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Rocket Spanish Review – Boring But Still A Decent Course

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Quick Review

3.8 

Summary:

Rocket Spanish is a pretty good Spanish course but not my personal favorite. Although the lessons tend to be very boring, the content is well structured and fairly comprehensive. They have a good mixture of listening, speaking, grammar, and review activities.

Quality

The app and the lessons are well designed but there are some minor annoyances.

Thoroughnes

There are lots of practice activities following each lesson.

Value

Not cheap but not absurdly expensive either.

Price

Level 1 costs $99.95. Levels 1 & 2 costs $249.90. Levels 1, 2 & 3 costs $259.90

Rocket Spanish is a pretty good course. It’s not my favorite but it’s not bad either.

For some people, it could be exactly what they’re looking for in a course. For me personally, I’d prefer to use something else. It just wasn’t a great fit for my learning style.

I like the fact that it provides a structured learning plan, forces you to speak throughout, provides lots of opportunities to review, and doesn’t shy away from the grammar.

But, I found the audio lessons to be really boring, the cultural lessons felt lazy, and I’m sure I’d eventually get tired of their review exercises.

If you can push yourself to consistently use Rocket Spanish, you’ll definitely learn a lot. I would just have a hard time getting myself to continually complete the lessons.

In this review, I’ll share what exactly it’s like to use Rocket Spanish – the things that annoy me and what they do well. I’ll also include some possible alternatives.

Course Structure

There are three levels of Rocket Spanish.

Each level contains between 6-8 modules.

In each module, there are 3 types of lessons – interactive audio lessons, language and culture lessons, and the survival kit lessons.

Typically, you’ll find between 4-6 interactive audio lessons, 4-6 language and culture lessons, and 2 survival kit lessons within each module.

In total, there are over 200 lessons split between the three levels of Rocket Spanish.

While these lessons won’t be enough to get you to fluency, you could likely reach a solid intermediate level. Of course, using Rocket Spanish in conjunction with some other tools would help you progress even faster.

Now, let’s take a detailed look at what each of these lessons is like, starting with the interactive audio lessons.

Interactive Audio Lessons

The first lessons you’ll find are the interactive audio lessons which typically last between 20-30 minutes.

They generally start out with a quick review of the previous lesson and then tell you a little more about what will be included in this lesson. The hosts will have a short conversation in Spanish which will then be discussed throughout the audio lesson.

The lessons are interactive in the sense that you’re meant to speak throughout. If you don’t speak out loud, you won’t get as much out of the courses.

They focus on conversational language but there’s also a fair amount of grammar and explanations of various aspects of the Spanish language.

At the beginner level, there are two hosts. One usually speaks English and the other speaks entirely in Spanish. At levels 2 and 3, there were three hosts, two of which speak entirely in Spanish.

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Personally, I found the audio lessons to be really boring.

That’s not necessarily a problem unique to Rocket Spanish but I’ve seen others describe their lessons as fun and interesting, but I just don’t agree.

In their defense, they try to make it more fun by having some lighthearted moments, but to me, it just felt extremely scripted and a bit cheesy.

The Spanish speaking hosts model their language very clearly. Often saying a word or phrase several times and leaving space for you to repeat. Sometimes they’ll break down a word into smaller parts, where you’re meant to say one part, then the other, before combining them together.

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Frequently, the English speaking host will ask, “How do you say” and leave a space where you’re meant to answer in Spanish. I like how you’re not always just repeating a sentence but actually have to remember how to say it.

One thing that drives me crazy in the audio lessons is how often the host says, “You should have said ….” after you fill in the pause by speaking out loud.

It may not sound so bad, but when you hear “You should have said” a couple dozen times in a single lesson, it can become seriously annoying.

They could have easily cut out these “You should have said” parts from the lessons. If instead, the host would just say the sentence in Spanish after the pause, it’d be just as clear what you were supposed to say.

Rocket Spanish include lots of grammar and cultural comments throughout the audio lessons. This is pretty helpful as you’ll get plenty of explanations on things that may be confusing.

At the end of the lesson, there’s a quick review of the dialogue and keywords learned in the lesson.

You’ll also find that you can play the conversation by itself. Additionally, there’s a transcript of the conversation in which you can read the dialogue, play individual lines, and record yourself.

