Memrise Review

Memrise Review
8.0 Total Score
  • You get so much learning material for free!
  • Use the app anywhere on the go
  • Big community of language learners to connect with
  • A fun way of learning languages
  • 7 day free trial for Memrise Pro
  • Daily motivational goals

Memrise - One of The Best Free Language Apps

Memrise was founded a few years before the launch in 2013 by a grand master of memory and a Princeton neuroscientist. Since then they have created a small team of dedicated language learners at Memrise who are based in East London! The Memrise web and mobile app have many great features that we will cover throughout our review. These features fall under three of their most important ingredients. Science, Fun and Community. If you are looking for a free language learning tool, then Memrise is a great addition to your current language learning portfolio.

Available Languages on Memrise

Memrise currently offers 22 language options, some of these are the same language with a focus on the specific country. For example, you can learn Spanish targeted to Spain or to Mexico. Or Portuguese targeted to Portugal or secondly, Brazil. They even offer two courses of Japanese, one with a script and another without for the more experienced Japanese language enthusiasts. You can see the full list of languages on offer at Memrise below.

Languages

  • English
  • Polish
  • German
  • Russian
  • Italian
  • Norwegian
  • Spanish (Spain)
  • Spanish (Mexico)
  • Swedish
  • Portuguese (Portugal)
  • Portuguese (Brazil)
  • Dutch
  • Icelandic
  • Mongolian
  • Korean
  • Japanese
  • Japanese (no script)
  • Chinese (simplified)
  • Arabic
  • Turkish
  • Danish
  • Indonesian
  • French

Most of the popular languages have seven courses and you can start from any level that you think is suitable for you. If you already know the basics we’d suggest skipping forward a bit.

Less popular languages obviously have fewer courses. If we take the Icelandic or Mongolian courses as examples, we can see that Icelandic has one level and Mongolian has two. This may be a bit frustrating if you want to become fluent in one of these languages as there isn’t as much learning material as the more popular languages.

We’d say that Memrise is a good addition to your language tools portfolio, but probably not to be used singularly. If you partner Memrise with the Yabla app or an online language tutor for immersion that would definitely benefit you.

Teaching Method

Let us now take a more in-depth look at the teaching method behind the Memrise app. As we already mentioned Memrise is the brainchild of a neuroscientist and grand master of memory. This might not mean anything to you, however, it has brought a great deal of value to the language learning app. The science behind Memrise has 3 different principles that create the learning method. These are elaborate encoding, scheduled reminders and choreographed testing.

Elaborate Encoding

First of all, elaborate encoding forces your brain to connect what you are learning with something that you already know, and this doesn’t apply only to languages. These memories can be made visually, acoustically, semantically and so on. The way that Memrise incorporates this is by using memes, as you can then relate a foreign word or sentence to an image, sound or similar word you already know. Learning Spanish for an Italian is easier than for a German student as more words are semantically related.

Scheduled Reminders

Scheduled reminders are used by most other language learning apps, the term normally used is spaced repetition system (SRS). Memrise will send you a notification telling you that you have ‘x’ amount of words to review. If you don’t repeat the foreign phrases that you have learned, they will end up drifting out of your memory. We found it really helpful as there is so much else happening in a day, that sometimes you do need a gentle reminder.

Choreographed Testing

Lastly, the Memrise app uses choreographed testing to make sure that you aren’t learning the same way each time. Your brain needs to be challenged harder to learn quicker and more. At the end of the day, your brain works like a muscle. It needs to be fed new information and find other ways to work out an existing question or problem. An example of how Memrise makes use of this is by introducing the same word(s) that you have been learning in a completely new sentence.

Additions of Memrise Pro

So far all of the features that we have discussed are free when using the Memrise app or website. You can, however, get access to more with a paid subscription that they have called Memrise Pro. Memrise claims that Pro will take your language skills to the next level. They may not be wrong when you see what is on offer.

For all you language learners in the UK, you can get the extra benefits that pro has to offer for £55.99 a year, £17.49 every 3 months or £8.49 every month. The Team there even offer you a 7-day free trial so you can start using the added features without paying to see if you want to continue. Check out the extra perks below.

Memrise Pro

Learn With Locals

Memrise Pro’s learn with locals is a great addition, it gives you videos of native speakers saying a phrase, you will then have to select or type in the correct answer. This is obviously a great way to start hearing how natives pronounce the language. This isn’t available for all languages, they cover 13 of the most popular, maybe with more to be offered in future. You will also gain access to pronunciation sessions so you can practice sounding like a native speaker, this is done by using dubbed videos.

Listening Skills

Listening skills is another feature that only implements audio to learn. By going through everything that you have already learned and got you to pick an answer based on what you hear.

Grammarbot

This section has been created to obviously help you improve grammar in your target language. A series of questions will be presented for you to answer. You are also able to decide which specific part of the language you want to focus on.

Difficult Words

The next addition is called difficult words, which enables Memrise to analyse which words and phrases you find tricky. They then give you a focus session on these words to make sure you persist with them. You can add words manually, which we find to be one of the best ways to use this tool. You can have an unlimited amount of words in your storage, however, you will be tested on 20 at a time in each session.

Speed Review

Another feature is the speed review, this is a fun way to test yourself to find the correct answer as quickly as possible. You start with three hearts and lose one each time you aren’t fast enough. Make sure your fingers and brain are ready to answer fast!

Our Final Thoughts

All in all, we think that Memrise is one of the best free language learning apps that you can download in 2018. As there is a method behind the alien madness, if you use this often enough you will start to pick up phrases in your chosen language. It is easy to get hooked on using Memrise, which is what a good language app should do, keep people engaged. The pro subscription maybe isn’t needed as there is so much free learning material available. However, if you are statistic nerds like us then Memrise Pro is worth the small fee each month or year.

8 Total Score
Excellent!

Memrise is fast becoming as popular as Duolingo. With its fun, friendly and scientific approach Memrise is a great language app that can be used for language learners at any level.

Language Variety
8.6
Affordability
9.2
Usability
8.5
Teaching Material
7.9
PROS
  • You get so much learning material for free!
  • Use the app anywhere on the go
  • Big community of language learners to connect with
  • A fun way of learning languages
  • 7 day free trial for Memrise Pro
  • Daily motivational goals
CONS
  • The alien type gamification doesn’t appeal to everyone
  • Popup adverts asking if you want to subscribe to Pro appear quite often
  • Dashboard isn’t as easy to use as other language apps
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