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      January 24, 2020

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Pimsleur vs Strokes International

To help you find the Best Russian Lessons, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of Pimsleur and Strokes International.

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Learn Russian with Russian Accelerator Today! Why learn to speak Russian? More than 270 million people speak Russian worldwide, from native speakers living in the nations of the former Soviet Union to students who have learned it as a second language. In fact, many federal agencies - from the US Department of Agriculture to the Department of Defense, as well as the FBI, CIA, NSA and State Department - have identified Russian as a priority language of national need.

It's no wonder, therefore, that speaking Russian can be a distinct advantage in one's career goals, international travels, or post-graduate studies. Modern technology makes it possible to learn Russian from the comfort of your home - or anywhere you choose to go with your mobile device and headphones - rather than trying to find a local class and fit it into your busy lifestyle.

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Best Reviews

2020

Russian Lessons Reviews

2.5 stars
Pimsleur

PIMSLEUR

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Cost:

$695 for Russian Levels 1-3 on CD (90 lessons)

$335 for Russian Levels 1-3 on MP3 (90 lessons)

$350 for Russian Levels 1-3 Unlimited Software (90 lessons + flashcards and more)

Pimsleur is well-recognized around the world for teaching new languages through 30-minute audio lessons. If your priority is learning how to speak Russian, not necessarily how to read or write it, Pimsleur may be worth your consideration. What makes Pimsleur particularly handy is that their audio lessons come either as a CD or an MP3 download, so that you can listen on your iPod, smartphone, or other mobile device during your commute or other moments on-the-go.

If you're wondering if Pimsleur's audio lessons are a good fit for your learning style, click on the orange "Try a Free Lesson" button on their main Russian lessons page. After entering your name, zip code, email address, and purpose for learning Russian (such as for fun, business, and so on), you'll have access to a complimentary 30-minute introductory lesson. We found the sample lesson to be easy to follow and left us with a good understanding of some basic pronunciation and phrases. You'll want to make sure that you are in an environment that allows you to speak out loud; a core component of their teaching strategy is asking students to imitate what they hear as closely as possible.

On the other hand, if you need to know how to read and write Russian as well as speak it, Pimsleur might not help you reach those goals as well as some of the other programs we reviewed. Their Unlimited Software package does include 900 flash cards and 900 quick matches, in addition to the 90 audio lessons from the MP3/CD packages, but this isn't likely to help you not only understand how Cyrillic is read but also how to write it yourself.

We also were less than impressed with Pimsleur's "Proficiency Guarantee". Many of the Russian lessons in our review offer a money-back customer satisfaction guarantee, but Pimsleur chooses to go a different route: once you complete their Level I Russian program, you can opt to take a competency exam through an independent testing company Pimsleur has chosen (which, incidentally, gave us a 404 error when we tried to follow Pimsleur's link to the testing site). You can only get a refund if you fail that exam.

Lastly, Pimsleur will cost you more than almost any other provider of Russian instruction. Given that they offer a single approach to learning the language - audio lessons - we felt that the value was not as high as other more comprehensive programs that teach listening, conversation, and reading/writing skills for less money.

We highly recommend that you try the sample lesson before purchasing one of Pimsleur's programs, especially if you're an auditory learner who might greatly benefit from their listening-based Russian language instruction. If you decide that Pimsleur is for you, be sure to check for any special offers that may be available, as we saw discounts offered from time to time when we visited the site.

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1 star
Strokes International

STROKES INTERNATIONAL

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Cost:

$60-$67 for Russian 1 (download or DVD)

$60 for Russian 2 (download)

$101-$112 for Russian 1-2 (download or DVD)

$60 for Russian Business (download)

$141-$157 for Russian 1-2 and Business (download or DVD)

Strokes Easy Learning Russian lessons are available through download or on traditional DVDs for use on a laptop or other computer, and included in both formats are:

  • Up to 300 lessons with pronunciation training, vocabulary memory games, spoken dialogue interaction, and more
  • Strokes Reference Suite with 230 grammar topics, dictionary, and 1,400 verb conjugations
  • Learning tools such as a conversation trainer and flashcards

Strokes Easy Learning Russian revolves around EU standards for learning, covering levels A1 to C1, along with a program specifically for language used in business interactions for professionals who need to use Russian. Strokes allows site visitors to download a complimentary set of three lessons, but issues with the site left us wondering if the files would be reliable or safe to install.

For instance, when we looked for more details by clicking on the link for "Program information", it returned a page with no information at all. Also, the "Shipping & Returns" page provided shipping costs within and outside of Europe, but there was no return policy given. Most of Strokes' competitors have a clearly-established policy for returning products and/or getting a refund if customers are unsatisfied with the product. Lastly, we spotted several spelling and grammatical errors that raised concerns about the quality of the Russian language programs.

And, when we took a look at the learning apps offered by Strokes, we noticed that there was no app for Russian; for the languages available, the apps had not been updated in over two years and had only a small number of reviews.

For all these reasons, Strokes International received low marks in our review. We encourage you to consider one of the more highly-rated programs that we evaluated.

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Continued from above

From audio lessons to interactive multimedia programs on your laptop, beginning and experienced students alike can easily access the information needed to take their skills to the next level.

When deciding on a program for studying Russian, you should determine your overall goals and focus on a program that will help you meet your objectives while being a good fit for your learning style, available time for studying, and your budget.

If you learn best by listening, you may want to focus on lessons that are provided primarily in audio format, making it easy to learn on-the-go, during your commute, and so on.

On the other hand, if you're a more visual learner, you will want to choose a program with Russian lessons that are delivered through videos, images, and reading materials, whether that's delivered via CD/DVD or through an online download or subscription.

One aspect of learning Russian to keep in mind is its use of a non-Roman alphabet. Russian is written using the Cyrillic alphabet, which can take some time to recognize, understand, and master.

Is it important for you to learn how to read and write in Russian, or is conversational ability sufficient? If your reasons for learning the language include reading and writing, make sure to select Russian lessons that will give you experience with Cyrillic.

There are a few key components to evaluate as you consider which Russian lessons will be a good fit. These include:

  • Instructional Methods. Many language programs offer a free trial. Did the sample lesson or activity leave you feeling interested and educated, or frustrated? Is the structure of the program a match with your preferred way of learning (for example, auditory, visual, and so on)?
  • Skill Level. Does the program expect that you've already had experience with Russian or with learning languages in general? How much instruction is provided in the program package? Will you have full access to all levels for one price, or will you have to spend more to purchase more advanced levels as you progress?
  • Value. Have other people gained or improved their fluency in Russian with this program? Is it worth the price you will pay to purchase the download, CDs, or subscription?

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best Russian lessons available today. We hope these reviews will help you to find the perfect Russian program to get you on the road to fluency in no time!

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