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There’s also an Extra Vocabulary section. This includes all of the different phrases that you’ll have head throughout the audio lesson with the same options of reading, listening, and recording yourself.

It’s a nice addition since much of Spanish content from the lessons doesn’t necessarily come from the dialogue but instead from the explanations and conversation.

Rocket Reinforcement

Much of the benefit to using Rocket Spanish comes from the many ways that you’ll review the lessons.

If you complete all of the activities in this section, you should have no problem remembering what you’ve learned.

This review comes in the form of five activities:

  • Hear it! Say it!
  • Write it!
  • Know it!
  • Quiz
  • Flashcards

Let’s now take a look at what it’s like to go through each of these activities.

Hear it! Say it!

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In this section, you’ll hear a phrase in Spanish and record yourself saying the same phrase and receive a grade on how accurate your pronunciation was.

Afterward, you’ll manually choose whether it was hard, good, or easy.

There are three options for the Rocket Record difficulty – easy, medium, or hard. Supposedly this makes it so that you can adjust how strictly the voice recognition software will grade your recordings.

In practice, I didn’t notice much difference between the three levels. I also found the gradings for the recordings to be really inconsistent.

Sometimes I would intentionally say things completely wrong and be marked correct. Other times I’d say things correctly and be marked wrong. Occasionally, I’d add in random syllables and was surprised to see that the software picked up exactly what I said.

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There are some other courses and apps that also use voice recognition software and none of them work particularly well either. I imagine within a few years, the technology will improve significantly and make this much more accurate.

Regardless, it’s good to record yourself speaking Spanish and hear your pronunciation.

Don’t get annoyed if your recordings are graded poorly in this section but also don’t become too confident if they’re graded well.

Machines still aren’t good enough to judge your speech yet so don’t rely on them. I’d highly recommend getting feedback from a real person.

Speechling is a platform that’s great for this as you can submit an unlimited number of recordings and have them graded by a native Spanish speaker.

Write it!

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This section is composed of dictation exercises. You’ll hear a word or phrase and have to write it down.

If you make a mistake, the correction will be marked in red. It’s a pretty helpful way to remember to use accents when writing. There’s also a virtual keyboard that you can pop open to add the accents or if you hold the letter down it’ll open options to add accents.

This part works pretty well and can definitely help your Spanish spelling.

Again, after clicking the reveal button, you’ll self-grade based on if it was hard, good, or easy for you.

Know it!

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In this activity, you’ll be given an English phrase and have to say it in Spanish. Just like earlier, you’ll record yourself speaking and be given a score on how accurately you said it.

This is another pretty useful way to reinforce what you’ve learned. It forces you to produce the language and not simply understand it.

Quiz

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I thought the quiz section was quite well done, unfortunately, it only includes five questions.

Many other courses that have quizzes often make the answers far too easy. The quizzes on Rocket Spanish contain options that could look correct if you haven’t yet mastered the content. This requires you to actually know your stuff.

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The final part of the Rocket Reinforcement is the flashcards. You can choose to first show a word in English or Spanish, and decide if you want to have audio included.

However, the flashcards only include words from the current lesson.

When you get to this point, you’ve probably recently finished the audio lesson, and now this is the 5th review activity. When you finally get here, I doubt many people will have much difficulty remembering what they’ve learned.

But, I’d imagine many people would struggle to remember content from a lesson they finished a week or two prior. Those are the words that would make more sense to review.

Because of this, I’d suggest using a different program like Anki or Memrise. These platforms use SRS which shows words you struggle with more often and words that are easy less often.

Periodically reviewing the content from these lessons on one of those platforms would make it more difficult to forget what you’ve learned in earlier lessons.

The good news is that Rocket Spanish makes it easy to export the vocabulary you’ve learned so that you can add them to one of those other programs.

Language and Culture LessonsWechatIMG67

The second type of lessons on Rocket Spanish is the Language and Culture Lessons.

In these lessons, there isn’t an audio lesson for you to listen to. Instead, everything is written out, sort of like a textbook.

The language part is generally quite a bit longer and primarily focuses on important grammatical information. These can be really detailed and although most people don’t love grammar, it’s important to learn.

I found this section to be thorough, easy to understand, and useful.

The structure is pretty similar to the audio lessons as well. There are still quite a few recordings scattered throughout the lessons and places where you should record yourself saying the same sentence.

