would really enjoy it if the English language just disappeared for a 6 to 12 month period, but unfortunately that's not really a possibility. I'm wondering how I can balance my time successfuly to learn fast. My plan looks a bit like this, I'd love any feedback you might have.

Minimizing my use of English
- I'm a student at an English speaking university and I live in an almost entirely monolingual environment. I have to talk to my family in English. None my friends or associates speak my TL well enough to have a useful conversation with. The biggest thing I can cut out here is my consumption of English language entertainment. I feel guilty anytime I read or watch something in English, but it can be so downright difficult to find enough entertainment in the worlds 2nd most spoken language by number of native speakers. Cutting out English entertainment is going to be a real hassle, but I'm going to commit my self to not consume anything

Aggresively reading books.
- So far with my B2 level I've managed to completely read two books, both translations. I've worked my way through most of a notable novel originally written in my TL but it just bored me to death at the end. Lesson learned, be discerning of genre. Now I'm working on another book translated from my NL (though it can be fairly difficult vocab wise at times). I don't really read books in my NL unless it's assigned to me and I find it difficult to find the motivation (though I do enjoy reading). My current goal is to be reading like 50 pages a day (maybe more)

Listening:
- For the most part, listening to anything formal is very easy. I can usually easily understand music in my TL and that's mostly what I listen to, though some French music makes it into my spotify playlists. That said, my experiences with other forms of spoken language can vary alot. Sometimes I can understand a telenovela just fine sans subtitles, sometimes I need them, just depending on which character is speaking.

Writing:
- I've actually never really practiced writing more intricate than sending emails. I don't think it'll be too hard to write something, though writing idiomatically and figuratively might be challenging with my vocab. A C1 test is going to be giving me mainly argumentative/persuasive/informational prompts, although I'd like to practice every style of writing I just don't know where to begin. Any ideas on what to write/prompts?

SRS:
- One of the main ways I got to B2 in the first place was with a memrise deck with TL words and NL translations. I like memrise because it has an app (that is userfriendly and doesn't cost $50) but damn even memrise can be dificult sometimes. I find Anki hard to use and rigid. What I need to do now is to create my own deck (I haven't decided whether TL-NL Translation or TL-TL Definition is the better strategy and I'm open to input). In summary, SRS is very helpful for me but I'm to lazy to actually build a deck which is what I need to be doing, so I end up not using SRS. I will have to find the willpower to use SRS.

Grammar study:
- I mostly have a good grip on grammar but there are like three or four things I haven't learned intuitively to a C1 level, namely the intricacies of por/para and the subjunctive (I think I'm overusing it). I also have a handful of problem words because I never learned their gender correctly. I think this is a compartively minor problem - a lot of practice problems and intensive reading for the grammar and putting problem words into SRS (with gender!) when I encounter them.


I'm wondering if any of you who have broken through the B2/C1 have any feedback on my thoughts above on making the jump or any idea of how long I should be studying everyday (the minimum, obviously as much as possible is ideal) so I can adjust my expectations. Apologies if this is the wrong forum, I tried to make my question relevant to language learning in general.
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tungemål
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Re: How much time to spend daily for B2->C1

Postby tungemål » Sun Oct 04, 2020 3:45 pm

Hi. Welcome to the forum!

It is really hard to say how much you need to study to reach C1. Do you plan to take a test, or do you just want to improve in general? I think it is a good idea to consume a lot of reading and listening material, as well as speak and write. If you're going to take a test there are of course preparation books you could do.

desperatemonolingual wrote:...
The biggest thing I can cut out here is my consumption of English language entertainment. I feel guilty anytime I read or watch something in English, but it can be so downright difficult to find enough entertainment in the worlds 2nd most spoken language by number of native speakers. Cutting out English entertainment is going to be a real hassle, but I'm going to commit my self to not consume anything
...

I don't agree with this - it is not difficult to find TV entertainment in Spanish. Only on youtube you can find a lot. You just have to do it, even if it is more mentally exhausting.
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iguanamon
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Re: How much time to spend daily for B2->C1

Postby iguanamon » Sun Oct 04, 2020 4:50 pm

First, welcome to the forum, desperatemonolingual!

