How to reach level B2 in French in 6 month? | Linguists' corner | Forum

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How to reach level B2 in French in 6 month?
August 27, 2011
21:24
Liza

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Hi,

I need to take a complex language exam at level B2 in March, 2012 or April at latest. I can't travel to countries where it is spoken at present. I speak English and I know some German and Hungarian. I know basic words in French.

How would You prepare for such an exam?

Is that time frame realistic?

August 28, 2011
02:28
NKellyEmerald
Dublin, Ireland

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I've managed to get to that level in similar time frame with Italian in the past, so it's definitely realistic, in my case I had the help of an Italian. What I did for that basically was fly through beginner and advanced levels of the Michel Thomas course and then expand my vocab by talking to my girlfriend and asking questions. You could do something similar through a language exchange, maybe? 

 

Assimil's 'With Ease' courses claim to take you to B2 level (with ease, of course!) in about that time frame just by taking the course one day at a time. I haven't finished all of their Spanish 'with Ease' yet but I can definitely tell you Michel Thomas followed by Assimil is quite the combination! Add to that their French courses are said to be impeccable.

 

If you commit yourself and, as Benny says, turn it from "I want to learn French" to "I NEED to learn French" then achieving B2 in 6 months is very realistic an achievement, indeed! With or without much expense.

Bonne chance! laugh

Native:   Gaeilge,  English Studies:  Polish On Hold:  Spanish Next:  Italian
Is cainteoir dúchais Gaeilge mé. Same with English. Zacząłem uczyć się polskiego, y ahora, he dejado aprender el castellano.
September 10, 2011
17:57
yenome

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He's right.

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September 10, 2011
18:38
this_just_in
Toronto

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As well if you purchase Rosetta stone levels 1-5 that takes you to a b2 Level in about 250 hours which 5 months would mean aproximetly 1.5 Hours Per Day or 50 hours per month.

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October 14, 2011
07:44
this_just_in
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Also Assimil will take you to a B2 Level. I have not used Assimil only Rosetta stone.

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October 14, 2011
07:45
this_just_in
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Whoops jus noticed that Noel mentioned that!!

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October 14, 2011
14:41
Martín Raúl Villalba
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It's worth noting you'll probably need to do some exam-specific practice exercises too.

October 15, 2011
05:34
Jurlputibin

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Only one thing I can say - don't even consider Rosetta Stone! It will certainly not take anyone to a B2 level.

October 15, 2011
05:45
this_just_in
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Jurlputibin Have you used Rosetta stone? What do you not like about it????

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October 22, 2011
17:10
Liza

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this_just_in said:

As well if you purchase Rosetta stone levels 1-5 that takes you to a b2 Level in about 250 hours which 5 months would mean aproximetly 1.5 Hours Per Day or 50 hours per month.

Hi 'this_just_in',

 

I have heard and read a lot of opinions about the Rosetta Stone software, program but they are mostly very contradictory. Have You yourself used RS? Have you gone through all the levels of it? So, is your suggestion based on personal experience or rather on reviews? I am asking it because I have tried the demo version and it seems great...but will that really get one to level B2?

 

Thanks for your and others' reply so far.

October 22, 2011
17:58
Lingo

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Did you know that the Rosetta Stone course contents are available on their homepage?

http://www.rosettastone.com/global/support/downloads/course-contents

Judging from this, I highly doubt I can prepare you for a DELF B2 better than a SRS could do (search the forum and Benny's blog posts for Spaced Repetition System (SRS) and Benny's review on Rosetta Stone if you don't have any idea of what I am alluding to). I would rather consider it a a device for learning vocabulary, which could cover a portion of your learning.

My expericence with RS is as follows: I bought Rosetta Stone Portuguese Level 3 + Russian Level 1-3, but soon realized that it does not correspond to my learning style and dropped out quite soon, because I felt that other methods would help me progress better than RS, which after an inicial phase of enchantment turned out rather tedious. But this might be a matter of personal preferences.

 

What kind of exam are you preparing for?

If your aim indeed is passing the DELF B2, feel free to ask further questions. I passed the DELF B2 in 2009 and the DALF  C2 a couple of months ago.

Speaks:  German English French Portuguese Russian Spanish       Collecting resources for: Mandarin Italian     Abandoned: Latin

October 22, 2011
18:32
Liza

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Lingo said:

What kind of exam are you preparing for?