And at the end, there’s the same Rocket Reinforcement with the same type of activities as before.

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The cultural section is a lot shorter and not that good.

The cultural lessons are focused on Latin America as a whole, which makes sense because the course is about Latin American Spanish.

But obviously, Latin America is a huge region with tons of distinctive cultures. While these cultural lessons touch the surface of a lot of different countries, they never go particularly deep anywhere.

I think it would be far more interesting to look more deeply at one culture at a time, changing countries or regions in each lesson.

The fact that these cultural lessons are so short makes it pretty much impossible to learn much from them. They’re typically under 300 words. Compare that to this review alone which is over 2500 words.

It would be easy for these lessons to be really interesting, instead, they just feel half-assed.

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Survival Kit LessonsWechatIMG68

The final type of lesson found in Rocket Spanish is their Survival Kit Lessons.

These are fairly useful but not really my favorite either. On average, there are about two of these lessons per module, except in Level 2 where there are only six total.

You’ll essentially just learn vocabulary and phrases without context. I’d much prefer learning new words in context by using something like LingQ where you can read interesting content at a suitable difficulty level.

You’ll have all the same features, such as the recordings of words and the chance to record yourself speaking, and at the end, you have all the same Rocket Reinforcement activities.

There’s useful stuff to learn in here, but it’s not my favorite way of studying. If I were to learn words out of context like this, I’d rather export the vocabulary to Anki as that will make it easier to remember in the long-term.

Is Rocket Spanish worth paying for?

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Rocket Spanish isn’t the cheapest course around, costing $99.95 for Level 1, $249.90 for Levels 1 & 2. And $259.90 for Levels 1, 2, & 3.

It’s hard to say whether or not it’s worth paying for. It could be the ideal course for some people, while others will dislike it. There are plenty of good points but also a lot that could be improved.

Pros

  • Lessons are structured well and use less English as you move up
  • Lots of opportunities to practice what you’ve learned
  • Lessons force you to speak out loud in Spanish
  • In-depth grammar
  • App and website both work well
  • You’ll make a ton of progress if you stick with it

Cons

  • Audio lessons are very boring
  • The constant “How do you say?” & “You should have said___” in the audio lessons
  • Cultural lessons feel lazy
  • The Rocket Reinforcement would become boring if you use the course long-term
  • You’d probably want to work with a tutor and get more listening practice from podcasts.
  • Fairly expensive

Alternatives

There are a number of good online Spanish courses. And while Rocket Spanish is a pretty good course, it’s not my personal favorite. That honor goes to Baselang.

Baselang

Baselang is a platform where you can take unlimited Spanish classes for $149 a month. You could take five hours of classes every day and reach fluency in no time. Of course, not everyone has enough free time to really take advantage of the unlimited classes. But if you can take at least a few hours of classes per week, it’s definitely worth considering. My in-depth review of Baselang.

Pimsleur

Pimsleur’s lessons are somewhat similar to Rocket Spanish. The difference is that Pimsleur is much more focused on the oral language while ignoring grammar. Studying with Pimsleur will probably lead to a higher level of speaking skills but you’ll have some major gaps in understanding how the language works. My full review of Pimsleur.

Pimsleur’s courses are extremely overpriced but their subscription plan is good value.

Final Thoughts

I don’t love Rocket Spanish but I don’t dislike it either. It’s a good course with tons of opportunities to practice what you’ve learned.

There’s a nice mixture of grammar and speaking throughout. I like how they’ve balanced these two aspects of the language.

If you’re able to stick with the lessons and complete the review activities, you’ll certainly learn a lot of Spanish.

For me, the lessons were really boring and the review exercises got repetitive, fast. Personally, I’d have a hard time sticking with the lessons for all three levels although that may just be a personality thing.

Lots of people seem quite happy with Rocket Spanish.

The good news is that they have a free trial and you don’t need to give any payment information. You can try out the lessons and see if they’re a good fit for you.

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Comments (1)

In addition to the above criticism, which is all very valid; I’d add the voice recognition is terrible! I’ve tried using it for six weeks and it’s worse than any I’ve come across. Tried to get support, but their evasive and chuck out standard replies. Mostly blaming Apple?? The grammatical and verb development is awful. Very poor cultural contexting..

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