We’ve had a few readers ask about our opinion of the Spanish with Paul course. So, naturally, and several months later, I’ve finally gotten the chance to try out his course.
I was intrigued to see what the course involved and this only increased once I saw a number of positive comments below each of the videos on his popular YouTube channel, praising its efficacy and stating that it had led them to sign up and pay for the course itself.
While I quite enjoyed working through the first few lessons, I soon became a bit restless once I realized that all of the rest of the eighty hours of material was presented in exactly the same way.
Although the content is well-thought-out and the course is well-designed, the videos became very monotonous after a while, especially considering the fact that I wasn’t asked to utilize much of the Spanish that was taught.
Despite this, I do believe that students will get a lot from the course (providing they don’t get too bored) as Paul goes into incredible depth when explaining grammar points, vocabulary and how the language works.
As such, I think it is well worth checking out his free YouTube mini-courses to see if the teaching method suits your preferred learning style. While you would almost certainly pick up quite a lot of Spanish in just a short amount of time, you would definitely want to work with a tutor as you won’t get any conversation practice with this course.
And while I think it’s a pretty solid course all-around, there are other online Spanish courses that I’d be more enthusiastic to recommend.
As aforementioned, Spanish with Paul has over eighty hours of video lessons for you to work through and these take you right from your first words in the language all the way up to learning about the pluperfect subjunctive.
Divided into nine levels, there certainly is a lot of material for you to explore and Paul recommends working through the videos one after the other without skipping any of them even if you already know some basic Spanish. This is because they all build upon one another and in this respect, the course is very well-designed.
Level 1 acts as an introduction or primer to the main part of the course and in this section, you quickly increase your vocabulary as you learn the Spanish equivalents of English words, also known as cognates.
So, impossible becomes imposible, while flexible, terrible, horrible and convertible all remain the same apart from the way in which they are pronounced. Sprinkled amongst these are some connecting words which help you form your first sentences in the language after only a couple of short videos.
From then on the levels increase in difficulty and grammar points are thrown in amongst the vocabulary you learn alongside verbs and conjugations. In the later levels, you then begin to digest and translate long texts and stories with Paul taking you through them all very thoroughly, explaining everything as he goes.
Again, Spanish Uncovered is quite similar here, though more entertaining, but lacking in the depth of grammar explanations.
Each level has various components to it and within each section, you can find a number of videos. These vary in length with the shortest lasting around three minutes and the longest up to twenty-two minutes.
While they certainly cover a lot of material in a lot of depth, you aren’t asked to produce all that much other than pausing the video and say things out loud. Although, from time to time, there are short test videos to see how much information you have retained.
All of the material is presented in a very similar manner and the idea is to get you engaging with the language and thinking about how it is used and spoken rather than getting you to simply memorize words, phrases and grammar points.
Once you have signed up for Spanish with Paul and have logged into your account you are greeted with a quite basic looking Members Area page.
Here you’ll find a short welcome text and a couple of videos that Paul recommends you watch before getting started with the course. These explain why people fail in learning Spanish and how long you should spend studying the language each day.
After this, he goes on to say that regardless of how good you are at Spanish you should start with the first lesson in Level 1 and work your way through the course from there. The overall aim is to get you confidently and competently speaking Spanish.
After having read through this you can then head on over to the first video of Level 1 – ‘Getting Started’ – which teaches you how to use the videos. Paul speaks quite slowly, deliberately and clearly.
You’re encouraged to pause the videos as many times as you want to think about the content and how to use it in an everyday situation. As such he really wants you to engage with the material.
In this early module, the focus is on increasing your vocabulary, improving your pronunciation and giving you a feel for the language – indeed this first module is just an introduction to Spanish before the real body of the course begins.
While this first video looks quite basic, Paul speaks in a very reassuring manner and is very easy and clear to listen to.
The next video, so the first real one of the course (after the introduction) looks at some of the 2000 – 3000 words that Spanish and English share in common.
In this ‘Categories 1 and 2’ section, Paul introduces us to words ending in ‘ible’ and teaches us how to pronounce words such as ‘possible’, ‘flexible’ and ‘impossible’ in Spanish while also throwing in a couple of little words like ‘it is’, ‘not’ and ‘like this’.
This then means that we can already construct our first sentences in Spanish after just a couple of minutes.
The fifteen-minute video is quite basic but efficient and Paul talks you through how lots of different sounds are pronounced and I thought it was a good idea how he started off with words that we already know from English.
He also highlights different parts of the text when he speaks so that we can more clearly follow what he is talking about. He does end the video with a brief warning that you can’t always create the word in Spanish from English and that some of the words may take on a different ending or meaning entirely if they even exist at all.
After this, there is a short minute three video for you to watch and this tests how much you have taken in with Paul providing the answers shortly after he asks you a question.
The third and final video of the ‘Categories 1 and 2’ section introduces us to ‘able’ words and how to pronounce them. In this respect, it is very similar to the first video and Paul takes us through some new vocabulary while also sprinkling in a couple of new linking words so that we can create new sentences.
