Today our teachers give 16 pieces of expert advice on how to learn Spanish fast! Learn from how our students did it.
Research shows that immersing yourself in a language is the fastest way to speak it.
So, the idea is to hold back your other language(s) and focus 100% on español.
We’ll now show some tips and feedback from our teachers and students on how to learn Spanish quickly.
How to learn Spanish fast, hands-on strategies
Are you ready to speak Spanish like a native? Let’s start right now by changing your phone’s language to español!
Then we’ll look at our teachers’ ideas to help you get fluent.
1. What is your (true) motivation?
What is your motivation? Is your goal to get a B2 or C1 certification? Starting a new job? Moving to Spain? Or are you hoping to be called to an interview?
Write your reason on a big piece of paper and hang it where you study. Remind yourself daily and weekly of the WHY. It helps you with the next step, which is to make it a habit to study.
Without a solid routine, it will take longer to learn.
2. Schedule a SACRED time to study Spanish
The only way to learn Spanish fast is to practice. A lot!
Most students know this, yet many fail as they don’t put a solid structure in place. Outline your next 90 days and ask yourself if you’re really prepared to put in the work.
How many hours can you realistically do per day, or week? Open your calendar and block those hours as sacred. Aka, NOTHING else but studying español happens here.
- Research shows that our brains are most active at the beginning of the day. Use this knowledge to learn faster.
- For your first week, do more hours both in the morning and in the evening. Think of it like a boot camp. It’s a way to quickly learn Spanish in the first week to boost your self-esteem and motivation.
- What works best for you? Adjust the schedule to your other activities as you go along. Let’s look at some examples in our next tips.
3. Combine learning Spanish with other activities
Learn new vocabulary and practice without it feeling like you’re studying.
This improves the fun and your odds of speaking Spanish quickly!
- While at the gym, plug in your headphones and listen to Rosalia, or a podcast.
- Listen to educational materials on public transport. Or, hey, while driving to and from work.
- Get a native-speaking mentor at work.
- Go to the movies with your friends! Let them read the English subtitles. Meanwhile, you focus on enjoying the movie without reading the subtitles. No cheating!
- Go on a tourist tour in your own city or region, offered in castellano. A fun way to learn the language and discover something you didn’t know about your local surroundings.
- Find new friends that are native speakers. Use apps or Facebook groups to find interesting people.
- Language exchanges are great. Yet, be prepared that it might slow your learning down as you will need to teach the other student your mother tongue. A conversation exchange is one of the best ways to quickly learn for free. There are also online versions of “intercambios”, or language tandems, to practice.
4. Intensive courses, a fast way to learn Spanish
If you’re a business professional, you could ask your business to pay for an intensive course.
Being guided by a native professional is probably the second best way to learn. What method is the winner? Living in an environment where you speak español 100% of the time. That’s not realistic for many though.
Intensive courses are particularly effective when it comes to how to learn Spanish fast. What’s our opinion as experienced teachers?
Well, we typically see a massive difference after the first week of a time-compressed course.
5. Repetition rocks
When you learn Spanish really fast, it’s easy to forget things if you don’t prioritise repeating. This makes your new knowledge solidly root. Research shows that repetition is crucial.
For example, the first time you watch a video of someone speaking quickly, you might not understand 100%. Now watch it again. Break it up and listen to each sentence, separately if you need to. How many times do you need to listen to it before you hear what they say?
If you’re taking Spanish classes, a good method is to take 20 minutes directly after class to summarise. What have you learned? Mark the subjects, terminology, etc. you find hard. Chances are, you’ll forget this part quicker if you don’t go back and repeat what you learnt.
6. Learn four words per day
Another way to learn Spanish quickly is to pick 4 words per day and write them down on post-it notes.
Hang them where you eat, on the mirror, or somewhere else visible. Again, repetition is key.
The mix of writing the words and seeing them a few times helps your brain to memorise the words.
Obviously, you’ll learn more words faster if you up the number to let’s say five or six words per day. But the key to learning is persistence.
It’s better to stick to a low number of new words and get them done. Compare this scenario to learning ten words on the first day, and then giving up as you put the bar too high.
This leads us to…
7. Peer pressure
When your motivation is low, ask a friend to pick the four new words during a week! Peer pressure makes you more productive.
You can get a positive impact on your language by teaming up with co-workers. Is someone else studying at work?
More healthy pressure can also come from signing up for classes. Think of your Spanish teacher as your personal trainer. He or she is there to motivate you during the quest to speaking Spanish fast.
8. How to speak Spanish like a native
As teachers, we don’t obsess over how to speak Spanish like a native. However, it IS crucial to pronounce the words properly.
If you don’t pay attention to where to stress a word, the meaning can even be lost. Reserve time each week to practice your pronunciation.
Go for podcasts, music, movies and series with native speakers. Notice how the words feel and taste in your mouth as you repeat new vocabulary.
Listen to different accents, this helps you open your mind. Which is the coolest accent? Do you have a favourite?
Singing is particularly effective in helping you pronounce properly as quickly as possible. Just mind the neighbours 🙂
9. Series, movies and podcasts
Pick a series or movie that takes your fancy. Remember, find something that interests you, as this will increase your motivation.
Now, grab a pen and paper, or use a computer. You’ll quickly learn with this method:
- Use subtitles (if needed). There are usually subtitles for hearing impaired if nothing else.
