If you are looking for the perfect online French course, you probably heard about Rocket French by Rocket Languages.
This online French course was nominated “Editor’s Choice” of Pc Mag and won numerous awards.
But is it any good? It’s what you are going to find out in this honest review. You will discover both the advantages and disadvantages of Rocket French.
How does Rocket French work?
Rocket French is mainly based on dialogues. The course is divided into three levels (premium, premium plus and platinum) containing more than 140 hours of audio each,
There are two types of lessons :
- Interactive audio lessons
- Language and culture lessons
Each lesson is divided into two sections. First the lesson itself, then the testing section.
The lesson section of Rocket French allows you to :
- Listen to the full lesson
- Listen to the conversation only
- Hear the pronunciation of each word individually
- See a transcript of the lesson
- Access role play tracks
The lessons in Rocket French
Interactive audio lessons
The interactive lessons contain a dialogue between two persons, Paul and Claire.
While Claire accent is perfect, I found that Paul’s pronunciation, although pretty good wasn’t perfect.
I suspect this was made on purpose so English speakers can slowly transition to a more natural French accent.
That’s probably why Paul is replaced by a Frenchman in the more advanced levels of Rocket French.
Unlike many French courses, you will only find words and sentences that native French speaker really use. No useless words only found in grammar books here. Some lessons even teach you slang words and expressions that you could easily hear when you visit France.
The ability to only listen to selected words or to skip the lesson part and jump to the conversation really pleased me. It’s all implemented in a very practical way and you can even download a PDF transcript of the lesson or the audio to use it while you are not on the computer. Iphone and Android apps are also available.
This means Rocket French can also be used as a podcast.
In fact, I recommend you to always skip the lesson and focus on the dialogue instead. Like that you get to learn French faster and don’t lose time listening to the English part of dialogues.
The Role Play tracks allow you to play the role of Paul or Claire and practice speaking. It’s a great way to immerse yourself, but won’t be as effective as talking to a native speaker because it’s hard to judge whether your accent is good or not.
Language and culture lessons
You could think that the language and culture lessons in Rocket French are here to tell you more about France and its culture. And it’s partly right. There are some interesting explanations of French culture and the basics are covered.
But these language and culture lessons are mainly about grammar. If you love grammar this section will make you happy. However,, I recommend you not to spend too much time reading about grammar.
The best way to learn French grammar is to read and hear a lot of French.
You should only use these grammar lessons when there is something specific you don’t understand in a dialogue for example. This way you will learn French grammar naturally, the same way you learnt the grammar of your native language.
The testing section
The testing section of the Rocket French course is very useful. I particularly liked Hear it! Say it!, a tool to record your voice and compare your pronunciation to a native speaker’s pronunciation.
It’s a great way to improve your French pronunciation. However, as a learner you won’t always hear the mistakes you make. That’s why you should absolutely find conversation partners.
The quiz disappointed me. Many questions and answers are in English, so it’s only useful to check your understanding of the audio. In my opinion, having questions and answers in French (with translation if necessary) would make more sense.
In addition to the quiz and the recoding tool, the testing section also contains translation and listening exercises.
Finally, you can write notes about each lesson and read them later.
Other tools available with the Rocket French course
When you buy Rocket French, you also get access to a few other tools :
- A forum where you can ask questions to teachers
- Phrase Finder
- My Vocab
- Advanced Learning Techniques
The forum is great and shows the dedication of the Rocket Languages team. Questions are answered quickly and in detail. You won’t be left alone with the course.
Phrase finder is a great way to get the word or sentence you are looking for with audio. But it’s not always relevant. I typed “I love you”, and got “je t’adore” (I adore you) as a result. “Je t ‘aime” would have been much more relevant in this case.
My Vocab gives you the opportunity to save the vocabulary you want to learn for later use. You can also export it. Simply presents the translation and notes with audio. This is practical if you work with a SRS tool, which I strongly advise you to do.
Finally the Advanced Learning Techniques section gives some good advice and some not so good one. Repeat repeat, repeat for example. While it’s true that repeating will likely help you remember, it’s far from being the most effective technique out there. You can learn more about it in the ultimate guide to learning vocabulary.
Should you buy Rocket French?
Rocket French particularly impressed me with the large quantity of high-quality dialogues it contains. These dialogues use everyday French and can prepare you for all kind of situations, and you can ask questions on the active forum if you don’t understand something.
This said, I do consider the French Together course to be a better option because it focuses on the most important French vocabulary and grammar rules.
Disclosure: I’m a Rocket French affiliate. This means that I earn a commission (at no additional cost for you) if you purchase the Rocket French through my link.
Over to you
What do you think of Rocket French? I would love to hear your opinion!