Getting one third faster at learning a language may sound impossible or at least very demanding and it may not sound inspiringly useful. Time to stop and think.

It takes about 600 hours to go from zero to A2 level in a western European language. A2 is also GCSE level (strong) or the level at which you can have broad, discursive enjoyable conversation about everyday life. So one third faster would save you about 200 hours if A2 is your goal and 400 hours if A Level is your goal. That’s a lot of hours. Or let’s put it another way, if you are going to take 2 years to reach your language goal then instead of 24 months you would finish after 16. Or after 4 months you would be where traditional learners (good ones) are after 6 months, after 9 months you would be where they are after one year. That’s much more time to drink wine (you’ll understand the reference if you are following this series of articles) and if you are paying £30 for lessons once per week, it will save you just over £1,000 of tutor fees by the time you reach A2. So, if that sounds worthwhile let’s get back to “impossibility” or “difficulty”.

Trying to improve by a third is hard but 10% is not so bad. If you can find three improvements of 10% that compound (synergise) then you get the one third improvement and it’s easy. How might you do that? If you can find a way to put in 10% more time per day, 10% more effectively (remember more of what you learn) and 10% more efficiently (a more profitable focus) then, because these improvements synergise (compound) you are going to progress 33% faster and reach A2 8 months earlier and B2 16 months earlier. (Imagine only having to revise for 2 ‘A’ levels at once because you took one of them a year early.)

10% improvement sounds possible doesn’t it? In each of those three areas? What if you found 5 such improvements and could save half your time? So focus on small improvements that are synergistic and you can see really, really big improvements in your overall results.