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Our Color Belt System

Our Spanish program in Fort Lauderdale is composed of 10 conversational belt levels ranging from the Pearl Belt (complete beginner) to the Black Belt (ultimate Spanish master). The ranks are useful for monitoring progress and matching you with Spanish students of comparable ability.


There are:

  • 4 beginner levels (Pearl Belt, Cream Belt, Yellow Belt and Orange Belt),

  • 3 intermediate levels (Green Belt, Light Blue Belt and Navy Blue Belt), and

  • 3 advanced levels (Purple Belt, Brown Belt and Black Belt).

Each of these 10 levels require the completion of 16 hours of instruction.


You can think of it as...

πŸ›΄

Beginner levels

Help you β€œnot crash” when needing to communicate in Spanish

🚲

intermediate levels

Help polish your speaking skills so that you speak more smoothly

🏎️

advanced levels

Help you get as close as we can to someone that is native to the language




Our conversational color belt levels in detail are as follows...

Click on each section to learn more.


For Spanish students that are just starting or studied in the past but have forgotten most of it.

Pearl Belt

Beginner 1

Survival Spanish

Complete beginner, or new to the language in practical terms

If you had some knowledge of a romance language, such as italian or french, but it is now practically gone, or you would prefer to have an introduction to the Spanish language as smooth and as light as possible, we would recommend considering starting at this level.


Although no prior knowledge of the language is required to join us at this level, it may be of great help to watch our playlist of free videos labeled The Basics of the Spanish Language
. Click on the link to access.

Cream Belt

Beginner 2 Spanish

Basic Conversation

Can barely speak using phrases such as Yo como (I eat).

If you are new to Spanish but have some knowledge of a romance language, such as italian or french, at an intermediate level or higher, and you are a fast learner of languages, we would recommend that you start at this level.Β 

Completing this and the prior belt level is the equivalent to achieving the European A1 beginners level.


Command of speaking dynamics:
Uses only very few words or phrases.

Vocabulary usage while speaking:
Uses only very few words or phrases.

Pronunciation:
Good pronunciation of vowels and some consonants.

Understanding of other's speeches while listening:
Understands a few words or phrases.

Speed of conversation:
Minimal

Command and usage of Spanish grammar rules while speaking:
Can build very simple phrases or sentences

Yellow Belt

Beginner 3 Spanish

Talking about the Past

Can speak using phrases such as Yo estoy comiendo (I am eating), and Yo voy a comer (I am going to eat).


Command of speaking dynamics:
Speaks with script in front. Needs prior preparation.

Vocabulary usage while speaking:
Limited to most common verbs, nouns and adjectives.

Pronunciation:
Good pronunciation of all of the alphabet.

Understanding of other's speeches while listening:
Limited understanding of slow-paced speech.

Speed of conversation:
Very slow.

Command and usage of Spanish grammar rules while speaking:
Spanish sentences use subject, verb and object, and time expression

Orange Belt

Beginner 4 Spanish

Talking about the Future

Can speak using phrases such as as Yo comΓ­ (I ate) and Yo comΓ­a (I used to eat), along other phrases from prior levels.

Completing this and all prior belt levels is the equivalent to achieving the European A2 elementary level.


Command of speaking dynamics:
Speaks going back and forth to script. Needs prior preparation.

Vocabulary usage while speaking:
Limited to common verbs, nouns, adjectives and most common adverbs.

Pronunciation:
Good pronunciation of syllables.

Understanding of other's speeches while listening:
Good understanding of slow-paced speech. Limited understanding of regular-paced speech.

Speed of conversation:
Slow.

Command and usage of Spanish grammar rules while speaking:
Sentences use up to two verbs and two clauses.

For Spanish students that already speak the language in its basic form but want to gain more confidence and precision when speaking the language.

Green Belt

Intermediate 1 Spanish

Can speak using phrases such as Yo comeré (I will eat), and Yo he comido (I have eaten), along other phrases from prior levels.

Completing this and all prior belt levels is the equivalent to achieving the European B1 intermediate level.

 


Command of speaking dynamics:
Speaks without looking at script. Needs prior written preparation.

Vocabulary usage while speaking:
Includes a good balance of verbs, nouns, adjectives and adverbs.

Pronunciation:
Good intonation.

Understanding of other's speeches while listening:
Excellent understanding of slow-paced speech. Good understanding of regular-paced speech.

Speed of conversation:
Medium-low.

Command and usage of Spanish grammar rules while speaking:
Uses well indirect object pronouns.

