This Rocket Russian Review is current and up-to-date as of January 26th, 2021, and covers the 2021 version of the course by Rocket Languages.
With over 258 million total speakers worldwide, Russian is the seventh-most spoken language in the world by number of native speakers and the eighth-most spoken language in the world by total number of speakers. And as Russia grows in the global landscape today, it’s no secret that more and more people are approaching to Russian courses in order to get a bite of our good ol’ tovarish-es.
Russian is the official language of Russia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan, and it’s considered an unofficial lingua franca in Ukraine and many former Soviet countries.
If you’re planning on visiting any of these countries, or if you’re learning Russian out of sheer interest, don’t miss out our Rocket Russian course review!
Rocket Russian Review: Overview
To start, Rocket Russian is an online, audio-driven language course meant to train your conversational and listening skills. Rocket Russian is one of Rocket Languages’ online- and app-based language-learning programs, which includes other prominent languages such as Spanish, French, German and so on. And for $99.95, you can get access to over 120 lesson hours and multiple tools in order to spice up your Russian comprehension skills.
Rocket Russian employs real-world conversations to teach you the most important grammar and vocabulary elements found in the language. Other features you can find on their website are the following:
Notes: You can keep a virtual notebook as your progress through the lessons.
Scores and badges: A reward system that grants you points and badges the more you interact with the website.
Audio Tracks: Perhaps its most prominent feature, Rocket Russian offers audio lessons free to download and which you can save on your computer.
What We Like About Rocket Russian
Pro #1: Sleek Interface
The website is easy to understand and navigate. Although I had some loading problems every now and then, the website is neatly designed and takes you from point A to point B without problems.
Pro #2: Cultural Facts
Lessons become more enjoyable thanks to the cultural and historical facts spread among the modules. Not only are they insightful and interesting: they help you take a fuller grasp of the lessons. With the Language and culture lessons, you come to understand etymological and historical roots, which eventually make it easier to remember and apprehend vocabulary.
Pro #3: Optional Activities & Rewards
Unlike other platforms, which stress on completing activities in order to progress – some of them becoming monotonous and tedious to do –, Rocket Russian has taken the word “optional” to heart and doesn’t force you to complete them in order to advance.
Lessons include flashcards, quizzes, pronunciation drills, writing lessons and much more, but you’re free to skip them.
On the other hand, should you decide to give these activities a try, Rocket Languages rewards you with points you can accumulate on your overall score, and earn badges along the way. Watching the score grow on the leaderboard is such a satisfying sight!
What We Didn’t Like About Rocket Russian
Con #1: Repetitive
Rocket Russian’s major weakness is that, despite its easy interface – or perhaps largely due to it – content is repetitive and the same activities appear on the modules, none of them differing vastly from each other.
Con #2: Unbalanced and Unstructured Lesson Plan
The lesson plan is unstructured: it starts heavily with complex sentences that require you to memorize them on the get-go. You don’t even learn the Cyrillic alphabet until much later, and simple beginner words and phrases appear only around the end of the course. Although you can learn though dialogues and scenarios, they’re not exactly short or related to each other.
Con #3: Uninteresting Material
Rocket Russian currently offers only two levels, so if you’re an intermediate or advanced student, you might get disappointed.
As for the audio lessons, Rocket Russian offers subtitles that lets you read and understand them, but the conversations’ difficulty makes them hard to enjoy.
Another major flaw found in Rocket Russian’s lesson plan is the lack of extra stimuli and activities to keep you engaged. There are no video lessons available to support you along the audio tracks nor opportunities to practice Russian on your own. Lessons revolve around listening and repeating, but you don’t really learn how to piece the language together.
Con #4: Dead Forum
Rocket Russian claims, among other many other promises, that you can find help on its web forums and discuss your target language there. Sadly, one look at it shows that the Russian forums aren’t as lively as they made it be, so if you’re looking for language mates or debates, this isn’t the place.
Rocket Russian Features
Each module of Rocket Russian is structured in three parts: Interactive Audio Lessons, Language and Culture Lessons, and Writing Lessons. And each of these lessons include the following features:
Hear it! Say it: Flashcards that help you practice the lesson’s vocabulary through repetition.
Write it: The lesson’s vocabulary plays, and you have to write it in Cyrillic. Don’t worry: Rocket Russian provides you with the Cyrillic keyboard!
Know it: You’re given the word in English, and you have to record its Russian translation.
Quiz: You’re asked a question in English and choose its Russian counterpart.
Play it: Rocket Russian allows you to replace one of the audio’s speakers and talk to the computer, using the script given a bit further above.
Who Should Try Rocket Russian?
