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Spaced Repetition to Learn a Foreign Language | A Way to Learn Spanish

A new-age learning technique, called Spaced Repetition, comes to the rescue to effectively assist you in the learning process, whether it be your extensive coursework for an exam at school or learning new information for your new job and actually retaining this information over a long period of time.

Spaced repetition is a new learning technique that should replace regular cram sessions in order to ensure long retention periods for new information. It is especially useful when learning a foreign language, such as Spanish, since this requires the recollection of many new vocabulary words and grammatical structures and rules. Kids’ Club Spanish School’s classroom curriculum incorporates this method so that the students are learning and actually retaining the foreign language without even realizing it. Below we will discuss how we did this and how to incorporate this information into your child’s daily routine so that they can take full advantage of the new language learned in their classes with Kids’ Club Spanish School.

What is Spaced Repetition?

In a cram session, information is committed to a very short term memory mechanism, since our brains are not wired to store so much information in a short amount of time in our long term memory, whereas with Spaced Repetition, the idea is that things are better learned, long term, if you repeatedly see the information, or review it, over a long (longish) periods of time, leaving increasing space intervals in between each review session.

When you learn a foreign language, it is extremely important to review everything learned in depth, a few times soon after class. This is important in any type of learning method. However, with spaced repetition, the key is to let some time go by and then go over the same material again a few more times in the following days. And lastly, space out the time even more and review again.

When you initially start reviewing the material, you will forget more and more as time goes by, however when you go over it repeatedly, letting time pass, it makes it much easier to retain because your brain recognizes it as more important since it is seeing it over a long period of time. Returning to this material in increasing intervals of time makes sure your brain considers this information important enough to be imprinted in your child’s longterm memory.

Kids’ Club Spanish School Curriculum and Spaced Repetition

Kids’ Club Spanish School uses Spaced Repetition throughout their curriculum to ensure the students learn the material and actually deeply internalize it. Students are presented with target vocabulary and target grammar in a unit and study it for 8 classes. The 9th class is an oral exam and the 10th class is the unit exam. The students then begin a new unit with new target vocabulary and target grammar to learn. However this does not mean that the target material from the previous unit is to be forgotten. In the following classes, the curriculum will recycle words and grammar structure previously learned putting it in front of the students again and again, mixed in with the new unit’s “target vocabulary” and “target grammar” allowing for increased spaced intervals, in order to ensure the students have this information constantly fresh in their minds.

A Great Way to Add Spaced Repetition for Study Between Classes

To further ensure that your child is studying Spanish for long term learning learning and not short-term, here is a simple guide to using spaced repetition in between classes:

Flashcard review

A great way to really review flashcards is, when a word is forgotten to write it and the English meaning 5 times. Then go back and try to review again. If that word is still forgotten write it again 5 times. Pretty soon that word won’t be forgotten again.

Homework Worksheets

These should be completed after class 5 and class 9 in the unit. This way some time has passed between having first learned the material and having practiced it outside of class.

Speedy Recollect

It can also be helpful to try to do what is called a “speedy recollect” of the words while doing everyday activities like taking a bath, getting dressed or eating a meal every once a week.

This content was originally published here.

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Cuban Spanish 101: Cuban Slang, Phrases, and Expressions from Asere to Yuma ~ Learn Spanish Con Salsa

Planning a trip to the beautiful island of Cuba?

Or maybe you want to understand the slang used by your Cuban friends when you hear things like Asere or Yuma (no, Google translate won’t help you.)

Well you’ve come to the right place.  I’ll break down the unique way Cubans speak Spanish, and give you some insight into one of the toughest Spanish dialects to understand.

Cuba is a Caribbean island with a distinct culture, history, and diverse population.

The Spanish spoken in Cuba is unique in the way people speak, the vocabulary, and colloquial expressions that are used.

The official language of Cuba is Spanish, as is the case with most of Spain’s former colonies. The Spanish spoken in Cuba, however, is not exactly like the Spanish spoken in Spain, Mexico, or South America.

Why is Cuban Spanish Different?

There are a few reasons for the unique language spoken on the island.

Cuban Spanish has been influenced largely by west-African languages of the enslaved people the Spaniards brought when they colonized the island.

It also contains elements of the indigenous languages of the island’s original inhabitants.

Cuban Spanish is intelligible to other Spanish speakers, but at times with difficulty due to the aforementioned influences.

The Cuban Accent

The Cuban accent is quite heavy—it is spoken with a lot of bass in the voice and has been said to sound like one is speaking with a mouth full of marbles.

