Remember that high school French class you took?
How much French can you speak now?
Remember how you swore you would become fluent in Italian?
Do you speak Italian now?
Many people living in English-speaking countries don’t get the chance to study Russian in school—often not until college, in any case.
So if you’re learning Russian now, whether on your own or in a class, you may find yourself being haunted by the ghosts of some earlier less-than-successful attempts at language learning.
But never fear! We’re here to help.
The difference between studying a language and actually learning it is using it. The key to actually making yourself fluent in Russian is simply practice.
When you practice the language skills you’ve learned, you’ll be able to naturally master those skills and continue using them for years to come.
This post will show you the most effective ways you can practice Russian online, and where you can do it!
Hang Onto Your Russian! Practice Online with These 8 Sources
Practice is active rather than passive, so you’ll need to do more than sit back and relax, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with the sources below. Plus, your efforts really will pay off!
Take Online Tests
The first step to practicing a language effectively is to test yourself first (and continue testing yourself regularly). This tells you what you know and how much you know about specific words, grammar rules and topics.
Make sure to keep careful track of what you get right and wrong, and then study your wrong answers until you’re able to get them correct!
The results from your tests will give you a better idea about what additional resources you’ll require to practice with, or what to work on with your tutor, exchange partner or pen pal.
Below are some great online tests to get you started.
This test will analyze your ability to make full and coherent sentences in Russian. This is imperative for being able to converse in Russian! It consists of 52 multiple choice questions and should take around 20-25 minutes to finish.
Each question lists a sentence with a missing word and gives you four answers to choose from.
After you complete all of the questions, you’ll get an answer key. Practice until you get everything right and notate what you get wrong to study later.
This is a grouping of four quizzes that test your grammar, vocabulary and reading comprehension. Each part has 10-15 questions.
The grammar section will test for skills such as choosing correct forms of adjectives based on gender. For example, you may need to choose between краси́вая and краси́вый (beautiful). The vocabulary section will test your ability to choose appropriate terms based on the context of a sentence. The reading comprehension test provides short paragraphs in Russian and then asks a couple of questions about them.
This test will give you a clear indication of what you need to work on—learning new words, brushing up on your grammar or honing your reading skills. You can then better utilize the resources below to practice your Russian.
Use Russian Exercises
FluentU offers you a wide collection of real Russian videos with native speakers. You’ll get access to clips from actual music videos, movie trailers, news, interviews and more.
Don’t think this is just like a YouTube playlist, however, as it’s so much more! Each video offers interactive captions which let you click on a word to look up its meaning and usage in a sentence.
Then, you’ll be able to take personalized quizzes about what you saw to reinforce what you learned, thereby sharpening your listening and reading skills at the same time.
The great thing about FluentU is that it integrates practice into your learning seamlessly: It reminds you when you need to review words and phrases, but because the quizzes and videos are all part of the same platform, it probably won’t even feel like studying.
Also, since videos are integrated with multimedia flashcards that you can create sets of on your own, you can plug in the exact vocabulary that you need to learn and not waste time reviewing what you already know—it’s completely customized practice!
This site includes dozens of printable worksheets with English and Russian vocabulary. You can choose any subjects you want to focus on, such as careers, sports, body parts, numbers, etc. There’s also a huge verb section where you can click to get a conjugation worksheet for any listed verbs in a specific tense.
The sheets list words and phrases in English and Russian, and are designed so you can cover one section at a time and translate each language.
Now, we realize that we promised you exercises that you can use online, and you may not be able to print these worksheets, especially if you’re learning on the go. Don’t fret, these are very flexible to work with!
You can use them right on the screen by covering one column with your hand or a piece of paper and translating the Russian words into English and vice versa. Simply say the words, or write them down on a piece of paper. Another strategy is to cover the “answers” with a word processing document and type them there.
The fact is, there’s just a ton of useful basic Russian material to access here. Plus, this resource earns its spot on this list because of the actual advantages of working with a worksheet format. You can practice your Russian writing skills by handwriting your answers if you choose to print the documents. With the use of computers, we don’t do much of that anymore, but you may need to know how to write, especially if you’re planning a trip to Russia!
This site includes courses and tutorials but also has a variety of great straightforward exercises to practice grammar and vocabulary. In the vocabulary section, you can click on a topic and then click on “Tests” to practice the material. There are also a few games you can use for vocabulary practice. In the grammar exercise section, you can practice forming sentences with correct Russian nouns, pronouns, verbs and adjectives.
There are even some exercises to help you get familiar with Russian language concepts in English. One exercise consists of 15 examples of sentences in English that underline nouns and ask you to choose which of the six cases is used. The second part presents 10 statements in English, and asks you to pinpoint which noun is used in a certain case.
Exercises offer answer keys so you can test yourself upon completion.
Communicate with Actual Russians
If you live in a metropolitan city, such as New York or Los Angeles in the U.S., you can find lots of opportunities to speak with real Russians. Just visit a Russian restaurant or shop in a Russian deli. However, the next best thing is finding native Russians online to communicate with and learn from, which is something you can do from anywhere.
Preply is a site that connects you with Russian tutors via Skype. You can handpick your tutor by choosing the price you’re comfortable with paying, what time and day the tutor is available and their birthplace. (Remember that Russian is spoken in various countries and territories outside of the actual country of Russia!)
Each tutor’s profile shows their photo, name, a short biography and price. You can see how many total lessons they’ve taught on the site, their rating and reviews.
You can practice Russian with Preply in two ways—you can ask your tutor to create a curriculum for you or you can work with them to practice specific skills and topics.
This is a great site that offers a free way to practice Russian with real Russians. An online version of the pen pal programs of the past, it allows you to correspond without the price of stamps. Although once you get to know your pen pal, there’s nothing preventing you from practicing your writing skills by sending them actual letters.
The set-up is easy—create a profile, say something about yourself and search for new friends! Although these people likely won’t be professional tutors, they’ll give you the chance to practice your conversation skills with a native, and possibly teach them some English!
Verbling gives you a streamlined, virtual way to work with teachers while learning Russian. This site offers many of the same sorting features as Preply, but with its own cool features, including its own video tech. You can also sort teachers by certain “skills,” such as:
- Age groups: Teaching children or teenagers.
- Test preparation: AP study expertise, for example.
- Subject: Focus on specific areas, such as grammar, interview prep, reading, etc.
This allows you to work with different teachers that offer various specialties and practice your Russian with more than one person!
Remember that practice really does make perfect.
Renata Ilitsky is a professional content writer with over 10 years of experience. She specializes in creating unique and engaging content for any industry. To read some of Renata’s other work, please view her writing portfolio.
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