The Ultimate Rocket Spanish Review (Pros and Cons) - Live Fluent

The Ultimate Rocket Spanish Review (Pros and Cons)

If you've searched around for Spanish courses you're liable to have heard of Rocket Spanish. Overall the course has a surprisingly positive reputation. (I say surprisingly because the course simply isn't as well known as others such as Rosetta Stone or Pimsleur). 

In this post we take an in depth look at Rocket Spanish to see how well it works with the Spanish language. 

If you want a more in depth review of the general method and layout of the Rocket Language courses you can check out our full Rocket Languages Review.  

Review of: Rocket Spanish

Use: Spanish Learning Course

Effectiveness

One of the most effective and comprehensive learning resources out there

Price

Reasonably priced for a full course

Time Commitment

Each lesson takes about 30 minutes or so

Ease of Use

Lessons are simple and it's easy to work through the course

Structure

A highly structured course that will take you from the basics to the upper intermediate level in Spanish.

I Like

  • Balances being conversational with knowing grammar
  • Teaches speaking, listening, reading, and writing
  • Very comprehensive

I Don't Like

  • Latin American Spanish only
  • Can feel dry

Summary:  

Rocket Spanish is a web based course for beginners and intermediate learners. The course uses a method which emphasizes practical vocabulary and grammar.


This approach helps learners start speaking from the start, while gradually learning the mechanics of what they're saying. 


The entire course also incorporates speaking, listening, reading, and writing throughout its lessons, thus teaching Spanish holistically instead of breaking it into separate parts like some other learning resources do. 


While Rocket Spanish is a great course and is often highly recommended across the web, it isn't perfect. 


The course doesn't include the pronunciation and vocabulary of European Spanish. Also the lessons can feel dull after awhile.  


Even so, if you're looking for an effective Spanish course that will help you speak the language as well as understand its grammar, then this is definitely a course worth looking at.

Single level starts at $99.95

Is Rocket Spanish Right for You?

Yes

If you're a beginner to upper intermediate student

Rocket Spanish will help all but the most advanced students of the language. The first level of the course covers all the basics you'd expect to find in a beginner course (how to talk about yourself, alphabet/pronunciation, and foundational grammar). 

The later levels will deal with more complex language usage. In the third level you'll find a lot of content on the tricky Spanish past tenses. You'll also learn and use things like the subjunctive and indicative mood. 

So whether you've been studying Spanish for awhile, or are completely new to the language, Rocket Spanish will help increase your proficiency. 

If You want a comprehensive Spanish course

Rocket Spanish is one of the most comprehensive courses available for learning Spanish

What do we mean exactly when we say comprehensive? 

First, you can expect to use all four aspects of the language. You learn to read and write in Spanish, as well as listen and speak. 

Second, there  isn't any part of Spanish that the course leaves untouched. You will be exposed to all of the grammar and vocabulary you will need in order to use the language at a functional level (higher than the level you'd be able to reach with some other courses). 

No

If you want a learning tool or supplement

Rocket Spanish is a full on language course, and it's price reflects that. While it's reasonably priced next to its competitors, the cost is a bit high if you're simply looking for a supplement for your Spanish learning. 

If you want a new or interesting way to practice Spanish or learn a few new words here or there you're probably better off using an app or some other low priced alternative. 

If you want an entertaining way of learning Spanish

To be honest there aren't a lot of drawbacks when it comes to Rocket Languages. One of the main shortcomings of the course is that it can seem a bit dull if it's all you use to learn Spanish. 

The course works hard to teach you Spanish (which it does successfully). However it doesn't try that hard to make the process fun or overtly interesting. This may be a pro or con depending on your learning style.

Rocket Spanish is an impressively comprehensive course

The Rocket Spanish method

Rocket Spanish’s method takes a dual focused approach to teaching users Spanish through grammar and vocabulary.

The course presents new material to the user through two lesson types: interactive audio lessons and the language & culture lessons. Each lesson type includes a section to help you review and assess your Spanish knowledge.

The general thinking behind this approach is that the audio lessons teach you what to say, the grammar lessons teach you the mechanics behind the vocabulary, and the review helps you practice and remember it all. 

