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Rocket Russian Review
Determine whether Rocket Languages Russian is worth it in this detailed review
Although apps like Babbel and Pimsleur are more well-known from a branding perspective, Rocket Languages has been making waves recently within the language learning industry thanks to their in-depth audio lessons and grammar instruction. In this article, we analyze the pros and cons of the Rocket Russian language program so you can determine whether it is a good fit for your budget and learning style.
To help you navigate this detailed review, we have included jump-to links above for your convenience.
How The Rocket Russian Program Works
From a 10,000-foot view, there are three overarching levels within the Rocket Russian program—beginner, intermediate, and advanced. Then within each of these levels, there are around eight modules to complete. Breaking it down further, there are several lessons that make up each module.
Also, the key point to remember here is that there are three different types of lessons within the Rocket Russian program—audio lessons, writing lessons, and language and culture lessons.
I’ll discuss each type of lesson format in more detail later in this review, but for now, just know that the audio lessons focus on honing your listening and verbal skills, the writing lessons help improve your writing abilities, and finally, the language and culture lessons include detailed grammar instruction and cultural insights.
That is the Rocket Russian program in a nutshell. There are got three levels, roughly eight modules per level, and each module is comprised of several different types of lessons.
Rocket Russian Price
Unlike other apps which offer monthly subscription plans (such as Babbel and Rosetta Stone), Rocket only offers lifetime plans. You can purchase Rocket Russian level 1 for around $100, levels 1 and 2 for $250, or all three levels for around $260.
It’s important to note here that the prices listed above are the net prices after discounts. Rocket is almost always running some sort of sale or special promotion. In other words, don’t pay attention to the MSRP shown on the company’s website because in most cases, you can expect to receive 50% to 60% off with a promo code.
Taking a step back, it’s obviously difficult to compare Rocket’s pricing against other Russian language apps, as they don’t offer monthly plans. However, if you just compare the lifetime options, I would say that the Rocket Russian program is actually a pretty good bargain at around $260.
For comparison purposes, the Babbel Russian lifetime plan costs around $350, and the Pimsleur Russian lifetime plan costs north of $400. Therefore, the Rocket Russian program is actually a pretty good deal even though it may not seem like it on the surface.
Strengths of The Rocket Russian Program
Now that we’ve talked about cost, as well as how the Rocket Russian program works from a high level, let’s get to the good stuff—the pros and cons as our team sees them. Let’s start with the positives.
In-Depth Audio Lessons
The first positive is definitely the company’s audio lessons, which are really the heart and soul of the Rocket Russian curriculum. In our opinion, these exercises blow the lessons from other popular language learning apps like Duolingo and Busuu out of the water.
How it works is that you start with a 20- to 30-minute audio exercise in which an English speaking host guides you through a conversation between two fluent Russian speakers.
The host will introduce the situation and provide some context, and then regularly pause the conversation to explain key points, discuss different grammar principles, and most importantly, ask you questions to ensure you are staying engaged and understand what is happening.
This type of lesson format is extremely effective. Not only are you getting real world exposure to fluent Russian speakers within the context of an actual conversation (as opposed to simply learning and repeating individual words without context), but you also get to actively participate yourself.
It’s about the closest thing you can get to a Russian tutoring session without having to pay an actual tutor. All in all, the audio lessons are definitely the highlight of the course, and quite frankly, they are what differentiate Rocket from most other language programs.
Good Choice For Auditory Learners
Out of all the language apps our team has tested, we have to say that Rocket is probably one of, if not the, best program out there for auditory learners. These audio exercises really form the foundation of the company’s learning framework, and they are stellar.
Bottom line, if you process and synthesize information most effectively through listening as opposed to visual or kinesthetic means, then the Rocket Russian program will likely be a perfect fit for your learning style (i.e., they are the opposite of the Rosetta Stone Russian course).
Flexibility of Lesson Format
Before we move off this subject, I would also like to point out that because a good portion of the Rocket lessons are audio-based, it gives you options as to when, where, and how you want to complete lessons. In other words, you don’t always have to be sitting down staring at your computer screen or iPhone.
Instead, you can simply put in your headphones, turn on one of the audio lessons, slip your phone into your pocket, and make progress while you’re doing household chores or waiting in the doctor’s office, for example. It’s just nice that Rocket doesn’t dictate the circumstances in which you can learn, unlike most other apps.
Practical Verbal Practice Drills
Following each audio lesson, you are then asked to complete a variety of what Rocket calls “reinforcement drills”, which are designed to hone your reading, writing, and pronunciation. This way you get the necessary practice to develop your expressive language skills as well.
