ArabicPod101 Review: Its Features, Price, and Top Alternatives
Good resource for beginners, but course still needs more development
ArabicPod101 is a good way for beginners to start learning Arabic. The audio/video lessons are interesting and there are lots of other lessons and resources outside the specific level pathways. But sometimes it seems like they are focusing on quantity of lessons over quality. By including 3 different dialects of Arabic (which are very different) ArabicPod101 makes itself less useful than other language apps that choose to focus on only one.
- Lots of lesson types and study materials
- Different monthly subscriptions to fit your budget
- Many extra resources available
- Course is a bit disorganized
- Long lessons with lots of English
- Not as developed as other Innovative Language courses
Related Language apps
Table of Contents
ArabicPod101 is one of the 34 Innovative Languages courses. It teaches Arabic through a variety of audio/video lessons that feature native speakers. Their conversational approach, taught with podcast-style lessons, helps to overcome the difficulties for English speakers when learning a language that uses a different writing system. The content of the lessons focuses on topics that you would encounter in everyday life, such as travel, business, and social situations.
How Long Will It Take You To Learn Arabic?
What is your current level?
What level do you want to reach?
How many hours will you study each day?
ArabicPod101 has 5 levels: absolute beginner, beginner, intermediate, upper-intermediate, and advanced. This app works well for beginners. The lessons do a good job of introducing new concepts and phrases gradually without being overwhelming. But starting at the intermediate level, there aren’t enough useful lessons. The advanced level corresponds with CEFR level C1, but I don’t think I could reach a C1 level by only using ArabicPod101.
In addition to some limited free content, there are three paid subscription levels. You can choose a 1, 3, 6, 12, or 24-month plan. The more months you buy, the cheaper it costs per month. A Basic subscription costs from $8.00 per month to $96.00 for 24 months (50% cheaper per month). A Premium subscription costs from $25.00 per month to $240.00 for 24 months (60% cheaper per month). A Premium+ subscription costs from $47.00 per month to $549.00 for 24 months (51% cheaper per month).
So what’s included with each subscription? The Basic subscription gives you access to all the lessons and lesson notes. A Premium subscription gives you access to all the lessons and lesson notes, as well as all additional practice features available. A Premium+ subscription gives you everything included at the Premium level along with access to a 1-on-1 tutor that guides you through the course and corrects your written assignments.
Since there are different levels, you can choose the one that fits your learning needs and budget. The Basic subscription price is on the low end of the price scale and compares to other apps like MosaLingua or Busuu. The Premium subscription is on the more expensive side and compares with apps like Rosetta Stone or Pimsleur.
ArabicPod101 Free Trial
ArabicPod101 offers a free 7-day trial. You do not have to enter any credit card information. The trial gives you access to all content that is available with a Premium subscription, so you can try all levels to see which one is right for you. The only feature that you can't use during the trial is the 1-on-1 tutoring that’s only available with a Premium+ subscription.
When I signed up, ArabicPod101 offered me a one-dollar deal. For $1.00, I got Premium access for an entire month, plus other exclusive lessons and content. But if you don’t cancel after 1 month, you will start getting charged for a premium subscription, so keep an eye on that. I also received various discounts in my email and through the website.
Students get 20% off any 12-month subscription. The discount is automatically applied and you don’t have to verify a student email address.
ArabicPod101 Review: How It Can (or Can’t) Help You
Getting started is easy! After entering and confirming your email address, you choose the level you want to begin with. There isn’t a placement test, and you choose your level based on some simple criteria. Most levels begin with a quick assessment to see if you should jump ahead or start from the beginning of the level. Changing levels is easy if you think the lessons are too easy or difficult.
Once you choose your level, you start on a “pathway” that guides you through the level. Each pathway has audio/video lessons and assignments. If you don’t choose a specific dialect, you are automatically put on the Standard Arabic pathway. Apart from this, you can also add many other pathways that focus on different cultural topics, reading comprehension, dialogues, and more.
