Time To Learn Spanish?
So, you’ve probably given a fair bit of thought to the different ways that you could go about learning Spanish. You might well be starting to settle on the idea of using an online Spanish course of some sort. If you have done any amount of research into the Spanish courses that are available online these days then it’s fairly likely that you’ve come across a course called Rocket Spanish and no doubt would like to learn some more about it – you’re in the right place!
Introducing Rocket Spanish
With a fairly ‘catchy’ name like ‘Rocket Spanish’ which would seem to suggest that you’ll be learning the language at rocket speed you might be wondering (like I was) if the adverts for this course are all exaggeration and hype or if there’s actually some real value to be found here. With claims from the company’s website that this course will cut your learning time in half and enable you to “become a confident Spanish speaker in an amazingly short space of time” I was convinced that this course was for me and so enrolled in the Rocket Spanish course for myself to begin learning Spanish and in doing so find out if the course lived up to expectations.
After using the Rocket Spanish Premium language learning course for a while myself I have put together a fairly comprehensive, unbiased and up to date (for 2013) review which is something I could not find anywhere online before I got the course. My review which is laid out in the page below will hopefully answer any questions you might possibly have about the course. So whether you’re learning Spanish for career, travel or family reasons this review should give you all the information you need to know to help you decide if the Rocket Spanish course is right for you and worth your time and money.
A Very Brief History – Where Did Rocket Spanish Come From?
Rocket Spanish has been around for almost ten years now, having been established in 2004 by two friends Mark Ling and Jason Oxenham. Mark and Jason both of whom had a fair amount of experience of the more traditional language teaching courses and books that were available at bookshops and universities felt that there must be an easier and more effective way of learning a language.
They set about developing a better way of learning Spanish and with the help of their native Spanish speaking friend Mauricio Evlampieff and an expert in Spanish languages Amy Waterman the Rocket Spanish Premium language learning course was born. The main element of the course was a series of fully downloadable interactive audio lessons. It’s aim was to not only have you reading and writing Spanish, but speaking Spanish, being able to understand Spanish when it was spoken to you and also to significantly reduce the amount of time it took to learn the language.
The course rapidly became very popular online, so much so that it soon led to the development of other Rocket Languages courses based on the same learning methods. Rocket Spanish Premium has been continually developed and updated over the years (most recently updated for 2013). A number of other languages have also been added to the Rocket Languages family of courses to the point where the company boasts of having over 800,000 online registered users of their language courses.
Rocket Spanish Premium 2013 Edition – What Exactly is This Course?
Basically what you’re getting for your money with this course is lifetime access to the Rocket Spanish Premium online Spanish learning centre. This online learning centre is a very clean looking and very well designed membership type website where you can log in from any computer anywhere in the world to access all manner of Spanish language learning material in the form of audio, audio visual and written content.
A huge proportion of the content of the course is fully downloadable. For example there are numerous audio files that you could download and store on a CD or MP3 player and there are also many transcripts of the audio from the course available to download to your computer so you could print them out and read back over what you’ve learned at a later time.
There is a second option to purchase this course as a 20 disc CD pack which at the time of writing includes free shipping to you anywhere in the world. You get the same full access to the online course included with your purchase of the CD pack but unfortunately you will have to pay three times the price!
What Kind of Structure Does the Course Have and How is it Delivered?
When you buy the Rocket Spanish Premium course you will be sent your login and membership details right away which will enable you to gain access to the online course without having to wait. When you log in you will arrive at your ‘dashboard’ which is essentially the home page of the site from which you can access all of the learning material.
You will notice straight away that the site has a very simple layout that makes it easy to navigate with the main learning sections or modules being easily accessed from tabs across the top of the page and all the other sections are easily found through tabs down the left hand sidebar of the page.
The main Sections and Features of the Course are:
- Interactive Audio: These lessons are where you will learn the most. Each interactive audio lesson is broken down into three modules – ‘conversation’, ‘practice’ and ‘my level’. For the conversation module you will be taken through a short Spanish conversation which will be broken down into individual words and phrases where you are prompted to repeat the words and phrases out loud. For the ‘practice’ part of each lesson you get to record yourself speaking some Spanish words and phrases and compare your recording to a native Spanish speaker for correctness. With the ‘my level’ module you are tested on what you have learned and given a score which you can then work towards improving.