Something that always amazes me is the amount of full time university students we get here on the forum who are self-learning a language. I guess I just wonder where they find the time, still, it's done a lot and often successfully.
desperatemonolingual wrote:...One of the main ways I got to B2 in the first place was with a memrise deck with TL words and NL translations. I like memrise because it has an app (that is userfriendly and doesn't cost $50) but damn even memrise can be dificult sometimes. I find Anki hard to use and rigid. What I need to do now is to create my own deck (I haven't decided whether TL-NL Translation or TL-TL Definition is the better strategy and I'm open to input). In summary, SRS is very helpful for me but I'm to lazy to actually build a deck which is what I need to be doing, so I end up not using SRS. I will have to find the willpower to use SRS. ...

Really?! You used mainly memrise to learn Spanish on your own and you didn't use any courses?! What kind of test did you take to determine your level? We almost never get full details here to properly address a question like the OP's. So I am going to answer it in a general manner.

There is no specific amount of time I, or really anyone else here, can give you on how long it will take to reach C1 level. The amount of time varies between people and what their life circumstances allow. Moving from Intermediate to advanced levels requires a lot of exposure to native media, grammar work, work on all of the skills in manipulating the language- reading, writing, speaking, listening.
tungemål wrote:it is not difficult to find TV entertainment in Spanish. Only on youtube you can find a lot. You just have to do it, even if it is more mentally exhausting.

tungemål is absolutely correct. There is plenty of content available on youtube alone, and I am not talking about "youtubers" doing makeup and instructional videos. To get you started- Deutsche Welle en español has a documentary channel and a 24 hour live news and features channel. This is just one source I will mention. There's everything available from cartoons to novelas on youtube in Spanish.
...So far with my B2 level I've managed to completely read two books, both translations. I've worked my way through most of a notable novel originally written in my TL but it just bored me to death at the end. Lesson learned, be discerning of genre. Now I'm working on another book translated from my NL (though it can be fairly difficult vocab wise at times). I don't really read books in my NL unless it's assigned to me and I find it difficult to find the motivation (though I do enjoy reading). My current goal is to be reading like 50 pages a day (maybe more)...

Consider doing the super challenge here on the forum. There is plenty of Spanish-language literature available in many genres. I am sure you will find one to your liking. Older novels are available for free on Project Gutenberg's website. The usual booksellers have plenty available. There is also fan fiction available for free. To get you started, you can find around 50 free and legal e-books for download in Spanish here: badosa.com. There most definitely is much more than enough available online for you to have plenty of native content to read, listen and watch.

As to working on grammar, I recommend working through FSI Spanish Basic Course- free and legal to download. Another good resource to use is Gramática de uso del español B1-B2.

SRS is not necessary to learn vocabulary. I've never used it. So, don't worry about srs'ing everything. If you use SRS, use it sparingly. Consensus here on the forum is that srs is quite useful at this stage for learning low frequency vocabulary, phrases and grammar... again, this means it's just one tool in your toolbox out of many.

Have a look at others' logs here on the forum. We have a Spanish Study Group thread here with plenty of links for content and learning tips. Once again, welcome to the forum!
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Cavesa
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Re: How much time to spend daily for B2->C1

Postby Cavesa » Sun Oct 04, 2020 5:48 pm

Welcome to the forum!

I second Iguanamon's post. I'll just add a few notes of my own.

desperatemonolingual wrote:Minimizing my use of English
- I'm a student at an English speaking university and I live in an almost entirely monolingual environment. I have to talk to my family in English. None my friends or associates speak my TL well enough to have a useful conversation with. The biggest thing I can cut out here is my consumption of English language entertainment. I feel guilty anytime I read or watch something in English, but it can be so downright difficult to find enough entertainment in the worlds 2nd most spoken language by number of native speakers. Cutting out English entertainment is going to be a real hassle, but I'm going to commit my self to not consume anything

I was in a similar situation. Everything was primarily in my native language. My family, university, friends, everything. So, yes, switching the entertainment to my target languages was one of the necessitites for improving my target languages.