Cuban Spanish speakers drop many letters from words and transform others into different sounds. Phrases and words in Cuban Spanish are also blended together and spoken in rapid succession.

Like in other areas of the Caribbean, many words ending in “-ado” sound like “-a’o,” and words ending in “-ada” sound like one stressed syllable: “–á.” The “d” is dropped creating a rounder (-a’o) or sharper (-á) sound.

You will also hear that the final “s” in words is often omitted or aspirated so it sounds like a breath of air.

Often, a final “r” is also pronounced as an “l” sound.  The word “pinchar” (to poke) will often be pronounced “pinchal.”

Regional Differences within Cuba

In terms of accent and vocabulary variation within the country, it follows a simple pattern: the further east you go, the more the accent is exaggerated.

In many cases, entirely different words are used in different parts of the country.

The word for “bucket” changes from “cubo” to “balde”, and the word for “banana” switches from “plátano” to “guineo.”

In essence, the closer you get to the Oriente (East), the more the Cuban accent sounds like the Dominican accent.

Cuban Vocabulary

Cuba has its own distinct words that are used in daily conversation.

Learning these everyday words and phrases will help you situate yourself in Cuba, whether you are planning a trip or speaking with Cuban exiles in your community.

21 Cuban Spanish Words, Phrases, and Slang Terms

Here are some common Cuban words and phrases you will hear from Cuban Spanish speakers.

You may even notice some of these words in Cuban music and in TV shows.

Note: The following words are an excerpt from the book Cuban Spanish 101—a bilingual guide to Cuban Spanish with over 120 words and phrases.

a) (noun) Drinking straw, short tube for drinking beverages.

b) (adjective) Person that is overly demanding of attention.

Examples:

¿Me pasas un absorbente junto con la lata de refresco?

Can you give me a straw with the soda can?

Me llama tres veces al día. ¡Es tan absorbente!

He calls me three times a day. He’s such an attention seeker!

 

Example:

No puedo pagar la cuenta hoy, estoy arranca’o.

I can’t pay the bill today, I’m broke.

 

Daniel salió en bici a encontrarse con sus aseres.

Daniel left on his bike to meet with his friends.

 

Example:

La bola es que la muchacha está en estado.

The word on the street is that the young lady is pregnant.

 

a) Tropical fruit (coconut)

Me di en el coco con la puerta.

I smacked my head on the door.

a) (noun) Person that feels no shame, that acts purely of self-interest and in a dishonest way.

b) (adjective) Good-for-nothing, shameless

Ese descara’o no cuida a sus hijos. Los visita una vez al año.

That good-for-nothing doesn’t take care of his children. He visits them once a year.

No seas descará y págame lo que me debes.

Don’t be shameless, pay me what you owe me.

 

Meaning: There’s always enough to go around.

 

Wearing many pieces of jewelry and being well-dressed, as if for a celebration.

Sonia está de carnaval, ¡mira lo que trae puesto!

Sonia is dressed to kill, look at what she’s wearing!

 

Example:

Carlos se fajó con Ricardo después de la clase.

Carlos and Ricardo fought after class.

No seas fresco, respétame.

Don’t get fresh, respect me.

Attitude of superiority and machismo of someone who feels invincible; bravado.

Example:

La guapería es típico de los hombres cubanos.

Machismo is typical of Cuban men.

¿Dónde quieres jamar?

Where do you want to eat?

 

Meaning: extremely old

Example:

Para mí, doblar la ropa es fácil, como comerme un pan.

For me, folding clothes is easy, piece of cake.

 

a) Person that is very dramatic, that takes everything too seriously, and reacts in a crazy and exaggerated manner; b) A situation that is difficult to accept.

Examples:

Julio es un pesa’o, se queja de todo.

Julio is a drama king, he complains about everything.

Dicen que viene un huracán directamente hacia nosotros, ¡qué pesa’o!

They say a hurricane is coming directly towards us; how sad!

Phrase meaning “What’s up?” or “How are you?”
Example:

Oye, Mauricio, ¿Qué volá?

Hey, Mauricio, what’s up?

b) A foreigner, especially North American

Toda mi familia se ha ido pa’ la Yuma.

All my family has left for the US.

Los yumas siempre traen mucha plata.

Foreigners always bring a lot of money.

I hope this gave you some insight into the unique Spanish spoken in the beautiful island of Cuba.

Want to learn more Cuban Spanish? The Cuban Spanish 101 Course teaches you authentic Cuban Spanish through conversations with Cuban Spanish speakers.

