Memrise Review - Is Memrise Pro Worth it?
In this Memrise review, I discuss my experience using Memrise Pro. Allow me to summarise my experience in this short introduction...
Memrise is a superb vocabulary builder which uses spaced repetition and interactive features to help you learn a language.
Undoubtedly, the app has limitations. However, it is a great resource for beginners that require an introduction to a foreign language.
At the time of writing this review, I have been using Memrise Japanese every day for over a month. As a result, I can now have a very low level conversation in Japanese.
Please feel free to watch my Memrise review video below, in which I compare Memrise with a competitor, Pimsleur.
This Memrise Review is pretty extensive.
Please feel free to use the menu below to skip to the part that is most relevant for you!
Memrise Review Summary
Memrise Co-Founder and CEO Ed Cooke is a certified Master of Memory, known to have adopted techniques which involve turning raw data into colourful imagery.
To be honest, I feel this sums up Memrise quite well.
The language courses available have been built to ensure language learners simply do not forget what they are learning, be it a single word, a phrase or a full sentence.
Having accessed both the Freemium and Premium versions of Memrise to learn Japanese, I can say that this is achieved with both options through the language learning approach that Memrise adopts.
In fact, within the first 30 minutes of learning, I found myself memorising Japanese phrases and vocabulary. Whilst this is very repetitive, it is also effective when it comes to remembering words and phrases.
Read on in this Memrise review to find out how to use Memrise, whether or not Memrise is good for you, subscription models, which type of language learners Memrise is best suited to and whether or not Memrise Pro is worth the money.
What is Memrise & How Does it Work?
Memrise is a language platform that has become increasingly popular in recent years in both the U.S and the U.K.
It uses an approach called Spaced Repetition through flashcards to increase the rate of learning. Other language learning apps use a similar method, such as Pimsleur and Rosetta Stone.
It is available online and for mobile, and the mobile app has downloadable lessons that you can use offline.
Memrise has created and adopted a 3-step approach to language learning which they claim sets them apart from competitors.
- Learning real-life words, phrases and sentences through their platform (not focusing on grammar)
- Immersing yourself in a specific culture through their pre-recorded voice clips and videos of native speakers
- Using steps 1 and 2 to gaining the confidence to actually speak the language.
But just how much does this work and is it worth paying to learn a language with Memrise?
Memrise currently offers language courses for the following 23 languages:
You can find resources for all of these languages via the travel-lingual resource page.
Memrise Course Structure
Progressing within the language course you choose with Memrise is really simple.
Within the dashboard and app you are set on a clear path. You can even select how much time per day you would like to set aside for language learning.
However, navigating your progression is a little confusing. Instead of adopting a strict linear approach to progression like other language courses, Memrise lets you do your own thing. I got a little lost after 30 minutes of study and wasn’t sure how best to proceed.
When I signed up to Memrise, they were trialing the new dashboard with a new design that looked far less basic than before.
Most Memrise reviews that you read online criticise the dashboard for its basic look and functionality.
I’d say they have definitely addressed this issue and I like the new layout.
Signing Up to Memrise
I signed up to Memrise quickly by connecting my social media account (you can quite easily create a separate Memrise account to avoid this) in order to access the Freemium model.
This provides access to a fixed number of classes in one language. I trialled the Japanese.
The Memrise dashboard on desktop, mobile and tablet is slick and visually appealing.
Honestly, it is the complete opposite of picking up an old, black and white dictionary with no imagery and nothing to look at!
Memrise Course Content
Memrise splits its course content between Travel, Moving Abroad and Culture.
I was happy with the Memrise Japanese content covered throughout the first month I studied the course.
The course flow was logical and natural. Each unit starts with basic words and vocabulary before becoming progressively more challenging.
Whilst there wasn’t a focus on grammar, it pops up along the way and some of the lessons focus on this.
Additionally, throughout the course, there is a healthy mix of multiple choice activities, vocabulary tests and short snippet videos of native speakers. This was really useful.
You can even select the audio for man and woman, listening to two different voices saying the same thing.
The phrases and vocabulary I started off with in Japanese were useful.
What's more, within 10 minutes of signing up, I could ask if I had come to the right place in Japanese, ask for directions and discuss the weather!
The content is reviewed regularly so you keep going through what you have learned and (in my case) often forgotten.
Memrise Pro / Premium
The Premium version, Memrise Pro, stands out from other language learning tools and resources I have tried.
This is because the paid subscription provides you with access to ALL language courses, not just one.
I am desperate to progress my Japanese but I also want to learn Korean. I haven’t started yet, but if I choose to learn both at once then I can with Memrise.
So, for the language geeks amongst us, this is a big deal!
The most popular courses are determined by number of enrolled students and popularity.
French, Spanish and Japanese are considerably more popular than any other language on Memrise.
We know already from this Memrise review that Memrise focuses on repetition in order to help you remember words and phrases. However, it also uses mnemonics.
At Memrise, these mnemonics are called ‘Mems’ - personalised flashcards to further aid you.