Light Blue Belt

Intermediate 2 Spanish

Can speak using phrases such as Yo había comido (I had eaten), Yo habré comido (I will have eaten), Yo estuve comiendo and Yo estaba comiendo (I was eating), and Yo estaré comiendo (I will be eating), along other phrases from prior levels."

Completing this and all prior belt levels is the equivalent to achieving the European B2 upper intermediate level.


Command of speaking dynamics:
Is able to improvise. Establishes good eye contact during entire conversation.

Vocabulary usage while speaking:
Includes a very good balance of verbs, nouns, adjectives and adverbs.

Pronunciation:
Very good intonation.

Understanding of other's speeches while listening:
Good understanding of regular-paced speech. Limited understanding of fast -paced speech.

Speed of conversation:
Medium.

Command and usage of Spanish grammar rules while speaking:
Uses well direct object pronouns.

Navy Blue Belt

Intermediate 3 Spanish

Can speak using phrases such as Dudo que el coma (I doubt that he would eat) and Dude que el comiera (I doubted that we would eat), Si yo fuera,... (If I were ...), Yo comería (I would eat), along other phrases from prior levels.


Command of speaking dynamics:
Is able to improvise. Establishes very good eye contact during entire conversation.

Vocabulary usage while speaking:
Includes an excellent balance of verbs, nouns, adjectives and adverbs.

Pronunciation:
Excellent intonation.

Understanding of other's speeches while listening:
Excellent understanding of regular-paced speech. Very good understanding of fast -paced speech.

Speed of conversation:
Medium-high.

Command and usage of Spanish grammar rules while speaking:
Uses well reflexible pronouns.

For Spanish students who are already comfortable with Spanish but want to master it to a level close to that of a native Spanish speaker.

Purple Belt

Advanced 1 Spanish

Can speak using phrases such as Dudo que el este comiendo (I doubt that he is eating), DudΓ© que el estuviera comiendo (I doubted that he was eating), and Yo estaría comiendo (I would be eating), along other phrases from prior levels.

Completing this and all prior belt levels is the equivalent to achieving the European C1 advanced level.


Command of speaking dynamics:
Is able to improvise. Establishes excellent eye contact during entire conversation. Observes good command of facial expressions and body language.

Vocabulary usage while speaking:
Includes an excellent balance of verbs, nouns, adjectives and adverbs.

Pronunciation:
Excellent intonation.

Understanding of other's speeches while listening:
Excellent understanding of regular-paced speech. Limited understanding of fast-paced speech.

Speed of conversation:
Medium-high.

Command and usage of Spanish grammar rules while speaking:
Medium-high.

Brown Belt

Advanced 2 Spanish

Can speak using phrases such as Dudo que el haya comido (I doubt that he had eaten), DudΓ© que el hubiera comido (I doubted that we had eaten) and Si el hubiera..., yo habría comido... (If he had...,I would have eaten....) along other phrases from prior levels."


Command of speaking dynamics:
Is able to improvise. Establishes excellent eye contact during entire conversation. Observes very good command of facial expressions and body language.

Vocabulary usage while speaking:
Includes industry or activity-specific jargon.

Pronunciation:
Excellent intonation.

Understanding of other's speeches while listening:
Excellent understanding of regular-paced speech. Good understanding of fast-paced speech.

Speed of conversation:
High.

Command and usage of Spanish grammar rules while speaking:
High.

Black Belt

Advanced 3 Spanish

Can speak using phrases such as he estado comiendo (I have been eating), había estado comiendo (I had been eating) and habré estado comiendo (I will have been eating) along other phrases from prior levels.

Completing this and all prior belt levels is the equivalent to achieving the European C2 proficiency level.

Command of speaking dynamics:
Is able to improvise. Establishes excellent eye contact during entire conversation. Observes excellent command of facial expressions and body language.

Vocabulary usage while speaking:
Observes high command of country-specific jargon.

Pronunciation:
Excellent intonation.

Understanding of other's speeches while listening:
Excellent understanding of regular-paced speech. Very good understanding of fast-paced speech.

Speed of conversation:
Very high.

Command and usage of Spanish grammar rules while speaking:
Very high.

 

Already past a Black Belt level?


If you have already completed or are about to complete the Black Belt level, or if you already speak the language very well, please keep in mind that you can continue taking more classes with an open program by which you and your one-on-one native Spanish tutor decide on what to focus your attention, whether it is on: 

  • grammar,

  • vocabulary acquisition including Spanish regionalisms,

  • essay writing, 

  • literature, 

  • industry needs, 

  • open conversations about current events or hispanic culture,  or even

  • standardized Spanish test preparation.


