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Rocket French Review
Our all-encompassing review of the Rocket French language program
Rocket French is one of the most popular language apps in the world for learning to speak French. Yet, before people drop $150+ on this program (Rocket uses lifetime memberships, not monthly subscriptions), they usually want to know how good this app really is. In this guide, we break down everything you need to know about Rocket French after having the chance to use it ourselves, including lesson style and structure, ease of use, cost, and overall effectiveness.
Given that this is a long and detailed review, we’ve included jump-to links above to make things easy.
Video Guide: Rocket French
In this video, team member John breaks down everything you need to know about the French course from Rocket Languages. He covers our thoughts on the learning framework, lesson style, cost, and everything in between. Continue reading for more detail.
How The Rocket French Course Works
Let’s begin this review by discussing how the Rocket French program is structured and what you’ll be doing on a daily basis within the app.
From a high level, the Rocket French program is split into 3 overarching levels: Levels 1, 2 and 3 (essentially beginner, intermediate and advanced). As you progress from Level 1 to Level 2 to Level 3, these levels obviously become more complex and challenging.
Within each of these levels, there are 7 learning modules. And within each module, there are typically 8 to 10 lessons, which are bifurcated into two formats. Of the 8 to 10 lessons in each module, about half will be “interactive audio lessons” and the other half will be “language & culture lessons.”
And honestly, that’s more or less it from a bird’s eye view. You’ve got 3 overarching levels, 7 modules per level, and 8 to 10 lessons per level. And that’s probably a good point to transition into what the actual lessons themselves are like.
What The Lessons Are Like
In breaking these lesson types down, let’s start with the interactive audio lessons. These lessons form the backbone of the Rocket curriculum, and are what really differentiate Rocket from other popular language apps like Babbel, Duolingo and Rosetta Stone.
Every one of these lessons starts with a 20- to 30-minute audio exercise, where a moderator speaking in English guides you through a conversation between two fluent French speakers. The moderator will start by explaining the context of the conversation you’re about to hear, and what the goal of the lesson is.
From there, as the conversation starts to progress, she’ll frequently stop to explain what you just heard, provide vocab and grammar tips, and give you a quick chance to practice your pronunciation out loud.
And that’s actually one thing to keep in mind as you work through these Rocket French audio lessons – you’ll be asked to repeat words and phrases out loud and respond in tandem with the fluent speakers. So do make sure you can do these lessons in a place where you don’t necessarily have to be quiet (or feel embarrassed 😳).
Then following the main audio lesson, you complete a series of exercises and drills designed to reinforce what you just learned in the audio portion of the lessons. These drills include flashcards, pronunciation practice, sentence construction, audio recall exercises, and quizzes, among others.
In addition, you’ll get an opportunity to participate in the mock conversation and step into the shoes of one of the fluent speakers. And that’s basically it for the interactive audio lessons. Each one takes around an hour to complete from start to finish (including audio portion + follow-up drills), and is extremely comprehensive.
Then the other lesson format is the company’s “language & culture lessons,” which include detailed grammar instruction, as well as cultural insights you should be aware of.
For these lessons, you’ll read through a few short explanations of the grammar rules being covered, practice with a few examples, and then finish with a short snippet on a cultural point. All in all, these language & culture lessons are very straightforward and take about 20 to 30 minutes to complete, if that.
Beyond those two types of lessons, however, there’s really not too much to the Rocket French program apart from the occasional expert tip and a few “survival kits” as they call them.
Rocket French Cost
Before diving into what we like and don’t like about Rocket French, let’s quickly cover pricing and how Rocket stacks up against other French language apps on the market.
The first thing that jumps out at you with Rocket is how you pay for their lessons. Rocket is a little different from most other language apps today, in that they offer lifetime plans as opposed to monthly or annual subscriptions.
Thus, at first glance, the Rocket French program is more expensive than competitors like Memrise, Busuu and Pimsleur. Essentially, with Rocket Languages, you pay by learning level.
The Level 1 package costs around $150;
The Level 1 and Level 2 bundle costs $300;
and the big bundle with Levels 1, 2 and 3 costs $450.
However, do note that you’ll almost never pay full price. And that’s because Rocket is almost always running some sort of deal or special promotion (literally almost year round), and I usually see their course discounted by 40% to 60%, so do be sure to check for coupon codes before buying.
What We Like About Rocket French
Now that we’ve covered pricing, how the Rocket program is structured, and what the lessons are like, let’s get to my favorite part: what I like and what I don’t like about Rocket French. And to begin, let’s start with the things I really like.
Effective Audio Lessons
Without a doubt, my favorite thing about Rocket’s French course is their interactive audio lessons. These guided audio lessons are a game changer, and really differentiate Rocket from their language app competitors.
Most other language learning apps (save for maybe Pimsleur) focus on short lessons filled with quick-hit drills and exercises. In other words, there’s really no in-depth verbal or conversational practice.
However, with Rocket French’s audio lessons, you get just that. You have to be actively involved in tracking the conversation as you need to respond at the proper times. This, in my opinion, is powerful at getting you to recall and use the language under pressure just as you would in real life situations.
That is probably the most important thing about the Rocket French audio lessons – they simulate real world experience. And that is honestly the best framework for truly learning a new language.
Plus, it’s awesome that Rocket allows you to reenact the conversation multiple times by taking the place of the other actors in the conversation, so you can get additional practice and gain a different perspective each time.
