Time from B2 to C1/C2? (frustrated somewhat- seeking some feedback pls)

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Re: Time from B2 to C1/C2? (frustrated somewhat- seeking some feedback pls)

Postby leosmith » Thu Aug 16, 2018 7:27 pm

Cavesa wrote:looking for subtitles is awful. It takes ages and the result is still not guaranteed.
Just curious - have you ever tried netflix via VPN/DNS/Proxy?
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https://oplingo.com/ - try our free multi-language reading tool

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Re: Time from B2 to C1/C2? (frustrated somewhat- seeking some feedback pls)

Postby PeterMollenburg » Wed Sep 05, 2018 11:36 am

NoManches wrote:Unlike you @PeterMollenburg, I've never been a big fan of courses, but I do like to take a structured approach for certain things. That's why I was such a big fan addict of anki (that's a whole different story). I've only had time to skim your log (and this post) since there is so much content in it, so please forgive me if I'm covering something that has been said or something that you currently do. But, if you like courses so much, why not work exclusively with materials designed to get you ready for the C1/C2 exam? I'm working with a few of these books now and I feel like they have pretty good structure, and one is best working systematically from the beginning to end of the book. This seems like a perfect thing for you. Maybe this idea has been mentioned before, and maybe it's something you have done or are currently doing.


Trying to reach C1 (although I could already theoretically be there, but then I'm unsure) has been a battle of sorts. Often it's not so much the language study itself but it's having other commitments. Work, children, staying healthy, staying up late (not being healthy) and so on. I've found it increasingly difficult to find time... or to make time for a good solid routine. I have a really good routine in fact these days, I believe, but actually sticking to it consistently enough to realise i'm progressing is simply not happening. I study in spurts and more in a more chaotic manner than I care for (it's not my ideal). It works, but it doesn't work as well as my ideal study routine would in theory. So, this means that all important course material, like C1/C2 exam prep books, are indeed on my list, but I haven't got to them yet as I'm working through a course book on the subjunctive as there are some decent gaps in my grammar there. I wouldn't now, at this stage in my French, use only a course (well very unlikely anyway), as I'd be neglecting listening, vocabulary building, reading, which imo are very important as well in the lead up to the exam. So, this month I'm aiming to finish off the subjunctive studies and replace it with C1 course books.

It's been such a long road, yet I wonder whether I'm underestimating the leap from B2 to C1 and am not really there yet still. On the other hand I'm often viewed as underestimating my level, so who knows. And unfortunately life could be taking a twist lately that sees me abandoning my C1 exam this November as I may have to move house and do some renovations and the like in a time frame that won't enable me to focus on the exam. I'll know more on that hopefully later this week, as it's dependent on outside factors.

NoManches wrote:Out of curiosity, what is the update since this was posted on December 5th, 2016. Did you find certain advice given to you worked or was able to help you out significantly? I guess I can always go through your log, but I've only had time to skim it since there is so much info. Not surprisingly, a lot of times when I do searches for things it comes back to a post in your log.


I've had a lot of fantastic support on this forum, and this thread is a good example of that. When I felt I needed to reach out to the community, the community supported me. Albeit, sometimes with tough love or a good dose of realism, it was much needed. And it wasn't necessarily so much the advice on how to do things, but just the fact that support was given. I think it helped me resolve myself to continuing the mission, and I am really grateful for that. It's like, despite my posts that really irritate some people sometimes, they are still willing to go out on a limb to help me. And although the posts in this thread are often directed at me personally, I'd advise anyone struggling with pushing their language beyond a particular level to take a look at this thread, as there is plenty of excellent advice that can help one push on.

Still, this was also particular advise that sunk in (eventually). Such as, although finding much success with courses, more than most indeed, that native content was and is needed to continue to advance. That extensive reading and listening is very valuable.

Nowadays I'm almost more at home not doing course work, and I certainly think this is a good thing. Courses can push you much further than many people might think, or is it that some just prefer to transition later than others (I liked my training wheels?), or is it that some prefer more intensive/analytic study than others... Well anyway for me now, I could almost comfortably rid my routine completely of courses, but i'm not quite there yet (let's face it, French has a lot of really inviting courses :geek: )

NoManches wrote:Keep up the good work and I can't wait to hear about all the progress you've made. *I do know that you are/were planning to sit on the exams in a few months from now, so I guess I'm asking for a pre-exam update* Are you still feeling frustrated or having the same problems you mentioned when this thread was made?