Ascending through the belts requires accumulating Spanish tutoring session time to hone your skills. Purple Belt, for example, requires the successful completion of 16 hours. So will any other level.

In addition to successfully completing the required hours you will need to pass an Spanish examination and meet minimum score requirements to move up to the next belt.




This 60-second video summarizes our levels ...


 

Are you still unsure about your level?


If you already know some Spanish, we would recommend that you consider filling the exemption exam for the level right below the level that you think you belong. You will get your score right away with a minimum passing grade of 70%. The exemption exams for each level can be found right before this section (scroll up the page until the levels are seen). Click on any of them and then select FREE exemption exam.


  • If you do not pass, consider trying the test for a lower level.

  • If you pass easily, consider trying one level higher just in case to be sure.

If you still have doubts, please give us a call so that we can help you assess your level over the phone, or just apply risk free and we will suggest you a starting level based on the information you include on your application

 

Apply Risk Free!


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Frequently Asked Questions About Our Levels




Level assessments


The Pearl Belt level (Beginner 1) is for those Spanish students who: 

  • do NOT have any successful experience learning any foreign language, AND/OR

  • have some knowledge of Spanish words in isolation, but are not able to apply this knowledge into expressing sentences or phrases verbally, AND/OR

  • are interested in becoming familiar with the transactional type of Spanish that a person would encounter while traveling.

As an introduction to the language, Pearl Belt Beginner 1 classes work on engaging in practical role plays of different situations expected to be encountered when traveling without entering too much into any grammatical details.

Even though you may not be planning on traveling, please note that this is our entry level course, and that the traveling topic is used as a context to start introducing the basics of the language, to allow students to feel more comfortable engaging in dialogues verbally, and to prepare the students for the next level which is much more demanding and conducted entirely in Spanish as we strongly believe that this is the only way to really acquire fluency in a shorter period of time.

If you are learning Spanish to use it for work-related purposes and you are a true beginner student, one reason why you may want to consider starting at the Beginner 2 level (instead of at the Beginner 1 level), is that the Beginner 1 course, being an introductory class, uses traveling as a context to introduce slowly some basic concepts (nuggets of knowledge) and differences and similarities between languages, and students work extensively roleplaying in different situations that they will encounter while traveling: eating at a restaurant, interacting at their hotel, immigrations, airplane, bar, cafe, hospital, pharmacy, etc., all of which is very useful BUT not related yet to any professional needs. Be aware that the Cream belt level class will be taught entirely in Spanish and that because of this we would still recommend you to start at Pearl Belt level (Beginner 1) to avoid withdrawals and acchieve better long-term results.

The Cream Belt level (Beginner 2) is for those Spanish students who: 

  • are getting started with Spanish but have already successfully learned any other foreign language, ideally a romance language such as italian, french or portuguese, AND/OR

  • can digest a significant amount of new content at a fast pace, AND/OR

  • have some knowledge of Spanish words in isolation and are able to apply this knowledge into expressing sentences or phrases verbally in the present tense

Cream Belt Beginner 2 classes, the first level where we will be strict about immersing you into the language avoiding the use of any English, offers a comprehensible but still practical approach to help students build grammar-based phrases of their own while role playing in a multitude of situations to be encountered while verbally interacting with hispanics.


Generally ...

  • If you are able to fully express yourself verbally in the present tense, then level Yellow Belt (Beginner 3) may be the right level for you.

  • If you are NOT able to fully express yourself verbally in the present tense, then level Cream Belt (Beginner 2) may be the right level for you.

Your level will be suggested and/or ratified by our Admissions Department in their response to your online application.

As our focus is to help you improve your conversational Spanish skills, it makes a lot of sense that the most important criteria we take into consideration when suggesting starting levels, is what we perceive is your current ability to use the language verbally. Knowledge of vocabulary in isolation or grammar theory without proper usage in a real conversation in Spanish has minor weight in our assessment. Most people have some prior knowledge of Spanish. They have either studied it in high school or in college. Although this experience is welcome, students may still be placed in the Beginner I level (Pearl Belt) or Beginner II level (Cream Belt), if not able to recall or use the language verbally and efficiently in the present tense.

In practical terms, you should strongly consider joining a level that may cover specific grammar that you have seen before if you are at this time not able to apply that knowledge in a real conversation in Spanish.

Generally, for example ...