- Put a timer on your phone and stop every 5 minutes.
- Write down a short recap.
- What new vocabulary did you hear? Rewind if needed. Write it down and repeat new vocabulary five times, out loud.
This method can also be used for Spanish podcasts and music. Podcasts are particularly effective for learning a language. Use Spotify to search for teachers and native speakers who record podcasts.
10. Online newspapers
Instead of reading the news in English, read online newspapers from Spain.
Another way to quickly learn Spanish is to read an article and then summarise it in 300 words. This can be done either by writing it down or speaking out loud.
Or ideally, both!
Some students with an advanced level even start translating articles to practice and learn. This is particularly interesting if your goal is to get a certificate.
We’re talking CEFR (Basic A1-A2, Independent B1-B2, Proficient C1-C2), DELE, SIELE, CELU, and other language tests. It helps you get better at time management.
Prefer books? Well, that’s even better.
Have you tried Outwrite? It’s a free way to improve your writing by using their online corrector.
Do you have a budget? As native Spanish teachers, we recommend getting a writing correction service. You’ll quickly get feedback on your errors.
In our case, when we give feedback, we use the same teacher to correct the written exercises. This way we can track, and report back on progress. What mistakes do you keep making? What has improved since last week?
It’s also a way to get some moral support. Learning to write without mistakes is hard. But hey, you got this!
12. Learn Spanish with YouTube
In the last ten years, there’s been an explosion of cool and informative videos to learn Spanish with YouTube. It’s a bit of a jungle though.
Which are the best videos?
Some YouTube and TikTok videos have thousands of views, yet the academic level is quite poor. Don’t be fooled by nice formats (although it of course helps with motivation!).
Find a YouTube channel that actually helps you learn, instead of just killing time.
13. Speak to yourself
Go on, don’t be shy!
Languages are meant to be used, and the more hours you speak Spanish, the faster you’ll learn. So, take every moment you get to practice.
And if no one is around, just speak to yourself. It might even be more fun 🙂
Don’t know what to say? Start by describing what you see. “Aquí tenemos mi planta…”, and then continue to talk about what each thing is used for. “El sofá, es para sentarse”.
It doesn’t matter if you feel stupid or you’re talking gibberish. The exercise is to quickly get you accustomed to speaking.
And to take it to the next level…
14. Record yourself
Grab your phone and record yourself as you say a couple of sentences in español. Stuck for words? Find a book and read the first page out loud.
The next step is to listen to the recording and learn. What words do you pronounce like a native, that you struggled with before?
Look for positive examples! Don’t just zoom in on errors.
If you’re taking classes, we recommend you use materials from today’s class. This way you repeat what you learnt in class, upping the chances of the knowledge staying put in your left side of the brain. This is where languages are stored.
15. Forums and Facebook groups
Forums are a great way to ask questions, find people in similar situations and get help.
Perhaps you won’t see your teacher until next week, yet you need help before that. Using language forums is a free way to quickly get answers when you have doubts.
Sometimes you don’t even need to ask for help, someone has already answered the question beforehand. Search and you shall find.
As for Facebook groups to learn Spanish, some are extremely spammy. It’s worth shopping around to find a professional group, moderated by language experts.
Many students focus heavily on vocabulary as the best way to learn Spanish fast. However, grammar is the key to properly using words.
Learning a language without solid grammar is like building a sandcastle.
- Write down the grammar structure you’re learning: Yo soy, tu eres…
- Read it out loud
- Put it in a short sentence with some vocabulary: Soy una mujer, ella es una mujer…
If you just started to study, it might feel frustrating as progress can feel slow. However, once you master the fundamental grammar, your conversational skills will benefit greatly.
How long does it take to learn Spanish?
How many classes do you need to be fluent? It all depends on the hours you put in. And it obviously also depends on your current level.
Some students consider they speak fluently once they can have a basic conversation. Others need a business level to participate in online conference meetings. Or negotiate! That is obviously a much higher level.
So how long does it take to learn Spanish?
A realistic expectation is that in 90 days you can quickly improve your language level. That is provided you put in a high number of hours per week, starting with at least 5 hours per day.
Ouch. That is a lot of hours, that few professionals can afford.
According to the US Foreign Service Institute (FSI) research, it takes 480 hours to reach a level where you’re fluent enough to have a good conversation.
However, that’s not enough in let’s say business negotiations. Unless you live in Spain or study hard each day, it will take at least 1.5 years to reach this level.
How quickly you can actually learn it also depends on YOU. Are you good with languages? How motivated are you? Can you stick with the weekly learning schedule?
You need a high level of motivation to learn Spanish fast. But again, it’s totally doable!
How to learn Spanish fast: Conclusion
When discussing how to learn Spanish faster, it’s important to keep in mind that motivation is key. Be kind to yourself!
It’s actually among the easiest languages to learn (for native English speakers). It clocks in at a 4th position. However, many native English speakers aren’t used to learning a second language. Or received a low-quality education back in school.
This means that many professionals think it’s harder to speak it than it actually is.
Also take in mind that the version spoken in Barcelona and Madrid is different to the Latin American version.
Focus on the fun part of learning. Speak with as many native speakers as you possibly can. And above all: make sure to put in a high number of hours of training. You’ll see how you’ll quickly start speaking Spanish!
And that’s what language nerds like us enjoy the most: watching a student reach a fluent level. 😍