Cool, thanks NoManches, I'm happy to share the story at this point (as you have seen above). So yeah, I don't feel great right now about the C1 exam, I just hope I have the time now given other things are mainly out of my control, to prepare in the final days (that's now through to early Nov). I think now my frustration is different. I was very very impatient at the time and kinda annoyed that I wasn't already at C1. Well, I'm still not, but now I'm not too bothered by that and the battle is more in getting the time to stick to my routine. I guess I must be more comfortable with the language though, indeed, but there remains many gaps. If I fail in November, at least I'll know where I stand.
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Re: Time from B2 to C1/C2? (frustrated somewhat- seeking some feedback pls)

Postby Elenia » Wed Sep 05, 2018 2:59 pm

PeterMollenburg wrote:If I fail in November, at least I'll know where I stand.


I know I've said this before, and said it to you, but I think this is a really good attitude to have. I was upset when I failed my TISUS, as it put a spanner in the works of my plans, but I was happy to know where I stood in the language.
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Re: Time from B2 to C1/C2? (frustrated somewhat- seeking some feedback pls)

Postby PeterMollenburg » Mon May 13, 2019 11:33 am

Well here I am again. I'm no stranger to humility or is it humiliation? I make so many changes of plans, say so many crazy things, say that I'm quitting the forum and come back the same day so often. Am I a tad unstable? :? Just make it easy and call me crazy :D Anyway, here I am many years later after first beginning this thread, yet predictably asking myself similar questions - Can I? How long? What to study? Which level? Can it be done? Can I actually do it? bla bla bla.

To be fair to myself, yes I did pas the B2 a while ago now. I also had some major uphievals in my life with a potential moving to Saudi Arabia which never took place. However it did shake up my plans and do a lot to destroy my serious momentum. Although, really, I cannot blame the uphieval entirely for that, burn out and boredom were likely strong components as well.

I've returned to this thread so many times. The last time was last night. I'm so stubborn that I'm learning the lessons written amongst the wise posters here years later, very slowly indeed. Anyway, I feel this thread is worth posting in once again to perhaps potentially resurrect it (depending on interest out there), as it's not just useful for me, but for many others, as the thread indicates, who have been appreciative of the information contained within. I also want to post my latest study plan, almost as if the last 2 years have been sucked into a vaccuum, or as if the story written on a long tapestry could be folded over so that the last ~2 years disappears and the journey continues. Needless to say, I'm contemplating this C1/C2 task yet again.

Here's my latest routine, a rotation of four one hour blocks of study:

Hour one
15 minutes SRS
45 minutes INTENSIVE READING using:
* Think French
* Bien-dire
* maybe Science et Vie
* maybe Le Monde

Hour two
15 minutes of SRS
45 minutes of WATCHING using:
* Initially Buffy transcripts. Listening to episode content and pausing to refer to transcripts when listening comprehension fails. The idea is to do this until I let refer less and less to the transcripts and can watch the series on the fly. Thus this listening hour will commence with intensive listening and eventually become full hour long extensive listening of various series (the 15 min SRS would be eradicated eventually).

Hour three
15 minutes of SRS
45 minutes of a COURSE
*rotating between pertinent language courses at advanced level and DALF manuals. NO easy peasy lemon squeezy language courses, ONLY the MOST relevant language course content. Although I wanted to expand this hour out to two, I need to keep it at a minimum but useful amount of time, so as more time is spent on the other three focus areas in the other hour long study blocks.
examples of courses:
*To complete: Practise Makes Perfect: The French Subjunctive
*Production Écrite : Niveaux C1/C2
*Assimil Business French
*Réussir le Dalf : Niv C1/C2
*Dalf Tests complets corrigés
*CLE Vocab. Progressif du Français
*CLE Grammaire Progressive du Français

Hour four
one hour of EXTENSIVE READING.

I've not included writing YET. I intend to add it as 5th block as I build confidence and have a bit more of a framework to adhere to. I also intend on utilising a tutor perhaps once a week down the track.

Why now? Why not? Better late than never? I really truly feel like a broken record here, but hey at least I have progressed in my French in the last 2 years, even if it hasn't been that much. Next year I have other plans for languages, and to be quite frank, I'd really appreciate any opinions on whether or not I can make it to C2 in 6 months. I can probably safely say I'll get in 2 hours of study a day, although I'll be aiming for 3 or 4. When I say 'study', that means following of the above routine, there will be added reading to my children as usual, speaking with my children and watching some TV and listening to podcasts not mentioned in the above study routine. I'm likely to be able to reach 3 hours or more a day, but not all within the above routine (some within, some outside of it). Why not? Well, the above study routine is all about sitting down and focusing on dedicated deliberate study to move towards C2. All indications are that I cannot and will not achieve this by November 2019, but in theory, can I?

