Rocket Languages Review: Tons of High-quality Lessons, But Won’t Get You to the Advanced Level

Rocket Languages promises to teach you your target language the way native speakers use it, and they say you’ll know everything you need to understand about how it works by the end of the course. So I decided to give it a try with German and Portuguese.

I had a really good experience with my two courses—there are tons of exercises, 60+ hours of learning material and addictive progress tracking. But there’s just not enough material to take you to the advanced level.


What Is Rocket Languages?

Rocket Languages is a popular language learning website and app. It was created in 2004 by Jason Oxenham and Mark Ling, and as of 2023, it boasts over 2 million users.

This program:

  • Is designed for new learners who want to become proficient in a language.
  • Provides mostly audio and culture lessons, with pronunciation practice and flashcards as foundational facets.
  • Includes a progress tracker, leaderboard and community forum that allows learners to interact with other learners in their target language.

Rocket Languages is also available as an app for on-the-go learning.

There’s lifetime access to all lessons, and a free trial available for each language so it’s possible to “test the waters” before committing.

Currently, there are 14 languages offered: English, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, German, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Russian, Arabic, Hindi and American Sign Language.

For this review, I tried out German and Portuguese.

To see if Rocket Languages is an effective language learning program, we first need to understand what it aims to teach.

On the main web page, Rocket Languages claims to be unique by taking you “to the heart of the language” and giving you “everything you need to understand the language and the culture.”

To back this up, it says that in the program you will get:

  • Pronunciation practice
  • Speaking practice
  • Listening practice
  • Cultural understanding

Rocket Languages promises to teach you to talk “just like [locals] do.” We can assume that this means we’ll learn through authentic conversations in our target language, and that there will be targeted pronunciation exercises throughout each course.

The program also claims you will “learn how the language actually works.” This is a bit more ambiguous, but let’s assume that the courses will include some explicit grammar instruction and that we’ll be expected to produce the target language at some point without a guiding aid.

Rocket Languages Program Features

So now that we know the Rocket Languages approach and what it claims to do, let’s see what features it actually offers to help us reach these goals.

Audio Lessons and Interactive Exercises

The audio lessons that are the backbone of this program begin with very basic conversations. It’s a start-slow and build-up approach that makes getting into the language learning pool relatively comfortable.

You begin the lesson by listening to a podcast. Each podcast is between 10 and 20 minutes long, and it includes an English-speaking host as well as multiple native speakers.

As the podcast plays, you can read along with the English and target language in the transcript as you listen. Lines are bolded as they’re spoken aloud.

For the purposes of the review, I chose the first lesson of the German Level 2 course. This is Lesson 8.1, entitled “Last Weekend.”

This lesson featured a conversation between two native German speakers, Sandra and Matias, and what they did the previous weekend. After being introduced to the topic and the native speakers, the recording also included a short, simple conversation in German.

After the dialogue, the podcast host walks you through the vocabulary and grammar of the conversation in English and instructs you on how to participate in such a conversation in real life. The host then prompts you to repeat what you hear and respond to prompts with the help of native speakers.

Below the audio lesson player is a “Role Playing” box, which allows you to see the translations of the dialogue as you hear just the conversation, with the additional option to practice speaking via the microphone for either person’s lines. Below this is a “Lesson Vocabulary” box with the important phrases from the conversation.

rocket languages german role playing lesson feature

There’s a casual informality in the conversations that comprise these lessons. They almost feel as if you’re chatting with friends rather than studying. In short, they make the learning experience light and friendly.

The fact that they’re teaching highly useful conversational language is undeniable.

Rather than learning standard phrases that a university textbook might teach you, Rocket Languages teaches you the language that native speakers actually use, including slang. These types of audio lessons would definitely help any learner become conversational in their target language.

A clear strength of these lessons is the use of native speakers who model proper pronunciation. During the podcast, subsequent dialogue and extra vocabulary breakdowns, you hear the target language pronounced properly and clearly, and voice recognition software lets you record your own speech to know how your pronunciation stacks up.

After the podcast and dialogue material, you engage in a number of interactive exercises that provide the opportunity to practice. Exercises include:

  • Flashcards — You see English words and phrases and quiz yourself on the target language translation, with the option to play target language audio upon reveal or see the target language first. Flashcards can be tagged for later review by clicking the “Easy,” “Good” or “Hard” buttons below the card.
  • Listening — You listen to a word or phrase in the target language and then record your own audio.
  • Writing — You listen to a word or phrase in the target language and then type it out in that language. Any special alphabetical symbols are available on the screen for users to click and insert.
  • Speaking — You read an English translation of a word or phrase and then record the translation in the target language.
  • Quiz — You answer multiple-choice questions to test your knowledge of the target language vocabulary and usage.

