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Pimsleur Russian Review
Determine whether Pimsleur Russian is worth it in this detailed review
Russian is considered a class-four language, meaning it is extremely difficult to learn. As such, people often turn to language apps such as Pimsleur to help guide and assist them in the learning process. In this review, we take a detailed look at the pros and cons of the Pimsleur Russian program so you can decide whether it is the best language app for your particular needs.
To help make navigating this detailed review a little easier, we have included jump-to links above for your convenience.
How The Pimsleur Russian Program Works
Before we dive into the pros and cons of using Pimsleur, let’s first discuss how the Pimsleur Russian program is structured.
From a high level point of view, there are five different levels to complete, each containing 30 lessons. Further, within each lesson, there is a 30-minute audio exercise, followed by a variety of practice exercises to reinforce what you just learned.
In total, you’re looking at around 50 to 60 minutes to complete an entire lesson from start to finish. In other words, the Pimsleur Russian lesson organization is similar to Rocket Language’s structure in terms of format and time.
That’s how the Pimsleur program is structured in a nutshell though. There are five levels, 30 lessons per level, and each lesson is comprised of various sections that cover listening, reading, writing, and speaking.
The Pimsleur Method For Learning Russian
Now as far as what the Pimsleur learning method is all about, it is based on three core principles: context, anticipation, and graduated interval recall.
First, as I noted above, each Pimsleur lesson is built around a comprehensive 30-minute audio exercise that is presented within the context of a real conversation or exchange. That way, your brain naturally starts to learn and integrate the intonation, rhythm, melody, and pronunciation of the Russian language.
Additionally, because the moderator of these mock conversations regularly pauses and prompts you to participate, you constantly are anticipating responses and answers, which accelerates the learning process and activates new neural pathways in your brain.
Finally, throughout each lesson, Pimsleur makes it a point to remind you of words and phrases you have previously learned at gradually increasing intervals in order to move this information from your short-term to permanent memory (similar to the Babbel language program).
Pimsleur Russian Price
Pimsleur offers four different options to choose from. If you simply want access to the company’s audio lessons, it will cost you around $15 per month.
If you want access to the entire Pimsleur Russian course (i.e., what I’ve described thus far), it will run you around $20 per month.
If you want to learn multiple languages, you can sign up for the Pimsleur All Access plan, which costs only $1 more (i.e., $21 per month), and you’ll receive access to all Pimsleur language courses (not just Russian).
Finally, if you are looking for a lifetime package as opposed to a monthly subscription, that will cost you around $475.
Now, if you stack this pricing up against competitors like Babbel and Rosetta Stone, Pimsleur is more expensive by around $5-$10 per month on average. Therefore, Pimsleur is definitely not the cheapest Russian program available, but honestly, it’s not crazy expensive either.
Plus, what’s nice with Pimsleur is that if you are learning Russian with a friend, colleague or family member, you can account split, effectively making the price $10 per month, which is right in line with competitors and very reasonable.
Strengths of The Pimsleur Russian Program
Now that we’ve covered cost, program structure, and you know what the Pimsleur learning method is all about, let’s get into the pros and cons of Pimsleur Russian after testing out this program.
Excellent Choice For Auditory Learners
Pimsleur is an excellent choice for auditory learners given that each lesson revolves around an in-depth audio exercise. These guided conversations are really the heart and soul of the Pimsleur curriculum.
Therefore, if you learn best through listening and you process information faster through verbal instruction as opposed to watching or reading, then Pimsleur is a great match for your learning style.
Flexible Lesson Format
Since a good portion of the Pimsleur lesson format is audio-based, it gives you flexibility in how and where you learn and complete lessons. Rather than being glued to your desk chair or staring at your iPhone screen all day, you can take a break, put your phone in your pocket, and make progress while you’re cooking, running on the treadmill, or washing your car, for example.
The flexibility is just really nice. Plus, the Pimsleur app even includes a special driving mode, so if you commute for work or you just find yourself in the car a lot (e.g., running errands), then Pimsleur is a great option.
This might be somewhat controversial among language experts, but our team likes that the Pimsleur Russian program includes translations and English directions, as well as an English-speaking moderator for the audio exercises.
