As I mentioned previously, I decided to toss in the towel on perfecting Castilian and instead refocus my efforts on learning Catalan via the CPNL. The first step, before they let you in to a classroom is to have you take a language test.
This seemed rather annoying at first. While I had what I refer to as five years of Catalan “de la taula” (essentially listening to the language at meals) my ability with the language was really terrible despite comprehending a good deal of it. I knew a few basics as well as most of the pronunciation rules (which are much more difficult than Spanish.) In my head, I figured that I should probably start at Bàsic I which is the first actual language classes beyond an introductory course that teaches you how to say “hello” and other basic things.
Begrudgingly, I went up, sat down and began the evaluation at 8:30 in the morning, on a Friday, in the Gràcia neighborhood. It was immediately apparent what they were trying to do in the test. Beyond just assessing how much Catalan you knew, they also wanted to know “how” you knew Catalan. There were obvious questions to trip up Castilian speakers as well as some to trip up English speakers.
Following this, there was an oral “exam” wherein a very nice lady asked me basic questions in Catalan to have me respond as best I could. She was patient because while I could somewhat answer the questions, it was difficult to come up with responses to artificial situations on the spot.
At the end of it, she told me that I was essentially at the Bàsic II level, but was lacking a number of structural items from Bàsic I. She said that I could take Bàsic II if I wanted, but that the first class would probably help make things clearer although much would be a bit of a repetition and I’d be bored at some points.
As I later found once completing the class, this assessment was 100% accurate. While it probably wasn’t something that someone like me really needed as I ended up starting at the beginning regardless, the Italian girl who was taking the test with me at the same time most likely found it more useful. Her ability with the language was quite advanced, but I could see that there were elements still to fill in and I feel pretty confident that the evaluator put her on the right path.
But, once “passing” the test, it was time to start actually learning some stuff.