Moving from intermediate to advanced 109

Reaching an Advanced Level

Raghad from Yemen had two questions for me: 

1. What is the B2 level from your point of view?

2. My level is B2. But sometimes when I watch elementary lessons, I still learn new things which confuse me. How can I take my English to the next level? I feel like I’m stuck.

What is B2 Level?

Olly Richards said before that B2 Level is when you can go to the pub and have a comfortable conversation with people there about most normal topics. 

I think this is a good, simple definition.

My advice, however, is to not worry too much about levels – it really doesn’t matter and people generally just use it as a way to compare themselves to others. Focusing too much on levels will often just make you feel disappointed. You can study for years and yet your level is the same, even though you actually have improved drastically.

The Intermediate Plateau

This term is used to describe people who get to an intermediate level and then struggle to increase for a long time.

One reason this happens is because there aren’t as many words you come across because you’ve learnt the important ones When you learn new ones in advanced topics, you may not see them again for a while. This makes it hard to words to stay in your mind!

Some Tips on Reaching Advanced Levels

Focus on what you love, and do it in English

Consider ditching the study books! Change your routine.


More speaking practice

Remember you have worked so hard to get to this level – now the fun stuff can happen! You can forget about the boring aspects of study and talk about and explore your passions. Discuss your hobbies with someone and share your views. Rethink your method and make it fun.


More reading (vocabulary)

Reading is also a good way to get comfortable not knowing the meaning of words and guessing them from context (something native speakers do and also a reason people in the plateau can feel sad)


Stick to language islands

Islands are sets of common topics that you “can swim to when you feel as if you’re drowning in a difficult conversation”. Reciting one of these speeches gives confidence both to the speaker and the native listener, and allows a mental pause before plunging back into less familiar water.


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