- Language and Culture: Again this section of the course consists of three modules – ‘language’, ‘culture’ and ‘my level’. The language module deals with all the Spanish language fundamentals such as pronunciation, verbs, adjectives, gender and all that sort of stuff. The culture module gives you information about Spanish speaking countries and some of their customs and also a little bit of history. The ‘my level’ module allows you to test yourself on what you have learned in this section in the same way as for the interactive audio lessons.
- Games: There are two types of interactive game included with the course. Each of these two types of game has two versions so you get four games in total – Mega Cards Beginners, Mega Cards Advanced, Phrase Master and Word Master. The Mega Card games are interactive memory games and the Phrase and Word Master games put you under pressure to construct various Spanish words and phrases before the time runs out! These games are basically designed to test your knowledge of the written word and also test and improve your vocabulary.
- Survival Kit: The survival kit is a series of vocabulary sessions with interactive audio lessons each of which focus on a specific Spanish language vocabulary set. For example there are vocabulary lessons based around days of the week, body parts, city life, colours, clothes and countries of the world.
- My Dashboard: This area of the course is kind of your home page or starting point. Here you will find a check list of ten different features of the course that you are encouraged to try out at the beginning in order to fully familiarise yourself with the course. There is also a ‘course recommendations’ feature here where lessons are suggested to you based on what level you are at and what parts of the course you have already completed.
- My Assessments: Testing yourself as you go along is a great way to keep track of your progress when learning a new language. The ‘My Assessments’ section of the course allows you to do just this by selecting from a number of quizzes based on the material covered in the various lessons throughout the course.
- My Badges: If you are someone who struggles to stay motivated you may find this feature of the course useful. Basically you are awarded points for every lesson that you complete and when you reach a certain number of points you are awarded a badge. There is a whole series of badges which logically range from novice at the beginning all the way up to Spanish speaking guru when you become advanced. Working towadrs achieving your next badge can be a great way to keep motivated and if you are competitive you can also compare your points score on a daily basis to other users of the course who are displayed on a leaderboard.
- My Forum: In this area of the online course you can interact with other learners. You can read questions and comments posted by other users and you can also ask for help by posting a question about something you are struggling with. There are a huge number of people using this forum with wide ranging levels of Spanish so you can learn quite a bit just by reading through the forum posts.
- My Toolbox: This feature of the course has four different sections. The ‘Advanced Learning Techniques Section’ has a large selection of articles which help you to discover what type of learning suits you best and how to make the best use of the course based on the type of learner that you are. There’s a ‘My Vocab’ section where you can record and store your own vocabulary list. There’s a useful Phrase Finder tool where you can type in an English word or phrase and have it translated for you. If you like to make and keep notes as you learn new things there’s a ‘My Notes’ tool where you can store any notes that you make.
What People are Saying About Rocket Spanish
From the brief description of the contents of the course laid out above you will have noticed that the Rocket Spanish course is packed full of features.
Now just because a course has lots of features does not necessarily mean that it’s a good course. One of the best ways to find out if all of these features and indeed the course itself is any good is to find out what people who have used the course are saying about it.
There’s absolutely loads of Rocket Spanish reviews on the internet. Most of these reviews are to be found on websites and youtube videos which are actually promoting Rocket Spanish and for that reason they are usually very biased and do nothing more than try to convince you to buy the product so that they can make a commission on the sale when you do.
I’ve put together a list of comments I have found from different places around the internet which were made by people who have bought and used Rocket Spanish and in doing so I have done my very best to ensure the sources of these comments are genuine and not just comments made by people involved in the promotion of Rocket Spanish.
• One user of the Rocket Spanish course named Nabil say’s in his youtube video review:
“. . . . . It was pretty simple to browse and the lessons are more often than not pretty short. . . . .”
The fact that the Rocket Spanish course is very easy to browse and navigate through is a common point I found to be made by many users of the course. This has also been my experience when using the online course and is the result of a very well designed, well laid out, clean looking and easy to use website.
• An active member over at Yahoo Answers who goes by the name Deepti has this to say of her experience with Rocket Spanish:
“. . . It’s got a bunch of audio lessons which are great, they really break down the sentances into chunks so you can identify the words and such, I used to listen to them while driving to work and back. They are great, they prompt you to say the words aloud, it was cool I used to learn new words every day. . . .”
