Memrise Review: A Helpful Tool For Beginners
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Memrise is a popular language learning app that uses flashcards to help you learn new words and phrases quickly. It uses a lot of unique features to enhance the flashcards and improve your speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills. Most of its content is free, including a good portion of the official Memrise courses. It’s a great tool for beginners, but may not be very helpful for intermediate and advanced language learners.
- A lot of free content
- Courses available for most languages
- You can practice with friends
- Features are different on the web, iOS, and Android version
- Monthly subscription price is higher than others
- Some features aren't available for all courses
Memrise is a flashcard app that uses spaced repetition to help you remember words and phrases more effectively. It also uses game-like features to keep you motivated, like leaderboards and points. Overall, it’s really effective if you’re just starting to learn a new language, but may not help more advanced learners. While Memrise is good for learning vocabulary, it doesn’t teach much else. It’s a good idea to use a more in-depth app in addition to Memrise.
This Memrise review will walk you through all the different aspects of this language resource. Memrise is one of the most popular language learning apps. It’s mainly a flashcard app, and it stands out from its competitors because of the science behind it. The creators of Memrise are a Princeton-educated neuroscientist and an Oxford-educated Grand Master of Memory. I think it’s pretty safe to say they know how the brain works.
While the focus of Memrise is flashcards, you can also learn basic grammar in some of the content. These lessons aren’t very extensive though. They’re a decent place to start learning more difficult topics of your target language, but they honestly won’t get you very far. For this reason, it’s possible to learn languages with Memrise, but only at a beginner level.
Memrise offers an app and a web version, and it’s easy to access some of the lessons no matter where you are. The content between the app and the web version is slightly different though, which can be frustrating. Because of this, you need to have both options available to access everything. For example, the grammar lessons are only available in the app.
What Is Memrise Decks?
Memrise Decks was a sister site of Memrise. All of the official courses were on Memrise’s website, and all the user-generated courses used to be on Memrise Decks. Early in 2020, the team announced that they were combining these two sites, and all content could be found on Memrise going forward.
There was a lot of controversy surrounding Memrise Decks because there was no app available for Decks. Users also couldn’t download any Decks courses to study offline. A lot of users were unhappy with this, and the Memrise reddit forums were full of complaints. Memrise decided to merge all content back onto the Memrise website.
First Impressions Of Memrise
This migration had pros and cons. It’s definitely easier to have all courses located on the same website, but it’s also difficult to find quality courses because there are so many courses in one spot now.
In addition to the overwhelming amount of courses, the premium and free features are mixed together, so it’s difficult to know exactly what’s included in the free version.
I accidentally clicked on a couple premium features (before purchasing a premium subscription), and was redirected to the purchase page every time.
This interrupts the learning process and forces you to navigate back to what you were doing before.
Even though it has some minor inconveniences, Memrise is still a useful and efficient way to learn new vocabulary words. Once you get used to navigating around the website and app, Memrise really does offer a lot of value.
The amount of free content is impressive, and it’s a great place to start if you’re beginning a new language. This Memrise review will show you how to get started and enjoy all of the features Memrise offers.
Getting Started With Memrise
Memrise offers a web version, as well as iOS and Android apps. You can get started on any of them, and the process is pretty much the same regardless of your device.
Once you’re signed up for an account, the web and app versions of Memrise are a little different, so I’ll walk you through the basics of each.
Using The Web Version Of Memrise
For this Memrise review, I decided to create an account on the web. Before you even enter your basic info, like name and email address, you walk through a few steps to let Memrise know your language goals.
A lot of apps tend to focus on English as the most common starting language of their users, but Memrise has a lot of different language pairs.
If English isn’t your native language, it’s difficult to learn another language based on your knowledge of English. It’s a lot easier to learn a new language directly from your native language.
Memrise itself has created content for a lot of different language pairings, and there is a lot more user-generated content that expands the courses you find on Memrise.
After you select what language you speak and what language you want to learn, you can tell Memrise what level you’re at in your target language. I decided to try Memrise with a language I knew nothing about: Japanese.
Since I don’t know any Japanese, I started at the very beginning of the Japanese course. As soon as you enter your name and email, Memrise jumps right into learning!
