The process of learning a language can be compared to that of climbing a mountain. The higher you climb, the harder it gets to move up the terrain. This is so because of the steepness or other unforeseen challenges.
The real challenge once you have reached level B2 in any language is to continue learning and practising without a formal framework. Here, many learners are left without any solid tips for practising or even maintaining their level.
The next step to moving forward always comes from understanding the starting point and the end goal. So, let’s take a look at B2 and C1 level capabilities so we can identify the learning gap.
B2 language level competencies
According to CEFRL (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages), the following specifies the competencies of the B2 language level.
- Understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in their field of specialization.
- Interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible without strain for either party.
- 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 language level competencies
According to CEFRL, the following specifies the competencies of the C1 language level.
- Understand a wide range of more demanding, longer texts, and recognise implicit meaning in them.
- Express him/herself fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for the right expression.
- Use language flexibly and effectively for social, academic, and professional purposes. Also, can produce clear, well-structured, detailed text on complex subjects, showing the correct use of organisational patterns, connectors, and cohesive devices.
Difference between B2 and C1
Based on a CEFR scale, the B2 level corresponds to the term being fluent. If a learner is fluent in their target language, then they know between 5,000 and 10,000 words in that language.
As for the C1 level, it corresponds to being proficient in the target language. A proficient learner has near-complete mastery of the language. It can be said that they know more than 10,000 words in their target language.
Of all the learners who decided to learn a second language, only a few reaches fluency. Also, those who achieve fluency may not see a need to achieve proficiency.
But for those interested in levelling up let’s see how you go about it.
How to move from B2 to C1
Being at a B2 level means you can pretty much do anything in the target language. You can perform any of the four skills (reading, writing, listening, speaking) well with a native speaker without much strain.
Improving beyond the B2 level means moving towards near-native speaking abilities. Even though language skills are fluent the problem is that using the language has not become automatic.
To reach C1 from B2, you need to express yourself more naturally. This can be done by getting out of the traditional classroom setting and by starting to experience the language in real-life situations.
What this does is, it allows you to perfect your pronunciation and begin to incorporate well known idiomatic expressions.
Tips for reaching the C1 level
- Sign up for a C1 English course.
- Read a lot of books as they are an excellent resource when it comes to learning new terms and expressions.
- Commit to writing formal documents and not just text messages and emails.
- Runs meetings in English as a means to gain fluency and to use idioms that you have learned.
The takeaway from this article is that if you want to move from B2 to C1 you must change the way you are learning. The focus should be placed on being able to naturally use the language as a native speaker.
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