3 Ways to Know if You’re Ready for Advanced Spanish

You may be tackling Spanish because it’s one of the top three most important languages in the world with a growing influence in countries like the U.S.. Or perhaps you’ve taken it on just for the pleasure of studying a new tongue. Either way, the initial phases of learning Spanish are always fun; you get to experiment with the accents, solidify your vocabulary skills, and work on the language’s unique grammar. However, many argue that reaching an advanced level is where the Spanish learning journey really gets juicy and exciting, and indeed, don’t we all strive to one day attain this level and proudly call ourselves advanced Spanish speakers?

However, even if you are eager to master it, tackling too steep a learning curve can have detrimental effects on your education if you’re simply not ready for it. So if you’re teetering on the brink of deciding whether or not to make that leap from intermediate to advanced, here are three tips to knowing if you’re ready for the jump or not:

1. Are you a grammar master?

Advanced Spanish is usually referred to as Conversational because once you reach that level, grammar lessons should no longer be a part of your lesson plan. This means that your grammar skills should be completely cemented and solidified as an intermediate student. In advanced Spanish you’ll be required to carry on conversations about complicated topics without having to pause or think too much about when, where, and how you should use certain grammar terms. So test yourself to see if you are a true grammar master: can you use present, preterite, imperfect, conditional, future, and subjunctive without hesitation? If the answer is yes, you’re ready for the next step! If no, spend a little more time in intermediate to get everything just right.

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2. Are you a vocab ninja?

As an intermediate-headed-to-advanced Spanish learner, you aren’t expected to have a black belt in vocab use just yet, but you do want to ensure that you have picked up on enough to make the transition to the next level comfortable. So how do you know if you know enough words? Well, experts agree that with 20,000 words you will have achieved the ability to do pretty much anything with your target language. Of course, as an intermediate learner you’re not expected to have achieved this quite yet. For Spanish, 250-750 words are necessary to have a grasp on the core of the language and to be able to communicate about day to day things. It is believed that 2,500 words is the vocab amount you should be aiming for when headed into advanced Spanish. With this amount of words you should be able to express almost anything, even if the sentence structure and vocab use isn’t very smooth. After this point you’re headed into the territory of learning to communicate like a native.

3. Are you a comprehension guru?

Comprehension in a foreign language is one of the biggest hurdles to conquer and often the most frustrating. It can drive you crazy if, when a native speaker is talking to you, all you hear is a strange conglomeration of sounds which make absolutely no sense. Defining a ‘proper’ comprehension level for moving from intermediate to advanced can be tricky, but language teachers agree that at a proper upper intermediate grade you should understand most of what is being said to you, even if it takes some effort. However, if you’re just picking up random words here and there but find yourself unable to comprehend the statement as a whole, you’re in for some more intermediate time before you can aim for those advanced conversation classes.

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Learning Spanish can be an exciting journey not only because it is such an important language to know, but also due to the confidence and sense of pride you’ll take in conquering it. Remember though that how you learn is extremely important when it comes to how quickly you attain success. Sign up for language classes to make sure you’re advancing at the right speed and learning in the correct order. And, if you want that extra confirmation that you’re ready for advanced Spanish, you can take a free online placement test to see how your skills are. Even if you still need to continue brushing up your intermediate abilities for some time, don’t worry, with practice and the right tools you’ll soon be ready to say ‘Hola!’ to advanced Spanish and ‘Adios!’ to intermediate.