I thought this was pretty cool. Instead of holding your hand and spending precious study time walking you through the different features of the website, the first screen you see after creating your account is the first lesson.
I was also pleasantly surprised that there’s a short video of a native speaker writing and pronouncing each word. Especially with languages that use different alphabets or characters, it’s really helpful to see someone write the symbols and pronounce them. The videos are also creative, engaging, and high quality.
Tracking Your Progress On Memrise Web
After you complete a lesson on Memrise, you can see your statistics. The statistics are a good way to track your overall performance during the lesson. You earn points for different aspects of your performance, and this can be motivating for people who have a competitive edge.
Memrise scores you based on your correct answers, how quickly you complete the lesson, and how accurate you are. It also lists the words you learned and shows you how effectively you’ve memorized them.
These statistics may help some people stay motivated to learn, but they may cause others to feel a sense of pressure and urgency. Personally, I think it’s interesting to see the statistics for each lesson, but I take them with a grain of salt. They don’t really add a lot of value.
Memrise also lets you set a daily goal for yourself if you choose to. Depending on how long you practice every day, you can earn additional bonus points. The points don’t really have any benefit though. The more points you earn, the more badges you can earn for your profile.
If you’re using Memrise with friends, it can be fun to have a friendly competition to see who can earn the most points, but that’s about it.
How To Find More Memrise Courses On The Web Version
If you want to find more Memrise courses, you can click on the “Courses” tab from your homepage. This is where you can see the official Memrise courses, as well as the user-generated courses. Since I started with Japanese for this Memrise review, I did a quick search to see the Japanese courses that were available. The list is huge!
I decided to search through the courses for a few other languages, and the available courses were really extensive.
I would definitely focus on taking the official Memrise course in your target language if they offer one, but the user-generated courses can be a nice complement to the official course.
Because the user-generated courses are made by different people, the quality of the content is different in each course. It’s really nice to have a lot of courses to choose from, but I wish there were some minimum requirements for the user-generated courses.
A lot of features from the official Memrise courses also aren’t available in the user-generated courses. I really liked the videos in the Memrise Japanese course, but none of the user courses I tried had them. Some of them also didn’t have audio so I could hear the pronunciation, like the image above.
Using The Memrise App For iOS Devices
The official Memrise courses on the app and web versions appear to be the same, but the look and feel is a lot better on the apps. I decided to complete the official Memrise Spanish course on the iOS app for this Memrise review.
In general, the learning activities are pretty much the same as the web version. In most of the official Memrise courses, the videos and audio are still included in the app. There’s also a literal translation of the phrases, which I thought was pretty unique.
This may confuse some learners, but it can offer other learners an insight into the structure and grammar of their target language. I actually liked seeing the literal translation, and it helped me remember the sentence structure.
Tracking Your Progress In The Memrise App For iOS Devices
Tracking your learning progress is pretty straightforward in the Memrise app, but it doesn’t include the same information as the web version.
In the web version, you can see your speed, accuracy, and points earned. In the iOS app for Memrise, you can only see the amount of words learned and the total words mastered. You can also see your level, but not the amount of points earned.
If you like the gaming and competitive aspects of language learning, like points and levels, the web version is definitely better for you. If you are more focused on an engaging interface and smooth learning experience, the iOS app is probably the better choice.
How To Find More Courses On The Memrise App For iOS
Finding other Memrise courses on the app is really simple. It’s important to note that only official Memrise courses are available on the iOS app though. No user-generated courses are available.
I decided to take a look at the Memrise French course. When you select it on the list, you can either start immediately from beginner French or you can browse through the different Memrise French courses based on your current level.
Navigating between the different courses is really straightforward and simple. In the web version of Memrise, the amount of courses is a little overwhelming because there are so many user-generated courses. I actually prefer sticking to the official courses, and I really like that the app only includes them.
Using The Memrise Android App
All of the official courses are available on the Memrise Android app. However, unlike the iOS app, I think the look and feel of the Memrise Android app is a little basic. To get a better feel for the courses in the app, I took a look at the official Memrise French course.
The activities are all the same in the apps and the web version, and they help you practice listening, identifying the words, and writing them. In the more advanced courses, there aren’t as many videos included in the lessons though.
This is too bad because I really liked the videos that showed native French speakers pronouncing the words. Audio is still available though, and so are the literal translations.
