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Rocket German Review
Our in-depth review of the Rocket German app, covering the key strengths and weaknesses that we found
German is not an easy language to learn for most English-speaking people. With long words that are hard to wrap your tongue around and completely different grammar principles, it can be difficult to master the German language. As a result, picking the right language learning app can make or break your experience. In this detailed guide, we review the Rocket Languages German program, one of the most popular apps on the market. We provide an overview of how the lessons work, as well as our thoughts on whether it’s worth it.
Given that this is a lengthy, detail-packed review, we’ve added jump-to links above for easy navigation.
Video Review: Rocket German
In this video, TPI team member John quickly covers everything you need to know about the Rocket Languages German program, and whether it might be a good fit for you. Please continue reading for more detail.
Rocket German Program Overview
Let’s start this review off by looking at how the Rocket German program is structured and what the lessons are like. This should help to provide some context for my thoughts below.
From a high level, the Rocket German program is broken down into three overarching levels. You can sort of think of these levels as beginner, intermediate and advanced, as they get progressively more complex and difficult as you progress from Level 1 to Level 2 to Level 3.
Then within each of these levels, there are seven learning modules. And within each learning module, there are usually 8 to 10 lessons (sorry, I know that’s sort of complex, but it helps to think of the structure like a pyramid).
In any event, the lessons aren’t all the same. Rocket actually uses two different types of lessons to teach their material. Of the 8 or 10 lessons in each module, about half will be “interactive audio lessons” and the other half will be “language & culture lessons.” In fact, that’s probably a good point to jump into what the actual, day-to-day lessons are like.
What The Daily Lessons Are Like
Let’s start with the interactive audio lessons. These lessons will be the backbone of your learning with Rocket, and frankly, they are what really differentiates Rocket from competitors like Duolingo and Rosetta Stone.
Every one of these lessons starts with a 20- to 30-minute audio lesson, where a moderator speaking in English guides you through a conversation between a couple fluent German speakers. The moderator explains the context of the conversation you’re about to hear, what you’re aiming to learn, and then lets the audio roll.
From there, she’ll frequently stop to explain what you just heard, provide vocabulary and grammar tips, and give you a quick chance to practice your pronunciation out loud.
In fact, that’s one thing to keep in mind as you work these Rocket German audio lessons. You will be asked to repeat words and phrases out loud, so make sure you can do these lessons in a place where you don’t have to be quiet or feel embarrassed.
After the main audio lesson, you’ll then work through a series of exercises and drills that are meant to reinforce what you just learned through the audio lesson. These reinforcement exercises include flashcards, pronunciation practice drills, typing phrases, audio recall exercises, and quizzes, as well as an opportunity to participate in a mock conversation and step into the shoes of one of the native speakers.
And that’s basically it for the interactive audio lessons. Each of the lessons takes around an hour or so to complete from start to finish, and is very comprehensive.
The other form of lesson is the “language & culture lessons.” These lessons are much shorter and more streamlined than the interactive audio lessons. They narrowly focus on a few key grammar principles, as well as a select culture lesson.
You’ll usually read through a few short digital explanations of the grammar rules being covered, practice with a few examples in between each, and finish with a short story on a cultural point. All in all, these language & culture lessons take about 20 to 30 minutes or so to complete, if that. They’re generally shorter and less intense than the audio lessons.
And that’s the Rocket German program in a nutshell. Beyond those two types of lessons, there’s really not too much to the program apart from the occasional expert tip and a few “survival kits.”
Rocket German Cost & Purchase Options
Before we jump straight into my thoughts on this course, I briefly want to touch on pricing and purchase options, as Rocket is a bit different from other programs out there. Rather than using a typical monthly subscription model like Babbel, Busuu and other language companies, Rocket actually uses a one-time purchase model.
In this model, you buy access to the course though a one-time fee and become a member for life. Specifically, you actually purchase the Rocket program by level (recall, beginner-intermediate-advanced). You can choose to just purchase the beginner Level 1 course, Levels 1 and 2, or all 3 Levels in one bundle.
The Level 1 package costs approximately $150; the Levels 1 and 2 bundle costs $300; and the big bundle with all 3 Levels costs $450. However, it is worth noting that you’ll almost never pay that full price. Rocket is almost always running some sort of deal or special promotion, and I usually see their course discounted by 40% to 60% off, so be sure to check for coupon codes before buying.
Rocket German Pros
Now that we’ve covered how the Rocket German program is structured, what the lessons are like, and pricing, let’s get to the good part – what I like and what I don’t like about Rocket German. And let’s start with the things I really like.
Interactive Audio Lessons
The greatest strength of this program has to be the interactive audio lessons. These in-depth guided audio lessons are a game changer, and totally set Rocket apart from competitors. Most other language learning apps (apart from maybe Pimsleur) focus on short, blended lessons filled with fast-moving drills and exercises.