Deepti makes a point here which a lot of other users of the course also make – that it’s very convenient to download some of the audio files and do some learning on the go! I myself never downloaded a single file. When I do my learning I need to allocate the time, organise some peace and quiet and focus completely on what I’m doing.
If however you are a good at multitasking (unlike me) and like the idea of learning some Spanish during your daily commute or whilst out for your morning jog then the fully downloadable feature of the course will certainly appeal to you.
• Deepti goes on to say:
“. . . . The most effective thing I found though was reading along on the transcripts of the audio lessons while listening to them. I think seeing the spanish words (with the english there too) while I heard them really helped them stick in my mind. It also helps you see the individual words and listen to how they are put together, which helped a lot.”
Now this part of Deepti’s comment I really have to agree with. For me, being able to read the words being spoken on the audio and then speak them back out loud myself was what I liked most about the course. It’s kind of like throwing mud at a wall – if you can see it, hear it and do it pretty much all at the same time then an awful lot more of that ‘mud’ is going to stick!
• An interesting point made by the reviewers over at No1reviews.com is that:
” . . . . Languages are like muscles – you need to use them in order to make them stronger – and that’s exactly what you’ll be doing in the Rocket Spanish course. . . . .”
The above comment was made by the reviewer when comparing Rocket Spanish to some other similar courses. The reviewer was making the point that in the Rocket Spanish course there is a very strong emphasis on actually speaking Spanish as you learn it which I myself found to be a great way for strengthening my own Spanish language ‘muscles’.
Things to Watch Out For With Rocket Spanish
Before I signed up for Rocket Spanish I did a fair bit of looking around online to see if there were any negative reviews out there. Since nearly all of the reviews around the internet are by people who are promoting the Rocket Spanish course and in doing so trying to get you to buy it there was very little negativity towards the course to be found.
To be honest my own experience with the Rocket Spanish course has been a positive one and as such I don’t really have anything bad or negative to say about the course either. There are however one or two things to watch out for that I must tell you about.
1. Rocket Spanish Premium is Mostly For Beginners
One thing to watch out for is that – no matter what the people promoting this course say – you will not become a fluent Spanish speaker with the first level of this course. One person who has used all three levels of the Rocket Spanish program involved in a discussion over at forumchitchat.com has this to say:
“I think of Rocket Spanish, especially the first of the three levels, as very much for total beginners. It’s useful mostly for people who have never studied another foreign language and find themselves dismayed that the word order in Spanish differs from what English speakers are used to . . . . . “
I myself would tend to agree with the above comment. Already having three languages under my belt but being a complete Spanish beginner when I started, I found the course very easy as there is lots of English explanation involved in all the lessons. A point to note here is that if you already have a decent grasp of the basics in Spanish you might be better off looking at the Premium Plus or Platinum version of the course.
2. There are Actually Three Levels to the Rocket Spanish Course
The fact that there are three levels to this online Spanish course (Rocket Spanish Premium, Rocket Spanish Premium Plus and Rocket Spanish Platinum) is not something that is very well publicised over at the Rocket Spanish website. It was probably my own second or third visit to their website before I noticed this myself. It seems that the Rocket Spanish website is entirely geared towards getting you to buy the first level (Premium) of the course with a view to marketing the more advanced levels to you afterwards.
Now there’s nothing really wrong with this and to be fair to the people over at Rocket Languages they are running a business and in doing so they do need to make sales – that’s fine. They could however, in my opinion, advertise the fact more clearly that their more advanced levels of Rocket Spanish might be a better option for people who already have a good basic level in the Spanish Language. To learn about the Rocket Spanish Premium Plus and Rocket Spanish Platinum levels of the course you will need to scroll down to the very bottom of the Rocket Spanish website homepage and look for the small links in the bottom left hand corner of the page.
3. Downloading the Rocket Spanish Course Files Could Take Some Time
If you like the idea of downloading the Spanish lessons in the course and taking them with you to learn on the go, then the amount of time it could take you to download all the various course files is something you might need to think about. If you have a super fast internet connection then this is something you will not need to worry about. If however your internet connection is not the fastest and you would like to download and organise all the course files in one go then you might need to set aside a fair chunk of time to complete the task.
