Updated: Jun 4
You're no longer a noob, but you're not quite fluent yet. So how do we cross over from intermediate to advanced when learning a language? Here are my pro tips for how to finally overcome the hump between B2 and C1.
1. Find a Tandem Partner
A tandem partner is a native speaker of your target language, who is learning your native language. This is someone you can meet up with in-person or online for a language exchange. Spend some time speaking each language with each other. This is a great free option where you can learn while also helping another learner. There are plenty of websites and Facebook groups where you can find someone with similar interests to practice speaking with.
2. Don't Be Afraid to Mix Languages
I'm sure you've heard of 'Denglish', 'Spanglish' or 'Frenglish', meaning someone speaks a mix of both languages when they're not quite fluent yet. Don't be afraid to do this! If you're having a conversation and don't know or can't remember a certain word, don't get hung up on it. Just say the English word and keep the conversation moving. Oftentimes who you're speaking with may know the word in your target language, or you can just look it up later for next time. It's more important to say what you know and keep the conversation going in order to advance your skills, than it is to break your train of thought and progress for just a few words.
3. Read Young Adult Novels
At B2, the young adult reading level is perfect for advancing your vocabulary and even speaking skills toward C1. You should know enough at this point to at least get the gist of things without constantly grabbing your dictionary, but also learn quite a few new words and phrases along the way. It also helps to read books you're already familiar with, like Harry Potter for example, so you feel more comfortable and confident going into the reading. Take this a step further, and read out loud to yourself to practice and improve pronunciation.
4. Find a Tutor
While tandem partners are a great fun and free resource, sometimes it's beneficial to go one step further and find an experienced teacher or tutor. This way, you can be a bit more selfish because the session is all about you and your skills. A tutor will also be more knowledgeable about more technical aspects of the language, like grammar and pronunciation, if those are topics you'd like to focus on.
5. Speak, Speak, Speak!
At this point in your learning journey, the best thing you can do is speak as much as you can, as often as you can. Find meetups with natives or other learners online or in your area, or join groups and make friends with native speakers you can chat or hang out with. The more you just speak, the more you will learn from your mistakes and the more fluid and comfortable you will become as you advance.
It's easy to feel stuck at intermediate if you don't push yourself outside your comfort zone. The only way you'll really advance is to stay consistent and start using all the great skills you've already learned. Don't get hung up on perfection, just keep speaking and pushing toward progress.
Want to advance your German? Book a free consult for German language coaching with me today!
About the Author
Noelle is an experienced German teacher and coach. After having lived and worked in Germany in 2014, she returned to the US and earned a Second Bachelor of Arts degree in German, from an AATG German Center of Excellence. Currently, she is pursuing her Master of Arts in Translation and Interpretation Studies and learning Spanish, French and Russian in her free time. When she is not teaching or traveling, you can find her exploring Texas or spending time with her partner and their two cats.