Clozemaster Review: A Close Look at the Gamified Learning Program
Clozemaster was created in 2016 by one guy named Mike, who wanted to fill in the gap left after finishing Duolingo.
The idea behind it was very simple: Use fill-in-the-blank exercises, known as “cloze” exercises, to teach vocabulary.
To this day, the program’s simplicity is what makes it so appealing. Like restaurants that only sell one type of food, Clozemaster has mastered the cloze test learning method.
Today, the program uses the latest tech, including AI and machine learning, to create vocabulary exercises designed to help you really learn and remember words—and have fun while doing it.
For this review, I used Clozemaster to study a language I know absolutely nothing about (Afrikaans), a language I know a bit (Japanese) and a language that I know quite well (Spanish).
And, while I had some issues with the presentation of the material, the learning program itself is effective and addictive.
Keep reading for my full review of Clozemaster!
Description: A gamified vocabulary learning program based around fill-in-the-blank exercises.
Languages offered: 70 languages including Spanish, French, Korean, Japanese, Amharic, Nahuatl, Latin, Yiddish and more.
Offer price: Premium is $8 per month, $60 per year or $140 for lifetime access.
Clozemaster does one thing and it does it well: It teaches new vocabulary words through a fun and addictive fill-in-the-blank system. It also offers plenty of stats and motivational features to encourage daily learning, including a leaderboard and a friendly community. However, the program is not for beginners and is very focused on vocabulary learning, so you’ll need to pair it with additional programs for a complete language learning experience.
- User friendliness - 7/107/10
- Delivers on promises - 10/1010/10
- Authenticity - 5/105/10
- Value for price - 8/108/10
- Contextual vocabulary learning ensures stronger understanding of your target language.
- A gamified experience makes it easy to stay motivated.
- Features a huge number of languages and the ability to study from a language other than English.
- Built-in grammar breakdown and dictionary help strengthen understanding of each vocabulary word.
- Information overload can make the hub overwhelming for newcomers.
- Requires an existing basic knowledge of your target language.
- While it has several modes, it’s based around a single method of study, which can get repetitive.
- A Closer Look at Clozemaster Features
- Overall Thoughts About Clozemaster
- And One More Thing...
A Closer Look at Clozemaster Features
Cluttered User Interface
When I first logged in, I was taken to the central learning hub. Clozemaster uses a no-frills style that brings to mind the 90s, complete with a retro font and layout. However, as much as I hate to start this review on a negative point, the hub looks very cluttered. I found it quite overwhelming in the beginning, and the very simplicity of the icons is what makes them difficult to decipher.
The main account page gives you an overview of your progress in your language, including a timeline and detailed breakdown of your score, streak, leaderboard ranking and tons more. It can take some effort to parse all this info the first few times, and I mostly ignored it when I first started.
Lessons are similarly presented: Sentences are large and centered on the page to minimize distractions, but accompanying icons can take some figuring out. I had to hover my mouse pointer over each icon to see what it does, and I’m honestly still not entirely sure what the difference is between marking a sentence as “mastered” and “known,” or whether it’s better to entirely “ignore” it.
Optimized Use of the “Cloze” Method
At its core, Clozemaster is based on the cloze method. Instead of studying words with isolated flashcards, you encounter real-world sentences with a missing word (the “cloze”). By teaching new words in context, the program helps you to understand not just its meaning but also how the word is actually used.
The method also indirectly teaches you to spot patterns and figure out grammar naturally, by actually seeing it in use. It’s a great way to internalize word usage and build a foundation for speaking more naturally.
Not for Beginners
On the flip side, all this also means that you can’t be a complete beginner in your target language. Studying Spanish went well for me, but when I started with Afrikaans, I was basically guessing every answer. After a while, through repetition, I started to recognize certain vocabulary words.
This was only possible, though, because I could actually read the sentences. I struggled quite a bit more with Japanese despite being at the intermediate level—I couldn’t read most of the kanji, so I sometimes had to guess even for words that I knew the answer for.
