How many hours of language training do you need to improve your level?.


It is a recurring question: how many hours of language training do you need to improve your proficiency by one level? Not surprisingly as you want to know what you are getting into when you start a language course and how much time you need to achieve your goal. To be honest, there is no simple answer. Fortunately, we can give a realistic estimate.

If you have ever taken a language course in the past, you will undoubtedly have been told your CEFR level and been shown the associated model. That model looks like stairs where the distance between each step and each level is the same. Climb one step and you have climbed one level on the CEFR ladder. The climb from level 1 to level 2 is the same as the climb from level 2 to level 3.

But that picture is wrong. Learning a language is like climbing a mountain: the closer to the top you get, the harder it becomes. The higher the level, the more time you have to invest and the broader the range of skills you have to acquire.

The raw numbers

OK, so how many hours do you need to put in to advance one level? We have compiled an overview of the figures based on published data and our own expertise. Note that these are the formal hours spent in class with a trainer.

Start level

End level

Min. # hours

Max. # hours

A0 A1 60-90 80-100
A1 A2 160-180 200
A2 B1 210-350 260-400
B1 B2 260-500 330-600
B2 C1 700 800
C1 C2 1000 1200

However, the numbers cover a huge range and we can’t really pin down the minimum and maximum hours. Why? Because everyone differs in the pace and way in which they learn and improve their language proficiency. There are also numerous other factors that help determine how fast you can advance to the next level, for example: 

  • Age and motivation
  • The target language
  • The learner’s background (education, knowledge of other languages etc.)
  • Exposure to the target language outside the course setting
  • Time spent on individual study
  • Type of course (individual or group? Large or small group? Face-to-face or remote?)

How many hours do you really need to achieve your learning objective?

Start level

End level

#hours with trainers

#hour of

Importance of exposure

Importance of contact with native speakers

A0 A1 40 hours 20 hours    
A1 A2 40 hours 30 hours    
A2 B1 2 x 30 hours 30 hours    
B1 B2 3 x 30 hours 30 hours Important Important
B2 C1 3 x 30 hours 30 hours Very important Very important
C1 C2 3 x 30 hours 30 hours Crucial Crucial

The figures above are a generic model and should be adjusted to allow for two aspects:

  • Self-study.
    If you don’t spend any hours on independent learning, in other words don’t do any self-study, that will have an effect on the number of hours you need with your trainer.

  • Exposure.
    You will see that exposure becomes more important as your language level increases. Contact with native speakers also becomes more and more important. The same rule applies here: fewer hours of exposure means you need to spend more hours with your trainer.

Ready to take your language skills to the next level?

Schedule a personalized screening session with us today! Our screenings go beyond just assessing your current level - we delve into your goals, priorities, background, and learning preferences. Plus, you'll get a personal screening report to track your progress and tailor your language learning journey. Contact us now to book your 15-minute conversation in your target language!

BLCC continues to support you even after your language training.

Do you need a few extra sessions with a language trainer after your BLCC language training? Do you still want the opportunity to improve your language skills for critical moments like an important presentation, phone call, negotiation, etc., even after your training?

With Squidll, you have 24/7 access to on-demand language support from our BLCC language coaches. This way, you can further develop your language skills even after your BLCC training.

Discover more about Squidll here.