Yes, getting rid of English is really hard, but defnitely possible. You're learning Spanish. So, you can start with Spanish dubbings of the English stuff, most are good or even very good. The natives watch them too afterall. Continue to the tons of original stuff, such as the wonderul tv series on rtve.es . Really, there are tons of entertainment in Spanish, it is not a problem at all. You might just have to use the pirate sites, if the official ones are geoblocked. It is really sad that we are so often not allowed to just pay.

If you look at the Super Challenge proposed by Iguanamon, or at the logs of the various advanced learners around here, you'll notice that the tv series are a very common tool. They work just fine, if you consume a few hundred hours of them.

A personal tip: I find binge watching to be much more useful than watching a little every day. Especially when you are starting out, somewhere around the intermediate level. So, I do not have any recommendation on a daily dose of tv series. But if you can binge watch for two or three evenings per week, you should progress nicely.

Aggresively reading books.
- So far with my B2 level I've managed to completely read two books, both translations. I've worked my way through most of a notable novel originally written in my TL but it just bored me to death at the end. Lesson learned, be discerning of genre. Now I'm working on another book translated from my NL (though it can be fairly difficult vocab wise at times). I don't really read books in my NL unless it's assigned to me and I find it difficult to find the motivation (though I do enjoy reading). My current goal is to be reading like 50 pages a day (maybe more)


Yes, I hoped you've learnt the lesson. Again, most advanced learners around here get to the solid level by reading something like 10000 pages, or more. It's hard to do it, if you suffer through the books. Who cares whether the novel is notable. Language learning is the perfect excuse to read exactly what you want, translated and original. If you love the lower genres, great. Scifi, fantasy, crime, romance, great. Non fiction is very useful. Anything serves.

The key is reading a lot, and progressing from easier things to the harder ones.

I'm more for binge reading than regular reading too, but that is a matter of personal preference. I think it matters less than with the tv series. Before my C2 French exam, I had been reading for months at the pace of approximately one book per week. Or a longer one per fortnight.

Writing:
- I've actually never really practiced writing more intricate than sending emails. I don't think it'll be too hard to write something, though writing idiomatically and figuratively might be challenging with my vocab. A C1 test is going to be giving me mainly argumentative/persuasive/informational prompts, although I'd like to practice every style of writing I just don't know where to begin. Any ideas on what to write/prompts?

This is the hardest one. Some sites offer corrections (language tools, lingora, ...), but those are better at the lower levels than at the higher ones. Unfortunately, most tutors are too lazy or incapable to teach writing. It's a real problem.

But at least for your own practice, you can easily get the exam preparatory books and do the assignments.

Grammar study:

I agree with Iguanamon about the Gramatica de Uso del Espanol.
As an alternative, I'd recommend Kwiziq. Or the Gramatica Anaya workbooks are not bad.
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Re: How much time to spend daily for B2->C1

Postby jimmy » Sun Oct 04, 2020 6:25 pm

I think this depends on you, because I know someone raised his teofl score to 113 points from lower level (as far as I remember it was from 75 to 113)

as I said this depends on you,your study.
the more you practise,to me, the more you will be familiar. I think these days it is not as that difficult if you really deal with it.
because youtube is one way that you would presumably most easily you could reach.

I wish you every success!
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desperatemonolingual
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Re: How much time to spend daily for B2->C1

Postby desperatemonolingual » Sun Oct 04, 2020 6:28 pm

Oh my thanks for all the advice. I found Gramatica de Uso del Español to be quite nice. I'm using the C1-C2 edition, and it's not really anything new I just need to remember not the use the subjunctive subjectively (that is, when nothing triggers it.) I had no idea 'sendos' was a thing in Spanish but it seems really rare. I'm trying to write a lot and I have someone I might be able to rope into giving me corrections and feedback, but it's so hard to start out an essay well, especially without a prompt to force me into a topic. I also tried Kwiziq and it has a few interesting things. I mainly signed up for it because it was a 'CEFR Level test' and I got C1. Likely story, Kwiziq.

I consider myself B2 because I can understand pretty much anything in a newspaper. At this point, my passive vocab (aided by lexical similiarities with English) pretty much suffices for anything not literary, but I defintely need to read more books! I can hold a conversation about many things in Spanish. I can listen to fast Spanish so long as it's "reasonably" clear. I can get into heated YouTube discussions in Spanish. The only thing that scares me on a B2 test (SIELE o DELE) is presenting arguments orally, but that's because it's not something I've ever practiced. I'm not eloquent and I make mistakes but I'm fairly comfortable in "standard" Spanish.