Take the interactive audio lessons for example. There are thirty two lessons in total and the size of the lesson files range from about 5MB to 10MB. Let’s say a slow internet connection meant that it would take about a minute to download and organise each file – doing the maths that’s just over half an hour to download all the files. For a lot of people this wont be an issue but for those with a less than reliable internet connection I would say it’s definitely something to watch out for.
4. Rocket Spanish Scam
What’s all this then about a Rocket Spanish scam? Well, let me assure you that there absolutely is no Rocket Spanish scam whatsoever. Rocket Languages is a well established (founded in 2004), trustworthy and properly registered company with two physical addresses that you can actually go to and phone numbers that you can actually call up.
Rocket Languages USA: 8721 Santa Monica Blvd #1229, Los Angeles, CA 90069-4057, USA | Phone: +1-310-601-4958
Rocket Languages Asia/Pacific: 2-1008 Ferry Road, Woolston, Christchurch 8023, New Zealand | Phone: +64-3-384-6350
So why then, you might ask, do you see the occasional Rocket Spanish scam warning when you do a google search for ‘Rocket Spanish’ or ‘Rocket Spanish Reviews’? Let me explain why. The image below is typical of the type of thing you might sometimes find – a website that is advertising in some way that Rocket Spanish is a scam.
What you will usually find if you actually click on a search result like that shown above is that there is absolutely no mention of a scam of any kind to be found elsewhere on the site. What you will find however is that the site in question will go out of their way to tell you how great that Rocket Spanish is in order to get you to click on their affiliate link so that they will make some money on the sale if you eventually choose to buy the course.
So basically dishonest online marketers use the headline ‘Rocket Spanish Scam’ in order to get you to click through to their website in the hope that they will make some money if you buy the course after clicking their affiliate link – there is no scam!
If you are seriously considering buying the Rocket Spanish Course then let me offer you some buying advice to make sure that you buy from the right place, at the right price and in total safety.
• There’s only one place you can buy Rocket Spanish from and that’s the official Rocket Languages website. The current price of Rocket Spanish Premium is $99.95 (discounted from $149.95). If you see Rocket Spanish for sale anywhere other than the official Rocket Languages website or for any price other than that stated above then do be careful as it is likely that you will be interacting with a fraudulent website.
• Rocket Languages use a company called Clickbank to Process their orders. Clickbank is one of the largest, most well established and secure retailers of digital products on the internet. I myself have bought many products (certainly more than twenty and mostly ebooks) over the last few years from various companies online who used Clickbank to process their orders and have never had a problem with them. You can buy products through Clickbank and know for 100% certainty that your credit card details are safe. All products sold through Clickbank are also covered by a ggenuine 60 day money back guarantee which is also good to know.
• You can currently save $10 by signing up for the free trial. Again this is something that is not advertised anywhere on the Rocket Spanish website. If you head over to the Official Rocket Spanish site and fill out the form for the free trial (by submitting your name and email) you will be given immediate access to the free parts of the course. What you should find is a small banner add at the top of ‘your dashboard’ which will be offering you the course for an ‘early bird’ price of $89.95 ($10 cheaper than the regular $99.95). They will also send you a welcome email with the same offer. So simply by signing up for the free trial you’ll be saving $10 off the regular price!
So What’s My Verdict on the Rocket Spanish Premium Course?
The following quote taken from a Review by H. Gordon from over at yourlanguageplace.com helps me to make a very good point here:
“Is this course perfect? No. If you really want to be fluent you’re going to have to go beyond Rocket Spanish. But no course will make you fluent in 3 months either. What you get out of the course depends very much on how much you put into it.”
So, Rocket Spanish is not perfect, but then neither is any other online Spanish course in my view. There are literally hundreds of different Spanish Learning courses for sale on the internet. You will find all kinds of reviews for all of these courses, some telling you that one particular course is the best of all, others telling you how poor a particular course is when compared to the one that they would recommend.
You can research and read about all these different courses until your eyes hurt if you wish. The bottom line however is that no course will make you fluent in Spanish (that’s my opinion anyway) no matter what the course provider tries to tell you! What the Rocket Spanish Premium course will do for you however is get you to a very good intermediate level of Spanish from which you can then work on towards becoming fluent.