My aim is passing DELF B2. :)

October 22, 2011
20:31
Chrystal G.
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You know, I never knew that Rosetta Stone had transcripts on their website...it's interesting to know what they teach at the different levels and a little disappointing! Lol. Sorry to intrude on the topic, but that was a great link to share. :) Thank you! I had Rosetta Stone for Tagalog at one point when they had only the first level and I'm so glad now that I didn't invest more time with it (or money). I really do not need to ask someone (currently) how to repair my dishwasher. Haha.

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October 23, 2011
18:16
jpike1028
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B2 is more than possible in six months.  I echo what someone else already said on here:  Use Michel Thomas and Assimil.  In addition I would try the LWT through this forum or LingQ do add some more reading and listening practice.  On top of all that I would find people to talk with/write to on a regular basis.  These four things have been very helpful for me in my French to the point where I am very comfortable with the language now after about 8 months of "intensive" study (mostly means I have been trying to learn other languages).  Good luck, and keep us updated on your progress!

Native:  English (USA) English (USA) |Speaks:  France French, Italy Italian |Current Mission:   German |On-Deck Mission:   Spanish |Hit List:   Russian,  Czech,  Portuguese (Brazil),  Swedish,  Arabic (MSA) |Transitions Blog |"Faith.  Courage.  Patience.  Hard work is a given" - Kashu-do
November 23, 2011
18:23
reeeem

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Hello for all. I will have Delf B1 exam by the next December 2011

(after 3 weeks)

Can I reach level B2 2-3 monthes after?

which are the best mat. that I can use? Rosseta stone or what?

Thanks

December 16, 2011
03:54
reeeem

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It was diffficulte.

July 29, 2012
22:43
Jennifer

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As far as I can tell the transcripts are no longer available (maybe because of the new version?)

 

I have to say that I disagree heavily with almost everything said in negative reviews of Rosetta Stone, including Benny's review. Sorry! I'll allow for the fact that it may not fit with everyone's style of learning. But, the zeal with which many people attack the program is actually kind of disturbing... I have never seen a single person who has actually used it for any length of time write a negative review. And yet, people are VICIOUS, with the fervor of a religious zealot! It's weird, because most of the people who give positive reviews are enthusiastic but willing to admit that there are some flaws and it might not be everyone's cup of tea. But those who have never used it give the worst reviews, and most will not allow for the idea that it might work at all!!!

 

Sorry, "I looked at the demo" is NOT the basis for any kind of review!!! How can you possibly tell from a demo whether it will teach advanced material? That's like saying, "I looked at the first page of my French book and all it did was teach me il and elle and tu and vous and nous... how will I ever get anywhere?

 

I'm in level 2 and already flying through Beginner placement tests and understand a lot on intermediate tests. I have more than 3 levels to go and have no doubt that it will get me to B2.

 

That said, NO ONE THING is going to be the best, most efficient, completely comprehensive language-learning tool. Always supplement with other tools so that you learn the material in a variety of ways, to best reinforce it.

 

But, I paid $399 for all 5 levels of Rosetta Stone French TOTALe on DVD (latest version, during a promotion.) In contrast, I considered taking a single course at a local university. It was $850 for a class which meets 2 hours a week for a semester, and $1100 for a class which meets 4 hours a week for a semester. I looked at what the course covered, and decided that no, I would save my money and go this route. Everyone talks about how expensive RS is, but it really is not expensive compared to classes, and it covers more. (And yes, I know how to say my name, ask people's names informally or formally, other interrogatives, how to interact at a store, how to ask for and give directions, how to reformulate the wording to generate language... all the useful things people claim Rosetta Stone doesn't teach.)

 

I do think that Rosetta Stone is excellent for vocabulary acquisition, but I think that a lot of people overlook its usefulness when it comes to oral comprehension and speaking.  Those are two of its strongest suits and are really important if you want to learn the language to actually communicate with people.  (Also, those skills are usually on proficiency tests, and some proficiency tests, like TEFaQ for Quebec, only test those two skills.)  Some people have a hard time understanding grammar from Rosetta Stone, but you can always clarify using other tools.  (I argue that grammar IS taught, just not explicitly.  They make sure to cover every possible scenario, so you can realize that A spelling is used with feminine, B is used with masculine, C is used with plural feminine, and D is used with plural masculine (or whatever is the case.)  They go over these things a lot so that you understand when à la is used, and au is used, etc..  No, you don't magically internalize it (unless you just memorize it) - it does require work.  But if you think about it, you figure it out, and move on.  And like I said, if you need clarification, there are plenty of online tools.  If you're completely unaware of the concepts of gender, gender agreement, etc., then I would say read a quick free primer online, like at About.com, and then you'll be good to go.)