¡Hola! My name is Tamara Marie. I’m a language coach specializing in brain-friendly methods to learn foreign languages faster. I speak English (US native), Spanish (advanced), and Brazilian Portuguese (beginner). I’m a Latin music & dance addict and passionate about helping people learn languages.

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Podcast to Learn Spanish: Buena Gente

Podcasts are an excellent way to increase exposure to Spanish. In addition to authentic podcasts on a wide range of subjects, there are podcasts specifically for language learners. For example, Buena Gente is a podcast to learn Spanish, featuring an entertaining story and targeting high-frequency structures.  The podcast is available wherever you listen:  Learn Spanish with Buena Gente on Spotify Learn Spanish with Buena Gente on Google Podcasts  Spanish Playground on Anchor for additional platforms Buena Gente Spanish Podcast Although visual clues are important to building language skills, it is also essential to dedicate time specifically to listening. Fortunately, a podcast gives language learners an opportunity to concentrate on audio input. The Buena Gente podcast to learn Spanish is an entertaining story, and the narrative makes it easier to follow and learn. The story follows Sandra and Alejandro, two cousins who share an apartment in Guanjuato, Guanajuato, Mexico. The first seasons of the podcast series takes place in their apartment, using everyday vocabulary and expressions. In addition, the characters speak in slow, clear Spanish. Buena Gente Video Support The podcast of Buena gente can be used in conjunction with the video series of the same title available free on YouTube.  The first season of the podcast corresponds to the Spanish Shows for Learning Spanish Season 2 of the Buena Gente videos. The 5-episode video series has subtitles in English and Spanish, as well as clear visual clues to support the language. The audio podcast and videos complement each other and let learners repeat the content in a different format.  Activities for Learn Spanish Podcast You can find listening comprehension questions for the podcast to learn Spanish on our Buena Gente video page. Scroll down to Listening Activities for Buena Gente Season 2. These activities work equally well for the podcast.  The questions in our set of activities include ¿Quién lo dice? Chart Activity for each episode Multiple-Choice Main Idea Questions each episode Sequencing Events Activity each episode Fill-In-The-Blank Listening Activity each episode Sentence Completion Vocabulary Activities each episode More Podcast Listening Activities Many of the other listening activities that we’ve shared on Spanish Playground work well with podcasts. For example, these activities to practice narrow listening skills are excellent before jumping into a bigger listening task. In addition, you can make your own easy-to-prep activities such as: Give a short introduction to the episode and have students predict what will happen. Provide 2 or 3 main idea questions before you listen. Give students 3-5 key words as column headings and have them make a mark in the column as they hear each word. Ask students to put a set of vocabulary words randomly into a grid (3×3 or 5×5). Then play Bingo as they listen. Most important, because the Buena Gente podcast to learn Spanish is easy to understand and designed to build language skills, students learn just by listening and enjoying the story. We think that’s an excellent activity in itself!

The post Podcast to Learn Spanish: Buena Gente appeared first on https://www.spanishplayground.net/u-dating/.

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STUDY: Spanish Nets Covered RBG Passing 4X As Much As Scalia’s

The untimely passing of an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court is a major national event with huge ramifications that warrants topmost news coverage. MRC Latino’s latest study shows, however, that the nation’s leading Spanish-language networks found the passing of a liberal icon to be much more newsworthy than that of a conservative stalwart.

As seen in the chart below, MRC Latino assessed the coverage given by Univision, Telemundo, and CNN En Español to the respective passings of Justice Antonin Scalia and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Our study shows that within a 7-day period of their passing, Justice Ginsburg drew well over 4 times as much coverage from the Spanish-language networks as did Justice Scalia. That’s 83 minutes and 36 seconds for Ginsburg, versus 17 minutes and 48 seconds for Scalia.

 

 

 

At the time of Justice Scalia’s passing, the networks were preoccupied with Pope Francis’ visit to Mexico, which drew top billing for quite a few days. Unfortunately, the networks didn’t make much of an effort to adjust their coverage to reflect the gravity of Scalia’s passing. What’s more, coverage of Scalia’s passing was primarily devoted to analyses of what potential rulings on DACA and other issues might look like with an Obama-nominated successor. In other words, the networks went straight to what was best for business. There was little reflection, if any, on Scalia’s jurisprudence, his impact, or his opinions (and dissents) on issues of importance to the Hispanic community, such as abortion, the free exercise of religion, among others.