Some language learning companies out there, like Rosetta Stone Russian for example, believe in 100% immersion (no English whatsoever). Our team though tends to think that such a structure oftentimes creates frustration, and ultimately leads learners to quit early.
As such, we are actually in favor of how Pimsleur strategically integrates the use of English within its curriculum. Plus, we think it helps with the anticipation principle I noted earlier.
At the end of the day, you need that English guidance during the early stages of learning to help you anticipate answers and reinforce correct responses.
Pimsleur Voice Coach
Next, our team has to give a shout out to the company’s new Voice Coach feature. This was something that was missing from the Pimsleur language program for the longest time, but luckily Pimsleur listened to the complaints and responded accordingly.
Previously, there was no speech recognition software to provide feedback on your pronunciation. You were sort of left on your own to practice your verbal skills. However, obviously that’s no longer the case.
Now, as you complete the various verbal practice drills following the core audio exercise, the Pimsleur speech technology will be listening and provide feedback so you can improve and hopefully perfect your Russian pronunciation over time.
Our team has tested well over a dozen different language programs at this point and we have to admit that Pimsleur’s speech tool is very good. It’s quick, easy-to-use, and overall we found it to be pretty accurate.
All in all, we think Pimsleur definitely deserves props when it comes to pronunciation feedback.
Modern Mobile App
Lastly, our team is a big fan of the Pimsleur digital platform and mobile app. From a user experience standpoint, it’s absolutely top-notch and is easily one of the best in the entire language learning industry.
It has a modern feel to it, the app is quick, and everything is intuitively organized and easy to navigate.
Weaknesses of The Pimsleur Russian Program
Now that we have covered the major pros of using Pimsleur to learn Russian, let’s turn the tables and discuss the negatives.
Not Ideal For Visual Learners
Pimsleur is not a great option for visual learners. As noted earlier, this course is more geared towards auditory learners. There is no video component to the course, and even the use of images and graphics is very limited.
Therefore, if you learn best through the use of visuals, maybe a program like Rosetta Stone or Memrise would be a better fit.
Long Lesson Format
Given that the Pimsleur lessons take around an hour to complete from start to finish (that includes the audio exercise as well as the corresponding practice drills), Pimsleur is likely not the best option if time is a limitation.
In other words, if you only have five to ten minutes per day to allocate towards learning Russian, then maybe a program like Babbel Russian would be a better fit with their quick-hit, 10-minute lesson format.
Basic Verbal Exercises
Lastly, while we appreciate Pimsleur’s new Voice Coach tool, and generally think it is an excellent addition to their program, I do have to point out that the verbal practice exercises themselves are pretty basic. You’re really just asked to repeat phrases and sentences without context.
Ultimately, we just wish Pimsleur allowed you replay the audio exercise and take the place of one of the fluent Russian speakers, sort of like how the Rocket Russian program is structured. We think this type of conversational practice would be much more effective for improving your conversational skills.
Verdict: Is Pimsleur Good For Learning Russian?
After using and testing the Pimsleur Russian program, we think this app is worth it, and it all starts with Pimsleur’s learning framework. The company’s focus on learning within the context of real conversations, and then reinforcing that material through anticipation and spaced repetition is highly effective for learning Russian. Plus, the company’s new Voice Coach tool and modern, easy-to-use mobile app are solid value-adds.
Yes, we have a few minor grievances with their program, but by and large, we think this is one of the most complete and well-rounded Russian language programs available, especially if you’re more of an auditory learner.
For full access to the Pimsleur Russian course, it will cost you around $20 per month. Alternatively, you can purchase lifetime access to the course for around $475. Keep in mind, Pimsleur also offers a seven day free trial, so you can always test the program before purchasing.
How many levels are in Pimsleur Russian?
The Pimsleur Russian program consists of five different levels that get increasingly more difficult as you progress through the course. Within each level, there are typically 30 lessons. In total, you are looking at around 150 lessons.
How long does it take to learn Russian with Pimsleur?
All in all, it will take you around 150 hours to learn Russian with Pimsleur. If you complete the entire course, expect to reach an intermediate level of fluency.
How good is Pimsleur Russian?
After testing the course, our team believes that Pimsleur is a highly effective program for learning Russian. For roughly $20 per month, we think Pimsleur Russian is worth the money.