Rocket Languages Review - An In-Depth Look at Rocket Spanish

This Rocket Languages review takes into account all of the new features being introduced by Rocket Languages for 2021. I discuss my experience using Rocket Spanish, its course structure and lesson features, pricing and how Rocket Languages compares to other language apps on the market.

This Rocket Languages Review is pretty extensive. Please feel free to use the menu to skip to the part most relevant for you. If you’re able to stick around then great!

So, let’s get to it…

Anybody who has done a little research online will see that Rocket Languages is somewhat of a veteran in the language learning space. It is known for its long list of languages from which to choose and for being one of the more expensive language learning apps on the market.

Unlike many language learning resources online, there is no subscription involved. Instead, leaners are required to pay a one-time payment to access full course features and receive lifetime access. 

Rocket Languages has been around a while, since 2004 in fact. It claims to be a ‘recognized leader in online language learning.’

This is certainly true, but I’m going to go through it’s best and worst features to help you decide whether or not Rocket Languages is the right online language resource for you. 

What is Rocket Languages?

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.

As of 2021, Rocket Languages offers 12 languages for English speakers (including Castilian, Latin American Spanish and several Asian languages including Japanese and Korean) as well as three programs for English learners. The platform and its courses are now used by over 1.2 million people. That’s a lot of language learners! So, it must be doing something right…

Languages Available
 with Rocket Languages

Rocket Languages currently offers lifetime access to the following online language courses:

Rocket Spanish
Rocket Portuguese
Rocket Italian
Rocket German
Rocket French
Rocket Russian
Rocket Sign Language
 (American)
Rocket English (for Spanish speakers)
Rocket Japanese
Rocket Korean
Rocket Arabic
(Egyptian)
Rocket Hindi
Rocket Chinese
(Mandarin).

This is an impressive selection, covering Asian languages not currently available with its main competitor, Babbel.

Rocket Spanish continues to be the most popular course at Rocket Languages by some distance, followed closely by Rocket French and Rocket Japanese.

Access to any of these language courses incurs the same cost, starting at around $150. This may seem pretty expensive, and I’m by no means saying it’s cheap, but I do believe the cost is justified for a number of reasons.

Firstly, this option is proven to take learners from beginner to advanced through the following:

  • 370 hours of lesson time
  • 10004 phrases with voice recognition
  • 98 Interactive Audio lessons
  • 87 Language & Culture lessons
  • 3 BONUS Survival Kits worth $149.85

This is a lot more content than is offered by many rival companies.

But it’s not just the amount of content included in Rocket Language courses that make them good value, it’s the course structure and the actual lesson content included.

I’ll go through this now.

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Rocket Language Course Structure

Each language available to learn through Rocket Languages offers a similar course structure. Rocket Spanish contains 3 levels, each of which contains 5-7 modules.

Each module contains a healthy and balanced mix of the following lesson types:

– Interactive Audio Lessons
– Language & Culture Lessons
– Survival Kit Lessons

Between Levels 1 – 3, Rocket Spanish contains more than 200 lessons.

Even with the amount of content included in Rocket Spanish, I don’t believe this alone is enough to take you from complete beginner to complete fluency.

However, by taking all 3 levels you’ll certainly gain a solid foundation in Spanish and get to a level where you can converse comfortably with native speakers.

Let’s take a look at what each of these lesson types actually looks like and whether the approach is right for you.

1. Interactive Audio Lessons

Rocket Languages’ interactive audio lessons are a key part of its language courses. Each of its 3 levels contains approx 30 audio lessons; in total this amounts to more than 60 hours of learning time.

Each Rocket Spanish audio lesson lasts up to 40 minutes. Whilst this may seem long, it is broken down into a well thought through process which includes:

– Time to listen to a native speaker reading a text on a certain topic (more on this in the lesson content section)
– A translation of the content
– Time to respond to and repeat what you’ve heard

Whilst the audio lessons are, well, aural, there are a number of features within each lesson that will appeal particularly to visual learners. In this way, Rocket Languages caters for both aural and visual language learners.