In contrast, Justice Ginsburg didn’t just draw more coverage- she drew glowing coverage that bordered on hagiography. Much of her posthumous coverage was framed around her opinions on DACA and other immigration cases. Anchors made sure to frame Ginsburg as a “friend to immigrants” and “champion of equality” at every turn, while deemphasizing her record on abortion. Univision, in particular, went so far as to hunt down RBG’s immigrant housekeeper for an exclusive interview.

Analyses of how President Trump would fill the vacancy created by Ginsburg’s passing were framed around the nonexistent Final Wish Clause of Article II of the Constitution of the United States, and on how a Trump nominee might rule on DACA, Obamacare, abortion, gun control, and other liberal policy issues dear to Spanish-language media. 

The notion of a liberal slant within U.S. Spanish-language media is not a new one, as our 5-year study conclusively showed. The untimely passing of two Associate Justices to the United States Supreme Court proves that not much has changed since. 

Methodology: In preparing this study, MRC Latino reviewed coverage given on Univision and Telemundo’s 6:30 PM newscasts, and CNN En Español’s Directo USA weekday newscast, during the 7 days that followed the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, respectively.

Many thanks to MRC Latino analyst Kathleen Krumhansl and MRC Latino interns Sebastian Aquino and María Bello for their contributions to this study.

This content was originally published here.

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3 Activities That Will Help You Learn Spanish Fast | Berlitz

The first question most people ask when learning Spanish is: How can I learn Spanish fast? The answer is a combination of two things: find an immersive Spanish course and find ways to interact with the Spanish language outside of your classes.

The benefits of immersive language learning are well documented and have been proven to be the fastest, most effective way to learn a new language. For this post, we will discuss the second element to learning Spanish fast: how to interact with Spanish outside of the classroom.

Watch television and movies in Spanish with subtitles

Viewing visual media in Spanish will give you the opportunity to listen, watch and read. Combining all these different stimuli will help you retain the information you are digesting. Another distinct advantage to visual media is you will be able to understand how Spanish is used by native speakers.

One of the keys to making this activity beneficial is to diversify what you watch. You should watch all types of content, including news, entertainment and sports. These different types of media all use different types of Spanish. This approach will allow you to hear very formal Spanish (news) and very informal Spanish (sports and entertainment).

One last tip for this activity is to diversify the location of the broadcasts if possible. Just like English, Spanish has dialects based on the location, so listening and interacting with visual media from different regions will give you the best chance to learn Spanish fast.

Attend Spanish cultural events

With just a little online research, it is pretty easy to find Spanish cultural events to attend. These could be community events, museums, sporting events, musical acts or much more! These events will not only give you the opportunity to use your Spanish skills to interact with other attendees, but will also allow you to immerse yourself in Spanish culture.

When you learn Spanish, it is about more than just understanding the words and phrases of the language. It is about understanding the context and how the language is used. Spanish cultural events will give you a first-hand account of these interactions and can greatly enhance your ability to learn Spanish.

Join or follow Spanish groups and organizations

The beauty of joining Spanish groups and organizations is it can now be done from the comfort of your couch. From Facebook to Reddit, the internet has opened up the world more than any other innovation. When it comes to learning Spanish, you can take advantage of the internet by joining or following groups and organizations that speak Spanish.

The same way immersive Spanish classes will help you learn the language faster, immersing yourself in the language outside the classroom will help you learn even faster. Whether it is in-person or online Spanish groups and organizations, the routine interaction is the key. Unlike cultural events or media, these groups will have routine interaction. It also combines the ability to both interact and analyze, which allows you to get comfortable before deciding to engage with the audience.

The Berlitz Method is a proven language learning technique that has been proven to be the fastest, most effective way to learn Spanish. Still, if you want to truly become an expert in using the language, it will be up to you to continue to practice and learn outside of the Spanish lessons. This means finding ways to interact with the language.

The three activities outlined in this post are the best opportunities for learning Spanish fast.

This content was originally published here.

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How to Learn Spanish And Prepare for the DELE B2 Exam in 3 Months | LINGUAPATH

My preparation for the DELE B2 exam began with learning Spanish. I remember completing a DELE registration form for the B2 level and using Google Translate to fill in fields like Nombre and Apellidos. At that point, I had three months left to get my Spanish from virtually non-existent to intermediate-advanced.

I sat my exam in July and ultimately passed it. During this three-month preparation period, I haven’t touched a grammar book, haven’t done a single grammar drill and spent more time watching YouTube than preparing for the DELE B2 exam per se.

