Do you find yourself making the same Spanish slips over and over again?
Do you need a reality check on where you shine and where you fall behind?
Are you getting caught up on common SNAFUs?
Quick, quizzes to the rescue!
The q-word might take you back to your elementary school days and the dreaded pop quiz.
But, while feared by students everywhere, spontaneous quizzes can actually be incredibly useful for figuring out what you’re struggling with and which areas you need to focus on to make it up to an advanced level.
Be honest: Do you know what skills you should be working on?
And while we’re at it, do you have a clear idea of what skills you should already have as an intermediate Spanish learner?
Let’s take a quick look.
What You Should Be Able to Do as an Intermediate Spanish Learner
If you’ve reached an intermediate level in Spanish, you can probably…
- Carry on a conversation. (Okay, maybe not on astrophysics. However, you can describe a person, give your valuable opinion and talk about what you did last summer and what you might do next summer if you have the money.)
You probably “know” a heap of things, but when you put your Spanish to the test (online, with your salsa dancing group or at a Mexican restaurant) you’re still a work-in-progress.
You can continue to put your Spanish to the test in a fun and productive way with FluentU.
Other sites use scripted content. FluentU uses a natural approach that helps you ease into the Spanish language and culture over time. You’ll learn Spanish as it’s actually spoken by real people.
FluentU has a wide variety of videos topics, as you can see here:
FluentU brings native videos within reach with interactive transcripts. You can tap on any word to look it up instantly. Every definition has examples that have been written to help you understand how the word is used.
Plus, if you see an interesting word you don’t know, you can add it to a vocab list.
Review a complete interactive transcript under the Dialogue tab, and find words and phrases listed under Vocab.
Learn all the vocabulary in any video with FluentU’s robust learning engine. Swipe left or right to see more examples of the word you’re on.
The best part is that FluentU keeps track of the vocabulary that you’re learning, and gives you extra practice with difficult words. It'll even remind you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned. Every learner has a truly personalized experience, even if they’re studying with the same video.
We have some great online quizzes lined up for you to test your intermediate Spanish in your own time, but first, let’s see what skills you should be testing.
In other words…
Yes, this is an actual pop quiz. Can’t say we didn’t warn you. (Well, sorta, otherwise it wouldn’t have been a real pop quiz.)
1. It’s Mother’s Day. Are you getting flowers “por” or “para” your mom?
2. You want to impress your Spanish friend (or crush) with all the fancy Spanish you’ve learned in class. Upon parting, you tell them you hope they have a good day. You say:
A. Espero que tienes un buen día.
B. Espero que tengas un buen día.
C. Te quiero, mi amor.
3. The water is overflowing into the hallway of your hostel in the Galapagos and you can’t turn it off. You run to the front desk to tell the owner. You say you have:
A. un problemo
B. una problema
C. un problema
4. You are a female teacher (just go with me on this…okay?) and you want to tell this to a new acquaintance at a party. You say:
A. Soy una profesora.
B. Estoy una profesora.
C. Estoy profesora.
D. Soy profesora.
5. How do you say “She was reading when I arrived” in Spanish?
A. Ella estuvo leyendo cuando llegaba.
B. Ella estaba leyendo cuando llegué.
C. Ella leía cuando llegué.
D. Both B and C
E. Both A and C
6. Complete this sentence with the correct verb forms: Si ___ (poder) hablar alemán, ___ (ir) a Alemania.
A. podería, iría
B. pudiera, vayaría
C. pudiera, iría
D. podría, iría
Both can be used to mean “for” but para is used for people who are recipients.
After Espero que (I hope that), we conjugate the verb tener (to have) using the subjunctive “mood.” In this case, by changing the root to teng- and adding -as for the informal “you.”
In Spanish, the word for “problem” ends with an a, but it’s irregular (not all nouns ending in -a are feminine). So if there is one problem it will be un problema.
With a profession, you always use ser and you don’t use the una before the profession.
The first verb should be in the imperfect tense because it describes a continuous action. The second verb should be in the preterite tense because it was an action taking place at a specific time. You can use estaba leyendo and leía interchangeably—both mean “was reading.”
This is a second conditional sentence. To jog your memory, poder means “to be able to” and ir means “to go.” The imperfect subjunctive of poder = pudiera, and the conditional tense of ir = iría.
How did you do? All look familiar?
If you got any of them wrong or had any shadow of a doubt…take an online quiz!
An area-specific quiz is a great way to identify and begin to tackle all of these pesky intermediate Spanish pitfalls.
So check out these online quizzes and keep pop-quizzing yourself!
Pop Quiz! 6 Super Quizzes to Save the Intermediate Spanish Learner
Quiz 1: Por vs. Para on SpanishDict
If you’re struggling with when to use por and para (like in the first question above) welcome to the intermediate Spanish club. Take a quiz and if you need it, do a little refresher.
SpanishDict is a great resource for looking up unknown Spanish words. But did you know that they also offer grammar quizzes? This quiz is comprehensive, with 40 por vs. para questions, and it tracks how you’re doing along the way.
Por vs. para refresher:
- Por is used to express movement through time or space. Specifically, it’s used when there is a physical transition, exchange of objects or to talk about a duration of time. You also use it to talk about your motivation or reason for doing something.
- Para is used for destinations or end points. This includes talking about physical locations, people (i.e., recipients like Mom), deadlines or goals.
Quiz 2: The Subjunctive on StudySpanish.com
Use this simple subjunctive quiz to reinforce the very basics of the subjunctive and jog the old memory on some subjunctive verb conjugations.
