SmarterGerman Review: Cost, Effectiveness & Alternatives

We have just finished trialing the SmarterGerman online German courses, created by a native German teacher, Michael Schmitz. In this post, youโ€™ll find out all about this German learning resource, how we rate it, and what we believe to be the most positive/negative features.

By the end of this SmarterGerman course review, youโ€™ll be familiar with the key components of SmarterGerman courses, including:

๐Ÿ‘ The effectiveness of this unique teaching approach when learning German
๐Ÿ‘ Whether or not this style of language teaching is suited to those who have never studied German
๐Ÿ‘ How effective the course will be for anyone who wants to learn German grammar and vocabulary

We will also cover exactly what each SmarterGerman course includes, how they compare with other online German courses, and whether the course offers a way to learn German effectively at your own pace (as it claims).

Our ratings for SmarterGerman

SmarterGerman

Effectiveness

Value for Money

4.5 out of 5.0 stars4.0 out of 5.0 stars
An excellent resource for improving overall German comprehensionGood value with payment plans available. Bundle Packages are best value

Ease of Use

Languages

5.0 out of 5.0 stars4.0 out of 5.0 stars
New, modern dashboard with access to a lot of learning materialPotential for a 'Smarter' brand covering multiple languages
โœ… Pros
โŒ Cons
๐Ÿ‘ Proven, Effective Methods
๐Ÿ‘ Free Trial Available
๐Ÿ‘ Long-term Study Choice
๐Ÿ‘Ž Not Cheap
๐Ÿ‘Ž Additional speaking resource may be useful
SmarterGerman is unique in the online language learning market. Its focus on grammar, new vocabulary, and structure makes it a well-rounded option which leads to inevitable language progression if you follow Michael's methods.

Michael is an enthusiastic teacher who has created a series of enjoyable, comprehensive courses.

How we did this SmarterGerman review

We wanted to make this SmarterGerman review as varied, informative, and unbiased as possible.

The review is written based on the experiences of a French and Spanish teacher called James (the founder of travel-lingual.com), and a regular course tester, Charlie.ย 

James studied German at school but is a beginner in the German language with a very limited understanding of German grammar and intermediate vocabulary.

Image of smiling man in blue jumper

He is, therefore, an ideal student to make use of the A2 Beginner or B1 Intermediate Course. Charlie has never studied German and is best suited to the A1 Beginners Course.ย 

The scoring system provided above is based on comparisons between SmarterGerman and other competitor German learning courses that the two have tried.ย 

Five stars indicate excellence, whilst a lower star rating indicates room for improvement.ย 

The factors listed in the review table above are measured in the following ways:

โœ…ย Effectiveness โ€“ This is measured by the progress that both were able to make during the time they had access to the German courses, and the projected progress one would be able to make using this resource to learn German over a prolonged period.
โœ…ย Value for money โ€“ They compare the SmarterGerman cost with other German courses.
โœ…ย Ease of use โ€“ As language learners, user experience plays a large part in whether we keep coming back. If we do, we tend to progress. A poor user experience usually leads to a lack of progress.
โœ…ย Languages Available โ€“ Offering multiple languages by no means makes an app or language platform better. However, it can mean theyโ€™re more popular and capture a wider audience, leading to a larger investment in the factors above.

What Is SmarterGerman?

SmarterGerman is a series of online German courses created by Michael Schmitz.

Michael is also the teacher who features in lessons throughout each course, guiding students on their language-learning journey.

There is a SmarterGerman course for every level, from A1 beginner through to C1 advanced.

Each course is designed specifically for those wanting to improve all aspects of German comprehension, including their knowledge of German grammar.

They also help students to speak with help of efficient self-learning techniques (provided by Michael) making use of state-of-the-art technology.

SmarterGerman presents a holistic, perhaps disruptive approach to language learning which differs from the mainstream German courses we’ve tried.


Our first impression of SmarterGerman

Our first impressions of the dashboard and course layout were extremely positive.

It is clear to see that Michael has put a lot of thought and effort into designing an intuitive and user-friendly platform, which connects learners and creates a community of language learners with Q&A capabilities and an open forum.

