Aug 9, 2023

How long does it take to learn English?

Hey BlaBlas,

When am I finally there? You are learning English and you have asked yourself how long it will take you to ‘finish’? Or you haven’t started yet, but you want to know how much time you should schedule for your English journey?

Bad news first: you will never be there. I’m sorry. When it comes to learning languages, there is always something new you can learn. Even if you have been studying English for ages, you will stumble across words or idiomatic expressions you have never heard before. This is just how it is. 

Nevertheless, I can give you certain guidelines when you will reach certain milestones on your English journey. Of course, these numbers are not cut into stone and depend very much on your effort and motivation - and also a little bit on your language talent and learning style.

Which milestones are there and how long do I need to reach them? 

According to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) there are 6 steps when learning a new language, I call them the milestones on your English journey. To reach a certain step, you should master certain things in English. Which these are, I will show you now.

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#1 - A1 Beginner 

On step A1, you are still at the very beginning of your English journey. You can use familiar and daily expressions and very simple sentences. You can also present yourself and greet others, as well as give simple information about yourself, your family, and friends.

#2 - A2 - Elementary 

When reaching step A2, you already have some elementary knowledge in English and you can talk about familiar topics, like your family, your work, or hobbies. You can also read simple books and articles and write easy texts like postcards or emails. 

#3 - B1 - Intermediate 

On step B1, you can talk in a simple and cohesive way about familiar topics and understand the main points in conversations about work and free time when it is said in clear standard speech. What’s more, you can deal with most situations that you encounter when traveling. You can also understand and write longer texts. 

#4 B2 - Upper intermediate 

When you reach step B2, you can express yourself clearly and precisely, so that you can have a normal conversation with a native speaker without much effort. You can participate in discussions and debates on current topics and explain your point of view. You can also understand the main points of complex texts, like specialized literature or sophisticated newspaper articles, and you can write complex texts on your own. 

#5 C1 - Advanced

When reaching step C1, you can express yourself fluently and spontaneously in English without noticeably searching for words. You can express yourself clearly and extensively on complex topics and you can understand a broad range of sophisticated long texts, even the implicit meaning in them. 

#6 C2 - Proficient

You nearly speak like a native. 💪🏽 You can understand everything you read or hear with ease. You can express yourself spontaneously, fluently, and precisely. You even notice small differences in meaning. You can work in English and realize complex projects and presentations. 

Ok, knowing the most important milestones on your English journey, you probably ask yourself: How long do I need to get from one step to the next? This really depends a lot on you, but I can give you a rule of thumb: 

  •   0 to A1: around 80 to 120 hours   
  • A1 to A2: around 100 to 200 hours 
  • A2 to B1: around 200 to 400 hours 
  • B1 to B2: around 400 to 600 hours 
  • B2 to C1: around 600 to 800 hours 
  • C1 to C2: around 800 to 1000 hours

And voilá, to learn English from 0 to C2, you need between 2900 and 3120 hours. But guys, this is only a rule of thumb! 

So, if you want to speak like a native speaker, you should schedule lots of time. Lots of time! But don’t be disheartened by that. Just think about how long kids need to master their mother language. It takes them years…

If you want to learn English to get around when traveling, you won’t need such a long time to reach your destination, but still a little bit. 😉 Reaching B1 should be enough. And this takes you around 380 to 720 hours. Still a lot of time if you ask me. 

If you want to complete routine tasks in English at work, you should have at least a B2 level, which you can usually reach within 780 to 1320 hours. 

So, learning English is nothing that we just quickly do. But, come on, in the end, we are learning a language here. How long exactly you will need, however, depends hugely on your personal goal.

How can I speed up my English journey?

Ok, now to the really interesting stuff. 

The numbers are too high? You want to reach your destination faster? I feel you. Unfortunately, I cannot give you a magic trick of how to sprint through your journey, but I can give you two tips to speed it up

Tip number 1: Plan your English journey. 

Set concrete goals with a deadline. But please, realistic goals! Then, plan your lessons, meaning when and how long you want to study English. Also write down what exactly you are going to do in each lesson. Without planning it is so easy to get lost. So, plan your journey. 

I know, this planning can be quite overwhelming. If you want to make your English journey as effective as possible, get yourself a personal guide and book a language course. I promise you, this is worth every buck, especially our language courses here at BlaBla. 💛

A language course provides you with structure and orientation and you don’t have to think about any planning. Your coach will plan your journey for you in the most effective way. What’s more, with your language coach you have an English buddy to practice speaking with, which is so important, right? You can cram grammar rules and vocabulary forever. If you don’t speak in English, you will never learn it! Period. 

Your language coach will also support you in any way, finding the best material for you and answering your questions in a simple and understandable way. So you won’t risk finding wrong or confusing information on the internet. 🤯

So, all in all, I cannot stress enough how valuable a good language course is, independent of whether you want to speed up your English journey or not. 

Tip number 2: Regularity 

Set yourself realistic goals how much time you want to invest in studying English on a daily or weekly basis. And then stick to this goal for several weeks or months.

It doesn’t make any sense if you set out to study English for 2 hours every day if you can’t stick to this habit for a longer period of time. Maybe you can focus very intensively on English for a couple of days, but chances are that you will stop doing so very soon. Life happens in between. Then, you will start skipping days and sooner than later you will lose your motivation. Then, you will stop entirely before deciding to start again after months. This costs time!  

Regularity is key. It’s better to plan shorter, but regular lessons. My pro tip: study every day for 30 minutes or every second day for 60 minutes. And take a break on the weekend. Doing so increases your chances to stay motivated and make fast progress. 

Ok, you guys. I hope you have some guidelines now on how much time you should schedule for your English journey and how to speed it up a bit. Even if it’s important not to lose sight of your goal, enjoy the journey. Learning a new language is so exciting, especially if you do so together with others. This is why I am so happy that you are part of our community. If you are not part of our discord ,join now.

Happy learning! 

Your Stefanie 

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