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Rocket Spanish Review
Our team's all-inclusive and detailed review of the Rocket Languages Spanish course
Though not as widely known as Rosetta Stone or Duolingo in the language learning world, Rocket Languages has been gaining ground on these giants in recent years, particularly when it comes to their Spanish program. However, the question that always seems to be at the forefront of everyone’s mind before diving in is: how good is Rocket Languages relative to these other language learning apps? In this detailed guide, we break down how the Rocket Spanish course works, and provide our thoughts on whether we think it’s worth it.
Given that this is a long and comprehensive review, we’ve included helpful jump-to links above for convenience.
Rocket Languages Spanish Course Video Review
In the above video, John from the TPI team breaks down everything you need to know about the Rocket Spanish program, providing our team’s thoughts on everything from effectiveness, to pricing, to quality of the audio lessons. For more detail, please continue reading our full post below.
To set the stage (and just get it out of the way), let’s kick this review off with pricing. Rocket offers three different subscription options to choose from. You can purchase their level 1 course for $150; their level 1 and level 2 courses together for $300; or you can purchase all three levels for roughly $450.
This pricing model differs drastically from most of Rocket’s competitors who offer month-to-month, pay-as-you-go type subscriptions. With Rocket Languages, you’re essentially paying for lifetime access up front.
So in terms of upfront dollars out of your pocket, Rocket Spanish is more expensive than competitors like Babbel and Pimsleur. However, if you compare the 12-month or lifetime subscriptions across all of the different companies, Rocket Spanish is right in the same ballpark in terms of pricing.
In addition, those prices can be a little deceiving, as those are just the MSRPs. In reality, Rocket is almost always running some sort of deal or special promotion, and you can typically find their packages discounted from 10% all the way up to 40% off. So keep an eye on that.
Also, it is worth mentioning that Rocket Languages does offer a free trial period (so you can always test the waters before fully committing), as well as a 60-day money back guarantee if for some reason you’re not satisfied.
How The Rocket Spanish Program Works
Now that you know how Rocket Languages stacks up in terms of pricing, let’s discuss how the Rocket Spanish program is structured. This should help to provide a fuller picture for our thoughts below.
From a high-level, the program is split into three levels. Each level contains 5 to 10 modules, and within each module, there are around 5 interactive audio lessons and 5 language and culture lessons. So, that’s really it from a 10,000-foot view: you have three levels, several modules per level, and each module is comprised of around 10 or so total lessons, which range from around 15 to 40 minutes in length.
Following each lesson, you’re prompted to complete several “reinforcement activities” that take around 5 to 10 minutes each to complete. These are comprised of various types of quick-hit drills and exercises, and cover the material from the core lesson.
Overall, to complete each lesson, you’re looking at around an hour or so from start to finish. Additionally, the Rocket Spanish program allows you to jump around from module to module, or lesson to lesson. You’re not forced to follow a strict schedule.
What The Individual Lessons Are Like
To start each module, you begin with an interactive audio lesson where a moderator speaking in English walks you through a Spanish conversation step-by-step. The moderator will start by explaining what the goal of the lesson is, why you’re learning it, and set the stage for the upcoming conversation.
You then dive into the actual conversation where you listen to Spanish speakers converse. Every few sentences, the moderator will stop to explain what you just heard, provide pronunciation tips and grammar explanations, and most perhaps importantly, ask you questions to get you to participate in the conversation.
In other words, you can essentially think of these interactive audio lessons as guided conversations. Then, as you progress through modules and levels, the English moderator slowly fades out as you get more familiar with Spanish.
Underneath each of these audio lessons, Rocket provides a rolling transcript of the conversation as well. By offering this, you can follow along as you listen and interact with the speakers.
After the audio lesson is over, you can then elect to re-play the entire conversation or instead take the place of one of the actors for even more practice. The neat thing here is that the company’s voice recognition technology (which is powered by Google) grades your pronunciation throughout the conversation on a scale of 1-100.
To finish out each lesson, you then review what you just learned in the guided conversation through several short, reinforcement exercises. These drills include flashcards, speaking exercises, writing drills, and quizzes.
Finally, after you complete the audio lessons and reinforcement activities that follow them within each module, you move on to language and culture lessons. These shorter lessons cover different grammar rules and insights into Spanish culture.
For example, one of the level 1 language and culture lessons is all about the proper use of pronouns. The lesson includes a short culture highlight about using “usted” as a show of respect in professional settings or to address your elders.
If I had to provide an analogy, I would say these lessons are sort of like interactive textbooks. You’ll read a paragraph explanation, engage with a few examples to ensure you understand, then move onto the next paragraph.