The A1 course for complete beginners is very comprehensive, covering all the basics that you would expect to learn in a German course for beginners.

This includes all the materials and videos necessary to improve vocabulary and grammar comprehension, but without grammar tables or vocabulary lists.

Michael claims that these are redundant, and that progression will come intuitively through his approach.

Upon first impressions of his lessons, we can understand this logic.

SmarterGerman Cost: How much do you need to pay?

SmarterGerman courses cost $249 and are backed by an unconditional free trial, providing access to the first lesson of any language course in order to ascertain your ability level.

Beginner Package (A1-B1) and Ultimate Package (A1 – C1) options are also available, which enable you to save 40% on 3 and 5 courses combined respectively.

Course Structure & Components

Anybody familiar with SmarterGerman may recall the Everyday German course. This is no longer available (as we knew it) and has been updated by the current courses. We’ll get into these below.

In terms of structure and format, each SmarterGerman course contains between 35-50 individual, pre-recorded lessons created by Michael.ย 

In addition, the courses come with a range of materials designed to give you more exposure to the language and culture.ย 

Audio recordings are an integral part of each course, but a great deal of the training is delivered via video. Exercises in each session cover grammar and phrasing, as well as more general strategies to learn German faster without focusing on grammar.

We like the fact that we were able to work at our own speed throughout each lesson.

Below, you’ll find a video that demonstrates Michael’s teaching style and the techniques he uses to dissect the German language, making it easier for learners.

The German Learning Courses Available

The courses are separated based on the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) ability model.ย 

Below, we provide a synopsis of each course and the contents you can expect to come across, should you sign up for them.

We have taken this information straight from the SmarterGerman website.

A1 Beginners German

The A1 Beginners German course is for complete beginners.

The course is designed to equip you with the skills you need in order to start communicating in German from day one.

Included in the course are:

๐Ÿ‘ Video and audio training which, at A1, A2, and B1, are centered aroundย a detective story distributed over 50 lessons
๐Ÿ‘ 50 lessons that you can work through at your own pace
๐Ÿ‘ Powerful learning techniques provided by Michael

A2 Elementary German

The A2 Elementary German course is for those who already have a level beyond A1.

Included in the course are:

๐Ÿ‘ Many hours of video instructions and audio materials
๐Ÿ‘ 50 lessons that you can work through at your own pace

B1 Intermediate German

This is the first level of intermediate German.

Included in the course are:

๐Ÿ‘ 35 hours of video and detailed supporting audio and text modules
๐Ÿ‘ Over 54 lessons that you can work through at your own pace.

B2 Upper-Intermediate German

This is the second level of intermediate German.

Included in the course are:

๐Ÿ‘ 50+ videos with a total runtime of 6 hours that explain the B2 German grammar and powerful learning techniques in simple English
๐Ÿ‘ 32 lessons that are practical, go-at-your-own-pace learning
๐Ÿ‘ Many useful tips, tricks & strategies to make your German learning more joyful and effective.

C1 Advanced German

This is the highest level and suitable certainly for university-level German learners.

Included in the course are:

๐Ÿ‘ Plenty of texts, audio material, exercises, and videos that explain and train German in simple English
๐Ÿ‘ 30 lessons that are practical, go-at-your-own-pace learning

Special Courses

Also available are special courses including:

๐Ÿ‘ B1 Exam Preparation Course
๐Ÿ‘ Corrections Services (A1-C1)
๐Ÿ‘ Infinite Motivation Training
๐Ÿ‘ Hack the German Articles (overcoming German articles Der, Die & Das)

Course Packages (40% saving)

Beginner Package (A1-B1) and Ultimate Package (B1 – C1) options are also available, which enable you to save 40% on 3 individual courses combined.

This is a great option if you are a complete beginner, or starting at B1.

The level of support provided by Michael

Michael hosts a weekly Free Group Coaching for his community of German learners (which is now more than 1,000+ people strong). This is super helpful.

He also answers questions for individuals and shows his responses to his community of learners on the Community Platform (not via email).ย 

We thought this was a great feature. It’s much more personalized than other online German courses.

We also emailed Michael personally with a question relating to the course and received a response in less than 2 hours.