Under each audio clip is a section containing a breakdown of the vocabulary and grammar relating to each content block or topic. This includes flashcards, games and language quizzes.


1.2 The Interactive Audio Lesson is a Successful, Proven Method


There is a reason the audio lessons on Rocket Languages are core to their language courses. In fact, the audio lessons are similar to those of rival company Pimsleur, which practices the SRS Method (Spaced Repetition System). This concludes that the more you hear a word or phrase through spaced intervals, the more likely you are to remember it.

Any Pimsleur vs Rocket review will show that the audio lessons are pretty similar and highly effective. By contrast, Rocket Languages also boasts a separate content section (more on this shortly).

The aim of each audio lesson in Rocket Spanish is to fully immerse you in the language through increased exposure, albeit not strictly through the SRS Method.

That said, the flashcards below the audio section do serve this purpose, accompanied by language games and quizzes.

Each lesson provides an opportunity for you to speak, even though the main aim is to listen, and lessons provide comprehensive explanations of the grammatical aspects of the Spanish language (or whichever language course you take).

Don’t let this put you off even if grammar isn’t your thing. The explanations are carried out in a way that makes basic Spanish grammar understandable. It’s a similar approach to that of Coffee Break Spanish podcast, which also discusses grammar throughout its lessons.

The Rocket Spanish audio lessons contain two speakers, one a native Spanish speaker and the other a native English speaker. As a learner, you find yourself third wheeling at times, listening to more of a discussion than a lesson!

The format of the audio lessons is good but there is one thing in particular that could be improved, in my opinion. At times, the lessons seemed very scripted, unlike similar Spanish learning resources such as Coffee Break Spanish. I presume this is the case not only for Rocket Spanish but also for other Rocket languages.

image of fluencia levels

2. Language & Culture Lessons

Each level (between 1 – 3) contains 60 hours of Language and Culture lessons in addition to the 60 hours of audio lessons. Rocket Languages really does provide a lot of content with some of the most comprehensive courses I have trialled, especially when compared to other language resources.

There is a much greater emphasis on grammar within the culture lessons than there is within the audio lessons, despite the fact that the audio lessons do touch on grammar and sentence structure frequently.

There are two main differences between the audio lessons and the language and culture lessons.

Firstly, perhaps as you might expect, you get a much deeper understanding of the people that speak the language within Rocket Languages’ culture lessons, as well as their countries, customs and traditions.

Secondly, the language and culture lessons do not contain any audio. Instead, they are solely text orientated, much like a Spanish textbook.

In my opinion, this is both positive and negative. I do like the fact that Rocket Spanish provides an opportunity to better your Spanish reading and writing skills, (in addition to the listening and speaking exercises in the audio lessons), but text heavy content puts visual learners at a disadvantage.

If you are a visual learner (you learn languages best through visual tools) then you may not be a fan of the language and culture lessons for this reason.

It’s clear to see that Rocket Languages is trying to benefit language learners of all types by mixing its teaching methods in this way.

Writing Lessons

This information is not relevant for anybody thinking of taking Rocket Spanish but it will be useful for anybody thinking of learning a language with a different writing system.

For languages within this bracket (such as Arabic, Chinese or Hindi), Rocket Languages dedicates part of its online language courses to writing.

The course provides videos which prompt you to watch and copy the writing styles. This isn’t my preferred way to learn languages, but I do feel Rocket Languages is limited here with its ways to teach writing styles.

Within this section there isn’t a lot that you couldn’t just find online for free.

3. Survival Kit Lessons

Rocket Spanish, French, German etc also contains Survival Kit lessons. This particular part of the course reminds me of my time using Memrise Japanese. It brings together a bunch of useful vocabulary related to specific topics and daily scenarios. This includes eating out, commuting to work, going shopping etc.