We recommend Rocket Russian if you:
- are a complete beginner and need to start from the very basics
- wish to study at your own pace, and cannot commit to more than 30 minutes a day
- require a crash course that can prepare you for an upcoming trip
- enjoy Russia and want to discover it through language and cultural lessons
Who Should NOT Try Rocket Russian?
We don’t recommend you Rocket Russian if you:
- don’t like to study only through audio and wish for a more diverse supply of learning materials
- look for more advanced or structured content
- prefer one-on-one instruction
- are already fluent in Russian and seek a challenge
Rocket Languages Alternatives
Learning a new language can be difficult, and learning Russian is known to be extra challenging. So you’ll need a well-structured Russian course to help push your learning forward.
How does Rocket Russian stand up to its competitors? Let’s see how well it goes against some major contenders.
Rocket Russian vs. Duolingo
Duolingo Russian is a free language-learning app that helps you learn to speak Russian with a game-like platform. You complete levels, pass simple yet colorful quizzes, earn rewards as you progress, and customize your experience as you grow in your studies. Essentially, this is just like a video game!
Duolingo encourages its users to spend at least five minutes a day and engages with them through visually stimulating questions, fill-in-the-blank, multiple-choice or matching activities. You can also participate in listening and translation activities, so whatever your learning preferences are, Duolingo has something that will help you advance the way you want.
Although Duolingo’s simplicity and constant reminders are a bit of a polarizing topic among some language learners, it is free, comprehensive, and well-structured. It begins with the basics and slowly guides you through intermediate and advanced topics. It’s easy to forgive its flaws thanks to its attractive, colorful, and well-planned structure.
That said, if you really want to learn Russian, you’ll have to expect to spend more than 10 minutes per day with Duolingo.
Rocket Russian vs. RussianPod101
RussianPod101 is a language learning program with one of the most extensive libraries of lessons on the Internet.
RussianPod101 contains an ample number of videos, podcasts, and learning material for four levels: absolute beginner, beginner, intermediate and advanced, so no matter your level: you’ll find something appropriate for you, be it as a video, text, or exercise.
Despite of this, one of RussianPod101’s setbacks is that some people find it slow; that is, their lessons flow at a really slow pace in order to ensure full understanding, which may or may not tire some language learners. This is why, despite having material for most levels, RussianPod101 is best suited for beginners and intermediate learners. Read our full review here:
Is Rocket Russian Worth The Price?
When you sign up for Rocket Russian, you have several options to pick from. Rocket Languages offer a free trial that will get you free access into the platform for 6 days. This gives you a chance to try out all the features before you pick your preferred plan.
Rocket Languages offers lifetime access to its two levels through two types of payment: either full-price or monthly payment for 6 months. Below, you can find their full prices.
Lifetime Online Access — $99.95
- 144 hours of lesson time
- 4210 phrases with voice recognition
- 32 Interactive Audio lessons
- 40 Language and Culture lessons
- 32 Writing Lessons
- 1 BONUS Survival Kit worth $49.95
Lifetime Online Access – Payment Plan — $19/Month for 6 months
- Includes everything as described in Online Access
- Total payment $114.00 over 6 months
Rocket Russian Level 2 — $149.95
- 120 hours of lesson time
- 3621 phrases with voice recognition
- 30 Interactive Audio lessons
- 30 Language and Culture lessons
Rocket Russian Level 2 also offers a 60-day, no-questions-asked full refund policy, in case you’re not fully satisfied.
Rocket Russian Travelogues — $99.95
- 3494 phrases with voice recognition
- 40 audio tracks
- 70 Play it! conversations
Rocket Russian Review: Summary
Rocket Russian from Rocket Languages is a valuable resource for those who learn the best by listening and wish to polish their conversational skills. Rocket Russian will carefully prepare you for different daily scenarios and grant you an ample set of survival words and phrases that will help you handle several situations in Russian-speaking countries.
With that said, I don’t recommend Rocket Russian to people who wish to actually learn the language in a fuller, more personalized aspect. As mentioned above, Rocket Russian seeks to polish your conversational skills with survival vocabulary, but you’re never encouraged to structure the language yourself. And in the few instances you do, it’s not much.
To some, the uninspiring lesson plans found in Rocket Languages courses are not worth their listing price. If you’re a serious language learner, there are better – and even free – alternatives out there which can guide you through the language in a more effective way. But if you’re willing to give it a try to Rocket Russian, I recommend that you do the free trial to figure out it’s worth the money to you or not.
Valerie is a writer, translator, and language teacher who’s fluent in English and Spanish, and with some knowledge in German. Valerie has been learning and teaching languages for several years, and that’s why she knows what she’s looking for in a language app: details, flow, and of course, fun. She’s currently studying Russian, Korean and Japanese in her spare time, and hopes to find an online program that can boost her self-studies.