Published: January 4, 2024

SmarterGerman Review: Excellent Prep for Travel to Germany

SmarterGerman Review: Excellent Prep for Travel to Germany

I have just finished trialing the SmarterGerman online German courses, created by a German instructor Michael Schmitz. 

In this post, you’ll find out all about this German learning resource, how I rate it, and what I believe to be the most positive features, as well as areas for improvement.

In this review, you’ll learn 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.

This will be of great help once you decide to travel to Germany and need to communicate with the local people.

Quick SmarterGerman Course Review

Quick SmarterGerman Course Review

In this comprehensive SmarterGerman course review, I have delved into the key components of each course, highlighting Michael's distinctive approach to German language learning.

I have outlined the benefits of the courses, including their comprehensive content, user-friendly platform, and personalized support from Michael himself.

While there are areas for improvement, such as the lack of a companion app and specific travel-themed courses, the overall consensus is that SmarterGerman offers a valuable and well-structured learning experience for individuals looking to enhance their German language skills and visit a German-speaking country.

What Is SmarterGerman?

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 the 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. 

If you want to see how I rated this course, you can check the Review Methods section below. 

How I Did This SmarterGerman Review

a man and two women with glasses on their tables

Let’s get the important stuff out of the way first:

  1. Yes, that’s me on the right with some friends in Berlin. In Friedrichshain, to be precise, an awesome neighborhood in Berlin with a punky, alternative vibe. Spoiler alert - I am not punky or alternative.
  2. Yes, I did go all the way to Germany and take my friends to a Vietnamese restaurant - there’s only so much Bratwurst one man can eat! 

I’m James, and I wanted to make this review as varied, informative and unbiased as possible. 

The review is written based on my own experience logging into SmarterGerman and testing the courses myself. 

I am a French and Spanish teacher who has studied German in the past, but I am a complete beginner with a limited understanding of German grammar and intermediate vocabulary.

I am, therefore, an ideal student to make use of the A2 Beginner or B1 Intermediate Course. 

The scoring system and my comments in this review are based on comparisons between SmarterGerman and other competitor German learning courses that I have tried. 

The Review Factors

review factors of travel-lingual

The SmarterGerman courses, and the basis for my comments and feedback, were reviewed based on the following factors.

  • Effectiveness – This is measured by the progress that I was able to make during the time I 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.
  • Value for money – I compare the SmarterGerman cost with other German courses.
  • Ease of use – 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.
  • Courses Available – Offering multiple courses by no means makes an app or language platform better. However, it is inconvenient to start a course at beginner level, before having to find another platform as we progress. (Hint: SmarterGerman takes away this painpoint).

First Impression of SmarterGerman

First Impression of SmarterGerman

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

It is clear to see that Michael has put a lot of thought, effort and investment 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, I can understand this logic. He really is unique in his teaching approach and unlike any other German teacher I have come across.

SmarterGerman Cost: How Much Do You Need to Pay?

SmarterGerman Cost: How Much Do You Need to Pay?

An individual SmarterGerman language course, covering one whole language level (A1, A2, B1, B2) costs $349 including tax

Every course is backed by an unconditional free trial, providing access to the first lesson of any language course in order to ascertain your ability level.

As you can see below, Michael also offers numerous Bundle Packages, including Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced, that enable you to save between 33% and 40%.

monthly subscriptions for Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced

Furthermore, there is also an EXPERT Bundle available, which includes all 5 Language Levels (A1, A2, B1, B2, C1).

Who Can Benefit from this Course?

Who Can Benefit from this Course?

SmarterGerman is an exceptional resource for individuals planning to travel or study in Germany, particularly for those seeking to enhance their reading, writing, and listening skills in the language. 

With its well-designed courses and the guidance of a native German teacher, the program provides an ideal platform for practicing and improving German reading, writing, and listening abilities. 

The courses also enable students to understand more about Michael’s home country, Germany, which offers a rich cultural heritage, breathtaking landscapes, and vibrant cities. These are referenced frequently in his courses. 