Tracking Your Progress In The Memrise Android App
It’s really simple to track your progress in the Memrise Android app. The iOS app doesn’t include points, but the Android app does. You can also see where you left off in a course, and start from that point when you return to the app.
I did notice that there seems to be a lot less content available on the Android app for some reason. In some courses, you can work your way through a lot of the content for free. In the Memrise Japanese course, for example, a lot of the content is restricted.
Overall, it’s easy to track your progress in the Memrise Android app. You can’t progress very far on the free version though. A lot of content and features are only included with a Memrise premium subscription.
How To Find More Courses On The Memrise Android App
Finding other Memrise courses on the Android app is really easy, and the navigation is easy to follow. You just click “Start A Course” to see the full list of official courses.
Just like the iOS app and web version, you can start learning a new language immediately or you can choose a more advanced level. The features and content included in each course and app are different though, and this can be a little frustrating at times.
Exploring Memrise App And Web Features
At its core, Memrise is a flashcard app and website. The software behind Memrise is really powerful, and it can help you learn a lot of new words pretty quickly. There are a few nice features that enhance the Memrise flashcards, but it can be difficult to see which features are free or paid, and which devices have access to the different features.
Here’s a quick breakdown of what’s available in the Memrise free and premium versions.
Is Memrise Free? What’s Included?
Yes, Memrise is free, but there’s also a Memrise premium subscription available. There’s actually quite a bit included in the free version though. A lot of the language learning courses and content are included in the free web version of Memrise, and some of the additional features of Memrise are also included, like Speed Review.
You can also subscribe to Memrise premium, which unlocks all of the Memrise courses, as well as all of the premium Memrise features. For this Memrise review, I went through and looked at all of the features available on Memrise. If you’d prefer to take a look yourself, you can visit the Memrise website.
What Are The Free Memrise Web Features?
The web version of Memrise includes some basic features, but I would recommend using the apps if you can. The apps have a few more features and are generally a little easier to use. You can still learn a lot by using the web version though. These are the free Memrise web features:
- Learn new words
- Classic review
- Speed review
The other features you see below are all paid features, and I’ll cover those in a bit.
Learn new words is exactly what it sounds like. This includes flashcards with audio and video (if they’re available) with completely new words. You cycle through these new flashcards to learn them, and the activities include multiple choice questions to identify the word, as well as writing practice.
Classic review helps you practice words you’ve already learned by asking multiple choice questions and having you write the words. Each word or phrase appears multiple times until you’ve successfully committed it to your long-term memory. The faster you answer correctly in classic review, the more points you receive.
Speed review is similar to class review, except the focus is on speed. When you answer correctly, every question awards you 25 points. The questions move really quickly though, and you can only answer up to three questions incorrectly.
What Are The Free Memrise iOS App Features?
The free Memrise features on the iOS app are a little different than the free features offered in the web version. The free features on the Memrise iOS app are:
- Words and Phrases
- Learn Grammar
The Memrise premium features are also different on the iOS and web versions. I’ll describe all of the premium features of the web version, iOS, and Android apps together below.
Words and Phrases is where you can learn new flashcards and start memorizing them. Learn Grammar focuses specifically on grammar, as you may have guessed. The final free feature is Review, which is also self-explanatory.
What Are The Free Memrise Android App Features?
In the Memrise Android app, the free features are different from the web and iOS versions. The free features in the Android app are:
- Words and Phrases
- Learn Grammar
- Learn with Locals
You can find a description of all the Memrise premium features for all versions below, but here’s a quick overview of the free Android app features.
Words and Phrases and Learn Grammar are the same in the iOS app. Learn with Locals is only available for free in the Android app. This is a paid feature in the iOS and web versions of Memrise.
Learn with Locals plays videos of native speakers pronouncing different words and phrases, and your goal is to identify what they’re saying. These videos are the same videos from the Memrise courses, so I’m not really sure why Learn with Locals is a separate feature. It’s also only available for certain courses.
Memrise Pro and Premium Features
In addition to the free features, Memrise offers some premium features. These features differ between the web and app versions of Memrise, but a premium subscription gives you access to all features in all versions.
For this Memrise review, I used all of these features to see if they are worth the price (more on this below). These are the premium features and where you can access them.