In this post, I’ll explain how to get from zero to the B2 level in Spanish, prepare for the DELE B2 exam and get a bold-face “APTO” as a result.

Separate learning Spanish from DELE preparation

As you begin to prepare for the test, you’ll necessarily come across the DELE guides that will try to improve your knowledge of Spanish along the line. A typical textbook would offer you to memorize long vocabulary lists and read about intricacies of the Spanish grammar.

As a rule of thumb, you see such a textbook – you burn it.

There’s a logic behind it, of course. This exam tests your language proficiency. So, by default, you can’t pass the DELE B2 test if your Spanish is not that advanced.

If you can’t understand Spanish podcasts, such as Minimalizados, you’re not ready for the DELE B2 exam. If you’re failing to comprehend at least 80% of Juan Salvador Gaviota and figure out the rest from the context, you’re not on the B2 level yet. Similarly, if you can barely reply the DELE B2 confirmation email without consulting DEEPL translator, you still have to work on your Spanish skills.

Most of us realize the problem (“My Spanish is not good enough“) but come up with a somewhat irrational solution. We register for DELE preparation courses.

Should you register for DELE preparation courses?

Trying to improve your Spanish via preparation for the DELE B2 exam is a mistake.

Most prep courses will try to do three things:

I’m not saying that you should never prepare for the DELE B2 in a classroom. Having someone to give you feedback can be extremely useful when it comes to writing and speaking. But you should separate language learning from the exam preparation.

Never regard your DELE preparation as a means for improving your Spanish. These are two separate tasks that should be dealt with differently.

How to improve your Spanish

There are three areas you want to improve in before you start to prepare for the DELE B2 exam. This is your vocabulary, comprehension skills, and grammar.

Yeah, right, and what about speaking?”, you might say. Well, your success in speaking largely depends on your comprehension, grammar, and vocabulary, and it is by no means a separate skill. However, I did start to practice speaking and pronunciation right from the beginning with Pimsleur Spanish lessons. I highly recommend you to do the same, especially if you don’t have much opportunity to practice speaking at home.

Below, I’ll list everything I did to improve my Spanish skills three months before the DELE test.

Back in a day, I used to have a little language notebook where I would spell out all new words I encountered in books, films, songs, and podcasts.

What a waste of time.

My current approach is based on input and frequency. I spend a month deliberately learning the first one thousand words using spaced repetition. It takes half an hour a day with apps like Memrise or SuperMemo. Then, I forfeit all my language learning toys and switch to incidental learning.

Thus, the rest of my vocabulary comes from reading, listening to podcasts and watching YouTube. It is a more natural approach because I learn more frequent words first. The more often I hear or see a certain word the better I know it.

This approach works wonders but it requires a lot of time. I used to spend at least two hours a day listening and reading things in Spanish. They had nothing to do with the DELE B2 exam per se. I just used Spanish as a means to explore topics I was interested in.

Listening comprehension

Once I’ve got that 1000 thousand words entrenched in my mind, I began to train my listening comprehension with what I call double input.

I got myself a nice little book called Juan Salvador Gaviota in both its e-version and audio-version. Then I spent a month, simultaneously reading-and-listening to it for at least 30 minutes a day. I ended up reading this book four or five times in a row. During my first read, I could barely understand what was going on. By the fourth time, I understood 90% of the story.

This practice helped me to expand my vocabulary and drastically improved my listening and reading comprehension at a time.

I repeated the same thing with two more Spanish books before switching to audio+video input. YouTube became my dearest friend. I created a special playlist for Spanish videos and weekly dumped there a good amount of videos by Euge Oller and Luis Ramos. In three months, I watched probably everything they had on their channels.

As I noticed that I have no problem understanding these two vloggers, I turned to audio-alone input and began listening to podcasts. Minimalizados and Aprendiendo GTD became my loyal companions during my daily bike rides to work.

And this is how I prepared for the DELE B2 Listening. After three months of such online immersion, understanding spoken Spanish was no trouble to me. My score this part of the exam was the highest: 23.33/25.

Reading comprehension

There’s little difference between listening and reading comprehension during the first few months.

The goal at that time is to get as multi-sensory input as possible. That´s why I combined reading with listening or listening with video. After all, there is a good amount of research telling us that phonetic processing (i.e listening) aids in word recognition.

Apart from Juan Salvador Gaviota, I read El Extranjero by Albert Camus (again, several times) and El Codigo Da Vinci by Dan Brown. Reading the same book three times in a row may not sound like a ton of fun, but it actually is. Every time you read, you understand more and more, and the progress makes you feel good. Plus, again, the research on vocabulary acquisition shows that repeated reading is an amazing method to expand your foreign language lexicon.