What will be challenging is that my family life has become busier, demands on my time outside of language learning have increased. Some days I just will not be able to get much done through no fault of my own. And next year the DALF format will change, so I'd like to imagine I could get this done in November 2019, also allowing me to focus on other things in 2020. Should I just sit the C2 and not care if I fail?

I know I've said it before, but such good information in this thread. If you're planning on sitting the DALF, another advanced language exam, or take a langauge from intermediate to advanced, then please take the time to read back through this thread, there really is a wealth of info from many people in the know.
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Re: Time from B2 to C1/C2? (frustrated somewhat- seeking some feedback pls)

Postby Ezra » Mon May 13, 2019 12:06 pm

Have you read this topic?

The idea is that to reach "absolute mastery" in language one shoud read one million sentences (about 66000 pages).
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Re: Time from B2 to C1/C2? (frustrated somewhat- seeking some feedback pls)

Postby PeterMollenburg » Mon May 13, 2019 12:35 pm

Ezra wrote:Have you read this topic?

The idea is that to reach "absolute mastery" in language one shoud read one million sentences (about 66000 pages).


I did skim through it, yes. I'd just like to clarify however, that C2 is not absolute mastery. Still, thank you kindly for taking the time to reply.
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Re: Time from B2 to C1/C2? (frustrated somewhat- seeking some feedback pls)

Postby iguanamon » Mon May 13, 2019 2:16 pm

Plans... While I think your plan is a good one...
Robert Burns wrote:The best laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft agley

How many multi-stage plans have you made, PM, that have aft gang agley over the years... or been abandoned before even being undertaken... or radically changed in a month... a week... a day... an hour?

If you'll stick to it, your plan has merit. It will help you advance. However, I still believe that the underlying premise of your basic, highly formulated, plans of action is not sustainable. It's the very "dress, right, dress" foundation that I am referring to here. A then B then C then D then E leads to success. If followed, yes, it should lead to success... but... what happens when only A gets done? What happens when you just don't want to do C, D or E?

I think you may be better off following a less rigid course of action and working to correct your weaknesses. Your fundamentals of French are fine. Now is the time to work on your weaknesses- writing, listening, vocabulary and manipulation of the language. If you can make it through "Buffy", read several native or translated bd's and/or books in French, start writing/speaking and studying advanced grammar as you go along, yes, I believe you can get to where you want to be. If you continue what you have been doing and expecting a different result this time, I don't believe it will work. Life will get in the way and you'll be back in three months with a new and improved (yet still highly regimented) plan of attack that will be once again vulnerable to the same inevitable variables and circumstances that life will throw in your way again.

For me, the key to avoiding this is to be flexible enough that I can keep going even if I get a spanner thrown into the works. If I can read/watch/listen/write/speak/study in some combination most days, I can advance. The working with native materials inspires me to seek out what I may not understand and improve my understanding of the vocabulary or grammatical concepts. If I had to set a regimented schedule, I would not be able to consistently follow that and I would fail. Usually at this point I bring up Leo Babauta...
Leo Babauta wrote:The best goal is no goal
Ultimately, I know I have wasted my time writing this because you are, indeed, you. This reply is not really for you but for others who may see this and possibly benefit from the advice given in this thread.

Now for the real advice for you: I benefited greatly from an online writing course in Spanish. Interacting online with fellow students and the professor, their feedback was quite useful to me and was a spur to get me out of my comfort zone. There are paid writing courses online in French which are intended for native speakers. I took the liberty of doing a little research
and found the following: cours d'écriture.
esprit-livre wrote:L'art d'écrire n'est plus réservé aux écrivains
Savoir écrire a toujours été une qualité convoitée. Signe extérieur d’intelligence, de culture, de distinction, d’élégance, de raffinement. Ce savoir est un atout capital pour réussir sa vie personnelle et professionnelle.
Pourtant, apprendre à écrire est difficile notamment parce que cet enseignement est mal connu et inaccessible.
L’esprit livre a conçu des formations afin de dispenser ces savoirs et de faciliter leur l’accès.
Que ce soit pour votre épanouissement personnel ou le développement de vos activités professionnelles, nous vous aiderons à concrétiser vos envies et à trouver des solutions aux difficultés que vous pouvez rencontrer.
Pour les plus ambitieux, nous vous guiderons pour percer dans le milieu de l’édition.