- Chatbots and Grammarbot: Simulate a text conversation and practice different vocabulary and grammar from your regular lessons
- Difficult Words: Mark words as difficult so you can review them more frequently
- Listening Skills: Improve your listening comprehension with audio clips from native speakers
- Learn with Locals: Short video clips that show native speakers pronouncing the words and phrases you see
- Pronunciation: Using speech recognition technology, you can practice pronouncing different words and phrases in your target language
- Review Grammar: Practice using the grammar you learned during your lessons
- Speed Review: Improve how quickly you recall different words and phrases with this game
In addition to the above features, you can also download courses and access Memrise offline if you’re using the iOS or Android apps with a premium subscription.
Memrise Price And Cost Structure
A lot of content is free on Memrise, and it’s actually really good quality. Without paying, you can learn a lot of words and phrases, listen to and watch native speakers pronounce different sentences, and learn basic grammar in your target language.
For access to the premium features, the Memrise subscription prices are the following.
Is Memrise Worth It?
Overall, I think the premium features add some value to Memrise, but I don’t think they justify the monthly price of $8.99 USD. The longer subscriptions are heavily discounted though, and a longer subscription may be worth it.
If you like Memrise and plan to use it for a while, I do think the annual subscription is worth it. Memrise also runs several discounts through the year on annual subscriptions that can be as cheap as $3 per month.
Alternatives To Memrise
Memrise is one of many flashcard apps available. Some of its features are unique and make it stand out, but there are also a lot of other apps that are worth checking out. This Memrise review wouldn’t be complete without mentioning them!
MosaLingua offers several flashcard apps for a few common languages, like French, German, Spanish, and Italian. While Memrise is structured in courses, MosaLingua allows you to learn about whichever subjects you’re most interested in.
The MosaLingua apps are also cheaper than Memrise, and still offer a lot of high quality content. If you subscribe to the web version of MosaLingua, you can unlock a lot of extra features like ebooks and audiobooks, music videos, and resources from around the web. Memrise doesn’t offer anything similar to this.
To learn more about MosaLingua, you can read my honest MosaLingua review, or visit the site directly.
Another popular alternative to Memrise is Anki. Anki is a free and open-source flashcard software and app. It uses a similar spaced-repetition technology like Memrise, but it doesn’t have similar official courses.
The flashcards on Anki are all user-generated, so you can find cards for pretty much any subject. It’s a really nice interface, but it can be a hassle to find useful flashcard sets or create your own. Overall, I’d say Anki and Memrise are pretty equal, but Memrise is a little better because of its official courses.
Final Thoughts About Memrise
I really like Memrise and think it’s a great tool to help you learn vocabulary and phrases effectively. The technology and science behind Memrise are top-notch. The content in the official courses is high quality, and the user-generated courses cover a huge variety of topics.
There are also quite a few features included in the free version of Memrise to help you improve your listening, writing, and reading skills. It’s worth a try just to see if you like it.
In regards to the paid version, there are definitely more features, but I don’t think they justify the high monthly cost of $8.99 USD. They definitely extend your ability to practice your target language, but they aren’t the most effective.
The one premium feature I really liked was the ability to download the courses and use Memrise offline. This feature alone could make the annual subscription worth it, which is already a lot cheaper than the monthly subscription.
The free and premium features are different between the web, iOS, and Android versions of Memrise, which make it a lot less user-friendly. The features also vary between the courses.
At the end of the day, Memrise is a flashcard program created to help you learn vocabulary. It does this really well, and the free content is enough to keep you busy for a long time. It’s definitely worth giving Memrise a try.
If you really like it and are interested in a premium subscription, keep an eye out for discounts. Memrise offers huge discounts throughout the year. The annual subscription is also a lot cheaper than the monthly subscription and will save you a lot of money in the long run!
About This Memrise Review
This is an independent and unbiased Memrise review. Memrise did not sponsor this review. I personally used the web, iOS, and Android versions of Memrise to write this review, and I tested several different language courses to experience all of Memrise’s features.
Keep in mind that Langoly may receive commissions when you click the links in our reviews. These commissions come at no extra cost to you, and they do not impact our reviews and comparisons. We try our best to keep things fair and balanced in order to help you make the best language learning decisions.