Language and Culture Lessons

Originally, Rocket Languages simply called these “Culture Lessons,” but after taking some user feedback into consideration, they’re now called “Language & Culture Lessons.”

This is a step in the right direction, because I always associate “culture” with art, music, traditions and food. But these lessons are designed mostly to show how the target language works, focusing on fundamentals like grammar and vocabulary.

Culture content includes audio of thousands of common words and phrases, and also covers navigating various language topics. In short, it teaches how to discuss past events, nail down proper pronunciation and other essentials that aren’t fully explained in the main lessons.

These lessons also have the same five types of exercises as regular lessons to aid with understanding and reinforcement.

So, while the lessons may not deal with “culture” in a literal sense (or in a semantic sense), they are vital to a well-rounded learning regimen with Rocket Languages.

Rocket Languages Pros

The Progress Tracking Feature Is Very Motivational

Rocket Languages has done a super job of making it easy for you to see how you’re doing.

Progress is clearly noted on the dashboard page—and it’s simple to resume with lessons wherever you left off. I liked that I could see what I’d done, how I did and what I needed to do next all from one page.

You accumulate points to earn various badges, which is a fun incentive to keep studying your target language. It feels a little like a game. Coupled with a leaderboard that allows users to view their progress in comparison to others, this progress and competition feature has its appeal.

And for those who believe their biggest competition is themselves, the program keeps track of streaks to keep self-motivated individuals consistently coming back. The streaks show how many continuous days you use the program and it’s one of my favorite features.

60+ Hours of Lessons Per Level

Rocket Languages knows that repetition is key, and each repetition of a word or phrase solidifies it in your brain.

There are two main benefits to this:

  • Lessons gradually increase in difficulty as you move through each level, so making use of the exercises is an excellent way to ensure readiness for subsequent lessons.
  • Lessons build on one another, so you’re learning new material while constantly reinforcing old material.

Because of this, I imagine one could reach a respectable level in their target language. Rocket Languages levels typically have 60+ hours of lessons each, so there’s lots of material to learn.

Additionally, you can repeat lessons as many times as necessary. This is beneficial when reviewing material or if there’s been a break in your schedule.

Offline Access on the Mobile App

The Rocket Languages app makes this program mobile. It’s possible to learn and practice anywhere and anytime.

You can also download lessons so if you’re in a situation without internet access, you’re able to access the content.

Rocket Languages is available for iOS and Android.

Lifetime Access

There are no monthly subscription fees with this program. You pay one price (unless you choose the six-month payment plan option) that gives you unlimited, lifetime access.

Offers American Sign Language (ASL)

ASL isn’t offered by a lot of language learning sites, so having it here is a unique option. It’s sure to have wide appeal for those who have been waiting for it, myself included.

Due to the nature of the language, this course relies on video rather than audio.

Rocket Languages Cons

Exercise Repetition Can Get Boring

Repetition is necessary for language learning, but seeing the same words and phrases in five different types of exercises can get a little boring.

To combat this, I recommend taking two to three days to complete all five exercises. You can start other lessons while doing this—for example, do the flashcards and listening exercises on day one after finishing the lesson, then do the writing and speaking exercises on day two, and take the quiz on day three while starting the next lesson.

The “Culture” Lessons Don’t Actually Teach About Culture

Like I mentioned earlier, the “culture” lessons are more like how the language works and teaching you how native speakers talk. They’re more like grammar lessons, to be honest.

This is great, and I love this feature—it’s just that it sets a false expectation that the lessons will be focused more on teaching you about the country and the way of life there, giving you a break from the language. But it doesn’t.

The Voice Recognition Is Tricky Sometimes

Voice recognition software is almost essential for language learners. It really assists with correct pronunciation.

Unfortunately, this program’s voice recognition feature was mildly disappointing. It just didn’t always recognize the voice on each first attempt. I wondered if it was my voice, specifically, that gave it issues so I asked two others to try it out and they had similar experiences.

Limited Content Formats

My other issue with Rocket Languages is minor, but when you’re learning a language, it’s nice to be able to have your learning content in the form you want it in.

If you’re not keen on downloading the whole app to your phone, there aren’t many download options. On your computer, you can download the full audio track of lessons, but that’s about it.

It would be nice to be able to export a vocabulary list, or even the transcript of the audio as well, but so far, this is not an option on Rocket Languages.

How Much Does Rocket Languages Cost?

Rocket Languages offers a free trial that doesn’t expire. You have access to all the features and learning tools to a few lessons per level.