So, SmarterGerman's courses enable learners to gain a deeper understanding not just of the German language, but also its culture. This equips students with the necessary skills to communicate effectively during their travels. 

Through the dashboard, you’ll gain access to state-of-the-art technology and self-learning techniques, allowing you to develop conversational fluency as you progress through the levels. 

By investing in this course, you'll embark on a language-learning journey that will enhance your travel experiences and open doors to meaningful connections with the German-speaking world.

Course Structure & Components

Course Structure & Components

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

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

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.

I like the fact that I was able to work at my own speed throughout each lesson.

The German Learning Courses Available

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

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

To make sure that you have all current information, I have taken this information straight from the SmarterGerman website.

A1 Beginners German

A1 Beginners German

The A1 Beginners German course is for complete beginners. 

So, even if you don't know a single German word it can get the ball rolling. The course provides great advice for beginners. 

You can learn everything from your first words to sentence structure and basic grammar.

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:

  • Video and audio training are prominent in the courses. 
  • At A1, A2, and B1, the lessons are centered around a detective story distributed over 50 lessons that you can work through at your own pace. 
  • You will experience powerful learning techniques provided by Michael.

A2 Elementary German

A2 Elementary German

The A2 Elementary German course is for those who already have a basic understanding of German beyond A1.

Included in the course:

  • Many hours of video instructions and audio materials 
  • 50 lessons that you can work through at your own pace.

B1 Intermediate German

B1 Intermediate German

This is the first level of intermediate German

At this point, you should have a good basic vocabulary and a decent understanding of the tenses in German.

Included in the course:

  • 35 hours of video and detailed supporting audio 
  • Text modules and over 54 lessons that you can work through at your own pace. 
  • If you want to have a fulfilling trip to Germany, getting to this level of proficiency opens up a lot of doors for work, education, and social opportunities.

B2 Upper-Intermediate German

B2 Upper-Intermediate German

B2 is the second level of intermediate German.

Included in the course:

  • 50+ videos with a total runtime of 6 hours 
  • Detailed explanations of B2 German grammar 
  • Powerful learning techniques in simple English. 
  • 32 lessons that are practical and can be completed in your own time.
  • Access to many useful tips, tricks & strategies to make your German language learning more joyful and effective.

C1 Advanced German

C1 Advanced German

C1 is the highest level and is suitable for university-level German students and anyone who is verging on fluency.

Included in the course:

  • Plenty of texts, audio material, exercises, and videos that explain and train German in simple English 
  • 30 lessons that are practical and can be completed at your own pace.

Special Courses

Special Courses

Also available are special courses including:

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

SmarterGerman Course Packages (40% saving)

Course Packages (40% saving)

The 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

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 3,000+ 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). 

I thought this was a great feature. It's much more personalized than other online German courses, or most language courses in general.

I 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.

What We Like Most About SmarterGerman Online Courses

What We Like Most About SmarterGerman Online Courses

There are several aspects I like a lot about Michael's courses. I have summarized these benefits below.

  • 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 most efficient methods to learn German.
  • The techniques covered will help you to converse in German in everyday life and during a trip to Germany or a German-speaking country.
  • 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 your own.

Areas for Improvement in the SmarterGerman Online Courses

Areas for Improvement in the SmarterGerman Online Courses

As always, there are aspects that could be improved. I mean, nothing is perfect, right? 

While SmarterGerman online courses have numerous benefits, there are a few areas that could be enhanced. 

One notable aspect is the absence of a companion app specifically designed for mobile devices.

However, it's worth mentioning that despite this limitation, all of the courses are still accessible and user-friendly on mobile devices. 

While a dedicated app would enhance the overall learning experience, the courses' mobile-friendly nature ensures that learners can access and engage with the content conveniently on their smartphones or tablets.

Moreover, it would be great to have a course designed specifically for useful travel phrases and vocabulary in German so people planning a trip to Germany could focus specifically on words and phrases associated with travel in Germany.

