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Pimsleur review 2022

Katy Ward

In a Nutshell

If you’re willing to commit 30 minutes a day, Pimsleur claims it can help you become fluent in a new language using scientifically proven methods that teach both conversational and reading skills. Although the service isn’t accredited by the Better Business Bureau, the breadth of its resources is one of the most impressive on the market, with access to lessons in more than 50 languages through its All Access subscription.

pros

  • Free 7-day trial available
  • 51 languages covered
  • Mobile app available

cons

  • Not accredited by the Better Business Bureau
  • High costs on certain DVDs and MP3s

Pimsleur Pimsleur Visit Site

Pimsleur Plans

If you want to learn a new language with Pimsleur, you can choose between 3 plan types.

Plan
Audio-Only
Pimsleur Premium
Pimsleur All-Access

Best for learning in your downtime

Best for interactive learning resources

Best for students looking to learn a range of languages

Available in
  • Albanian
  • Arabic (Eastern)
  • Arabic (Egyptian)
  • Arabic (Modern Standard)
  • Armenian (Eastern)
  • Armenian (Western)
  • Chinese (Cantonese)
  • Chinese (Mandarin)
  • Croatian
  • Czech
  • Danish
  • Dari Persian
  • Dutch
  • Farsi Persian
  • Finnish
  • French
  • German
  • Greek
  • Haitian Creole
  • Hebrew
  • Hindi
  • Hungarian
  • Icelandic
  • Indonesian
  • Irish
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Lithuanian
  • Norwegian
  • Ojibwe
  • Pashto
  • Polish
  • Portuguese (Brazilian)
  • Portuguese (European)
  • Punjabi
  • Romanian
  • Russian
  • Spanish (Latin American)
  • Spanish (Spain-Castilian)
  • Swahili
  • Swedish
  • Swiss German
  • Tagalog
  • Thai
  • Turkish
  • Twi
  • Ukrainian
  • Urdu
  • Vietnamese
  • Arabic (Eastern)
  • Arabic (Modern Standard)
  • Chinese (Mandarin)
  • English for Spanish speakers
  • French
  • German
  • Greek
  • Hebrew
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Norwegian
  • Portuguese (Brazilian)
  • Russian
  • Spanish (Latin American)
  • Spanish (Spain-Castilian)
  • Tagalog
  • Albanian
  • Arabic (Eastern)
  • Arabic (Egyptian)
  • Arabic (Modern Standard)
  • Armenian (Eastern)
  • Armenian (Western)
  • Chinese (Cantonese)
  • Chinese (Mandarin)
  • Croatian
  • Czech
  • Danish
  • Dari Persian
  • Dutch
  • Farsi Persian
  • Finnish
  • French
  • German
  • Greek
  • Haitian Creole
  • Hebrew
  • Hindi
  • Hungarian
  • Icelandic
  • Indonesian
  • Irish
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Lithuanian
  • Norwegian
  • Ojibwe
  • Pashto
  • Polish
  • Portuguese (Brazilian)
  • Portuguese (European)
  • Punjabi
  • Romanian
  • Russian
  • Spanish (Latin American)
  • Spanish (Spain-Castilian)
  • Swahili
  • Swedish
  • Swiss German
  • Tagalog
  • Thai
  • Turkish
  • Twi
  • Ukrainian
  • Urdu
  • Vietnamese

While audio-only lessons allow you to play your reading and conversational lessons, the Premium version also helps you learn and practice through interactive tools such as:

  • Digital flashcards
  • Quick Match quiz, which shows you structures you’ve heard and tests your memory
  • Speak Easy interactive conversation transcripts 
  • Skills categories, which break down each lesson’s sentences by topic and enable you to test yourself 
  • Speed Round, which enables you to test the new skills you’ve learned at pace

You can also access a free 30-minute lesson via the company’s website and all plans offer a 7-day free trial. If you don’t want to continue with the service, you’ll need to cancel your subscription during this 7-day period or you'll be charged.

How much does Pimsleur cost?

If you purchase a subscription through Pimsleur, you’ll pay the following prices.

Plan
Price
Audio only
$14.95 per month, plus 7-day free trial
Pimsleur Premium
$19.95 per month, plus 7-day free trial
Pimsleur All Access

$20.95 per month, plus 7-day free trial

The company also offers Flexipay, which is an installment-based plan that allows you to split the cost of your course into 3 monthly payments. 

In addition to its subscription services, you can buy Pimsleur’s lessons as standalone lifetime products in the form of CDs or MP3s. The cost of these products will depend on the language you’re learning and the number of lessons contained on the CD or MP3.