To unlock the full course, you need to choose one of the payment options.

For languages that have multiple levels, you can choose to pay for only one level, the first two or all three. You make a one-time payment or you can choose the six-month payment plan that is normally $75/month. The six-month plan gives you access to all three levels and once you finish paying it off, you have lifetime access.

The one-time prices are $149.95 for level one, $299.90 for level two and $449.85 for level three.

Rocket Languages Alternatives

Rosetta Stone rosetta stone logo

Rosetta Stone offers courses in 25 languages, including Spanish, French, Italian, Arabic, Chinese, Greek and more.

The program uses an immersion approach to teach you words and grammar naturally using their “Dynamic Immersion” method. It’s based on how we learn languages as children, introducing you to new vocabulary through native speaker audio, written text and images.

Rosetta Stone doesn’t fully translate words—instead, you figure out their meanings through context clues. The program highly focuses on speaking and pronunciation, listening comprehension, and reading and writing.

You can read our full Rosetta Stone review here:


FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.

With FluentU, you hear languages in real-world contexts—the way that native speakers actually use them. Just a quick look will give you an idea of the variety of FluentU videos on offer:


FluentU really takes the grunt work out of learning languages, leaving you with nothing but engaging, effective and efficient learning. It’s already hand-picked the best videos for you and organized them by level and topic. All you have to do is choose any video that strikes your fancy to get started!


Each word in the interactive captions comes with a definition, audio, image, example sentences and more.

Access a complete interactive transcript of every video under the Dialogue tab, and easily review words and phrases from the video under Vocab.

You can use FluentU’s unique adaptive quizzes to learn the vocabulary and phrases from the video through fun questions and exercises. Just swipe left or right to see more examples of the word you're studying.


The program even keeps track of what you’re learning and tells you exactly when it’s time for review, giving you a 100% 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.)

Pimsleur pimsleur logo

Pimsleur is an audio-only course that uses an immersive and listen-and-repeat structure. From the first lesson, you’re able to understand a full conversation in your target language.

There are courses available for over 50 languages, and each language course is divided into levels. Some of the less common languages only have one, but others have as many as five. Each level consists of 30 lessons, which are 30 minutes each.

The lessons start with a conversation and you’re prompted to repeat after the native speaker and engage in short conversations with the audio throughout the 30 minutes. By the end of the lesson, you can understand everything in the first conversation.

You can check out our in-depth Pimsleur review here:

Does Rocket Languages Deliver on Its Promises?

To recap, Rocket Languages promises that it will get you talking like a native speaker and that you will understand how your target language actually works.

Based on what I’ve experienced, I think it’s safe to say that if you stick with the program all the way to the end, then yes, Rocket Languages will get you conversational.

There are some conditions, however.

Mainly, I think this depends on the language you’re studying. For German, Spanish or French, for instance, the courses are quite expansive with lots of lessons. Because of this, you’ll hear many authentic conversations and have numerous opportunities to practice pronunciation.

For a language like Hindi, however, your studies may fall a bit short of this claim. There aren’t always enough lessons in a single level to cover enough listening and speaking materials.

Now, will you really understand how your target language works after completing your course?

The simple answer to this question is “no.”

Sure, some Rocket Languages courses will get you to have comfortable conversations on common topics, but to say you will truly understand the mechanics of the language itself is a stretch.

The grammar lessons included in the Language & Culture sections are helpful. But overall, Rocket Languages definitely stands up to its “new learner” angle, meaning comprehensive grammar instruction is not the focus.

Further, opportunities for producing the language on your own are limited. You can only repeat after native speakers and answer predetermined questions aloud. That’s very far from the reality of actually speaking a language, where conversations can be unpredictable and you may find that you need more than just what Rocket Languages has taught you.

In the same vein, Rocket Languages doesn’t give much opportunity for reading and writing, largely considered essential for truly proving that one understands the mechanics of a language.

Sure, you must read to complete Rocket Languages lessons, but most of this reading is in English or transcripts of lesson dialogues. There’s no actual reading of real-world material.

Writing is limited to only lesson exercises where a one- or two-word translation is required, rather than sentences or essays that require grammatical knowledge.

rocket languages writing feature in the german course

In short, Rocket Languages is a great component of an overall language learning program, but there isn’t enough material to take you to total fluency or even a highly proficient point.


Rocket Languages offers a lot of benefits for language learners.

The material is engaging, informative and interactive. It’s a solid resource that makes learning fast, focused and fun. And in conjunction with other resources, Rocket Languages is an excellent addition to any language learning regimen.

After my positive experiences with German and Portuguese, I’m looking forward to trying my hand at ASL next.

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.)

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