And of course, just like with the audio lessons, after you’re done with your language and culture lesson, you’ll be prompted to complete a series of short reinforcement drills and exercises.
What We Like About Rocket Spanish
So now that we’ve covered cost, and you know what the lessons are all about, let’s get into what our team likes about Rocket Spanish after thoroughly testing this program.
Great For Speaking Skills
One of the clear highlights of this Spanish language program is the emphasis it places on conversational practice through their interactive audio lessons. Frankly, I’m a huge fan.
Just so you’re aware, many language learning programs out there have you listen to individual words or phrases, and then immediately repeat them without context.
In comparison, the Rocket Spanish audio lessons prompt you to say words and phrases by responding to native speakers in the context of actual conversations. You’re actively involved in tracking the conversation, and the moderator of the audio lessons keeps you on your toes since you need to understand what’s going on in the situation and respond at the proper times.
In my opinion, this active participation is powerful at getting you to recall and use the language under pressure just as you would in real life situations. That’s the key point here, the Rocket Spanish audio lessons are simulating real world experience. In my opinion, this is about the best setting for truly learning a new language.
Plus, I like that Rocket provides a rolling transcript so you can follow along in reading the conversation as well. This can be especially helpful for visual learners.
Lastly, it’s awesome that Rocket allows you to reenact the conversation multiple times by taking the place of one of the actors in the simulation so you can get additional practice. This helps you to gain a different perspective each time, and I haven’t seen any other language apps use this type of format.
Because roughly half of the Rocket Spanish lessons are audio-based, I like that you can complete these lessons while you’re on the go and being productive. You can do them while you’re working out, washing dishes, taking your dog for a walk, or just zoning out in a hammock. It’s just nice you don’t have to be glued to your computer or phone at all times like you do with other language learning apps out there (such as Rosetta Stone and Duolingo).
Of course, if you do plan on completing these lessons on the go or while you’re driving, you obviously won’t be able to simultaneously read the rolling transcript, though I’m not sure that’s 100% necessary anyways. It’s more of a nice added benefit if you do happen to find yourself in front of your computer screen.
Honestly, sometimes you just need a break or a change of scenery when you’re learning brand new material, so I have to give props to Rocket for how flexible their lessons are. It’s just satisfying knowing you don’t need to stay in one place with your head buried in your phone or laptop.
Grammar & Culture A Priority
I like that the Rocket Spanish program makes cultural insights and grammar instruction a priority. This is something I can’t necessarily say for a lot of language learning programs on the market (see Duolingo and Pimsleur).
And the nice thing here is that the Rocket Spanish course accomplishes this in multiple ways. First, as you complete the audio lessons, the moderator routinely stops to touch on different grammar principles and verbally explain the “why” behind them.
Then of course the bulk of the grammar instruction is delivered through the company’s language and culture lessons, which take the form of a digital textbook. And just to be clear here, I’m not talking about long, dense textbooks like you used in one of your college classes.
Rocket does a great job breaking these lessons down into short, digestible chunks. Each section within the lesson is only about 3 to 6 sentences long and there are dozens of stoppage points in the lesson where you interact with examples and pictures to keep you engaged.
Thus, it’s more like a mix between an abbreviated digital textbook and an interactive exercise. Overall, I was just really impressed with the level of grammar and cultural insights, as well as how the company integrates this material into their lessons.
Google-Powered Speech Software
While other language learning companies like Rosetta Stone and Babbel use their own proprietary speech recognition systems, Rocket Spanish utilizes Google’s Web Speech API, which many consider to be one of the most advanced speech tools in the world.
As you complete audio lessons and various reinforcement drills, the Rocket program records your voice and then uses Google to determine the accuracy of your Spanish pronunciation. It’s pretty cool actually. Rocket (via Google) even gives you a grade on a scale from 1 to 100 on your pronunciation. This allows you to closely track how you’re performing, as opposed to just getting a blanket “correct” or “incorrect.”
Of course, no voice recognition technology out there is perfect – it’s not a 1-for-1 substitute for conversing with an actual fluent Spanish speaker. There were times when the Rocket tech gave me a perfect 100 grade and I knew I was pronouncing a word incorrectly.
But still, compared to other voice recognition software I’ve tested (including Rosetta Stone), the Rocket/Google combo is definitely one of the best.
Lastly, I like that Rocket tries to gamify the language learning experience. As you complete lessons and drills, you earn points that you can see in the navigation bar at the top.
Additionally, there’s a leaderboard where you can keep track of your streaks and compare your progress and performance against other Rocket Spanish users to keep yourself motivated and inspired. It is pretty cool those days that you rank in the top 10 across all Rocket users.