These are all user generated and you create them yourself. I really like this feature and for me personally it works well.
However, I was a little disappointed A) not to have had any Mems pre-made for me as a Premium member and B) not to have had any Mems relating specifically to Japanese.
The initial Mem prompt provided was for the word Lambeau - it tells you to remember the word ‘Lamb’ and think of it ‘bowing down.’ As a result, you will remember the word Lambeau.
Again, I think this feature is great and I, personally, do learn vocabulary this way.
I just think it would have been better to be provided with a pre-made Mem relating specifically to Japanese rather than having to make one myself.
That said, the Memrise app and desktop dashboard makes it really easy to create your own Mem by adding text and imagery.
Memrise has a Mempal section, within which you can follow other users and see their scores, course progress etc.
I don’t mind this feature. However, it doesn’t enhance my experience in any way.
In honesty, I am not particularly competitive when it comes to language learning and I am not interested in the progress of others unless they are my friends or students!
Memrise decks refer to user generated courses. Memrise used to mix its courses with user generated content. However, these have now been separated.
As the quality of courses used to differ a lot (many out of date courses will attest to this) Memrise decide to split them up.
Whilst there are useful and well produced user generated courses, I think it’s best that they have been separated.
What's more, feedback on the decision has been positive and it has enabled Memrise to develop their app for the better.
This Memrise review and the images you see within it are all based on or from the new and improved app.
Memrise Desktop vs Mobile App
In order to provide a Memrise review as holistic as possible I tried out Memrise on desktop, mobile and tablet.
The user experience varies from device to device. Memrise is definitely best on mobile and tablet when using the app version.
Clearly, this is where most Memrise investment has been placed, and there are even some recently developed features that are exclusive to the app. With Memrise Japanese, this was the Grammar Explanations section.
Memrise encourages users to download the app on Google Play or the App store in order for language learners to complete courses on the go.
The language learning style that Memrise adopts is perfect for learning in the car or on public transport.
I like this idea, although I prefer to learn alone with peace and quiet, personally! I also prefer learning on desktop instead of on mobile or tablet.
How Much Does Memrise Cost?
There are three pricing options for Memrise, all of which provide access to the same premium content - everything!
The prices are as follows:
Purchasing any of the above plans with Memrise unlocks all courses, all languages and all features.
What I Like Most About Memrise
👍 The ability to listen to both male and female voices when learning Japanese.
👍 Videos of native speakers throughout the course content.
👍 Matching the audio to a word or phrase on the screen.
👍 Being able to set daily targets of how much time you can commit to learning and how many words you’d like to learn.
Where I think Memrise Could Improve
It would be great if the Mems, or some of the Mems, were pre-made by Memrise.
A little more guidance on which parts of the course to take next would be useful.
In addition to this, the search feature is not great. You need to come out of the course then go back to home to find a new one.
Final Thoughts - Does Memrise Work?
Memrise provides a genuinely great experience for language learners and is one of the best tools of its kind that I have tried.
I signed up to test its approach to language learning - using repetition with flashcards to help to memorise language.
This is what Memrise promises to do and it delivers.
So, yes, Memrise does work.
Nowadays, the world is full of genuinely excellent language learning resources online that set out to help learners memorise grammar and vocabulary.
I’ve tried many of them and, for me, Memrise is one of the best.
I do highly rate Memrise for the price. For example, if you take an annual plan and study every day, it works out at less than 20p a day.
However, as I have said in other language resource reviews, few things are as effective as face to face human interaction when it comes to learning a new language fast.
Memrise is a great way to build a base of vocabulary and dip your toes in the water. However, I recommend complementing this tool with an online language tutor.
Alternatives to Memrise
This section will focus on some language learning alternatives for those who do not suit Memrise and its language teaching methods.
If you are looking for a tutor rather than a language learning app then consider Preply. Preply is a marketplace where students from all over the world can find one-on-one online tutors for personalised learning programs.
It is very similar to italki, with the same common goals and the same main features. Preply also contains an in-built classroom which enhances the quality and efficiency of lessons for both tutors and students.
Rocket Languages is a software focused language learning app that uses audio lessons, interactive exercises and readings to get you to a conversational level in a foreign language.
Through its structured and proven successful process, you will begin to understand more about the language you are learning quite quickly. Sign up to a trial with Rocket Languages.
Babbel is a subscription based language learning app that to help you learn a new language. It currently offers 14 languages on its unique, user friendly platform. You can use Babbel on desktop and mobile.
Babbel’s desktop and app format is curriculum-based with pre-recorded content including games, quizzes, tests, games and grammar exercises.
It is a great resource if you are looking to learn a language on your own. Babbel's latest feature, Babbel Live, enables you to connect with tutors without leaving the platform.
Like Preply, italki is a global language learning community that connects students and teachers for 1-on-1 online language lessons. Today, more than 10,000 teachers are teaching more than 5 million students over 130 languages on the italki platform.
It is described as the most affordable place to learn a language online with a native tutor.
Teachers on italki set their own prices and availability – you just select the tutor that matches your budget range and schedule.