In other words, while beginners can start using Clozemaster, it’s most effective for learners with a basic understanding of the target language, preferably at the intermediate level or higher. You also need to already know how to read your target language’s alphabet.
Customized Learning Experience
During a lesson, you have several options for each sentence you’re presented with. You can listen to the sentence at normal or half speed, save it for later, mark it as 100% known or ignore it (so it won’t be shown again). You can even edit the sentence to suit you better—which I assume only changes the sentence for you, not everyone else on the program—see a breakdown of the grammar and discuss it with other learners.
In the grammar section, clicking on any word brings up a complete dictionary entry with more information, including the etymology and even its meaning in other languages, if it appears in more than one.
Finally, you can also have the program “explain” each sentence, though this seems to be AI-generated so I don’t know quite how accurate it is, especially in the lesser-studied languages.
There are also two difficulty levels for lessons. I stuck to the easy version for my two lesser-known languages, which allowed me to pick the answer from several choices. However, I switched to the more challenging version for Spanish, which required me to type in the answers.
The more difficult variation includes visual cues, typing in green when the answer was correct and switching to red when I veered off-course. If I got an answer wrong, the program prompted me to try again by giving me a hint, like how many letters off I was. This support made it possible to learn from my mistakes, which in turn made it easier for me to remember the right answers.
Silly but Memorable Sentences
I keep mentioning “sentences” as these are what Clozemaster is based around, recording your progress not by how many words you learn, but how many sentences you complete. I’m not sure how these sentences are selected (they’re possibly AI-generated), and for the most part they make sense.
Some, though, are odd enough to rival Duolingo’s silly and sometimes vaguely threatening practice sentences. The very first sentence I was presented with for the Spanish fluency fast-track translated to “He was a god to his people,” and later in the same set of exercises I got “I know that you know that I know”—which took me a moment to understand even in English.
These sentences might be weird, but honestly that’s what makes them memorable. Now when I try to remember the Spanish word for “people,” I can’t help but picture a god-like man posing in a toga (because “gods” apparently equals Greek mythology in my mind). In other words, sentence-based learning provides a helpful mnemonic device to remember the vocabulary words you’re learning.
A Variety of SRS-based Exercises
While Clozemaster is based around one main teaching method, it mixes things up enough to keep the experience interesting. There are several modes to choose from, including a listening mode, a longer reading mode that features entire paragraphs and challenge sets, which test you on specific topics or difficulty levels.
Of course, you can also let the program do all the work and simply go with the program’s “Fluency Fast Track,” which uses a frequency list to present you with words in order of difficulty and how common they are.
There’s something quite addictive about these exercises, aided by the fact that you get instant feedback. Correct and incorrect answers are revealed after each question, which kept me learning as I went, even when I got a question wrong.
The program uses a Spaced Repetition System (SRS) so I was suggested questions based on my progress, ensuring that I stayed challenged and engaged. It also reminded me to review words that I was at risk of forgetting due to lack of practice with them.
Many Supported Languages
Clozemaster offers an impressive selection of 70 languages, including popular languages like Spanish, French, German, Japanese, Korean and many more. It also teaches a nice selection of less common languages like Amharic, Nahuatl, Latin, Esperanto, Welsh and Yiddish.
Even more impressively, you can learn many languages from a native language other than English. Which languages you can study depends on the language you’re studying from. For instance, choosing French as your native language gives you access to study 16 languages, but if you select Hebrew, you can only learn Russian. Despite these limitations, this is a great tool for learners who aren’t native English speakers.
You’re not limited to one language at a time, either—I found it very easy to switch between languages, and my progress was tracked separately for each individual language.
The cloze method is naturally very game-like by default, and Clozemaster leans into this hard with its features. As I progressed in my studies, I earned points for correct answers. These points serve to motivate you to keep a streak going—you can set a daily points goal—or to compete against others through the leaderboard. I love that I could even level up and gain bonus bragging rights about my level in each language I’m studying.