 

For my money, Rosetta Stone is one of the best "base" products to use.  By that I mean it's a good central program to use... then supplement it with cheaper or free things.  It won't work for everyone, but take a careful look at all the negative reviews.  Which ones are by people who never used it at all?  Which ones are by people who used only the free demo?  Which ones are by people who have their own language learning programs to sell?  Which ones are by people who, even if they have a free review copy, don't actually use much of the product?  Virtually all of the negative reviews fall into these categories.  (Benny at least appears to attempt to be balanced, although I still question just how much of the program he used.  And I do agree that, basically, the whole "learn like a child" thing is a gimmick.  But here's the thing... that doesn't matter.  No, you're not learning like a child.  You have skills children don't have.  (And who wants to learn like a child?  Children take YEARS to even begin to communicate, and then years to come close to perfecting their abilities in their native language.)  But the program still works, probably precisely because you're not learning like a child.)

Speaks: American English (Native) Learning: French (Low Intermediate)
August 12, 2012
10:30
Liza

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Jennifer said
As far as I can tell the transcripts are no longer available (maybe because of the new version?)

 

I have to say that I disagree heavily with almost everything said in negative reviews of Rosetta Stone, including Benny's review. Sorry! I'll allow for the fact that it may not fit with everyone's style of learning. But, the zeal with which many people attack the program is actually kind of disturbing... I have never seen a single person who has actually used it for any length of time write a negative review. And yet, people are VICIOUS, with the fervor of a religious zealot! It's weird, because most of the people who give positive reviews are enthusiastic but willing to admit that there are some flaws and it might not be everyone's cup of tea. But those who have never used it give the worst reviews, and most will not allow for the idea that it might work at all!!!

 

Sorry, "I looked at the demo" is NOT the basis for any kind of review!!! How can you possibly tell from a demo whether it will teach advanced material? That's like saying, "I looked at the first page of my French book and all it did was teach me il and elle and tu and vous and nous... how will I ever get anywhere?

 

I'm in level 2 and already flying through Beginner placement tests and understand a lot on intermediate tests. I have more than 3 levels to go and have no doubt that it will get me to B2.

 

That said, NO ONE THING is going to be the best, most efficient, completely comprehensive language-learning tool. Always supplement with other tools so that you learn the material in a variety of ways, to best reinforce it.

 

But, I paid $399 for all 5 levels of Rosetta Stone French TOTALe on DVD (latest version, during a promotion.) In contrast, I considered taking a single course at a local university. It was $850 for a class which meets 2 hours a week for a semester, and $1100 for a class which meets 4 hours a week for a semester. I looked at what the course covered, and decided that no, I would save my money and go this route. Everyone talks about how expensive RS is, but it really is not expensive compared to classes, and it covers more. (And yes, I know how to say my name, ask people's names informally or formally, other interrogatives, how to interact at a store, how to ask for and give directions, how to reformulate the wording to generate language... all the useful things people claim Rosetta Stone doesn't teach.)

 

I do think that Rosetta Stone is excellent for vocabulary acquisition, but I think that a lot of people overlook its usefulness when it comes to oral comprehension and speaking.  Those are two of its strongest suits and are really important if you want to learn the language to actually communicate with people.  (Also, those skills are usually on proficiency tests, and some proficiency tests, like TEFaQ for Quebec, only test those two skills.)  Some people have a hard time understanding grammar from Rosetta Stone, but you can always clarify using other tools.  (I argue that grammar IS taught, just not explicitly.  They make sure to cover every possible scenario, so you can realize that A spelling is used with feminine, B is used with masculine, C is used with plural feminine, and D is used with plural masculine (or whatever is the case.)  They go over these things a lot so that you understand when à la is used, and au is used, etc..  No, you don't magically internalize it (unless you just memorize it) - it does require work.  But if you think about it, you figure it out, and move on.  And like I said, if you need clarification, there are plenty of online tools.  If you're completely unaware of the concepts of gender, gender agreement, etc., then I would say read a quick free primer online, like at About.com, and then you'll be good to go.)