Although it would be impossible to list all these products here, we searched through its website and found the following sample prices:

Product
Price
French level 1 (lessons 1-5) MP3
$21.95
German level 1 (lessons 1-5) MP3
$550
Italian conversational course level 1 (lessons 1-16) CD
$49.95
Spanish levels 1-5 CD
$1,190
Pashto level 1 (lessons 1-30) MP3
$119.95

If you’re not satisfied with any of these products, Pimsleur offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, although you’ll be liable for any shipping costs on returned items.

You can also sign up to receive exclusive offers and discounts through the company’s website.

How does Pimsleur work?

All Pimsleur lessons are 30 minutes long, and the company recommends you complete a lesson per day.

Lessons are divided into conversational and reading classes. Conversational lessons focus on listening and speaking skills. During these, you’ll hear the language spoken in social situations and repeat back what you’ve heard during pauses in the audio. The program’s method for teaching reading is to focus on the sounds of individual letters and how these combine to form words.

Its web-based app allows you to access your course and all its material through any desktop or laptop device, via any browser. 

You can also access your course material through Pimsleur’s mobile app, which is available for download from Google Play or the App Store. Once you’ve downloaded the app, Pimsleur will automatically load and sync to your device.

Alternatively, you can use Pimsleur via your Amazon Echo device by visiting the Skills page in your Alexa app and searching for Pimsleur. 

As Pimsleur began as an audio-only company, you can still purchase CDs and MP3s on its courses. 

Overall, we found the process of creating an account and accessing a free 30-minute lesson extremely straightforward and it took less than a minute. Likewise, we took a basic free lesson and were impressed by the user experience, which was informative and even fun.


Is Pimsleur reliable and safe?

With Pimsleur courses being on the market since 1980, the method has a long history within the field of language education. Worryingly, the company does have a rating of 2.2 out of 5 on Trustpilot, although this is based on just 8 reviews. Likewise, it is not accredited by the Better Business Bureau.

What’s special about Pimsleur?

All courses are based on the Pimsleur method, which takes its name from research conducted by academic and researcher Paul Pimsleur. Devised more than 50 years ago, the method is based on 4 core principles.

  • Graduated interval recall: learners are reminded of new words at gradually increasing intervals 
  • Principle of anticipation: taps into the process within the brain in which we are hardwired to process speech and anticipate a response
  • Core vocabulary: learners focus a limited number of key words and phrases to avoid overburdening the brain
  • Organic learning: all new terms are introduced in the context of a conversation

If you refer a friend to Pimsleur and they take out a subscription, you’ll receive a $20 prepaid Visa card. Although you can refer multiple friends, there is a limit of 15 rewards per person.

Help and Support

You can contact Pimsleur 24/7 by phone, social media, or an online query form.

If your query is more general, Pimsleur also has a detailed set of FAQs on its website. Although the layout of these is a little dense, they provided all the information we needed.

There is also a blog, which explores the various languages spoken in popular TV shows and offers tips on topics such as learning languages when traveling abroad.

Pimsleur Pimsleur Visit Site

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a language learning approach in which hard work and diligence pays off, Pimsleur could well be worth investing your money and time. With access to more than 50 languages through its All Access package, the range of learning materials available is certainly impressive. While the idea of learning through audio-only methods for some languages may seem outdated, we enjoyed our sample lesson. Its Premium courses also offer a number of interactive features.

Although we were concerned to see that the company is not accredited by the Better Business Bureau, there is clearly a great deal of scientific research and behavioral study behind its methodology. Whether Pimsleur provides good value for money will ultimately depend on your approach to learning: if you are a casual user, you may be better off looking elsewhere, but if you stick to your lessons every day, you may soon reap rewards as your fluency grows.

FAQs

Can you become fluent using Pimsleur?

Pimsleur claims its techniques “will have you speaking a new language in no time” if you devote 30 minutes to your lessons every day. Although we all learn differently, we also found a number of positive reviews in which users claim to have gained fluency through this approach.

Is Pimsleur good for beginners?

Yes, the courses are specifically designed for learners without any knowledge of the language.

Can I share my course with others?

A registered user can share a Premium course with up to 3 others. Each of these needs to use the same email address to access the program and then add themselves as an additional user.

Oxford graduate Katy Ward is a seasoned journalist and editor covering personal finance and software topics for Eleven Writing and Top10. Over a 15-year career, Katy has worked with several finance titans, including Barclays, Tandem Bank, and Yahoo! Finance.

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