Lesson types

Now let’s take a closer look at each lesson type.

Interactive audio lessons

The audio lessons are the conversational part of the course. Each lesson includes a dialogue between one native Spanish speaker and another. The lesson then breaks down the dialogue into what I would call stock phrases.

Phrases from the recorded conversation are translated. You are also given the option to listen to individual phrases at differing speeds in order to practice pronunciation. 

The aim of the interactive audio lessons is to teach you these stock phrases in the context of a complete conversation so that you will understand and remember them.

Each phrase you learn becomes a metaphorical tool in your Spanish toolkit, so you can use it when you start speaking Spanish with people in the real world. 

As you complete more lessons, the amount of Spanish phrases you know will grow, until you have an entire repertoire to use when speaking and writing. 

It’s important to note that these lessons don’t define the phrases word for word. That sort of grammatical analysis happens in the language and culture lessons.

The interactive audio lessons teach practical phrases and include voice recognition

What I like about the interactive audio lessons

The vocabulary taught in these lessons lessons is practical. The phrases you learn come from actual conversations and they come in handy when you start having conversations of your own. Many other courses or textbooks teach vocabulary categorically.

If you’re learning Spanish adjectives you’re given a list of adjectives with their English translations. If you’re learning verbs then you’re handed a list of verbs. In this manner you’re taught Spanish in a way that’s devoid of any real conversation, making it hard to have a real conversation on your own. 

The audio lessons avoid this common mistake and teach Spanish phrases in the context of a real Spanish dialogue as if you were practicing with a real Spanish speaker.

Language and Culture lessons

Learning stock phrases and conversation patterns is a great way to jumpstart your Spanish speaking abilities, but sooner rather than later you will need to start learning grammar. That’s where the language and culture lessons come in. 

These lessons take a set of Spanish phrases and dive into the nitty-gritty of Spanish grammar. You see how a particular aspect of grammar works, and then you are able to apply it to create phrases of your own. 

Language & culture lessons teach grammar in depth

As their name suggests these lessons also discuss the culture of various Spanish speaking countries across Latin America. 

When paired with the audio lessons, the language and culture lessons strike a wonderful balance in teaching Spanish. Together both types of lessons give you Spanish you can use right from the start, while helping you to understand what you're saying.

Reinforcing what you learn

Each lesson in Rocket Spanish includes a series of review activities to help you retain what you learn. These activities range from writing and speaking exercises (Rocket Languages uses Google’s Web Speech API for voice recognition), role playing dialogues, flashcards and quizzes. 

The goal of these activities is to give you the opportunity to use what you’ve learned.

Rocket Spanish includes activities to help you review what you've learned

What you get in a Rocket Spanish course

Three course levels

Rocket Spanish has three course levels. Every level contains 7-8 modules of audio lessons and 7-8 modules of language and culture lessons. Each module has anywhere from 3-8 individual lessons.

Audio lessons take more or less a half hour to work through. The language and culture lessons take slightly less time to finish. 

Survival kit lessons

In addition to the core course content, each level includes Survival Kit lessons. These are bonus vocabulary lessons, which are centered on a specific topic such as business, love and romance, the most common words in Spanish, etc. 

The audio lesson plans for level 1 of Rocket Spanish

Pros & Cons of Rocket Spanish

Pros

Here are a couple of the biggest pros of using Rocket Spanish.

Great for conversational Spanish

Rocket Spanish has two types of lessons: one which teaches grammar and spelling, and one which teaches conversational Spanish phrases. 

It's not hard to find a course that teaches you grammar. In fact you don't even necessarily need to buy a course to learn grammar, as there are a ton of free resources for it on the web.

It's a lot harder to find a course that adequately prepares you for real life conversations. Rocket Spanish takes a good stab at this problem.

The audio lessons teach you Spanish words and phrases which allow you to start speaking right away. You can literally take what you learn in these lessons and use it on the streets of a Spanish speaking country.

That's simply not the case with the vast majority of Spanish courses, which teach you grammar at the expense of being practical. 

Teaches Spanish holistically

There are four aspects of language learning: reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Most courses focus on one or two aspects while ignoring the rest. 