 

For my money, Rosetta Stone is one of the best "base" products to use.  By that I mean it's a good central program to use... then supplement it with cheaper or free things.  It won't work for everyone, but take a careful look at all the negative reviews.  Which ones are by people who never used it at all?  Which ones are by people who used only the free demo?  Which ones are by people who have their own language learning programs to sell?  Which ones are by people who, even if they have a free review copy, don't actually use much of the product?  Virtually all of the negative reviews fall into these categories.  (Benny at least appears to attempt to be balanced, although I still question just how much of the program he used.  And I do agree that, basically, the whole "learn like a child" thing is a gimmick.  But here's the thing... that doesn't matter.  No, you're not learning like a child.  You have skills children don't have.  (And who wants to learn like a child?  Children take YEARS to even begin to communicate, and then years to come close to perfecting their abilities in their native language.)  But the program still works, probably precisely because you're not learning like a child.)

Jennifer,

 

Thank you soooooo much for your review. This is the first or the second at most positive review by someone who actually use the software and is not affiliated with the company!

How long does it take to complete a level and how much time a day do you spend on RS?

 

Thanks for your kind reply.

August 12, 2012
12:01
this_just_in
Toronto

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Each Level of Rosetta stone takes between 40-50 Hours to Complete so all 5 levels would reach 200-250 Hours.

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August 12, 2012
14:27
Jennifer

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Hi Liza,

 

I'm glad I could be helpful.  This_just_in is roughly correct although I would say the answer to how long each level takes is more like "it depends."  My conservative estimate for how long it has taken me (not including any review I do later on, going back through my notes) is 32 hours per level. 

 

Here's the structure of the program:

 

There are 5 "Levels," the highest structural unit of the program, and you can buy these all together or separately.  Within each Level, there are 4 "Units." (So, 20 Units in the entire program.)  Each Unit is made up of 4 "Core Lessons" - a long lesson in which new grammar and vocabulary is introduced.  (So, there are 16 Core Lessons per Level.)  Each Core Lesson is followed by several "lessons," the number of which varies.  (I  prefer to refer to these as exercises to avoid confusion with the Core Lessons.)  If my memory serves me, the earlier Core Lessons were each followed by roughly the same number of brief lessons AKA exercises.  As you progress through the program, you will find that the first Core Lesson in a Unit is followed by just a few lessons/exercises, the second is followed by more, up until the fourth, which might be followed 12 or more.  This is because as you progress, more and more lessons/exercises from earlier Units are thrown in, for review.  In any case, these small lessons/exercises which follow the Core Lessons do not contain new information - you are practicing was what presented in the Core Lesson.  And each of these small lessons/exercises includes a variable number of activities (each of which takes under a minute, usually.)

 

Okay, I know that might be hard to visualize, but I mentioned all that so you understand that per Level there are just 16 big lessons in which you actually get new information.  And, it is in those Core Lessons that I have notebook in hand.  I transcribe the entire lesson as I work through.  (Thus, it is important to change your settings so that the program does not automatically progress to the next part of the lesson.  You want to manually advance through the questions so you have time to write things down, but also so that you can replay audio, etc.  I got less out of the program before I realized I could change that setting.)

 

I find that the act of writing down all the new material reinforces it, and (of course) gives me additional writing practice.  But, it's also really useful to have a notebook to work with when you don't feel like getting on the computer.  Every now and then I start at the beginning of the notebook and read through what I have learned.

 

If you choose to go the route of transcribing your core lessons, that adds time.  I estimate that on average I take around 2 hours to work through a core lesson and the following small lessons/exercises.  This includes transcription, as well as quickly looking up anything I might not be 100% sure of.  (I keep both a free translation window, and a Google window open so I can go online to check anything I might want to check... for instance, let's say I learn 'je veux.' In the interest of fully understanding the language, I want to know the infinitive of the verb (vouloir.)  So, I Google veux and find quickly that the infinitive (basic, unconjugated form) of veux is vouloir.  Then let's say in a later Core Lesson I encounter 'je voudrais.' I can for the most part understand what this means, from the pictures and other language, but again I might hop online to get a clear explanation that this is the conditional tense of vouloir, and here's why you might use the conditional tense, etc..)

 

Not everyone feels the need to do all this, but if you're serious about learning the language with the intent of sometime becoming fluent, you should do this, and it adds time. I really think it will also just ease any frustration and help you generate language rather than just parrot exactly what the program gives you.