One month before the DELE B2 exam, I abandoned simultaneous reading (because audio support slows things down) and focused on reading alone. Similarly, I abandoned repeated reading and began to read more extensively.

Nonetheless, I always chose books that I had already read before in Russian or English. I read Padre Rico, Padre Pobre by Robert Kiyosaki and El Monje que Vendió su Ferrari by Robin Sharma. Some part of my brain still remembered the plot in general details, and this distant memory helped me to reconstruct it where my Spanish let me down.

This set of strategies greatly improved my reading comprehension skills. I ended up having 19.44/25 for this part of the test.

At the beginning of this article, I wrote that I didn’t touch a Spanish grammar book.

I didn’t.

In fact, the more time I spend learning languages the more I feel like sprinkling some holy water on anything that says “grammar” and “workbook”. To cast out the demons. As a part of language learning exorcism, so to say.

Nonetheless, the whole Writing part of the DELE B2 exam and the fourth task in the Reading section are all about grammar. How can someone with a huge gap in grammar get 20.52/25 for Expresión e Interacción Escritas?

I read and listened to lots of Spanish content, but I never paid attention to conjugations, prepositions, tenses and other important aspects of grammar. So, as I began to prepare for the DELE B2 exam, I got deadlocked every time I tried to write anything in Spanish.

So I paused everything for a week and focused on pattern recognition. I tried to distill the internal rules by which the language worked.

Every day, I would write out conjugations of ten random verbs and compare the endings for each tense. I would figure out suffixes that marked of person and number (yo, tu/usted, el/ella/ello, nosotros, vosotros/ustedes, ellos/ellas). I also tried to understand why certain tenses triggered a change in the root of irregular verbs (e.g entender turns into entiendo in present, subjunctive and imperative).

One week later, I had a little table that told me a conjugation of any verb with a 90% accuracy rate. (But, obviously, nobody is able understand it, except for me):

If it sounds insane to you, that’s fine. I’m a linguist, we do crazy things. But the moral here is that instead of memorizing each irregular verb, I extracted and internalized the rules under which they operated.

I didn’t have to think about the grammar as I wrote anymore.

How to prepare for the DELE B2 exam

Once you have brushed up your Spanish, it’s time to do some DELE-specific stuff. And here, your goal is to develop a set of skills and techniques to perform well on the exam.

I’m going to dive deep into the sea of technical details here, but, please, stay with me because details matter.

Understand the structure of the DELE B2 exam

The earlier you familiarize yourself with the structure of the test, the better. Because it gives you the idea of how to build your preparation.

As most language proficiency tests, the DELE exam consists of four parts: listening, reading, writing and speaking. The first three go together: they make up a written part of the test. Speaking is tested separately, and usually on a different day.

My speaking interview was scheduled two days before the written part. I can’t say I was happy about it. Speaking was my weakest skill, and, with this schedule, I had even less time to prepare for it.

Understand the fail/pass schema

You can either pass DELE B2 (apto) or fail it (no apto).

Each part of the DELE exam is worth 25 points, the whole test being 100. To pass the exam you need to get at least 60. More precisely, you have to get at least 30 points in each of the two groups: reading+writing and listening+speaking.

To be honest, this grouping requirement remained a dark mystery for me until I received my results. For the whole time, I assumed that the score grouping was based on active (writing+speaking) versus passive (reading+listening) skills. I was wrong.

Don’t make the same calculation error, it can be costly.

Develop a strategy for passing the DELE exam

The next question you want to ask yourself once you understood the test structure is “What is my weakest skill?“.

Everybody has one. I don’t speak in general, so the DELE B2 interview was a frequent theme of my nightmares. Most people are tormented by writing. Some cannot understand speech, etc…

Figure out yours.

Why? Since the DELE B2 grading scheme is based on groupings, your “weak spot” will necessarily be in a bundle with some other skill. What you want to do here is to maximize your score for that other skill to compensate for your “weak spot”.

That’s exactly what I did to pass the DELE B2 exam. Look at my speaking score, I’ve got these pathetic 9.65/25 for my interview. But at the same time, I aced the listening section with the score of 23.33/25. In sum, I’ve got 32.98/30 for this group of skills, and voilà – APTO.

Know your weakness. If it’s speaking, focus on listening. If it is writing, focus on reading. Improving your stronger language skills will have a better effect on your overall score than any attempt to develop non-existent abilities.