In addition to the points leaderboard, Rocket also offer certification tests. As you can complete each module, you can choose to take a test based on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (or CEFR for short). If you score at least 80%, you’ll receive a printable Certificate of Achievement.
Now I know in the grand scheme of things that really doesn’t seem to matter much, but when you’re trying to learn a new language, every milestone and achievement is a big boost for morale. So overall, I like that the Rocket Spanish program offers tools and games to keep you energized and encouraged.
What We Dislike About Rocket Spanish
With all the warm, glowing positives out there, now let’s switch to the hard part: what I don’t like about Rocket Spanish.
Dated User Experience & Interface
In short, Rocket Languages’ digital platform and mobile app are just not as eye-catching or sleek as what you get with other language learning companies like Babbel and Pimsleur.
Now don’t get me wrong, they function just fine. Their app and web-based platform are intuitively laid out, easy to navigate, fast, and offer everything you need. But at the end of the day, the Rocket Spanish user interface is just not as sexy as some of the other language learning apps on the market.
Their entire platform more or less reminds of a website from 2010. It just feels dated.
To be fair though, I’m not really sure how big of a deal this truly is. After all, you’re here to learn Spanish, so who cares that the Rocket dashboard isn’t as sexy or sleek as others.
Not Ideal For Visual Learners
Since the Rocket Spanish lessons are so audio- and text-heavy, they might not be the best option for visual learners. Beyond the small number of images used in the language and culture lessons, there really are not a lot of visuals throughout the Rocket course, which may be problematic for some people out there.
There are certain people who simply learn best by seeing images and visuals, and associating them with words and phrases. It’s just how some people soak up and retain new vocabulary.
So this in a way comes down to personal preference and learning style. To be certain, the Rocket Spanish lessons do have a visual component to them, just not in the traditional manner you’re used to.
The Rocket lessons rely more on mental imagery than actual visual elements. You’re asked to imagine scenarios and situations as you partake in conversations with native speakers. It’s sort of the same concept, but just in a different way.
Again, this ultimately boils down to what type of learner you are. It may be a big deal or it might not be – it just depends.
No Course For Castilian Spanish
If you’re looking for a Castilian Spanish course, meaning the Spanish language as spoken in Spain, this isn’t it. (Side note: I know some people are going to get all nit picky with me and say that Castilian Spanish is only spoken in the Castile region of Spain. Just relax. I’m using the term loosely here to refer to the standard form of Spanish in Spain.)
In any event, the Rocket course focuses on Latin American Spanish. So if your end goal is to learn Spanish because you’re moving to Spain, you will likely want to look elsewhere. In that case, a few companies like Pimsleur do offer Castilian specific language programs if that is what you’re after.
Audio Lessons Can Be Tedious
Even though the audio lessons do encourage you to engage and participate directly, they can be a little dry and boring at times. Don’t get me wrong, the content is on point and there are certainly advantages to engaging in these mock conversations as I mentioned earlier.
However, I just wish the audio lessons were maybe a little shorter, like 15 minutes max. In addition, I wish they included maybe a little humor or some jokes to keep things lively. But I guess at the end of the day, you’re here to learn Spanish, not listen to some comedy act so it’s not the end of the world.
Final Verdict: Rocket Spanish
All in all, I was very impressed with the Rocket Spanish program. In fact, it could be the most comprehensive Spanish program from top to bottom that our team has tested to date. With other Spanish courses out there, it always seems like one or two components are always missing, whether it’s the audio lessons, grammar instruction, accurate speech recognition technology, or engagement. But with Rocket Spanish, the program seems to check all the major boxes.
Yes, I do have a few minor grievances, and yes, the program is a little pricey, but if you’re serious about learning Spanish and reaching an intermediate level of fluency, I think Rocket Spanish is an excellent option. This is a fantastic language learning app that should work well for most types of learners.
Is Rocket Languages good for Spanish?
Yes, our team found Rocket to be extremely good for Spanish, especially if you’re going to be traveling or moving to Latin America. Of all the Spanish courses we’ve reviewed, it ranks right up near the top in terms of effectiveness.
Is Rocket Spanish for Latin America?
Yes, rather than focusing on Castilian Spanish, or Spanish as spoken in broader Spain, as many language learning apps do, Rocket places an emphasis on learning Spanish as it is spoken in Latin America.
How long does it take to learn Spanish with Rocket?
If you complete just one lesson per day, you can generally be conversant within a few weeks; however, to complete all three levels of Rocket Spanish’s course, expect it to take 3-4 months.