The survival kit lessons in Rocket Spanish are useful, but in my opinion are not as valuable as the audio and language & culture lessons. You’ll find a lot more value in the audio and language lessons than in any other part of the course.

image of fluencia culture section

Rocket Languages Lesson Content

There are a few points I want to cover here, not just for Rocket Spanish but for all Rocket Language courses.

1. You Can Take Your Study Offline

The great thing about Rocket Languages is that you are not restricted to learning a language online or on its platform. All of the audio content is downloadable as MP3 so you can study Spanish away from the platform, whilst driving to work etc.

This is not something you can do with the likes of Duolingo, Babbel, Memrise etc so it puts Rocket Languages ahead in this aspect.

2. Advanced Levels Are Pretty Unique

Rocket Languages has invested heavily in its advanced levels to ensure the experience for language learners does not decline the further they progress. This makes it better for intermediate and advanced learners than competitor Babbel, for example, where all the emphasis is on beginners courses with little content for intermediate and advanced learners. 

The Rocket Spanish advanced content builds upon what has been covered already and contains a number of interesting cultural topics and talking points.

3. The Travelogues Contain Some of the Best Language Content

Note these are separate – Rocket Languages also boasts Travelogues for Rocket Spanish, French, Russian and Italian. Unlike the survival kits, the travelogues offer excellent content which not only recaps what you’ve learned so far, but also delves deep into Latin America with two natives who explore the region and the various cultural elements within it.

The Rocket Spanish Travelogues are (sort of) standalone courses, not included with the main Level packages. However, they are much cheaper to purchase when as an add on, not on their own.

The travelogues contain situational dialogues, audio tracks, Spanish to English toggling, Reinforcement Testing, Flashcards, Progress tracking and a lot more.

If you are learning Spanish for travel specifically rather than just for fun then I do recommend giving the travelogues a go; they’re one of the best things about Rocket Spanish.

The Desktop Experience

I mentioned the quality of Rocket App earlier, but Rocket Languages has also improved its desktop experience for its users.

The new experience is bright and visually appealing with an interface that is much easier to navigate than before. Rocket Languages has definitely caught up with Duolingo and Babbel in this aspect, who were miles ahead before with their language course layouts and overall user experience. 

The Rocket desktop now has an fresh interface which splits content and other features into separate columns, making navigation much easier.

Rocket Languages App

As mentioned, you can take your study offline with Rocket Languages by downloading the audio content. It’s clear to see that Rocket Languages have invested heavily in the app, which also provides a way to learn on the go and practice whenever/wherever you like.

Rocket Languages is not unique in having an app to help you study away from a desktop but it does at least provide another reason to consider learning a language with them.

The Rocket app is available for Android as well as iOS.

Pricing and Refunds

Each language has 3 levels and you can purchase them individually, or as a bundle.

In all cases, you pay a one-time fee in order to receive lifetime access. This is different to most language software companies that charge less but on a recurring monthly basis.

The pricing varies throughout the year but on average it is set out as follows:

Level 1 – $149.95
Level 1 & 2  $299.90
Levels 1, 2 & 3 – $449.85

Rocket Languages offers everybody a free trial, which isn’t limited by time but rather by content. You’ll have access to 4 Rocket Spanish (or French, German etc) lessons, but all the other content is blocked.

As with any online language resource, I recommend taking advantage of a free trial before committing to any purchase.


One final thing to note on pricing is that Rocket Languages has products that are frequently on sale throughout the year, so you will often save money by using coupons online.

Rocket Languages guarantees to refund anybody who is not impressed with its service with 60 days of purchase.

Features You’ll Benefit From with Rocket Languages


There are a number of additional features that anyone learning a language with Rocket Languages will have access to. These include, but are not limited to:

Testing & Reinforcement

As mentioned earlier, Rocket Languages incorporates a number of SRS Method techniques to increase the speed at which you can learn a language. After all, they do guarantee you’ll be intermediate by Level 2 and advanced by Level 3.