Also, with refrence to me complaing about a lack of entertainment in Spanish, I didn't mean to say that there is a dearth of TV shows. Theres not. I was mainly refering to more niche forms of entertainment that I like (think educational youtube and non-fiction type articles) iVoox has amazing podcasts. DW Documental is great!

I'm suprised to see that you've never used SRS, iguanamon. Also, 'memrise' didn't teach me Spanish, it's just responsible for a lot of the vocab I learned when I was like B1. I took Spanish courses in highschool but what really taught me Spanish and made it stick was novelas. So I'm already in the habit of enjoy native Spanish content, just not to the exclusion of English (yet).

So what I'm getting a good plan looks like a metric tonne of books and TV, SRS for low freq vocab and idioms, and as much active (reading/writing) practice as I can get, corrections where possible. To me, this sounds like a time investment of 2-3 hours active learning and as much Spanish entertainment as I can get would be reasonable.
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Re: How much time to spend daily for B2->C1

Postby kelvin921019 » Sun Oct 04, 2020 7:22 pm

I brought my English from B to C without in any way limiting the use of my native language (Cantonese) in my daily life. I binge-watched TV series in Cantonese / Japanese / Korean (with sub, of course), talk to my family, friends and colleague in Cantonese and kept my daily life untouched by language learning. I don't see the reason why you should feel guilty when you consume English content. Don't let language learning engulf your life.

Unless you're in a rush now, what you need to do is simply using the language constantly over a Long Period of Time. Just set aside some time everyday doing things you like in your TL, like reading book, watching movies, texting with friends (e.g. on Tandem / hellotalk) or your hobbies (e.g. research on certain topic you're interested, read certain news, visit forums / and engage in the discussion, learn certain new skills, playing games). You don't really have to sacrifice your daily life for that.

My B to C experience was about 3-4 years+ of constant contact with the language (I keep using English until now). No SRS, no textbook studies, no language learning tools. Just enjoying my life with the language. (Of course my undergrad studies was taught in English, but frankly apart from readings, lectures and assignments we use our native language). Basically what I wanna say is that don't worry about the "contamination of languages". You will reach there so long as you don't abandon it.
Last edited by kelvin921019 on Mon Oct 05, 2020 6:02 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: How much time to spend daily for B2->C1

Postby iguanamon » Sun Oct 04, 2020 9:15 pm

desperatemonolingual wrote:...I'm surprised to see that you've never used SRS, iguanamon. Also, 'memrise' didn't teach me Spanish, it's just responsible for a lot of the vocab I learned when I was like B1. I took Spanish courses in high school but what really taught me Spanish and made it stick was novelas. So I'm already in the habit of enjoy native Spanish content, just not to the exclusion of English (yet).

Well, we never have enough information here in question posts. No, I never have used srs. There are several of us here who don't use it. It isn't necessary to use srs to learn a language. As was said previously, you don't have to give up English. Just make sure you have enough contact with Spanish-language media.
desperatemonolingual wrote:...I'm trying to write a lot and I have someone I might be able to rope into giving me corrections and feedback, but it's so hard to start out an essay well, especially without a prompt to force me into a topic. I also tried Kwiziq and it has a few interesting things. I mainly signed up for it because it was a 'CEFR Level test' and I got C1. Likely story, Kwiziq.

The internet is your friend 365 creative writing prompts. You can take a diagnostic test at this Cervantes Institute site and there's also dialang plus DLI Online Diagnostic Assessment.
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Re: How much time to spend daily for B2->C1

Postby Cavesa » Sun Oct 04, 2020 9:41 pm

desperatemonolingual wrote:Also, with refrence to me complaing about a lack of entertainment in Spanish, I didn't mean to say that there is a dearth of TV shows. Theres not. I was mainly refering to more niche forms of entertainment that I like (think educational youtube and non-fiction type articles) iVoox has amazing podcasts. DW Documental is great!


There are popular science magazines, there are lots or interesting youtube channels (I found some of the best flute tutorials in Spanish), there is a whole documentary section on the rtve.es
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