Also have a look at this article on online workshops for writing in French.
Of course, I don't speak French, but I can read it fairly well given my background in similar languages. I think doing something like an online writing workshop would have several benefits. You'd be writing for native-speakers. You'd be interacting with a native-speaking writing professional, who may even be inspired by your bravery to take you under their wing. You could possibly make friends with other native-speaking students. You could be lead to discover new literature and be taken outside of your comfort zone. Who knows where this could lead!

Basically, it's about embracing the unknown, having faith in your abilities and not being afraid to make mistakes but learning from them and getting better as you go along. If you're going to do a formulated course of attack, (which you will because you're you) and I know how you love courses, then this writing course is indeed a course where you will learn how to write better in French. It will expose your weaknesses and inspire you to improve upon them. It will give you interaction with native-speakers and native materials. It will be scary as all get out but it could be just the push you need to advance your French skills.

Do I expect you to actually do this, no, I don't, but someone else down the road might. You, PM, will find your own way. I'm sure you will get to where you want to be through your hard work and determination... despite (or perhaps because of) your perfectionist tendencies. Contact with the enemy tends to change our preset notions and inevitably alters our plans.

Bòn chans, msye PM, zanmi !

Edit: Go and read whatiftheblog's log The great push to C2- extra French edition. Now that's some work!
Last edited by iguanamon on Mon May 13, 2019 7:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Time from B2 to C1/C2? (frustrated somewhat- seeking some feedback pls)

Postby MamaPata » Mon May 13, 2019 4:15 pm

Out of interest, why are you intensively watching Buffy rather than native content? I’m not opposed to dubbed series (I enjoy them, it’s a good way to maintain content and watch things you want to watch), but they’re definitely not as fruitful as native stuff. Your French is good. You can definitely listen to native content, I’m sure there is native content with transcription that you’re interested in.
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Re: Time from B2 to C1/C2? (frustrated somewhat- seeking some feedback pls)

Postby David1917 » Mon May 13, 2019 5:39 pm

If you intend to sit an exam at either C1 or C2, the only gap I see is conversation practice.
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Re: Time from B2 to C1/C2? (frustrated somewhat- seeking some feedback pls)

Postby PeterMollenburg » Tue May 14, 2019 2:35 am

iguanamon wrote:Plans... While I think your plan is a good one...
Robert Burns wrote:The best laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft agley

How many multi-stage plans have you made, PM, that have aft gang agley over the years... or been abandoned before even being undertaken... or radically changed in a month... a week... a day... an hour?

If you'll stick to it, your plan has merit. It will help you advance. However, I still believe that the underlying premise of your basic, highly formulated, plans of action is not sustainable. It's the very "dress, right, dress" foundation that I am referring to here. A then B then C then D then E leads to success. If followed, yes, it should lead to success... but... what happens when only A gets done? What happens when you just don't want to do C, D or E?


Thanks, iguanamon, for stopping by. I neglected to mention that the plan, as with many of my study plans, is a rotating schedule. Therefore, I don't begin with A, move on to B, C and D, and must do them all within a day. There are too many variables in my life to be that strict. I do what I can on any given day and continue with what I was up to the next day. I don't know if this would change your perception, but I just thought I'd mention it. The idea is to stick to it (with room for tweaking and adding in writing and tutoring). In other words, do A, B, C on day X, then day Y do D, A, B, day Z I might only get C done, so the following day would be starting with D. There'd be no A, A, A, or C, C, D, it's a rotating schedule that I am aiming to stick to, with, like I said the addition of dedicated writing and tutor sessions at some point, which would expand the schedule out to A,B,C,D and E (writing). The tutoring, being only say once a week, would not get a dedicated hour, but just interrupt my schedule wherever i'm up to.

iguanamon wrote:I think you may be better off following a less rigid course of action and working to correct your weaknesses.

Your fundamentals of French are fine. Now is the time to work on your weaknesses- writing, listening, vocabulary and manipulation of the language. If you can make it through "Buffy", read several native or translated bd's and/or books in French, start writing/speaking and studying advanced grammar as you go along, yes, I believe you can get to where you want to be.


Well, rigidity helps me. As I've said numerous times before, I cannot operate without having a routine. I need a plan. A well designed one, which has room for other things in life, or the ability to adjust and continue when days become full of other non-language stuff. Without a good plan, all that other stuff would take over and i'd be when not busy. I've not had a plan for months now and my French has not pushed forward. I need to set out a plan with determination. You are right, I"ve said it myself, my plans don't last long. If I've any chance of passing the C1 or C2 in November, this has to be an exceptional period of study for me, one in which I stick to my plan and adjust it only slightly depending on my needs.