 

Somehow, amazingly, I have quite good pronunciation of French, and I rarely get "dinged" by the program when I am speaking, even though I upped the difficulty of the speak recognition.  (You can make it more or less forgiving.)  So, I rarely need to repeat anything, which speeds up my progress.  Some people might make more mistakes and be more slow.

 

For awhile, I was devoting large amounts of time to Rosetta Stone and would sit for 3 or 4 hours and make it through 2 Core Units and associated smaller lessons.  In such case, you could finish a whole level in 8 days.  But, that was too much.  I now find the most I really can sit through/absorb is one Core Lesson, which means that I can complete a Level in 16 days.  I almost always only work on week days, so that's just over 3 weeks.  A lot of people only devote 10, 20, 30 minutes a day to the program, and frankly, I think that's a huge mistake.  It will take you FOREVER to progress, meaning it will take all the more time to get to "useful" (rather than foundational) language, and you might get frustrated.  Also I think eventually you forget earlier stuff you learned.  If one day you don't have time to devote much to RS, great... better to spend 10 minutes than no time.  But in general, I think working that slowly is a bad idea, no matter what program you're using.

 

Just so you know, what you see in the earlier Core Lessons is quite different from what you get later on.  First, there are the notorious "useless phrases," which I argue are actually very useful for teaching foundational vocabulary and grammar.  But there is also a lot of practice of pronunciation of words and word parts.  Somewhere in the second half of Level 1, they no longer have that kind of pronunciation practice.  And some of the pronunciation practice might seem unnecessary... obviously you can tell the differenence between a word starting with d- and one starting with t-, or one starting with b- and one starting with p-, and especially one starting with g- and one starting with d-.  But, remember that although the program is probably most used by Americans, the program is not in English, and people from any native language might use it, so they might really have a hard time distinguishing between certain sounds.

 

So, I've just finished the halfway point in Level 2, and I am really, really excited and energized.  I go around thinking about things I could say, generating new language from the vocabulary and grammar I have learned.  I was just in Brussels (primarily French-speaking) in April, and it was an unplanned side trip from another non-French-speaking area.  I hadn't looked at even basic French before going, and found myself with a waitress who was either unable or unwilling to speak English.  I ordered my food and drink with gestures and halting French vocabulary, not strung together with any grammar.  NOW, I realize that I could easily go and order, ask questions, understand what the waitress says, etc..  I can ask for directions... basically, I'm already at a "survival" level of French, able to generate questions/statements, rather than parrot a phrase book.  (And before anyone says that the reality of being in a French-speaking region is very different from what I imagine, from Rosetta Stone, it might be like... I know.  I've been to France or other French-speaking regions of Europe 7 separate times.  I lived in Montréal (with no French proficiency) for 2 years.  I know that I could get by, and if I had trouble, I could ask someone to repeat, or slow down, or whatever.)

 

Okay... this might all be more info. than you wanted, but I know when I thought about investing in Rosetta Stone, I wanted as much information as possible.

 

I think you probably wanted to know how long it takes to complete a level so you could have some sense of how quickly you might learn.  But, some people want to know this info. because some organizations, like FSI, have laid out standards for how many instructional hours are necessary to get to certain points of proficiency in different languages.  I would say, though, that a program like Rosetta Stone isn't really comparable to classroom hours. In many ways, you learn more quickly.  I was initially working with a grammar book which, at the beginning, almost paralleled what I was learning in RS.  Now, though, I've jumped way to the end of the Beginner book, and into my Intermediate book.  RS doesn't necessarily teach in the order a class would.  Also, it's what you make of it in terms of adding hours working through a grammar, watching TV, listening to the radio, working through your notebook, looking through something like 501 French Verbs, etc.. (For the record, right now I mostly use online tools like the About.com French pages to reinforce grammar learning.  I no longer faithfully work with a grammar book, but every now and then I flip through and that's how I realized that what I'm learning is beyond what is considered Beginner, or at the very end of what is in the Beginner grammar.)

 

From where I am now, and based on other things I've read, I think that by the end of Level 5, I can expect to be high-intermediate.  Oh, I should say that Level 1 is all present tense, but now, as of halfway through Level 2, I've learned one future tense (actually , futur proche, which is more like a grammatical structure) two past tenses, and the conditional.  I've read that starting with Level 3, the program because more about new vocabulary than grammar, since you will have learned the basic grammar/verb tenses.

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