In other words, they’re all basically just the second half of the Rocket lessons – the reinforcement drills. As a result, by leading with this slow, comprehensive audio lesson, the Rocket lessons just feel much more deep and robust.
By the time you’re finished with one Rocket German lesson, you’ve learned what you would probably learn in 10 Duolingo lessons. Plus, I love the nature of these interactive audio lessons.
The moderator forces you to interact with the audio, actually speak the phrases out loud, and think critically about how you’d respond in a real conversation. In my opinion, this makes the lessons incredibly valuable and one of the most effective means of teaching.
Incredibly Robust Curriculum
My second pro sort of piggybacks on the last point. In short, I was just blown away by the sheer comprehensiveness of the Rocket German program. Like I mentioned above, after finishing one Rocket lesson, I felt like I learned more than I did in 5 or 10 lessons from some competitors.
Between the interactive audio lesson, follow-up reinforcement drills, a quiz, and the grammar & culture lessons, Rocket is probably the deepest and most comprehensive language platform I’ve reviewed.
The third highlight in favor of Rocket is their prioritization of grammar. I love how Rocket gives extra attention to the most important grammar rules through dedicated lesson work.
Most other companies simply weave grammar into their main coursework, which I don’t necessarily mind and think some companies actually do quite well. However, having standalone grammar lessons is super helpful.
Plus, these Rocket grammar lessons aren’t overly detailed. Overall, they’re pretty concise and do a nice job covering key points with examples.
New & Improved Interface
Finally, the last course strength worth noting is the new interface. So, a while back I took and reviewed the Rocket Spanish course, and one of my main complaints was that it had this outdated, clunky interface that was behind the times. It just felt really old school, especially compared to other more modern apps.
Since then, however, Rocket Languages has totally revamped their interface and it is now awesome. Everything now is really clean, sleek, and well-organized. It’s an elegant design that I think is just as good as others now, like Pimsleur and Duolingo.
Rocket German Cons
Alright, so that covers my pros and the things I like about Rocket German. So let’s flip the script now, and talk about the things I don’t like about Rocket German.
No Community Feel
First up, Rocket just doesn’t seem to have as much of a community feel as other language apps. There is a leaderboard where you can see how you stack up against other Rocket users, as well as a forum where you can connect with others to chat about questions you have. But by and large, I just don’t think Rocket has done as good of a job as others in developing a true community feel among its userbase.
For example, Busuu actually pairs learners up with one another and has you provide feedback on each others’ speaking exercises. Memrise allows users to create courses and follow each other. And even Duolingo has a pretty cool community feel with its gamified language learning experience.
Put simply, Rocket just doesn’t seem to do as much to create a community among its users, if that’s important to you.
Not Great For Visual Learners
My second weakness is that because Rocket is so heavy on audio and text, they might not be the best option for visual learners. There just isn’t too much in the way of images and video with Rocket.
Honestly, with the emphasis being on audio exercises, the focus is more on mental imagery. You have to visualize what’s going on in the audio conversation, but for some people, I know they actually need to see images to act as a memory aid. So if that sounds like you, Rocket might not be the ideal fit.
Audio Lessons Can Feel Sterile
Finally, while I love the interactive audio lessons, I do have to admit that they can feel sterile at times. The moderator doesn’t have a ton of personality, and there’s no light humor or fun factor. It’s sort of all business.
Don’t get me wrong, these lessons are engaging and held my attention just fine, but I just felt like these slow moving, deliberate lessons could use a little spice or personality every now and again. Even just a quick joke or some light humor would do it. Honestly, I think that would really push these lessons over the to.
Final Verdict: Rocket Languages German
That about covers it for the detail in this review, so let’s get to the final verdict. Should you go with Rocket to learn German? I think the simple answer to this questions is yes – depending on what you’re looking to get out of your German program.
If you simply want some quick, 5-minute nightly lessons to learn a few phrases before your trip to Berlin, then I actually think Babbel and others might be a better fit. However, if you’re looking to truly learn German and gain a certain level of fluency, then I think Rocket is a fantastic option.
True, the lessons are a little lengthy and intense, but by and large, I think they’re about the most comprehensive and effective platform that I’ve reviewed. If you’re planning to dedicate some real time to learning German, I wouldn’t hesitate to go with Rocket.
After a full-scale review, our team believes Rocket Languages is definitely worth it if your goal is to learn German. We love their deep, interactive audio lessons, as well as the reinforcement drills. We found their course to be highly effective.
What is the Rocket German audio course like?
Interactive audio lessons are at the core of Rocket’s German language program. These lessons are structured as guided conversations with a moderator explaining what is happening in a discussion between two fluent speakers.
How much does Rocket German cost?
Rather than using a monthly subscription model like most other language apps, Rocket actually sells their program as a lifetime membership. You pay a one-time fee and get access for life. Depending on what level of access you want (beginner through advanced), the price ranges from $150 to $450 (though those are full MSRP and you can often find discounts).