How to pass the DELE B2 exam: task by task

How do you make sure that you get the highest score possible on the DELE exam?

You have to develop effective strategies for dealing with every single task of the test. You can do several things here:

Get the DELE B2 prep resources

When it comes to proficiency tests, my approach is fairly straightforward: get the book and study. I look for three things in prep books:

Having these three combined, anyone can nail any language proficiency test. The problem is that there is simply no such guide for DELE.

There is a useful resource called Guia del examen DELE B2 provided by Instituto Cervantes. It gives a good insight into the exam structure, tasks focus and marking scales for each section. I recommend reading it to make sure that you have an accurate idea of what’s awaiting you on the test. But the Guia won’t help you to prepare for the DELE B2 exam itself.

So I ended up using two textbooks: Alzugaray’s Especial DELE B2 Curso Completo (2016) and El Cronómetro, each for a very specific purpose.

In general, I used El Cronómetro more extensively. It helped me a lot in understanding tasks and preparing for the listening and reading parts of the test. But El Cronómetro was completely useless for the writing part. There were zero model texts. You could read the book and remain ignorant of how to score well in Writing.

Alzugaray’s textbook, if you decide to study with it, is a massive time-waster. But, ironically, it was indispensable for my preparation for Writing. This textbook contained a dozen text samples and useful tips on how to construct the discourse. Analyzing them gave me a good idea of what was expected from me on DELE B2 Writing.

Study daily

You have to study every day. It may sound self-evident, but keep in mind the human tendency to procrastinate.

Set yourself a goal to go through all four model tests of El Cronómetro, for example. Spend an hour a day working on them. By the end of a month, you’ll probably be done. You’ll know your average score for each task and will sense what holds you down in each of them.

I’m planning to write a detailed guide for those who prepares for the DELE B2 exam. It will contain tips and strategies I developed to deal with each task of the test. If you’re interested, please leave your email, and I’ll send you the guide once it’s ready.

The more test-specific practice you get, the better you’re likely to perform on the DELE B2 exam.

When I worked through all model tests from El Cronómetro, I downloaded more sample papers and took them with me to Spain. There, I would head to the main campus of the University of Sevilla and lock myself in a library for good three hours solving these tests.

I studied with a timer set for 70 minutes for the Reading section, 40 minutes for the Listening section and 80 minutes for the Writing section. Then, I investigated how and where I could potentially save time. With these extra 10 minutes I had by the end of each section I could revisit my answers and recheck them. I usually found at least one error.

I also printed the answer sheet provided by Instituto Cervantes and marked off my responses directly on it. The reason is that transferring your answers from the questionnaire to the Hoja de respuestas takes time. So when preparing for the DELE B2 exam, you want to account for this time as well.

Have someone to speak to

The speaking part of the DELE B2 exam stands somewhat by itself. You can’t prepare for it by reading El Cronómetro. So if you want to involve a tutor, this is where you’d need it the most.

I didn’t have a tutor. I came up with that ingenious idea to make a little language learning trip to Spain and practice speaking with natives. And indeed, I came to Spain a week before the test date and got myself into conversations with border officers in the El Prat airport, hotel clerks, waiters, gas station attendants, a police officer on the AP-7, taxi drivers and even a canyoning instructor.

I did help me a lot, but clearly, a week wasn’t enough. So if you decide to do something similar plan for at least 2-3 weeks of immersion. And, of course, use Pimsleur for daily practice when you’re back home.

From complete novice to B2

Learning a language at this pace was quite a new experience for me.

And although it sounds like I knew what I was doing and had everything pre-planned, it wasn’t the case at all. I was unsure of whether I would pass the DELE B2 after just three months of learning Spanish. And the fact that I did came as a pleasant surprise for me two months later.

So feel free to use my strategies for your own preparation, but keep in mind that it’s far from being a bulletproof method for passing language tests. Nonetheless, do take risks and do challenge yourself.

All this was just my experience. I would love to hear about yours.

Image Credits: Photo by A.R.T.Paola on Unsplash


Polyglot, Author and Founder of Linguapath
Hey! I\’m Alina Kuimova, and my long-lasting obsession with learning languages led to the creation of this site. Apart from being a grammar enthusiast, I enjoy reading smart books in any language available, finding easier ways for the brain to learn things and buffing productivity stats by 180%.

This content was originally published here.

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How telenovelas will help you learn Spanish – Latino schools

Watching telenovelas is a terrific method to learn Spanish. Check out these 3 telenovelas and learn Spanish while having the most fun!