Starting to learn on ArabicPod101 was easy, but learning Arabic is challenging. There are often common difficulties that language learners face. Let’s see if ArabicPod101 overcomes these challenges.
Challenge #1: Beginning a New Language
ArabicPod101 is a good resource for beginners. The lessons are easy to follow and explain everything thoroughly in English. There are 2 levels dedicated to beginners so there are many lessons to get you started. The first level, Absolute Beginner, is currently the only level that lets you choose between 3 dialects: Egyptian, Moroccan, and Standard Arabic.
Challenge #2: Learning & Remembering New Words
There is a strong focus on vocabulary with ArabicPod101. Every lesson includes vocabulary activities to help you practice the words and phrases introduced in the lesson. Most of the additional resources are also geared toward practicing vocabulary. I especially like the list of 100 Most Common Words. It was a fast and easy way to learn some important words.
Challenge #3: Understanding & Speaking to Native Speakers
Because all of the lessons include a conversation between 2 Arabic speakers, it’s a good way to practice listening to spoken Arabic. Every vocabulary word from the lesson has an audio clip with the correct pronunciation so you can listen to it and try to match pronunciation There are also additional video lessons that you can watch that feature native Arabic speakers.
On the other hand, there is almost no way to practice speaking. During the lessons, you are prompted to repeat after the teacher, but I don’t think this is a very effective way to practice speaking. There are other platforms out there that are better to help you start speaking such as LanguaTalk or Preply.
Challenge #4: Making Language Learning a Routine
ArabicPod101 makes it easy to study. You can learn on the online platform, use the Innovative Languages app, and even download the audio/video files and lesson notes to learn when you are offline. ArabicPod101 doesn’t use games or tokens to get you to practice like Mondly or Duolingo do. But you can track some learning statistics, such as lessons completed and time studied.
ArabicPod101 Review: Overall Learning Experience
Overall, I would say ArabicPod101 is good, but not great. I am a big fan of the Innovative Language series, but this one just isn’t as developed as the other languages. It seems like they are working to improve it and are adding new lessons and resources.
There are some features that I did enjoy. The lessons are interesting because of the dialogues and there are detailed lesson notes. In general, I’m not an auditory learner, so following along with the transcripts was useful. The practice activities are also customizable to fit your learning style.
There is also an active forum for each lesson. If you have a question or comment about the specific lesson, you can ask directly on the lesson page and someone from ArabicPod101 will respond with the answer. On every forum I checked, ArabicPod101 had responded to each comment.
There are also many additional learning resources and activities that other apps don’t include. For example, there are additional video lessons that cover different vocabulary or cultural topics. There are also word lists of common phrases and even an Arabic dictionary.
ArabicPod101 Review: Areas of Improvement
ArabicPod101 isn’t as developed as some of the other courses offered by Innovative Languages. For example, level 3 of ArabicPod101 has about 4 hours of lessons. Compared with JapanesePod101, the flagship course of Innovative Languages, the intermediate level has almost 26 hours of lessons. A lot of the other language courses, like FrenchPod101 and SpanishPod101, also have a lot more additional lessons and features even though they are the same price as ArabicPod101.
Because ArabicPod101 doesn’t have as much content as other competitors, it’s not a useful resource for anyone above a beginner or low-intermediate level. For example, the Beginner level of Standard Arabic has 5 hours of lessons. I don’t think I would be ready to move to the intermediate level after only 5 hours. To be fair, there are a lot of practice activities and bonus lessons associated with the level outside the pathway, but I still don’t think it would be enough.
Another common complaint about ArabicPod101 is the confusion about what dialect you are learning. Whereas other resources, such as Rocket Arabic, focus on only one dialect, ArabicPod101 tries to incorporate three: Standard Arabic, Egyptian Arabic, and Moroccan Arabic. But not all dialects are given the same importance. Standard Arabic has a pathway available in all 5 levels, Egyptian Arabic has a pathway in 4 levels, and a pathway for Moroccan Arabic is only available in the Absolute Beginner level. The bonus lessons that are available outside the level pathways are largely Egyptian Arabic, but there are a lot of lessons that don’t specify which dialect they use, which can confuse learners.