So far I found it all to be very clear to work through and very well presented even if it was a bit basic in terms of what the slides looked like. I also found it encouraging that he has gone back over the course and added new additions or re-recorded videos which he thought could be clearer or better.
One slight concern I had, however, was with his Spanish pronunciation. While very good, occasionally, it can be clear he’s not a native speaker.
The rest of the videos and lessons in Level 1 continue in very much the same manner as Paul takes you through the 18 different categories in which English words and Spanish words are very similar to each other with just the pronunciation differing between the two.
In addition to this, he also sprinkles in some other vocabulary, verbs, and conjugations so in just a few videos time you can already say ‘it wasn’t possible for me’.
Every now and again he throws in a drill video where you are asked to change some English words into Spanish and from the material already covered you should be able to work out how to pronounce them for yourself, even if you haven’t learned them before.
In addition, you are also introduced to some basic grammar concepts such as how the last letter of adjectives in Spanish can be masculine or feminine depending on the gender of the word they are describing.
All in all, there are fourteen lessons in Level 1 for you to work through and each part has various videos of varying lengths for you to watch and work your way through.
The final lesson is a ‘Final Review and Thoughts’ video where you put your knowledge to the test and see how much information you have retained.
Unfortunately, this review only tests how much of the vocabulary you remember and doesn’t test you on any of the simple sentences you have learned or whether you remember how to piece them together.
While Level 1 is quite a good primer to the main bulk of the course and it’s quite encouraging to work through as you see how many words are similar between English and Spanish, the videos are all almost identical to work through and, while useful, none of it is particularly inspiring.
At this point, you can also download the Level 1 coursebook and this has all of the vocabulary and sentences which you have already gone over.
Level 2 starts off in exactly the same way with the only difference being that you are now looking at some of the most common verbs in Spanish such as want, need and have.
Coupled with the words we have already seen, this means that we can start constructing increasingly complex sentences.
As you can see though, this early lesson in Level 2 looks exactly the same as all of the videos that have already come before it and the drill or ‘check-up’ lessons are again very similar to before as Paul tests how much information you have retained.
The words and sentences progress in difficulty however as you now know quite a few verbs that you can conjugate as well as how to form sentences and where to place words. At the end of Level 2, you’ve already learned quite a bit, including how modal verbs work and how pronouns are used in Spanish.
The end of level review demonstrates just how far you have come as there is now a whole series of different sentences that you should be able to create even if you haven’t heard them before.
As such beginners will be pleased to see that they can already say sentences such as ‘I’m going to go in the morning because I need to know if they are going to do it for me’.
As such, the levels certainly do progress in difficulty and Paul does a really good job of introducing you to increasingly complex ideas and grammar points while building on what has already been covered.
Once you have been introduced to something new he then works through the word, phrase or grammar point and gives you a couple of different examples on how to use it, highlighting as he goes things that you should look out for.
Although the videos all look almost identical to each other for the first five levels, you do make progress and learn a lot of Spanish in what seems to be a very efficient manner. At the end of Level 5 for instance, so around halfway through the course, you are given seventeen different sentences for you to translate and these clearly demonstrate just what you should be capable of at this point.
In Level 6 we finally have a slight deviation in terms of Paul’s presentation as we finally, have a couple of photos to break up the monotony of just having watched thousands of words and phrases for the last however many hours and hours of the course.
Yay! At the end of this level, he informs us that he is still working on improving the remaining three levels. So what does this last third of the course look like?
Well, you may be shocked to learn that the videos, unfortunately, look exactly like all of the ones from the first six levels. While the slides do look quite basic, the audio, as usual, is flawless and Paul certainly delves into a lot of depth when it comes to explaining all the various grammar points.
With ‘por’ and ‘para’ for example, he provides students with almost an hour and a half of material looking at the differences between the two and this really is about as comprehensive as it gets!
Indeed while it may not be the most entertaining material ever but you certainly will come away having learned a lot of Spanish.
From Level 7 onwards you also get a few stories and texts to translate and Paul again goes into great depth, translating it alongside you and explaining any grammar points that come up.
Each text has over an hour of material accompanying it and Paul slowly explains each small grammar point that comes up so you can see exactly why each sentence is shaped that way and it really is impressive to follow along with him!
These later lessons bring together all of the material that you have already learned and Paul takes you through increasingly complicated stories and texts, explaining absolutely everything as he goes.
From time to time you are introduced to some new grammar points and these, in turn, pop up in the texts. Indeed, the last video of Level 9 (the last one in the course, at least to date) introduces you to the pluperfect subjunctive where the course just bizarrely stops.
I’m assuming at this point that Paul is still working on future videos although I’m not sure why he would then be working back through the old catalog and improving things if he hadn’t finished the course in the first place.
I think that Spanish with Paul is a solid resource but it really depends on your preferred learning method. I could see lots of students struggling to stick with this course as it gets extremely repetitive.