The plan I've written out also focuses on the areas most in need: Vocab - I've not really pushed it that much for a long time, extensive reading and listening - you know i've always been a bit slow on the uptake of series and books compared to some. I'm doing okay, but I could do better. And, courses, but why? Well, the format of the exams definitely needs specific focus and in fact a good deal of the exam focused materials I own focus on writing, so perhaps I'll not feel the need to expand upon that, or perhaps I will. As for any other courses I may find time to use, it will only be those that absolutely fill a need/weakness. Thus, I think this plan is certainly adaptable, flexible and focusing on my weaknesses. The only rigidity comes in that I must strive to get a good deal done each day, since without some pretty solid work, I'm not going to progress that massive amount I need to without hard work.

iguanamon wrote: If you continue what you have been doing and expecting a different result this time, I don't believe it will work. Life will get in the way and you'll be back in three months with a new and improved (yet still highly regimented) plan of attack that will be once again vulnerable to the same inevitable variables and circumstances that life will throw in your way again.


I agree.

iguanamon wrote:For me, the key to avoiding this is to be flexible enough that I can keep going even if I get a spanner thrown into the works. If I can read/watch/listen/write/speak/study in some combination most days, I can advance. The working with native materials inspires me to seek out what I may not understand and improve my understanding of the vocabulary or grammatical concepts. If I had to set a regimented schedule, I would not be able to consistently follow that and I would fail. Usually at this point I bring up Leo Babauta...
Leo Babauta wrote:The best goal is no goal
Ultimately, I know I have wasted my time writing this because you are, indeed, you. This reply is not really for you but for others who may see this and possibly benefit from the advice given in this thread.

Now for the real advice for you: I benefited greatly from an online writing course in Spanish. Interacting online with fellow students and the professor, their feedback was quite useful to me and was a spur to get me out of my comfort zone. There are paid writing courses online in French which are intended for native speakers. I took the liberty of doing a little research
and found the following: cours d'écriture.
esprit-livre wrote:L'art d'écrire n'est plus réservé aux écrivains
Savoir écrire a toujours été une qualité convoitée. Signe extérieur d’intelligence, de culture, de distinction, d’élégance, de raffinement. Ce savoir est un atout capital pour réussir sa vie personnelle et professionnelle.
Pourtant, apprendre à écrire est difficile notamment parce que cet enseignement est mal connu et inaccessible.
L’esprit livre a conçu des formations afin de dispenser ces savoirs et de faciliter leur l’accès.
Que ce soit pour votre épanouissement personnel ou le développement de vos activités professionnelles, nous vous aiderons à concrétiser vos envies et à trouver des solutions aux difficultés que vous pouvez rencontrer.
Pour les plus ambitieux, nous vous guiderons pour percer dans le milieu de l’édition.

Also have a look at this article on online workshops for writing in French.
Of course, I don't speak French, but I can read it fairly well given my background in similar languages. I think doing something like an online writing workshop would have several benefits. You'd be writing for native-speakers. You'd be interacting with a native-speaking writing professional, who may even be inspired by your bravery to take you under their wing. You could possibly make friends with other native-speaking students. You could be lead to discover new literature and be taken outside of your comfort zone. Who knows where this could lead!

Basically, it's about embracing the unknown, having faith in your abilities and not being afraid to make mistakes but learning from them and getting better as you go along. If you're going to do a formulated course of attack, (which you will because you're you) and I know how you love courses, then this writing course is indeed a course where you will learn how to write better in French. It will expose your weaknesses and inspire you to improve upon them. It will give you interaction with native-speakers and native materials. It will be scary as all get out but it could be just the push you need to advance your French skills.

Do I expect you to actually do this, no, I don't, but someone else down the road might. You, PM, will find your own way. I'm sure you will get to where you want to be through your hard work and determination... despite (or perhaps because of) your perfectionist tendencies. Contact with the enemy tends to change our preset notions and inevitably alters our plans.

Bòn chans, msye PM, zanmi !

Edit: Go and read whatiftheblog's log The great push to C2- extra French edition. Now that's some work!


Thanks again for the tips iguanamon. The writing course is an excellent suggestion, and I'll be sure to read back over whatiftheblog's log (I've read bits, but not all).
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