We recently received a great question by email (thanks Rob!):
I was just wondering at what point you suggest moving from Beginner to Intermediate and then Intermediate to Advanced. How long should one stay at each level before he/she is prepared to move to the next level?
The answer of course is that you move up when you feel ready to, but how do you work that out? Well, the obvious place to start is with the Intermediate Podcasts. If you find that these challenge your listening skills, that a few words slip by, but in general you get the gist of our conversation, then this is probably the level for you. Even if it seems frustrating to miss out on some of the vocab, don’t worry, as you get used to the level and to our voices, then you will get more and more out of the podcasts.
If you find the Intermediate podcasts way too difficult then obviously it is best to start with the Beginners podcasts, then every now and again come back and try the Intermediate until you find you can understand most of what is being said and feel ready to make the jump. The same goes for the move from Intermediate to Advanced. If you feel the Intermediate podcasts have become too easy, then try a few Advanced episodes. If they are still too tough then wait a while longer before making the jump. It may be best to start with the Advanced podcasts with just Marina and I talking before you take on the interviews, as you will be used to our voices from the Intermediate level.
Remember, this is a really personal thing, and only you will know when you feel like stepping up a level. Language learning is always best when you are in charge and decide how fast you want to go. Also bear in mind that a lot of Intermediate listeners still listen to the Beginners series for the extra explanations they include and, finally, that the transcripts in our worksheets can really help you make the jump up to a higher level.
Do you have any experience of making the jump between levels?