Going from B2 to C1 in English conversation requires a lot of practice.
The CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference) classifies language levels in 3 different ranges: A (beginner), B ( intermediate) and C (advanced).
Let’s zoom in on the meaning of B1 and C1:
B1 level means understanding and using the English language with a simple vocabulary and basic correct grammar.
C1 level: more comprehensive vocabulary and more profound knowledge of specific expressions in specialised conversation areas, generally linked to a professional and academic field.
However, we may not have many chances to speak English during our busy lives, so here are a few solutions to improve quickly and effectively:
Apps to practice English conversation at a B2-C1 level
If you want to practice English from the comfort of your home, some apps can help you to find an English conversation partner.
1. Improspeak: practice with real people
Improspeak is a new original platform where you can talk with native speakers and meet a community of amazing people.
All you need is a webcam and a microphone; Improspeak will match you with someone based on your shared interests, then the conversation can start.
If you don’t know what to say or struggle to find topics to talk about, Improspeak gives you fun question cards that you can use to keep the conversation going.
Improspeak has a great way to keep moderation: after each interaction, you will be able to rate your conversation buddy. This system allows the platform to match you with someone with the same level of conversation ability. It also keeps away pervs.
If you want to go from a B2 to a C1 speaking level while also having meaningful conversations with interesting people, Improspeak is the perfect solution for you. Oh and, by the way, it’s free.
Italki is an app that helps you become a better English speaker. It allows you to choose between three modalities:
- Tandem modality: it’s a language exchange that connects you with native English speakers who want to learn your language, so you teach them yours while they teach you theirs in a reciprocal way.
- Choose a teacher: you can pick a qualified teacher for private online lessons to join on Skype or Hangout. Every teacher has a profile that includes a video-presentation, the languages they’re teaching and their price list, so you can consider which option you prefer and then you can schedule your first lesson.
- Choose a Tutor: you can use the tutor modality as a middle ground, where you only practice the language you want to learn with someone (unqualified) that’s willing to assist you for a lower fee.
Teachers and tutors set the prices.
TalkEnglish is an app that enables you to improve your fluency by repetition.
It comes with many scripted dialogues with different topics about your day to day life like food, family and work.
In each lesson, you will read and listen to a scripted conversation; then, you will answer multiple questions about what you just read to check if you missed something.
TalkEnglish helps you practice your speaking skills by playing the part of one of the characters in the dialogues, so you don’t need to find a conversation partner.
You can also record your conversation to listen and compare to the original character and check if you make any mistakes!
HiNative is a Question and Answer platform that works like a forum.
You can ask the community for quick translations, pronunciation and vocabulary checks or even correct your short texts. Someone in the forum will help you out.
It’s a great app, especially for students who need to proofread their essays or practice for their English exams.
What you can do to practice by yourself
1. Self talk recording
Everybody hates listening to their voice, we know. But this exercise allows you to make sure you don’t make mistakes. This system helps you get more used to focusing on your pronunciation and therefore become more natural.
You could try to speak in English for 30 minutes every day by using simple sentences or even reading some pages while recording your voice.
Remember that nobody is perfect; don’t be too hard on yourself if you make mistakes; the more you practice, the better you will become!
2. Speak English for an hour a day
If you live with somebody, ask them to talk in English with you for an hour a day. However, if you live by yourself, you can send audio messages to your friends by only speaking English.
Even if it sounds embarrassing at first, you’ll become more confident about your pronunciation skills day after day.
You may also choose an only-English speaking activity or even some funny penalties for making mistakes. Becoming a C1 English speaker shouldn’t be boring!
3. Speech shadowing
How many times did you watch Games of Thrones? There’s no “too many times” when we talk about our favourite movie or show. You probably could repeat some scenes word by word, so what about doing it in English?
You can choose your favourite scenes, play them in English with subtitles, listen to them, and focus on pronunciation and flow.
Listen to your voice to check the differences with the speakers of your favourite movie and look for pronunciation mistakes to correct. Repeat this exercise as many times as you want with different scenes to gain a more expansive vocabulary.
PS If your favourite show is from the UK is even better!
Where you can speak English with people around you
If you live in a non-English speaking country, it may be challenging to find some native English speakers, but there is a chance that your city hosts some English people you don’t even know! Here’s how you can find and meet them:
If you’re more of an extroverted kind of person and you’re not afraid to speak publicly in English, then you should look for international events in your city! Some cafes organise specific meetings, dinners or happy hours to practice languages in a friendly atmosphere.
You can check social media like Facebook groups or Instagram to see events like language meetups, English happy hours or social dinners.
2. Exchange students meetings
You can check the University programs and meetup groups for exchange students to practice your English speaking abilities while enjoying a beer or even a typical dish with new people!
Have you ever heard about Erasmus programs? There are a lot of chances your city hosts many Erasmus students willing to learn about the city life and with whom you can speak in English. To find Erasmus students, you can check associations and groups on Facebook or your local university pages.
3. Au Pair groups on Facebook
Au pair programs allow you to live with a hosting family in a different country and help them with housekeeping or with kids while learning about that language and country lifestyle.
If you want to become a better English speaker while meeting interesting people, you can check the Au Pair groups on Facebook and meetings in your town.
Since the Au Pair program doesn’t include courses and lessons to meet new peers like the Erasmus exchange, you could be a precious friend and city guide for an Au Pair (especially if you have a car) while working on your English fluency!
These are the most fun, quick and effective ways you can use to go from B2 to C1 English conversations in your day-to-day life; now it’s your turn! You can choose the method that fits you better or even all of them, remember to practice as much as possible and have fun!