Frequently asked questions about Spanish Courses
- How can I tell what level class is right for me?
- How long does it take to gain a working knowledge of Spanish?
- What do I need to bring to class?
- Class Schedules
- What is the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR)
- What Is SIELE?
The outlines on the Class pages give a rough idea how much prior knowledge or how many hours of previous study are needed to join a class. If you are still not sure, contact the Spanish Institute for more information, they may arrange to interview you or arrange for you to sit in on a class to judge whether it is suitable. Also you can do the free Spanish Level Test online
Like any new skill, this depends on the time and effort you are prepared to put into your learning. Classes are only one part of this, you also need frequent practice and revision at home. Our classes are generally paced to meet the needs of our students rather than being exam driven. However, your progress from one level to the next really depends on what you can say and understand in Spanish, rather than simply what grammar and vocabulary you have learnt. As a rough guide,
- A1 Beginners course will take 2 courses of 12 hours of class per course. (A1-1; A1-2)
- A2 Improverswill require a further 3 courses(A2.1, A2.2 & A2.3)
- B1 Intermediate is 4 courses (B1.1, B1.2, B1.3 & B1.4). At the end of this time you should be able to manage everyday practical Spanish in speaking, listening, reading and writing.
- B2 Intermediate is 5 courses (B2.1, B2.2, B2.3, B2.4 & B2.5) and will continue to build on previous knowledge, while emphasising speaking and listening skills. We examine a wide variety of contemporary topics using different materials from various up to date sources.
All our Beginners to Upper Intermediate classes (A1 to B2) use the textbook series Aula Internacional, with a CD Rom. If you are enrolling as a complete beginner in level A1-1 you need only buy the textbook.
All courses run at the same day and time of the week as its course start date, eg a Monday 6pm start date would be every monday 6pm for 8 weeks excluding publlic holidays
The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) is an international standard for describing language ability which is used by the Spanish Institute and all good Immersion language schools.. It describes language ability on a six-point scale, from A1 for beginners, up to C2 for those who have mastered a language. CEFR was established by the Council of Europe between 1989 and 1966, it aims to provide a method of learning, teaching and assessing which applies to all languages in Europe. In November 2001 the European Council recommended using the CEFR to set up systems of validation of language ability.
A1 - BEGINNERS:
- Can understand and use very basic expressions to satisfy concrete needs.
- Can introduce themselves and others, ask and answer questions about personal details such as where he/she lives, people they know and things they have.
- Can interact simply as long as the other person speaks slowly and clearly.
A2 - IMPROVERS:
- Can understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to areas of most intermediate areas, such as shopping, family, employment, etc.
- Can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters.
- Can describe in simple terms aspects of their background, immediate environment, and matters in areas of immediate need.
B1 - INTERMEDIATE:
- Can understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school or leisure-related topics.
- Can deal with most situations likely to arise while traveling in an area where the language is spoken.
- Can produce simple connected texts on topics that are familiar or of personal interest.
- Can describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes, and ambitions, as well as opinions or plans in brief.
B2 UPPER INTERMEDIATE:
- Can understand the main ideas of a complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in their field of specialization.
- Can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible without strain for either party.
- Can produce clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects and explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options.
C1 - ADVANCED:
- Can understand a wide range of demanding, longer clauses, and recognize implicit meaning.
- Can express ideas fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions.
- Can use language flexibly and effectively for social, academic and professional purposes.
- Can produce clear, well- structured, detailed text on complex subjects, showing controlled use of organizational patterns, connectors, and cohesive devices.
C2 - MASTER:
- Can understand with ease virtually everything heard or read.
- Can summarize information from different spoken and written sources, reconstructing arguments and accounts in a coherent presentation.
- Can express themselves spontaneously, very fluently and precisely, differentiating finer shades of meaning even in the most complex situations.
SIELE as a Spanish Proficiency Exam. SIELE is the Servico Internacional de Evaluación de la Lengua Española (International Assessment Service for the Spanish Language) and is an electronic means of proving your Spanish language proficiency. SIELE is a multi-level exam where each task presents a different degree of difficulty in Spanish, ranging from level A1 to C1 in accordance with the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR), which standardises plurilingual education around Europe. Therefore, each exam question helps you discover your official proficiency level in Spanish.
Why Should You Take the SIELE Exam?
These are the benefits of the SIELE Exam:
- Fast and easy – Everything is managed electronically, which guarantees you will receive your results within a maximum of three weeks. You can then print the certificate straight from your computer or prove your proficiency with the secure verification code.
- Adaptable – You can choose between the most complete modality of SIELE Global or any of the 5 independent modalities.
- Flexible – You can decide when and in which exam centre you want to take the exam – there are no pre-established dates!
- Uniform – Because it is pan-hispanic, the exam includes different linguistic variations of Spanish.
- Good business – Companies and organizations can quickly find candidates that best adapt to their team through the SIELE verification code.
- Competent training – Universities and schools of business will be able to establish objectives, tools for measurement and control of the progress of learning and training based on SIELE results.
- World Recognition – SIELE is recognized by more than 75 associated organizations and universities in more than 20 countries, including Conference of Rectors of the Spanish Universities (CRUE), the Association of Language Centers in Higher Educations (ACLES), American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) and the National Directory of Professional Certifications (RNCP).