More specifically, I’d like to highlight Rocket’s verbal reinforcement drills because they are much more comprehensive and useful than what other language companies have to offer.
For example, when it comes to verbal practice with Duolingo, you’re really just directed to listen to and then repeat words, phrases and sentences in a vacuum (i.e., there’s no context or background).
Luckily, that’s not the case with Rocket. After each audio lesson, Rocket gives you the opportunity to replay the conversation, but this time you can step into the shoes of one of the fluent speakers.
That way you get the experience of using the language under pressure, and within the setting of a real conversation, which is ultimately much more powerful and pragmatic than simply repeating sentences with no frame of reference.
Accurate Speech Software
I also want to highlight Rocket’s speech recognition technology while we’re on this topic. As you complete the simulated conversations described above, as well as the company’s other verbal practice drills, Rocket’s speech software is listening and will grade your pronunciation on a scale from 1 to 100.
Our team has tested dozens of speech recognition tools at this point, and we collectively agree that Rocket’s tech package is one of the best. It’s easy to use, snappy, and in our experience, very accurate.
This really isn’t a surprise considering the company’s speech technology is powered by Google’s Web Speech API, which many language experts consider to be one of the most robust speech tools in the world.
Dedicated Grammar Lessons
While most other language learning companies simply provide learners conjugation charts with no real explanations (see Mondly), Rocket takes grammar instruction to a new level.
In fact, the company offers their own dedicated grammar lessons. This way you can get accustomed to the various Russian grammar rules as your knowledge of the language evolves.
Not only is their commentary detailed and helpful, but Rocket also includes interactive drills throughout their grammar lessons to ensure you’re grasping the concepts at hand.
Plus, Rocket sprinkles in interesting cultural insights as well so that you can get familiar with local customs and traditions. That’s a nice perk as well.
Weaknesses of The Rocket Russian Program
Now that we’ve covered the positives, let’s switch sides to the things we didn’t really like about the Rocket Russian language app.
The first negative is that the Rocket Russian lessons are long. There’s just no getting around it. The audio exercises take anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes to complete, and then the subsequent reinforcement drills take around 30 minutes as well.
All in all, you’re looking at around 50 to 60 minutes to complete one Russian lesson, and that doesn’t even include the dedicated grammar lessons.
Therefore, if you are short on time and can only dedicate a few minutes per day towards learning Russian, then maybe a program like Babbel or Mondly would be a better fit with their 10-minute lesson format.
No Visual Component
As you’ve probably gathered by this point, Rocket is not the most ideal choice for visual learners. There is no video component to the course, and even the use of images and graphics is extremely limited.
If you tend to absorb information best through visuals, then maybe the Russian program from LingoPie or Memrise would be a better fit.
No Live Class Options
Lastly, it would be great if Rocket offered some sort of live class component, even if it cost an additional fee (sort of like what Rosetta Stone and Babbel offer).
I’m a firm believer that live classes can be extremely beneficial, especially once you reach an intermediate level of fluency. They are just a great way to practice your verbal skills with peers, and learn from experienced teachers.
Verdict: Is Rocket Languages Good For Learning Russian?
My big takeaway is that this language program is not for the faint of heart. It’s a detailed, comprehensive course, so if you’re just looking to learn a few phrases here and there to better communicate with your in-laws, then there may be better choices out there for you.
With that said, if you are serious about learning Russian, then the answer is absolutely yes, Rocket Russian is worth it. This is easily one of the most effective and well-rounded Russian programs on the market. The course offers everything you need: thorough audio exercises that feature fluent Russian speakers, practical speaking exercises, accurate speech software, helpful grammar instruction, cultural nuggets, and more. Overall, our team was very impressed.
Plus, it doesn’t hurt that the company’s lifetime subscription packages are more affordable than most competitors.
No, the Rocket Russian language program is not free. However, the company does offer a free trial so you can test it out before purchasing.
How much is Rocket Russian?
Rocket Languages offers lifetime packages as opposed to monthly subscription plans. The entire Rocket Russian bundle costs around $260 after discounts.
How many levels are in the Rocket Russian language program?
The Rocket Russian program consists of three levels (beginner, intermediate, and advanced). Within each level, there are 5 to 10 lengthy modules to complete.
How long does it take to learn Russian with Rocket Languages?
It will take you more than 200 hours to complete the Rocket Russian program. If you complete all the lessons, expect to reach an intermediate to advanced level of fluency in Russian.
Is Rocket Russian good?
Yes, Rocket Russian is one of the most complete and well-rounded language programs we have tested out and reviewed. Our team found their learning method and lesson format to be extremely effective for learning Russian.