Rocket Languages strikes a nice balance by teaching all four aspects fairly equally. 

From the beginning Rocket Spanish lessons teach Spanish pronunciation alongside vocabulary. There are also activities at the end of every lesson which help you practice speaking (via voice recognition), listening, and writing. 

This even approach is a viable asset to any Spanish learner, and is a unique aspect of the course.

Works well online and via mobile app

Rocket Spanish is available online via the Rocket Languages site, or through the mobile app. All course content is optimized for use on mobile. The app lacks nothing from the full web based version, and is easy to use.

Cons of Rocket Spanish

Doesn't cover Spanish from Spain

Rocket Spanish focuses on Latin American Spanish. You won't see any of the pronunciation or word choices from the Spanish spoken in Spain.

How different are the two? Well, if you can speak one you'll have no problems understanding the other. The main difference is pronunciation (Spanish from Spain sounds markedly different from Latin American Spanish). 

There is also some difference between word choice. The two versions of the language sometimes use a slightly different word for a specific object or action.

Course can seem dry sometimes

While this course is effective, it can seem a bit dry at times. The main goal of the course is to teach Spanish, which it does. 

Unfortunately though there isn't a huge effort to add a component of entertainment or fun to the program. While this isn't absolutely necessary, it would be nice. 

What other people say about Rocket Spanish

Donovan Nagel

Despite my initial hesitation and frankly low expectations of the program, I have to say that I was actually very impressed by the course’s quality...


...Although it does contain reading and writing lessons, its strength is definitely in speaking and listening, and the grammar is demonstrated rather than explained in heavy detail.

Is Rocket Languages an effective way to learn a language?

You get a ton of high-quality content and they've done a great job linking all the content together in bite-sized audio files.

Each lesson also comes with a range of tools to make learning easier and with the transcripts you can print the lessons out and practice the old-school way.

While the cost might look scary, you have to remember it's a one-time investment. This means, compared to other services that you'll pay more upfront but you'll pay only once.

Chris Broholm

Alternatives to Rocket Spanish

Price

From $4+ per month

Time commitment

15+ minutes a day 

Summary:

Spanishpod101 features audio Spanish lessons in a podcast format. Lessons are great for grammar and vocabulary. Each lesson is designed around a Spanish conversation between native speakers, and the teachers do a great job of keeping things engaging. 

 While it's not as structured as Rocket Spanish, it's still a substantial learning tool (it's also much cheaper too). The site features transcripts, an in-site flashcard system, and many other useful features.

Price

$14.95 per month

Time commitment

Half an hour a day

Summary:

Pimsleur is probably the second most popular language course behind Rosetta Stone. Pimsleur is an audio based course turned app and is specifically designed to develop your conversational skills.

This course use a unique and effective question/recall/respond technique to help you get started in your new language. With Pimsleur You'll learn a limited but functional vocabulary and have a good sense of pronunciation. 

The app also features a reading portion. Users begin to read Spanish words phonetically and then gradually the course incorporates reading from the audio sections

This course is for those who are serious about speaking Spanish, not just reading or hearing it. 

Price

$6+ per hour (varies between teachers)

Time commitment

30 minute or 1 hour lessons 

Summary:

Italki is an online market place that connects language learners with language teachers for one-on-one language classes via video or audio chat.

You can connect with language speakers from around the world and practice your speaking skills. On Italki there are over 800 Spanish teachers and tutor from around the world!

*with a purchase of $20 or more. After your first purchased lesson a credit of $10 will be added to your account

Conclusion

In the end Rocket Spanish is one of the best options for someone looking for a meaty Spanish course, especially if they prefer an auditory learning style.

The course covers all the foundational parts of Spanish and it will leave you with the ability to understand and speak Spanish at a fairly proficient level. 

You can sign up for a free trial of the course (no payment information required). There you'll be able to work through some of the lessons from each of the three levels of the course.

It's a great way to test things out and see if this course is right for you!

About the Author Chris J

I'm definitely an unlikely language learner. I failed Spanish in high school. I started learning German as a hobby while studying abroad. Long story short...and a couple languages later...I love language learning!

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