Good For Everyone: Beginner To Advanced
The next point I’d like to make is that Rocket’s lessons, curriculum, and overall learning framework are ideal for all learning levels. It doesn’t matter whether you’re just starting out or you already have a decent foundation in French.
I say this largely because of the conversational speaking component that I just covered. With other language companies out there like Rosetta Stone and Duolingo for example, their lessons primarily center around vocabulary flashcards, quick-hit drills, and repeating words and phrases independently. In others words, the lessons are somewhat basic.
There is no real opportunity for spontaneous language usage that mimics or simulates full conversations like you get with Rocket. Thus, the key takeaway here is that with Rocket, you’re not going to top out around the basic-to-intermediate level. You can ride their course until you reach an advanced stage of fluency.
Solid Speech Software
While other language learning companies like Rosetta Stone and Babbel use their own proprietary speech recognition systems, Rocket French utilizes Google’s Web Speech API, which is one of the more advanced speech tools in the world.
Here’s how that works. As you complete audio lessons and various exercises in the course, the Rocket program records your voice and uses Google’s tech to determine the accuracy of your pronunciation. You’ll even receive a grade from 1 to 100 so that you can closely track how you’re performing.
This is contrast to just a blanket correct or incorrect like some other language apps provide. Now, to be clear, no speech recognition technology out there is perfect. There will be times when the tech will give you a perfect grade when you in fact mispronounced a word or phrase.
Nonetheless, compared to other voice recognition software that I’ve tested, the Rocket/Google combo definitely rates out as one of the best.
Flexibility In Learning
My next positive relates to how you learn with Rocket. Because roughly half of the Rocket French lessons are audio-based, I like that you can complete these lessons while you’re exercising, cleaning your house, taking your dog for a walk, etc.
It’s just nice you don’t have to be joined at the hip to your computer or phone screen at all times like you do with other language learning apps out there.
Do note though that if you plan on completing these lessons while doing other activities, you obviously won’t be able to simultaneously read the rolling transcript. However, that’s not 100% necessary anyways. That’s more so a nice added benefit if you do happen to find yourself in front of your computer screen.
Lastly, I appreciate that Rocket makes grammar content and instruction a priority within its curriculum. This is opposition other language learning companies who simply weave grammar into their main lessons or, worse yet, ignore it all together.
With Rocket though, that’s not the case. They cover grammar in multiple ways. First, as you complete Rocket’s audio lessons, the moderator routinely stops to touch on different grammar principles, and verbally explain the rationale behind them.
Then the bulk of the grammar instruction is delivered through the company’s language & culture lessons, which I already covered above. So overall, I was just really impressed with the level of grammar and cultural insights that the Rocket French course provides, as well as how the company integrates this material into their lessons.
What We Didn’t Like About Rocket French
Now let’s switch sides to the things I don’t really care for with Rocket French.
Visual Learners: Rocket May Not Be A Great Match
The foremost downside of Rocket French (at least in my opinion) is that this course might not be the best option for visual learners. As the Rocket French lessons lean more towards audio and text in terms of format, visual learners might struggle somewhat with this framework.
Beyond the small number of images used in the language & culture lessons, there really are not a ton of graphics and visuals throughout the Rocket French course, which may be an issue for some people out there. This really boils down to how you personally learn best and whether you need a bunch of visuals.
Audio Lesson Drawbacks
While I am a huge fan of the interactive audio lessons and found them to very effective, there are a couple drawbacks. And the first negative is that the lessons are somewhat lengthy.
To complete a full lesson (both the audio portion and reinforcement drills), it takes around an hour or so from start to finish. Of course, you can always pause a lesson and return to it later if you don’t have a full hour to complete one; however, if you want to complete full lessons in a straight-go and you’re kind of limited on time, these lessons might not be ideal. If you’re maybe looking for quick-hit 10- or 15-minute lessons, then Rocket might not be a great fit.
Plus, I have to admit that the audio lessons can become a touch boring at times. The moderator is somewhat monotone, and there’s no humor or fun factor – it’s just all business. Don’t get me wrong, the Rocket French moderators do a good job holding your attention with their frequent callouts, but I just felt like the audio lessons could use a little spice and personality every now and again.
Final Verdict: Rocket French Reviews
That about does it for the detail in this review, so let’s get to the final verdict: is Rocket a good choice to learn French? Personally, I think the short answer to that question is yes. Frankly, I think Rocket’s course is maybe the most comprehensive French program from top to bottom that our team has tested.
It just checks all the major boxes: engaging audio lessons that really help develop your listening comprehension and verbal skills; diverse practice exercises; detailed grammar instruction; accurate speech recognition technology; and a sleek digital platform.
Yes, I do have a few minor grievances, and yes, the program is a little pricey, but if you’re serious about learning French and reaching an intermediate-to-advanced level of fluency, then I think Rocket French is an excellent option.
Is Rocket Languages good for French?
After having the opportunity to use Rocket French for over a month, I can say that Rocket Languages is very effective for learning French. The course is thorough and smartly designed, particularly the audio lessons.
How long does it take to learn French with Rocket?
The question of how long it takes to learn French with Rocket depends on how much time you spend studying each day. That said, if you complete one lesson per day, I would say that you should be conversationally fluent within 3 months.
Does Rocket have a course for Quebec French?
Unfortunately, the Rocket Languages course for the French language focuses on French as spoken in France, not in Canada.