Home > Our Color Belt System.

Our Color Belt System

Our Spanish program in Los Angeles is composed of 9 conversational belt levels ranging from white (complete beginner) to black (ultimate Spanish master). The ranks are useful for monitoring progress and matching you with Spanish students of comparable ability.

Belt levels

As our focus is to help you improve your conversational 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.

We have a pretty good idea of what that ability is based on our interpretation to your responses to a few questions included on our application form. Then, as you get started attending your classes, a brief Spanish evaluation, completed within the first three sessions, ensures that you are assigned the correct belt level.

After the first three Spanish classes you are ratified on your belt level or recommended a change to a different level. When you surpass the minimum standards assigned to the next belt level on all variables considered, congratulations! You are granted a new color belt.

Our conversational color belt levels are as follows...


Beginner Spanish Belt Levels


White Belt

Beginner I Spanish

Beginner, or new to the language in practical terms


Command of speaking dynamics:
None.

Vocabulary usage while speaking:
None

Pronunciation:
Non-Spanish accent.

Understanding of other's speeches while listening:
None

Speed of conversation:
N/A

Command and usage of Spanish grammar rules while speaking:
None

Yellow Belt

Beginner II Spanish

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

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 III Spanish

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


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.


Intermediate Spanish Belt Levels


Green Belt

Intermediate I 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.


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 II 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."


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 III 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.

 

Advanced Spanish Belt Levels


Purple Belt

Advanced I Spanish

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


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 II Spanish

Can speak using phrases such as Dudo que el haya comido (I doubt that he had eaten), Dudé 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 III 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.


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.


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.

 

 

Already past a Black Belt level?


If you have already completed or are about to complete the Black Belt level, please keep in mind that you can continue taking more classes with an open program by which you and your tutor 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.

 

 

Are you still unsure about your level?


Please give us a call so that we can help you assess your level over the phone, or just apply and we will suggest you a starting level based on the information you include on your application

 



Frequently Asked Questions About Our Levels


It all starts with your online application. On this form you will be answering some questions regarding how you see your self in the different areas of the Spanish language. Our Academics Department then sends you a formal proposal with a recommended starting level, based on your responses.

Finally your native Spanish tutor, on the first or second Spanish class, ratifies your level or suggests a different starting level. Oral interviews over the phone can also be requested free of charge to make sure your suggested starting level is appropriate.

The most important criteria we take into consideration when suggesting starting levels is what we perceive is your current ability to speak Spanish at the right level. 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. Despite this experience is welcome, students may still be placed in the Beginner I level, White, if not able to recall or use the language verbally in the present tense.

Generally, for example ...

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

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 that 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 or third session you think that you have been placed on the wrong level, please contact us 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 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 and we will be happy to transfer you to a higher or lower level subject to availability.

Unfortunately not. We offer 9 different levels of Spanish instruction. Each of these 9 levels requires the completion of 16 hours.

Only after completing the whole program, or 144 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 these 144 hours to communicate, though. Its up to you to decide how good you want to become.

After completing each of our 9 levels, average students notice significant improvement in their ability to speak and understand provided that they also do some complementary 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.

 

Have More Questions?

 


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Alhambra - Atwater Village - Cerritos - Long Beach - University Park

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