If you love stats, Clozemaster also includes many ways to visualize your progress, including a line graph depicting your study progress over the past week and a seven-day sentence average. This is the visual clutter I found confusing in the beginning, so I personally don’t love this, but it’s a great feature for those more data-driven than me.
Well-made App Version
Clozemaster has an iOS and Google Play app, and both boast impressive scores. There aren’t quite as many reviews as some of the other names in the language learning world, but it’s still worth mentioning that comments on both versions are overwhelmingly positive.
I took the Android version for a spin and I also wasn’t disappointed. You get a bit more of an introduction to the program (I learned that you “master” a sentence when you get it right four times in a row), then dive right into learning. I loved that when I finished a round, I got an overview of how I did and a chance to look at each sentence that I just went over.
When I finished browsing my review and clicked next, the program immediately started the next round of sentences. This reminded me of the way some social media platforms, like Instagram, keep you infinitely scrolling. Except here, I almost got sucked into a language learning hole, which is much more productive than staring at short videos for hours.
If you need a little push to study, the app lets you set daily reminders. With a Pro account, you can also access your collections offline, so you really have no excuse not to log on and do some studying, no matter where you are.
Clozemaster has something that a lot of language learning programs lack: A community of language learners to encourage each other. the “discussions” section of the website is where comments made on sentences can be found and commented on. Anyone can browse the forums but to contribute, you need to have a Pro account. You can also view other learners’ profiles to get inspired by their progress and badges, or to find other discussions they’ve contributed to.
If you hop over to the official Clozemaster subreddit, you’ll find even more conversation happening, with many active users encouraging each other, sharing tips and talking openly about their experiences with the program. It’s an incredibly supportive space, and a reminder that you’re not learning in a bubble.
You can do a lot with a free account, as your learning is practically unlimited. You get access to all the languages offered on Clozemaster, lots of stats and all the other basics you need to study regularly with the program.
The premium plan, Clozemaster Pro, includes additional features like the ability to search sentences, add to your review queue, favorite sentences and more. It also gives you access to listening practice in 31 languages, instant Google translations of any sentence, even more stats and offline access to the program.
You can also customize your learning sessions by choosing how many words you want to review per session and how frequently you want to review each word.
Premium is $8 per month, $60 per year or $140 for lifetime access.
Overall Thoughts About Clozemaster
Clozemaster does one thing and it does it well: It teaches new vocabulary words through a fun and addictive fill-in-the-blank system. I found myself constantly getting sucked into it, thinking I’d do “just one more round” and finding myself three rounds in and still going strong.
It’s made even more useful when you actually use all the features available, like the grammar breakdown and dictionary. If you love stats, you’ll find plenty of that here too—and a visual cue to keep coming back every day to improve those stats.
All that said, this kind of program can only take you so far. It’s a fantastic program for learning vocabulary and getting the basics of sentence structures. For a more well-rounded learning experience, you’ll definitely want to throw more authentic learning into the mix, like the kind you’ll find on FluentU.
I also highly recommend that you pair your Clozemaster studies with some formal grammar instruction in your target language. Learning tons of vocabulary words will only be useful if you know how to actually use them!
Now you know what to expect when you head over to Clozemaster, the fill-in-the-blanks master of the language learning programs. Does this sound like the right program for your language learning needs? And with that, this Clozemaster review has come to a close!
And One More Thing...
If you dig the idea of learning on your own time from the comfort of your smart device with real-life authentic language content, you'll love using FluentU.
With FluentU, you'll learn real languages—as they're spoken by native speakers. FluentU has a wide variety of videos as you can see here:
FluentU has interactive captions that let you tap on any word to see an image, definition, audio and useful examples. Now native language content is within reach with interactive transcripts.
Didn't catch something? Go back and listen again. Missed a word? Hover your mouse over the subtitles to instantly view definitions.
You can learn all the vocabulary in any video with FluentU's "learn mode." Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning.
And FluentU always keeps track of vocabulary that you’re learning. It gives you extra practice with difficult words—and reminds you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned. You get a truly personalized experience.
Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)