Abstract This article analyses factors affecting L2 learning, using Regression and Correlation Analysis. Some of the the results are in line with those reported in the literature: for example, the positive role of Reading and the negative role of L1 transfer. Other results, however, are surprising, such as the current use of Grammar Translation Methodology, the lack of significant influence of Years of Instruction, and the poor scores of Attendance and Homework. The results are explained in the context of university education in Spain where ESP instructors have to overcome specific cultural barriers, such as the fact that tutorials and seminars are not as relevant as they should be, and have to struggle with inappropriate conceptions of L2 learning. A report is given on how the results are being used to adapt the syllabus and teaching strategies for our students of Business English.