How long should you take to reach fluency in English?

Think about when you started learning English. How many years have you been learning? 

Now, think about a more challenging question: how many hours have you studied? Chances are it is a lot less than you might guess.

Research shows, if you work diligently at learning English, it should take at least 4, but generally less than 10 years. However, the time you take depends on a lot of things.

First, think about it this way:

You want to learn to play the flute. So you buy one and practice every day for a few months. Then you put it in the closet. Every few months, you take it out, play a little, and put it back. Can you say that you've been learning the flute for 10 years? Probably not. The same goes for a language. 

Trust the U.S. Foreign Service Institute. It has an excellent reputation for teaching. It trains thousands of people a year in over 60 languages. So, the folks over there know a few things about language learning, including how long it takes.

U.S. Foreign Service students typically study until they reach fluency. The speed depends on how close their first language is to English. If they speak French or German, then learning English should take about 550 hours. For Japanese, Chinese, Korean or Arabic speakers, it should take about 2200 hours.

Spread 2200 hours out over 10 years—it comes to a little over 4 hours per week. If you want to be fluent in 5 years, it's about 8.5 hours per week.

What's stopping you?

Keep in mind, not all study is equal. To find out the rules for effective learning, use the Orientation course

If you are studying something boring, you will run out of energy quickly. You'll stop paying attention or give up altogether. So, don't study boring English.

If you study English that's too difficult, you also won't improve

Make a plan

What level is your English now? How many hours per week do you study? Be honest.

Will you reach fluency in a reasonable amount of time? If not, then adjust your priorities to fit in more study time.

You should try our new free weekly coaching plan.

If you want advice, ask your teacher. 

Create a schedule that includes lessons and at-home study, then stick to it until you're fluent!