Home > Our Color Belt System.
Our Spanish program in Northern Virginia is composed of 10 conversational belt levels ranging from the Pearl Belt (complete beginner) to the Black Belt (ultimate Spanish master). The ranks are useful for monitoring progress and matching you with Spanish students of comparable ability.
As our focus is to help you improve your conversational Spanish 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...
For Spanish students that are just starting or studied in the past but have forgotten most of it.
Complete beginner, or new to the language in practical terms
If you had some knowledge of a romance language, such as italian or french, but it is now practically gone, or you would prefer to have an introduction to the Spanish language as smooth and as light as possible, we would recommend considering starting at this level.
Can barely speak using phrases such as Yo como (I eat).
If you are new to Spanish but have some knowledge of a romance language, such as italian or french, at an intermediate level or higher, and you are a fast learner of languages, we would recommend that you start at this level.
Can speak using phrases such as Yo estoy comiendo (I am eating), and Yo voy a comer (I am going to eat).
Can speak using phrases such as as Yo comí (I ate) and Yo comía (I used to eat), along other phrases from prior levels.
For Spanish students that already speak the language in its basic form but want to gain more confidence and precision when speaking the language.
Can speak using phrases such as Yo comeré (I will eat), and Yo he comido (I have eaten), along other phrases from prior levels.
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."
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.
For Spanish students who are already comfortable with Spanish but want to master it to a level close to that of a native Spanish speaker.
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.
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."
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.
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:
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.