I have 1 year to learn Russian from completely scratch to at least B2 level in TORFL. I will go to an intensive language course in St. Petersburg, Russia. The course will be 20 hours per week, I assume. How likely to achieve such a goal? My entire work will be this in Russia. Also, my native language is Turkish and I am B2/C1 level in English.

  • This is not answerable. We cannot tell you how much success you will have, because we do not know how much time beyond 20 hours per week you will dedicate to the study. If you spend all your waking hours studying, it is certainly doable. But before you start with Russian, you can try self-study Esperanto. Search this forum if/how/why Esperanto improves chances to learn other indo-european languages. Commented Feb 12, 2018 at 3:04
  • Just to make sure that I don't misunderstand the question: you want to know whether it is possible to reach level B2 in one year, starting from scratch, by living in Russia and attending a language course there for 12 months? (20 hours per week * 52 weeks = 1040 hours of classroom hours (ignoring holidays etc.))
    – Tsundoku
    Commented Feb 12, 2018 at 18:10
  • Thanks for your attention and help, @PeterMasiar. I will be there for one year and my only occupation and goal will be learning Russian, my classes probably will be 4 hours per day and 5 days of week. So, I can and must dedicate my out-of-class hours. But I do not know how much I should do and is it realistic to aim level B2? Commented Feb 12, 2018 at 18:48
  • @ChristopheStrobbe Yes. But this is minimum. Because I am willing to dedicate a lot from the rest of my day, but of course in a realistic manner. Commented Feb 12, 2018 at 18:49
  • 1
    By the way, this question reminded me of a similar one about the feasibility of reaching B1 in German in three months.
    – Tsundoku
    Commented Feb 12, 2018 at 19:34

5 Answers 5


The Test of Russian as a Foreign Language or TORFL has six levels that are mapped to the six levels of the CEFR. So the Second Level Certificate (TORFL-II) in the TORFL should correspond to B2 in the CEFR.

According to the Russian Language Centre in the UK, which also administers TORFL tests, the number of hours of study required to pass TORFL-II is roughly 1100. (Russian online gives slightly lower numbers: “Ca. 820 Stunden ["hours"] + 120 Stunden Berufssprache ["hours professional langauge"]”.)

So if you attend a course of 20 hours per week, you would need roughly 55 weeks or just over a year to pass the test. However, the course participants in the UK don't have the advantage of immersion that a course participant in Russia has, so in the latter case, 52 weeks may be feasible.


In addition to Christophe Strobbe's answer: because you can dedicate another 60+ hours per week to your study of Russian, as you disclosed in comments, it should be feasible.

Consider immersing yourself as much as you can in Russian, 7 days a week. As soon as feasible, find a tandem partner for language exchange (trading your English for Russian), so you can get few more hours of conversation in Russian every week. You don't need a conversational level of Russian for that, leverage your English.

I had similar experience (I had better fundamentals, not starting from zero like you do) and after a year, I dreamed in Russian.


In my personal opinion... Studying for 20 hours/week for one year in a classroom is not going to be enough to reach B2 level.

For example, there are programs to prepare foreign students for studying in a Russian University. Programs like this one typically last one academic year with 6-8 hours/day (30-40 hours/week) of studying Russian, and professional subjects (e.g. physics, math, chemistry, etc.) in Russian. After completing such program many students speak at B2/C1 level, but not everyone.

However, immersion in the environment is a very important positive factor in your case. Try to use it to your benefit.

  • Walk around the city, read the street signs, billboards, etc.

  • Talk to people in the school, and outside the school. Most likely you will have to communicate with locals in grocery stores, and such.

  • Watch movies. Action movies often contain simple and predictable dialogues.

From my observation of adult immigrants to North America. After two years of living and working here, almost everyone can speak reasonable English independent of cultural background, or foreign language they learned in school.


I am the director of Russificate school. Yes, we do offer official TORFL exam sessions every month. Hundreds of students already received their certificates through us. We always respons to messages on WhatsApp, email and on Facebook messenger. You can check the details here: www.russificate.com (TORFL) We also have many free sample tests for self-preparation where you can check your level. Best reegards, Yulia Amlinskaya.


The Google (English) and Yandex (Russian) web browsers have implemented the Microsoft multi-lingual translator apps. The Google translator (translate.google.com) will accept both English, Turkish, and Russian characters, returning answers in both English, Turkish, and Russian as well. On input, Google converts English characters to Russian characters; it may do the same with Turkish characters as well. Google's grammar checker also flags incorrect spellings with a "Did you mean?" followed by a suggested correction. Google also has a two-speed (speaking speed, learning speed) for both input and output, a real advantage when learning not only reading and writing, but also speaking Russian.

Like Google, the Yandex web browser has also implemented the Microsoft multi-language translator. The Yandex translator (translate.yandex.ru) also has pronunciation, but apparently only for Russian language inputs and outputs. To my ear the Russian pronunciation in Yandex is much more lifelike than Google's.

The Yandex translator (Переводчик)can also be accessed from the Yandex browser's home page -- it's included in the list of options above the search box on the home page. Additionally,the Yandex web browser (yandex.ru) has many interesting features for a student in and of itself.

Both apps have excellent dictionaries, including multiple meanings of words, phrases, and sentences, along with synonyms and antonyms for the definition.

Once one has learned how to use the many advantages of the two translator applications (along with their individual peculiarities as well) the two translator apps can be exceptionally useful for students learning one or more languages.

  • Someone down-voted my answer without leaving a reasonable or intelligent comment on why they down-voted my answer. It happens quite often when I describe the many advantages of having not just one, but TWO!! "personal tutors" -- translate Google and translate Yandex -- at language students' beck and call, helping them with all types of vocabulary and grammar questions for both source and target languages. In todays multi-lingual environment, computers are most definitely the alternative to old-fashioned, conventional, 'brick and mortar' classroom, book, and immersion self-learning methods. Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 17:40
  • Another aspect of computer-learning is the ability to use Google Maps to visually go to a geographic location like St. Petersburg, Russia. A sophisticated street map of that city is available, with streets and locations given in both transliterated and Cyrillic Russian. One can even do a visual walk-about in St. Petersburg, "walk" along a street, look into store windows, turn corners, "stand" in a bus queue, look at up and down at buildings and monuments, read signs and posters, and otherwise be an "armchair tourist" in that city and its environs. All by computer. Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 18:21
  • For "Google Maps" go to maps.google.com. It's amazing where in the world one can go to on "virtual visits" to places like Nagoya, Japan, Berlin, Germany, and Honolulu, Hawaii. You are able to see the many sights (dotted by Google for you to click on to see ), walk the streets, see and read signs, 'walk' around inside buildings, see local people. Even dodge cars when you 'walk' across intersections! Try it; the 'virtual' world is out there for you to see for a better perspective in your language learning studies Commented Feb 21, 2018 at 2:21
  • You wrote how and why certain online software is useful. You did not answer the question that was asked, which was about the feasibility of learning Russian to a certain level with certain amount of teaching.
    – Tommi
    Commented Feb 26, 2018 at 15:01
  • @Tommi Brander: There are two questions asked in the author's query. I ignored the first because the author asks for a personal opinion regarding the author's capabilities. The second question is the one I responded to: "Any type of help will be great." Since "Language Learning" is this forum is about, I answered accordingly. From the facts given by the author the appropriate SE forum is not this one. The author really should have posed the question in one of the two SE Russian language forums, to wit: "Russian Language" and "Руский язык". Commented Mar 1, 2018 at 18:35

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