It is rare to find this high level of service directly with a tutor, or the ability to mix with other learners of the target language.

image of the SmarterGerman dashboard

What we like most about SmarterGerman online courses

There are several aspects we like a lot about Michael’s courses. We have summarized these benefits below.

๐Ÿ‘ Michael’s approach to learning German is refreshing and super useful. No grammar tables or long lists of vocabulary are involved. Instead, through your own personal account, he takes you through the correct and most efficient methods to learn German.
๐Ÿ‘ The techniques covered will help you to converse in German in everyday life.
๐Ÿ‘ Payment plans are available (up to 3 installments for the bundles and 2 installments for all other language courses) as well as a one-time payment.

This does not pressure you into learning at any pace, other than the one that suits you.

What we dislike about SmarterGerman online courses

As always, there are aspects that could be improved.ย 

๐Ÿ‘Ž As far as we know, there is no companion app for mobile devices.

That said, all of the courses are mobile-friendly.

What is the best online German course? Online German Learning Alternatives

If you’ve made it this far, you’ll see we rate SmarterGerman highly.

However, there are other ways to immerse yourself into German with authentic online material. Whether or not these options are better depends on your personal learning style.

Below, we have listed SmarterGerman alternatives, with a quick comparison between these services, and those offered by Michael at Smarter German.

Rocket German

Rocket German is an online German course. However, it is entirely different from SmarterGerman.

Both courses focus on German grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation with interactive exercises throughout.

However, SmartGerman is more personalized. Michael helps to guide you through the learning process and is constantly developing resources.

Rocket German requires a one-time payment but does offer all users a 7-Day free trial. See our Rocket Languages review.

Pimsleur German

Pimsleur German is an audio-based German course that is designed for those who want to improve overall German comprehension. An image of the Pimsleur logo

The focus of Pimsleur courses is on helping learners to develop good pronunciation by repeating phrases and words often.

This course is different from SmarterGerman because there is no focus on reading and more focus on listening.

Unlike SmarterGerman and Rocket German, Pimsleur provides a subscription-based model which you can cancel at any time.

You can also make use of a 7-Day free trial. See our Pimsleur review.

Glossika German

Glossika German is a different kind of online German course. It helps you to learn through spaced repetition, just like Pimsleur German.

Glossika is best for those who want to focus on their German pronunciation. It provides audio recordings of a native speaker, which you can repeat.

However, the course is repetitive and we quickly lost interest when trialing Glossika German.

Glossikaโ€™s payment structure is also different from Smarter German and Rocket German. It offers a subscription model which you can cancel at any time.

Is Smarter German legit?

Yes, SmarterGerman is legit. In fact, it comprises an online community of more than 1,000 German language learners.

We are answering this question as it is asked frequently by people looking for suitable online German courses.

Summary: SmarterGerman Course Review

Weโ€™ve provided a lot of info in this post relating to SmarterGerman, covering the key components of each course and what you can expect from Michael’s unique approach to learning German.

We have also discussed benefits and areas for improvement.

Letโ€™s recap below on the main points.

โœ… SmarterGerman courses are comprehensive, well-structured, and provide good value for money. This statement is based on our experience trialing the A1 Beginners’ Course.
โœ… There are no hidden costs, and all material can be accessed with a one-time payment or through installment plans (not subscriptions).
โœ… The community of online learners makes it possible to connect with other German-language learners who share the same goals, interests, and passions.
โœ… A little more speaking practice would be great.

SmarterGerman provides you with an effective way to learn German that differs from almost all online German courses that we have come across.

Overall, we rate SmarterGerman highly and believe it is one of the best online German courses currently available.

We hope you found this review helpful! If you’re considering learning German, why not sign up to SmarterGerman and take the first lesson of any language course completely free of charge?

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Author bio: Image of smiling man in blue jumper

James is the founder of travel-lingual.com, this online travel, and language blog. He is a tutor of English, Spanish and French. Furthermore, he has visited 35 countries and has tried dozens of language courses to date, including SmarterGerman.

He has worked as a language teacher in France, Spain, Argentina, and Costa Rica. His love of languages led him to create this blog, to share best practices in language learning and inspire others to learn!

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