Intensive English courses vs. regular English courses

Intensive English courses vs. regular English courses

Published: Dec 1, 2022 | By: Lucas Weaver

Should I take an intensive English course?

People usually ask this question about intensive English courses for two reasons:

  1. You need to learn a language as quickly as possible
  2. You're worried that taking lessons once a week won't be enough

Before we can make this decision, the most crucial question for you to answer is: what is your goal for learning English?

  • Are you about to go on a trip to an English-speaking country?
  • Are you about to attend an international event -- such as a medical conference -- that will be held in English?
  • Are you trying to get a promotion in an international company, and you think English fluency will help you get it?
  • Do you **not feel comfortable **using your English language skills in your daily life and want to brush up on the things you learned before but have now forgotten?

Defining your goal for learning English

The answer to the above questions will help you determine whether an intensive English program is right for you.

If you have a strict deadline, such as a trip or a conference, intensive English lessons are the best option for you.

However, suppose your goal is to make long-term improvements to your English skills to reach English fluency. In that case, both options could work for you. It depends on your weekly schedule and how much time you dedicate to studying English.

Let's explore the differences between the different types of English classes to help you decide which program is best for you.

What is an intensive English course?

Intensive online English courses are more frequent and usually last longer than traditional ones. While a standard English course might have lessons once or twice per week, an intensive English course usually meets three to five days a week.

Most regular English lessons usually last around 2-3 hours. But in an intensive course, you can expect 3-5 hour class lengths, with longer breaks in the middle.

How _intense _are we talking?

There's no limit to the intensity of the program. Some intensive English programs are five days a week with up to 8 hours of lessons per day. This level of intensity would be typical in a situation where you just moved to a country and need to learn to speak the language as fast as possible.

However, most attending lessons such as these are usually students or professionals who have taken a sabbatical. It would be challenging for a working professional to follow an intensive English program like this.

Following an intensive English program for working professionals

When you're busy working a full-time job, however, being a full-time student at the same time is generally out of the question. That being said, there are still intensive English lesson options for professionals.

Keep in mind, though, that any intensive English learning will still require a large chunk of your time. Whether or not it's time spent in the actual lessons, you will have to invest the time needed to learn the language.

Learning activities outside of class

This will require many hours of activities on your own such as:

  • studying vocabulary flashcards
  • taking quizzes
  • taking tests
  • reading English material outside of class
  • following grammar lessons
  • doing homework over the grammar and vocabulary

The beauty of this approach is that you can do all of these activities from home. The downside is that it takes discipline to stick to an intensive English learning approach such as this.

Why take an intensive English course?

If you're looking for the best way to improve your English speaking skills quickly, it's hard to find a better option than an intensive English course.

Speaking English daily for 3-4 hours is a great way to build habits. By building up good English habits daily, you'll build the muscle memory you need to speak English comfortably.

Intensive English courses enable you to generate repetitions

Intensive courses allow you to use the new vocabulary and grammar you learn and get real-time corrections from your teacher.

One of the most critical aspects of any English language course is the opportunity to generate repetitions of using the new language skills you learn.

Generating these repetitions allows your brain to build and strengthen the neural pathways required to learn a language to the level that you can use it whenever you need to, without searching for words or having to think about how to say things correctly.

Getting chances to make mistakes

Another key to improving your English language skills is getting the chance to make mistakes and get corrected on those mistakes. Contrary to what you might think, making mistakes is the key activity that signals to your brain that you need improvement in a skill.

When your brain receives this signal, it goes to work on improving the needed areas in the brain via neuroplasticity.

Comparing to weight training

Think about it like lifting weights and building muscle. If you never lift heavy weights, your body never signals to your brain that you need more muscle. Therefore, you never build any new muscle.

By lifting the weight that is too heavy for you, your body signals to your brain that it needs more muscle. The weight-lifting activity is the stimulus that starts the whole process.

In language learning, speaking and using the language will lead to you making mistakes. When you get corrected on these mistakes, that is the stimulus to your brain that causes the physical process of improving your language skills to begin.

When to take a regular English course

When is a regular English course best for you? If you're not a "speed learner," an intensive course may be too fast for you. It can sometimes be too much to ask your brain to learn a ton of new information in a short amount of time. As a result, you may not learn English as efficiently as you should and might not get your money's worth out of your lessons.

Ultimately, it's up to you to decide if you want the challenge of intensive English lessons or the comfort of a regular English language course.

Either way, choose the course option you feel most comfortable with, not the one you think you should follow. The best course is always the best for you based on your needs.

Ultimately, the best course is the one you will stick with because that's the one you will make the most progress from.

What about intensive private English lessons?

If you're taking private English lessons, the difference between intensive and regular would usually be the frequency and duration of the lessons.

Having lessons more than once per week will help you learn faster, but you need to ensure you'll still have enough time to do your homework and practice outside of class.

Taking a holistic approach to language learning

Language learning happens more effectively when approached holistically, meaning you focus on learning your new language in all the areas you need to improve. Your time spent in lessons will only be able to take you so far.

You must consistently practice outside of class to show significant improvement and reach fluency.

Is anything different for online private English lessons?

The short answer is: not really. However, one benefit of online private English lessons is that you can fit more into your weekly schedule because you don't have to travel anywhere.

You can take the lessons from your home or office, so that may allow you to fit more lessons into your busy week, rather than if you had to commute into the city or leave work.

Need help choosing your English lessons?

If you need advice on which course is best for you, contact me at, and I'll respond within 24 hours.

At the Weaver School, we offer the most complete English learning platform on the internet. We customize your lesson plan to your individual needs. Our course programs are based on proven neuroscience to help you reach fluency as quickly as possible.

Whether you're looking for a standard or an intensive program, we've got you covered with a course that will fit your schedule and goals.

Create your free account now and get started today.

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Lucas Weaver from the Weaver School

Lucas Weaver founded The Weaver School in 2016. He's passionate about using the latest learnings in neuroscience and education to create the best language learning experience possible for our students, so they can quickly build effective language learning habits that will last for years. Lucas is a graduate of Texas A&M University and after 7 years of living in the Netherlands, he is currently traveling through Southeast Asia while learning their languages along the way.

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