  • If you are able to fully express yourself verbally in the present tense in Spanish, then level Yellow Belt (Beginner 3) may be the right level for you.

  • If you are also able to fully express yourself verbally in the past tense in Spanish, then level Orange Belt (Beginner 4) may be the right level for you.

Whether you are interested in pre-selecting a specific small group class from those currently available, or having private classes, you can read some guidelines regarding the requirements for each of our ten levels of instruction in the upper section of this page.


If still unsure about your level, just feel free to submit our online application. On this form you will be answering some questions regarding how you see yourself in the different areas of the language. Our Academics Department then sends you a formal proposal with a recommended starting level, based on your responses.

In the case of applications for group classes you will be asked to choose a group of your preference here. Choose one that corresponds to the level that you feel is best for you.


For students that already know some Spanish, we would recommend that they consider filling the exemption exam for the level right below the level that they think they belong. They will get their score right away with a minimum passing grade of 70%. The exemption exams for each level can be found in the upper section of this page (click on the corresponding levels).

  • If they do not pass, they may consider trying the test for a lower level.

  • If they pass easily, they may try one level higher just in case to be sure.

We will still validate your level when we review your application. If you are applying for a group, we will be accepting you to the group of your preference or proposing you a  group of an alternative level if we believe it would be better for you based on the answers to our questions that you will include on your application.


Before attending any classes yet


If you have not done this already, we would recommend that you consider filling the exemption exam for the level right below the level at which you think you think you should have been placed. You will get your score right away. The minimum passing grade is 70%. The exemption exams for each level can be found in the upper section of this page (click on the corresponding levels).

As an alternative, you may...

  • have your level re-assessed over the phone through a 5-minute phone call by calling us at 202-627-0722.

  • purchase a reduced-priced 55-minute one-on-one sample session for $49 so that you can meet with your tutor and have your level assessed in person.

To purchase a sample session, please proceed as follows:

  • If you have already submitted an online application for classes with us, please enter the $49 fee on the amount field that you will see after pressing the Buy Now button on our payment center page. Please do not deduct any discounts as they do not apply to sample sessions.

  • If you have not submitted an online application just yet, please do so first by entering information on our applications page (don't forget to mention that you would want a sample session first) and wait for our response via email.

After having attended at least one class


If attending private Spanish classes, just let your Spanish tutor know on any session so that you start working right away on the level that is most appropriate for you.

If you are attending small group Spanish classes that we have set you up with and you think other members in your group have different levels, please let your tutor be aware of your concern right away. Many times, though, first sessions' nervousness may mislead you. Please wait until you have your second session to address this concern with our office. You may observe after the second session that your levels look much more similar after initial nervousness and/or shyness from all participants is overcome.

  • If still after your second session you think that you have been placed on the wrong level, please contact us at least 24 hours prior to your scheduled third session so that we transfer you to a higher or lower level subject to availability. You will be able to start at that new level from its first class at no extra cost.

  • If no alternative class is available at that time, you could request to put your enrollment on hold until a new class is scheduled. If needed, you could even request a full refund prior to attending your third class if no convenient group of an alternative level is found.

If attending private Spanish classes, you will be able to move on to the next level as soon as the fluency objectives for each level are reached. This means that you may be able to move on to the next level before or after completing the 16 hours normally required for each level.

If you attend small group Spanish classes that we have set you up with, you will need to complete the 16 hours of instruction to be a candidate to pass to the next level. If after your second or third session you feel that you have been placed on the wrong level, though, please let us know, prior to your fourth session, and we will be happy to transfer you to a higher or lower level, at no extra cost, subject to availability.

If taking one-on-one classes, your current level should not be a concern as your tutor can adjust your level at any time.

If taking small group classes and you have not been able to find a class at your level, it is best to start lower and work your way up than to start higher and risk being behind the other students.

Note though that most people joining a lower level may have a lower level of fluency than yours. A better option for you may be to study the conjugations/grammar on your own (by accessing the material of that level at no extra cost while taking classes at a higher level), wait for small group classes to become available at your exact level, or have one-on-one classes instead where you can get the guidance and feedback of the tutor and have the level of your classes adjusted accordingly as you progress. Be aware that one-on-one classes cost about twice as much per hour.



Level goals and results


At our institute, we take great pride in delivering results. Our goal is to help you become a confident Spanish speaker in the shortest possible time. Here's how we achieve that:

  1. Fast-paced Instruction: We understand that your time is precious, and we value your commitment to learning Spanish. Our curriculum is designed to maximize every minute of your learning experience. Our lessons concentrate on the most essential aspects of communication, allowing you to make significant progress in just 16 hours per level.

