I am currently working on Level 4 (!) and doing a few different things to try to improve my listening speed, practice speaking and broaden my vocabulary.
On the listening front, one of the things I have been doing is listening to the old listening practices which I stumbled across by accident. These have a mixture of sentences in different tenses jumbled together at close-to-normal conversation pace. When I first discovered these, if I am honest, I was initially a bit disappointed at how difficult I found them ....but have subsequently realised why and found them invaluable.
Part of the challenge of listening to Radio Cymru for example (which I am doing as well), is that inevitably some of what you hear is vocabulary you don't yet have.....still a good thing to listen to as you gradually pick things up....but it does mean that you tend to only understand part of everything you hear - at least at my current stage.
With the listening challenges - apart from a small difference in vocabulary between the old and new courses - I was expecting to be able to understand everything. The reason I found it so difficult was the pace and continuity - firstly getting used to what the things sound like as they fly past at pace and secondly, the sheer word crunching initially to process the combinations which you know (tense, person, pronoun, adjectives) in time to start afresh for the next sentence, particularly if you get a word you can't quite recall, spend a small amount of time trying to dredge up, by which time you have fallen behind.
So, I have been listening to them over and over - in the car and around the house - and found that gradually sentences, phrases, tenses seem to get dispatched somewhere in the brain where the meaning comes to you without thought - leaving you to worry about the ones that do.
Anyway, today, I have driven into the Dales to a specific place to walk the dogs....and during the journey listened to all 10, 5 minute exercises...
....I arrived with a very strange sensation - something akin to my brain pressing against the inside of my head....plus a slight headache....
However, I realised that, by and large, I had understood everything that was said......I suspect that in due course, I am not supposed to have a headache!.....however this feels like progress!!
I thought that this must count as a small success/ breakthrough - so I thought I would share!