Would I Recommend Rocket Spanish to a Friend?
Having gone through most of the course myself would I now recommend the Rocket Spanish course to my friends? The answer to that question is a big YES – and here’s the reasons why:
- Learning a language through Rocket Languages is so much easier and much more enjoyable than the way I have learned other languages before. For most of us our first experience of learning a new language was back when we were at school. The methods of teaching a language at school placed a huge emphasis on reading, writing and grammar which for me made the learning of a language at times unenjoyable and hard work! The methods that the Rocket Spanish course use to teach the language are a complete breath of fresh air. The strong emphasis on actually speaking the language and being able to understand Spanish when it is spoken to you allows you to notice progress much more quickly.
- The course is great value when compared to some of the other courses that are available. If you have a good look around at what’s available in the way of online Spanish learning courses you will notice that many of the courses retail for several hundred dollars. With the Rocket Spanish course being available for less than a hundred dollars it is in my opinion great value for money.
- You have lifetime access to the learning centre with this course. Let’s say for example you took a Spanish course at your local college. It is very likely that when the series of classes comes to an end your Spanish learning will also come to an end. To refresh or improve your Spanish you would have to take another class. With Rocket Spanish you could neglect your Spanish learning for quite a long time safe with the knowledge that when you come back to the course all your learning material including your saved notes and vocabulary will still be there for you.
My Final Words
So, in summary, I would recommend Rocket Spanish to a friend because it is an easy and enjoyable way to learn a language, it is quite good value for money and you will have lifetime access to all the learning material. My advice would be that if you are a beginner then you should seriously consider giving Rocket Spanish a go, you will not in my view be disappointed. If you already have the basics in Spanish you should get the free trial which will allow you to see if the course contents will actually meet your Spanish learning requirements.
Are You About To Invest In An Online Spanish Course?
Although the title of this article reads ‘Why Choose Rocket Spanish’ it could as easily say ‘why choose an online Spanish course’. The reason for this is that some of the advantages associated with using Rocket Spanish and the great features that the Rocket Spanish online course has to offer are also common to some of the other similar courses that are available on the internet.
So, if you are thinking of investing your time and money in an online Spanish course then do yourself a favour and read this article through to the end. This article investigates the many advantages associated with choosing an online Spanish course as your method of choice for learning the Spanish language. Continue reading »
If you’ve heard about Rocket Spanish and are starting to think that this course might just be worth your time and money then the good news is that you can try out a ‘limited version’ of the course for a period of six days completely free of charge. It might be that you are still researching the courses that are available to you on-line or perhaps you’re still trying to decide which method of learning Spanish is right for you.
Either way, if Rocket Spanish has caught your attention then the review I have written below will help you to make the best use of your six day free trial of the course should you choose to give it a go. Using the free trial will give you a great opportunity to familiarise yourself with the course’s many features. It will also give you a chance to find out for sure if this course really will meet your Spanish language learning requirements – before you have to spend any money. Continue reading »
Is There A ‘Best Way To Learn Spanish’?
As the old saying goes ‘there is more than one way to skin a cat‘. This is certainly true of trying to learn a new language and in this case we can apply it to learning Spanish as there are quite a few different ways to go about learning the Spanish language. If you are thinking about learning Spanish or just getting started in the language then spending a little time evaluating the different methods of learning the language that are available to you would be a wise thing for you to do.
To answer the question ‘is there a best way to learn Spanish’ you’ll be glad to know that the answer is a resounding ‘yes’. However the best way to learn Spanish for one person may not be the best way to learn for another and this is something that most people fail to realise before they begin their language learning efforts.
Since we all learn in very different ways it would be a good idea for each of us to make sure that we choose the right method of learning Spanish from the very beginning. We need to figure out the method of learning that best suits our learning style and strengths and avoid the methods of learning that might make our learning experience a more difficult one. Continue reading »
If you are like most people (and I include myself here) then you will probably find that the task of learning a new language, such as Spanish in this case, can at times be a very challenging undertaking. This challenge will be made an awful lot more difficult for you, if from the start, you choose the wrong method of learning Spanish for the type of learner that you are. I discovered, that by finding out which kind of learner I was, I could choose the specific methods of learning that gave me the best chance of remembering my Spanish lessons. In doing so I also made the learning process quicker and easier. Continue reading »