These methods include:

Flashcards – Vocabulary practice
Quizzes – Multiple choice questions to test how well you have understood audio lessons
Write it, Sort it & Draw it – This depends on the language you’re learning, but the activities are there to help you develop your reading and writing skills after lessons.

Voice Recognition

This is a relatively new feature and one which Rocket Languages was previously lacking. Similarly to its competitors Duolingo and Babbel, Rocket Languages now uses a Google Web Speech API which is able to track and recognize your pronunciation before comparing it with the native speakers in the Rocket course.

You’re given a score out of 100, based on how good your pronunciation is.

Whilst this feature is definitely an improvement on previous Rocket versions, I don’t believe it’s anywhere near as beneficial as practicing your pronunciation with a language tutor.

Language Learning Support

If you purchase a Rocket Language course then you’ll have access to fellow language learners, teachers and native speakers using Rocket Spanish, French, German etc. You’ll be able to ask and answer questions in a language forum style format.

Definitely a cool feature and a good way to meet other language learners.

Overall PROS & CONS

PROS

– No Subscription Fees
– You can study offline
– Comprehensive Courses
– FREE Trial for All Users
– Great Advanced Courses
– Audio, Culture & Pronunciation Practice Covered
– Excellent Travelogues for Rocket Spanish, French, Italian and Russia
– Very Good App & Website Experience

CONS

– One-Time Payment Not Cheap
– Prices vary and often fluctuate
– Survival Kit Lessons Not Great
– Language tutor required as supplement to improve speaking

Alternatives to Rocket Languages

There are dozens of quality language learning resources online.

If, having read this Rocket Languages review, you are still not sure about signing up then please feel free to check out the other possible resources below.

I have drawn a quick comparison between both resources. 

Rocket Languages vs Pimsleur

I am a big advocate of Pimsleur and I am using it to learn Japanese. It uses the successful SRS (Spaced Repetition Method) with flashcards. The more you hear a word or phrase through spaced intervals, the more likely you are to remember it; they demonstrate this very well.

Rocket Languages and Pimsleur are very similar language learning platforms but Pimsleur is definitely a better resource for complete beginners, particularly for those who want to focus on pronunciation.

You can read my review on Pimsleur here.

Rocket Languages vs Duolingo

Duolingo is a great resource for the masses because it’s fun, visual engaging and, most importantly, free.

In my opinion, it is impossible to learn a language properly with Duolingo and I would never encourage somebody to try to do so. I think there are far better resources online.

That said, I think Duolingo is one of the best free language learning resources and it does come with a lot of free material.

Rocket Languages vs LanguagePod101

All LanguagePod101 courses focus on audio and visual learning just like Rocket Languages. LanguagePod101 contains dozens of languages. The cost is also a lot cheaper, although you will need to sign up to a monthly subscription.

The quality of LanguagePod101 is not as high as Rocket Languages, but this is very much reflected in the price.

Rocket Languages vs Rosetta Stone

Rosetta Stone is somewhat of a veteran in the language learning field. The approach of both Rocket Languages and Rosetta stone is similar.

Both share a clear, structured, methodical structure which takes beginners to an advanced level in a logical, well thought out way. Both are also more expensive than many competitors.

Rocket Languages Review Summary - Final Thoughts

Rocket Languages is one of the more expensive online language learning resources short term as it requires a one-time payment. Its lesson features, comprehensive courses and travelogues make it better than the majority of its competitors for beginners, intermediate and advanced learners.

This means that a one-time payment can indeed take you from complete beginner to advanced level with the right commitment and study time.

However, Rocket Languages alone will not make you fluent in any language. But it will definitely give you a strong, comprehensive understanding of it.

In any case, you will need to compliment any work with human interaction and, if possible, face to face contact.

When learning any language, it’s best to find a tutor. You can find one on italki (lessons starting from $4 p/hour). I am currently learning Japanese and mix my software related study with 1 hour of online class per week.

Not only does finding a tutor increase your confidence when it comes to speaking, but it also reminds you (and me) why we learn languages. To interact with new people, broaden our perspectives and explore new cultures.

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