What is the Best Online German Course? Online German Learning Alternatives

If you've come this far, it's evident that I hold SmarterGerman in high regard. 

However, I recognize that different individuals have unique learning styles, and there are alternative options to immerse yourself in German using authentic online resources.

Let's explore some alternatives to SmarterGerman and briefly compare them to Michael's offerings. 

Keep in mind that the best choice depends on your preferences and learning style. 

Before you head over to Germany and explore the fascinating history, culture, and natural sites the country has to offer, check these out.

Here are a few alternatives worth considering.

Rocket German

Rocket German

Rocket German is an online German course that 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. On the other hand, Rocket German focuses more on speaking skills.

Pimsleur German

Pimsleur German

Pimsleur German is an audio-based German course that is designed for those who want to improve overall German comprehension. 

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.

Glossika German

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. Glossika’s payment structure is also different from SmarterGerman and Rocket German. 

It offers a subscription model which you can cancel at any time.

Is SmarterGerman Legit?

Is SmarterGerman Legit?

SmarterGerman is indeed a legitimate online German learning platform. Its credibility is reinforced by the fact that it boasts a thriving community of over 1,000 learners. 

The question of legitimacy is a common concern among individuals seeking reliable online German courses, and SmarterGerman has established itself as a reputable option.

The positive feedback and reviews from learners further validate its legitimacy. 

By providing comprehensive courses, personalized guidance, and responsive customer support, SmarterGerman has built a solid reputation within the language learning community.

So, if you're considering enrolling in SmarterGerman, rest assured that you're choosing a legitimate and trusted resource to support your German language journey.

FAQs Related to this SmarterGerman Review

Now that you know all about SmarterGerman let's take a look at some frequently asked questions related to learning German.

Is German grammar considered to be difficult to learn?

German grammar can be challenging due to its complex structure, including cases and word order. However, with proper guidance and resources like SmarterGerman, learners can navigate these intricacies effectively, making German learning an achievable goal.

Is learning the German language possible for older people?

Absolutely, age is not a barrier to learning German. With dedication, practice, and tailored resources, older learners can acquire language skills successfully. SmarterGerman's courses provide a supportive and flexible learning environment for learners of all ages, including older individuals.

How much time does learning German take?

The time required to learn German varies depending on factors like prior language knowledge and learning consistency. While the learning cycle can be different for each individual, SmarterGerman's courses, combined with regular study time and effective vocabulary learning techniques, can expedite the language-learning process.

Do people speak English in Germany?

English proficiency in Germany is generally high, especially among the younger generation and in urban areas. However, learning some basic German phrases and attempting to communicate in German is highly appreciated and can enhance your experience in Germany. SmarterGerman helps you develop the necessary language skills to communicate confidently during your stay.

Where else can I learn German online?

Youtube and TikTok can be very helpful resources for learning German as you can hear natives talk and have fun. However, these sites are not official teaching platforms and cannot be used as your only learning resources. Other resources include online self-taught German courses, or personalized classes with your own teacher or conversation trainer.

Is learning German good for the brain?

Yes, learning German is very good for your brain. It improves your cognitive function, allowing you to be better at problem-solving, memory retention, and critical thinking. Learning vocabulary and making sense of a new grammar system challenges the brain and builds a lot of new connections. 

Moreover, speaking practice is great for your self-esteem, and confidence, and opening up new opportunities for travel, socializing, and working abroad, all of which are beneficial to your mental health.

Summing up this SmarterGerman Review: Final Thoughts 

SmarterGerman courses are comprehensive, well-structured, and provide good value for money. This statement is based on our experience trialing the Beginners' Course.

There are no hidden costs, and all material can be accessed with a one-time payment or through installment plans (not subscriptions). 

Overall, I rate SmarterGerman highly and believe its courses are some of the best online German courses currently available. I hope you found this in-depth review helpful.

If you're considering traveling to Germany or another German-speaking country, why not sign up for SmarterGerman and take the first lesson of any language course completely free of charge? 

It can be very helpful when you travel to Germany. Sign up for an exclusive free trial via the link below.

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