A course like that made by Lingodeer or Fluencia would be a better option for lots of students. Alternatively, if money isn’t tight, I’d strongly recommend Baselang which offers unlimited 1-1 Spanish classes.
Almost every video of the Spanish with Paul course is pretty much identical to the one before it. So not everyone will find it in them to work through over eighty hours of what basically amounts to powerpoint slides while listening to Paul’s soothing voice.
While I certainly believe that it is a very effective resource that is well-designed and well-thought-out, it isn’t the most entertaining thing in the world and there is a risk that you’ll get bored halfway through (if you even make it that far).
As you are not really asked to produce anything or do anything other than pause the video and answer whatever Paul has asked you, it is not all that engaging and there are barely any exercises for you to work through.
For a course that says it will help you become fluent there is no speaking or conversation practice at all other than saying words out loud to yourself. Also, there really isn’t any cultural context to these lessons – a far cry from Fluencia, SpanishPod101, and News in Slow Spanish.
Paul, however, does present everything in a very clear and methodical fashion so you will certainly come away understanding all of the material that he has gone over and know exactly how to use it – provided that is that you didn’t get bored along the way.
He certainly provides an impressive amount of content and really goes into a lot of depth on whatever grammar point he is explaining. One major downside to his extensive explanations is the fact that everything is still presented in English right until the end of the course and that no native speakers are featured at all.
So, even if you complete the course, you may come away with an impressive understanding of Spanish grammar but your listening comprehension could be quite a bit lower. Adding in some podcasts and YouTube channels to your study routine could definitely help with this.
Although I didn’t particularly enjoy using the Spanish with Paul course, I do think that it is a good resource and people seriously interested in learning Spanish will get a lot from it.
I also thought it was great how Paul encourages you to think things through and learn how to build the language yourself. As such, I think it is well worth checking out if you want a great understanding of Spanish vocabulary, grammar, and sentence structures.
As aforementioned, Spanish with Paul has a number of great mini-courses that you can follow on YouTube and these free lessons give you an idea of whether its learning method and approach is suitable for you.
Underneath each of these videos, you’ll see lots of comments saying that they were convinced to pay for the real course after having worked their way through the ten or so lessons on YouTube.
These lessons, however, only give you a taste of what the course is like. As such it is well worth taking a look at these first before signing up for the course as I don’t believe that Spanish with Paul’s video lessons and course are suitable for everyone.
People interested in signing up for Spanish with Paul have two options available to them and they mostly cover the same thing, although the more expensive one will obviously get you a bit more.
The ‘Course Only’ subscription plan will set you back $99.95 for one-year unlimited access to the course material and this also includes personal mentoring and native speaker support.
Now, this is the plan that I tried out and I couldn’t find either the personal mentoring or native speaker support in the Members Area of the website so I’m not entirely sure what that involves.
The ‘Course + Weekly Updates‘ package costs $199.95 and this includes unlimited access to the course material for a year, personal mentoring (from Paul this time) and native speaker support as well as weekly updates and access to unreleased lessons.
Thankfully both options include a 30-day money-back guarantee if you’re not satisfied with the product.
Spanish for Paul is on the more expensive side of things in terms of how much online courses cost, so is it worth it?
For the ‘Course + Weekly Updates’ I’d almost certainly say no as you don’t even get any speaking practice involved in that as far as I can see.
In essence, you would be paying an extra $100 for weekly updates, so videos that complement the course content, unreleased lessons and personal mentoring from Paul himself.
While I haven’t unfortunately been able to try out any of these features myself, the fact that the course is already fairly expensive makes me shy away from recommending that option, especially when I’m not too sure if the ‘Course Only’ version is worth it in the first place.
While I personally would struggle to work my way through Spanish with Paul’s repetitive lessons that all look identical to each other, I do believe that his approach is very effective if you can just focus on the results and see how much you improve in a short space of time.
After only a few lessons I was already impressed at how much we’d learned and I’m sure that this would motivate some people to stick with the course.
The material is also very well-thought-out and the content certainly goes into great depth with each lesson building on the one before it. The fact that Paul encourages you to engage with the language and think about the structure and grammar is also helpful as it means you don’t then just memorize things and try and regurgitate them at the right time.
While there are certainly flaws with it as we have looked at above, I do believe that dedicated beginners would learn a lot from the course and that it would give them a fantastic basis from which to become fluent in the future. As such, I’d definitely recommend checking out his popular YouTube channel before paying for the courses.
Personally, I prefer other Spanish courses over Spanish with Paul, but the latter is certainly not a bad option.
I’m Nick Dahlhoff, the creator of All Language Resources. I’m not a super polyglot who speaks 20 languages. I’m not here to teach you how to learn a language – countless people are more qualified to do that than me. But, I have tried out an insane number of language learning resources. This site aims to be the most comprehensive and least biased place to figure out which language learning resources are worth using. To learn more about myself, the site, or our reviewing process, check out our about page.