  2. Native Spanish Tutors: We believe that learning from the best is the key to success. That's why we hire only the best native Spanish tutors who are experienced in teaching conversational skills. Their expertise ensures that you receive authentic language instruction and valuable insights into the Spanish culture, enriching your learning journey.

  3. Proprietary Materials and Methods: Our institute has developed its own exclusive materials and teaching methods, meticulously crafted to accelerate your language acquisition. These resources have been fine-tuned over years of experience and are optimized to enhance your ability to speak and understand Spanish effectively.

  4. Additional Self-Study: We believe that consistent practice is crucial for language proficiency. Alongside your lessons, we provide access to our comprehensive online student center, empowering you to continue your learning journey beyond the classroom. By dedicating the same number of hours per week to self-study, reading in advance, completing related homework, and utilizing our online resources, you will notice significant improvement in your speaking and comprehension skills.

Although no one can be fluent in just 16 hours, which is what takes a person on average to complete a level, you will focus all of our efforts on developing your conversational skills even from the very first level.

We offer 10 different levels of Spanish instruction: four beginner levels, three intermediate levels, and three advanced levels. Each of these 10 levels requires the completion of 16 hours.

You can think of it as the four beginner levels being levels to help you β€œnot crash” when needing to communicate in Spanish, the three intermediate levels as levels to help polish your speaking skills, and the three advanced levels as levels to help you get as close as we can to someone that is native to the language.

After completing the whole program, or 160 hours, you will be able to communicate your ideas and understand Spanish in a manner similar to that of native Spanish speakers. Most students do not need to complete all of these hours to communicate, though. It's up to you to decide how good you want to become.

After completing each of our 10 levels, average students notice significant improvement in their ability to speak and understand provided that they also do some supplementary self-studying at home on their own, through the help of our online student center, for at least the same number of hours per week that they meet with their instructor, to read in advance what they will be working with on the next class, and to do related homework.

  • Small group semi-private classes will allow you to complete each level in 8 weeks (studying at a pace of 2 hours per week).

  • Private classes, in contrast, depending on how many hours of classes per week you choose to enroll for, may allow you to complete each level in as little as one week (studying at a pace of 16 hours per week).

After completing all 160 hours, many students keep studying and/or practicing to consolidate their knowledge and to continue getting better.

Although completing all of these hours of study and practice may take you one step closer to being bilingual, to be a truly bilingual individual, the person typically needs to have lived extensively in two cultures and actively studied the second language for a number of years. Extensively means at least 10 years living in a country where the second language is spoken.

Our courses can accelerate or substitute this process to a certain extent. Other success metrics depend on commitment, ability and persistence.

Although most of our students have been very successful with the help of our Spanish classes, we cannot guarantee that ALL students will achieve the results they are aiming at.

Our track record of success though is impressively high. Please take a look at the testimonials that current and former students have posted over time on our site or on independent review sites such as Google Reviews or Yelp, Facebook, or even the Better Business Bureau.

Students increase their chances of achieving the results that they are aiming at by:

  • Attending all of their classes on time

  • Coming to their classes well rested

  • Self-studying at least the same number of hours per week than the weekly hours that they meet with their Spanish tutor by reviewing the material to be worked on ahead of time and by doing the suggested homework

If attending private sessions, you will be able to move on to the next level as soon as the fluency objectives for each level are reached. This means that you may be able to move on to the next level before or after completing the 16 hours normally required for each level.

If you attend group sessions that we have set you up with, you will need to complete the 16 hours of instruction to be a candidate to pass to the next level. If after your second session you feel that you have been placed on the wrong level, though, please let us know at least 24 hours prior to your scheduled third session and we will be happy to transfer you to a higher or lower level, at no extra cost, subject to availability.

We will be happy to extend an end-of-course certificate in electronic format (PDF) when requested after successfully completing any level. :) You would need to have attended at least 75% of the classes, that is you may miss only 2 out of every 8 classes, and pass your final course evaluation with at least a 70% score, as per the assessment of your tutor.

If you speak Spanish very well but still need help in specific areas of the language, we would suggest you consider having one-on-one classes and follow an open program. This way you and your tutor can decide on what to focus your attention, whether it is on: 

  • grammar,

  • vocabulary acquisition,

  • essay writing,

  • literature,

  • industry needs,

  • open conversations about current events or hispanic culture,  or even

  • standardized Spanish test preparation.

 

Have More Questions?

 


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