ArabicPod101 Alternatives and Competitors
If ArabicPod101 isn’t the right choice for you, there are other options available. Other apps that use podcast-style lessons are Pimsleur and Rocket Arabic. Although it has different style lessons, Busuu and Glossika are good options to improve listening and understanding. If you prefer short, quick lessons, Duolingo, Mondly, or Memrise might work for you. If you are an advanced speaker, you could take classes with a live teacher on a platform like italki or Preply or find a language exchange partner with Tandem or HelloTalk.
ArabicPod101 vs Pimsleur
ArabicPod101 and Pimsleur have audio lessons with practice exercises to complete after listening. But Pimsleur offers more exercises that help you understand what you learned. Depending on which subscription you get, Pimsleur may be more expensive. Both are excellent apps for learning, but Pimsleur is better because it works more on speaking and pronunciation. If you think Pimsleur might be right for you, you can learn more about it in this review, or try it for free by clicking the link below.
ArabicPod101 vs Rocket Arabic
Rocket Arabic is the app that's most similar to ArabicPod101. Both use podcast-style lessons to help you listen to and understand Arabic. ArabicPod101 has more content outside of the lessons, but Rocket Arabic’s course has a well-defined structure that is easy to follow. The price is difficult to compare because you have to buy the entire Rocket Arabic course, but ArabicPod101 has different monthly subscriptions. Rocket Arabic is the better choice, especially if you are learning Egyptian Arabic, because the course structure makes more sense and builds upon what you already learned. You can learn more about Rocket Arabic in this review, or try it for free by clicking the link below.
ArabicPod101 vs Busuu
ArabicPod101 and Busuu are different because ArabicPod101 offers long, audio lessons, and Busuu has very short lessons that you can complete in a few minutes. I also like the community aspect of Busuu where you can offer corrections to other learners and ask for help on your sentences. Both apps offer inexpensive monthly subscriptions. Busuu is a good app to use as an additional way to practice, but ArabicPod101 is better as a stand-alone course. If you are interested in Busuu, you can read more about it in this review, or try it for free by clicking on the link below.
ArabicPod101 vs Rosetta Stone
The lesson styles of ArabicPod101 and Rosetta Stone are completely different. ArabicPod101 has longer, audio lessons that explain everything in English. Rosetta Stone has short, flashcard-style lessons that you can complete quickly. The benefit of Rosetta Stone is that you can get lifetime access to all languages. So if you are studying more than one language, Rosetta Stone is the better choice. To see if Rosetta Stone is right for you, you can read more about it in this review or try it for free by clicking the link below
ArabicPod101 Review FAQ
ArabicPod101 is an online platform and mobile app to help you start speaking Arabic. The course is taught through audio and video lessons. There are more lessons for beginners and intermediate level than for advanced learners.
ArabicPod101 offers some of its content for free. You can access new lessons weekly and use some of their additional practice resources. If you want access to all of the lessons and features available, you will need a paid subscription. ArabicPod101 offers a 7-day free trial so you can try it out before paying for a subscription.
ArabicPod101 teaches a mix of Standard Arabic, Egyptian Arabic, and Moroccan Arabic. Standard Arabic has the most lessons. Some lessons are clear about what dialect they use, while others don’t specify.
Yes, ArabicPod101 is a legitimate language learning course. It's one of the courses developed by Innovative Languages. It’s an effective way to start learning Arabic. You can even try it out for 7 days before entering any credit card information.
About This ArabicPod101 Review
This is an independent ArabicPod101 review, and the company has not sponsored this article. To write this review, I used the free trial for the app and used it for a few hours to thoroughly test its content and features. I also found additional information on the Innovative Languages website to verify my findings.