Did you get question #2 above correct? If you did but want to make extra sure you’ve mastered the subjunctive, do the quiz. If you didn’t get it (and maybe just hearing the word “subjunctive” gives you the willies), check out the quiz and additional info below. You can do this!
Spanish subjunctive refresher:
- We use the present subjunctive to express a mood of uncertainty, doubt or desire. Technically, the subjunctive isn’t a “tense.”
- For —ar verbs, use these endings: —e —es —e —emos —éis —en
- For —er and —ir verbs, use these endings: —a —as —a —amos —áis —an
- Note: There are irregular verbs that don’t follow the rules above. Some of the irregular verbs are tener, saber, ser, haber, decir and ir.
Quiz 3: Feminine vs. Masculine on SpanishDict
This 40-question quiz might not be the most difficult thing you’ve done today, but it does allow you to review some common feminine and masculine nouns, including a few tricky irregulars. You might even learn some new vocabulary words in the process.
Feminine vs. masculine refresher:
- Unlike in English, every noun you see in Spanish has a gender.
- Here’s a list of general rules, but of course there are always exceptions:
- Masculine nouns end in: —o, —ma
- If a noun is masculine, you’ll want to use these articles: el, los, un, unos
- Feminine nouns end in: —a, —sión, —ción, —dad, —tud and —umbre
- If a noun is feminine, you’ll want to use these articles: la, las, una, unas
Quiz 4: Ser vs. Estar on SpanishSpanish.com
Why dost thou always deceive me, ser and estar? If you got question #4 right (or even if you didn’t) and you want to see how you really stack up, click the quiz above.
This quiz is fun because you are racing the clock. You have 20 seconds to type the answer to each of the 20 questions. Don’t forget to use accent marks. At the end, they give you a little report card. Pay close attention if you got one or more wrong and revisit the associated rule(s).
For a refresher, check out our little homage to Shakespeare at the link below.
Ser vs. estar refresher:
- Ser and estar are both verbs that mean “to be,” hence the confusion between the two.
- Ser is used when describing people, things or an occupation. It can also be used when talking about relationships, possession and time.
- Estar is used for temporary states, locations and when you are using present continuous.
Quiz 5: Preterite vs. Imperfect at SpanishDict
Do you know when to use the preterite and when to use the imperfect? How did you do on pop quiz question #5? Put yourself to the real test above.
This is another helpful quiz that asks you to select the correct tense (preterite or imperfect) depending on what is called for in the sentence. While you’re picking the right one, you’re also subconsciously burning the conjugations into your brain. They even repeat the rules for why you should choose preterite or imperfect for a given sentence regardless of whether you answered correctly or incorrectly. ¡Gracias! (Thanks!)
Preterite vs. imperfect refresher:
- The preterite and imperfect are two very common “simple” past tenses that often baffle intermediate types.
- The preterite is typically used for completed actions that took place and ended in the past. It is also used to describe chains of events.
- The imperfect is generally used for uncompleted actions in the past or for actions that were taking place when something happened at a specific time in the past. You also use the imperfect to describe a person, place or thing or to talk about ages and time in the past.
Quiz 6: The Conditional at SpanishDict
Do you remember the conditional tense? Did you get #6 correct? Forming the conditional tense might be a breeze at first, but how about all of those irregular verbs? You with me?
In this quiz, no getting off easy with multiple choice. You’ve got to conjugate the verb into the conditional tense. Sounds fairly easy…right? However, the irregulars keep you on your toes. If you don’t know them, you’ll certainly get acquainted in this quiz.
Spanish conditionals refresher:
- The conditional tense is used to form second conditional phrases. These phrases focus on unreal or hypothetical situations.
- You can form the conditional using this basic equation:
- Infinitive + —ía, —ías, —ía, —íamos, —íais, —ían (e.g., pagar + -ías = pagarías)
- The endings mentioned above are the same regardless of the ending on your verb, be it —ar, —ir or —er.
- You’ll need to memorize the irregular verbs such as tener (to have) and haber (to be/have). In the conditional tense, instead of the basic infinitive you use a special root plus the ending, forming, for example, tendría and habría.
The key to improving your intermediate Spanish is to practice, practice, practice. As intermediates, we’re all plagued by common mistakes, be it por vs. para, the gender of nouns or my “favorite,” the tricky subjunctive.
And yeah, many of these were addressed in beginner Spanish.
But you know what? No need to be ashamed. Everyone makes mistakes on the way to gaining that often elusive thing called fluency.
Let’s focus on what we CAN do. Let’s take stock. What do we have down? And what mistakes are we making? Let’s correct them and get one step closer to our Spanish goals!
Okay, so you’ve got the quizzes, you’ve got the refreshers and now you’ve got no excuses.
Need more guidance and structure to overcome the intermediate Spanish slump and finally achieve fluency? You should consult Fluent Spanish Academy once you’re finished reading these final lines of the post. It’s a program designed to target the needs of the intermediate Spanish learner, created by well-known polyglot Olly Richards, and it gets some serious results. The methods are a medley of live coaching, goal setting, reading short stories, listening to Spanish audio and progress tracking. This course isn’t always being offered, but you can check its availability and try a free demo online!
If you’re at the lower end of the intermediate learner spectrum, you can also check out Olly’s Grammar Hero and Conversations courses, which are designed to help you set up workable, step-by-step systems for learning Spanish (among other languages).
As you quiz yourself to see where you’re at…remember the sage-like words of G.I. Joe:
“Knowing is half the battle.”
(Hey, I wonder if G.I. Joe speaks Spanish…)
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Spanish with real-world videos.