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Learn Spanish online – Babbel.com | Babbel

Learn Spanish Vocabulary

Learn online grammar, vocabulary and phrases, practice in optimal intervals: At Babbel, you’ll get the basic and advanced vocabulary for Spanish. The Review Manager makes sure that you’ll exercise the vocabulary and grammar rules that were hard for you.

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Learn Spanish with Mango – East Baton Rouge Parish Library InfoBlog

Did you know? Although Dia de los Muertos takes place at the same time as Halloween, the two events are very different. It begins on October 31st and lasts until November 2nd. It is believed that spirits of departed loved ones return. Across Mexico, sugar skulls and pan de muerto (bread of the dead) are left as offerings. Dia de los Muertos is a time of celebrating those who have passed away.

Learn some Spanish (for free!) through Mango Languages — available for free to anyone with an East Baton Rouge Parish library card!

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Why learn Spanish online during COVID-19? – Learn More Than Spanish

2020 has been a very strange year. Do we all agree on that, right?

The coronavirus pandemic took us by surprise. No one was prepared for it. We thought it was another “virus” but we didn’t expect it was going to spread out all around the world that fast.

Suddenly, we had a worldwide lockdown. International flights canceled and borders closed. Thousands of people got stranded away from home and all our plans changed.

Everyone is in a different situation but we are all experiencing the same feelings. We have passed through different emotional stages. We had been skeptical, worried, anxious, and frustrated.

But also, we have accepted the situation and have been resilient. We have been good at adapting to the situation, to the so-called “new normality”.

Here we are, five months since the worldwide lockdown

At first, we thought it was going to be a 2-weeks -or 1-month- lockdown until we “fix it out”. But here we are, five months since the worldwide lockdown. And we are yet not so sure how long this is going to last.

Before COVID we often heard -and even said- we wanted to have more time. We wished Sundays were longer. We wanted to have time to spend with our families, time to relax, time to watch movies, time to learn a new language, etc.

Now, we have the opportunity to have the “time” we wanted. But, since it is something we didn’t plan and something we can’t control, it freaks us out.

It’s totally normal, life didn’t come with a manual on “what to do during pandemic and lockdown”. But as the saying goes “life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it”.

2020 has given us the opportunity to think, to appreciate things we normally took for granted, and to restructure our lives in many ways.

Online activities, the new normality

Everyone’s situation is different. Some people have had the opportunity to work from home, while others have lost their jobs. Some people have had the opportunity to spend more time home, while others couldn’t make it home. Some people have started their own business, while others have lost their businesses, and so on.

In that sense, everyone is spending their time differently. However, the common denominator is that people try to be more “productive” at home. They see this situation as an opportunity to take advantage of their time. Also, an opportunity to do those things they always have wanted but -that for any reason- they have never done.

The world has adapted progressively to the current situation as well. Online platforms like Zoom have allowed people to keep up with their routines. Online meetings have become part of the “new normality”.
Now, we have our work meetings, attend to any classes, and even celebrate birthdays online. We can do basically anything online. We didn’t know we could do it until we had to.

Are we being productive enough?

It’s true we have also overwhelmed ourselves during these months trying to “occupy” our time. We are having free time and many emotions; and we don’t know what to do with all that.

There has also been social pressure on “being productive”. There are high expectations on how we are spending our time. Are we being productive enough? Are we learning something new? Are we developing that idea we talked about before?

But one thing is pushing ourselves to be productive, another thing is taking advantage of the time we have now to do those things we always have wanted to do. Like learning a new language. That’s one of the things people normally want to do but due to the many obligations they have, they never do.

This is the best time to learn Spanish online

Staying at home in isolation may induce anxiety and boredom in some people, especially those who thrive on social connections.

If you are looking for an option that keeps you productive and entertained, and that levels up your skills for your future career or studies. Then, one of the best things you can do is to learn a new language. For example, Spanish!

Spanish is one of the most spoken languages in the world. It’s spoken for more than 500 million people, in more than 20 countries. Thus, it’s not a surprise that during COVID people have decided to learn this language or to improve their level.

10 reasons to learn Spanish online during COVID-19

The digital sphere is here to stay. It will take some time until we are free to move freely around as we used to.

So, this is the moment to learn Spanish! And even better, it’s the moment to learn Colombian Spanish online with LMTS!

Don’t forget to follow our weekly blog to learn about Colombian Spanish and about Colombian Culture!

This content was originally published here.