PolishPod101 Review – Detailed Guide of This Polish Language Course
So if you’re learning Polish, you’ve probably come across PolishPod101. What is it? To summarize it quickly…
- PolishPod101 is a Polish course/website for self learners. Accessible via website and with their App. They mostly teach you with Audio & Video Lessons (from Beginner Level to Advanced) and provide additional study tools to help you remember what you learn. It’s a sister site of the famous JapanesePod101.com site for learning Japanese.
There are 4 types of Memberships:
- Free Lifetime Account: This is a free account that you get when you sign up. You don’t need a credit card. They might show you a $1 offer to try Premium for 1 month when you join. You can choose to take it or skip it. The free account comes with…
- 7-day free trial to Premium (see below)
- every new audio & video lesson (2-4 new lessons every week)
- Polish word of the day
- Bonus polish vocab lessons
- App to learn on the go
- Top 100 words list
- Basic Account: You get full access to their lesson library (600+ Audio & Video lessons) from Beginner to Advanced. Since new lessons come out all the time this keeps growing. Plus, you get Lesson Notes & Transcripts (PDFs), so you can read along with lessons. Of course you get App access and you can track your progress with the Dashboard.
- Premium: With Premium, you get everything mentioned above… including their Premium Study Tools – Top 2,000 Words List, Line-by-Line Dialogue, Spaced Repetition Flashcards, WordBank, Voice Recording (for pronunciation). So essentially, this is full access to their learning system.
- Premium PLUS: Here, you get everything in Premium…as well as your own teacher that you can contact via the site or app. Basically, an on-site teacher that sends you assignments, that you can write messages to, ask questions and get corrections. You can learn more about Premium PLUS here.
- Secret Lifetime Membership: They don’t advertise this (they probably lose money on it but I found the link in a Christmas sale) but you can buy lifetime access to their entire learning system. I think this would be useful for serious learners ONLY that are in it for the long term. Click here to check it out.
How does PolishPod101 work?
Their goal is to get you speaking and understanding Polish conversations.
So, that’s where the audio/video courses & lessons come in. And…there’s a lot. Over 600+, from Beginner to Advanced, (last time I looked) and new ones come out every week. So, you’re always getting fresh stuff. You can find them in the Newest Lessons section of the site.
Your lessons are 3-15 minutes in length, they’re entertaining and they teach you to speak and understand Polish directly.
There are also plenty of writing, pronunciation, reading & grammar focused lessons as well.
But, the strength of PolishPod101 is – you learn real life conversation and you build listening skills.
When you sign up, choose your learning level (from Beginner to Advanced), and based on that level, they recommend courses (or Pathways) for you, as shown below. I’m at 40% of the “Getting Started” Path. As you can see, you can track your progress.
- It’s a radio-style, relaxed type of format
- You learn a Polish conversation
- Listen and repeat along
- You can also read along with the lesson
- The teachers are Polish speakers/teachers and one of them is usually American. Explanations are in English.
- They slow down the conversation, explain all words, grammar and culture points
- You understand it all at the end.
- You can listen/watch on the app and learn on the go.
Inside each lesson … You have the Video or Audio lesson MP3 files (Main Lesson, Review, Dialogue – Polish language ONLY), the line-by-line that you can read along with, the PDF lesson notes & Lesson Transcripts (printable), and once you’re done you can mark it as complete to track your progress.
The “Dialogue” lets you read, listen to the lines as well as record your voice to compare. Take a look at the screenshot above. It’s very good to read along with a lesson – so that you understand every word, so I like this. You can also read with the PDF notes that give you more detail on grammar, culture and such. I just prefer line-by-line as it’s on the page.
If you see that microphone icon, you can record yourself to practice pronunciation.
When you’re done with the lesson, mark it as complete, your progress is tracked and move on to the next one. So, you don’t get lost. You know which lessons to study next. You can also leave a comment and the teachers will respond.
Now mind, you, this is one lesson and there are a TON more.
You get even more pathways (collections of lessons) inside their Lesson Library. You can search get lessons that cover Conversation, Reading/Writing, Vocabulary, Grammar and Culture.
Then there are Premium Study Tools like Flashcards, WordBank, 2000 Top Polish Words, Custom Lists App (not pictured), and more to help you master all the Polish you learn in the lessons. My favorite features are the Word Bank, Flashcards and the 2,000 Core Word List.. What I don’t like is that these features are available on their site… and not on their App.
The flashcards are interesting. You can import words/phrases from their Vocab Lists, the 2,000 Core Word List, Lessons or the WordBank. And the flashcards follow a spaced repetition learning system – meaning you see words based on how well you know them. If you struggle with a word, you see it more often. If it’s easy, you see it less. But, you will see it again just to refresh your brain. Basically it sorts the cards for you and shows them when you need to see them.
As you can see, there’s a LOT on the site. My best suggestion is to sign up for free and explore their website completely – all the features, lessons, apps. Decide for yourself because my review is my own opinion though I try to lay out all of the features they have.
When you sign up, set your learning level. Then, you’ll be asked if you want to get the Polish word of the day. Basically, you get an email with 1 new Polish word a day to boost your vocabulary. I said yes.
The pros and the cons.
The Good Points:
- A TON of lessons. At 600+ audio/video lessons, they have the largest Polish lesson library.
- Organization. Yes, tons of lessons can be hard to get through – but they organize by difficulty level. Also, with the new Learning Paths feature, you can just pick and choose courses based on your goals.
- Learn to Speak Real Conversation. They focuses on daily conversations you’ll use if you were living in Poland, ordering food, making conversation, expressing opinions, riding trains, etc.
- New lessons every week. They publish 3-4 new lessons a week and the site is very active. Always something new – new feature, new apps, etc. To me this is a big plus because I don’t have to buy new material.
- Every New Lesson Is Free. For three weeks. Just sit back and tune in when it comes out without paying.
- Easy to Learn & Keep Going. Each lesson is 3-15 minutes long. So, it’s easy to learn and not get overwhelmed like you would with a textbook. I do 2 or 3 lessons a day.
- Go from knowing ZERO Polish (Absolute Beginner) to Advanced. Well, IF you’re motivated. That’s a big if. But, they do provide the lessons for all levels to make this a reality. If you try, you definitely can get to advanced level listening and speaking.
- On The Go & At Your Own Pace: With the app, you can learn anywhere, anytime. Puts all that wasted time like driving, commuting, or cleaning to good use.
- Discounts: If you DO want to learn with them, the good news is that they have occasional sales and you don’t have to pay full price.
- Apps. You can get their App when you sign up with them for your iPhone, iPad or Android device.
- Good Free Features. The word of the day and Vocabulary lists are very useful for extra vocab mastery. I subscribe to the word of the day because it’s easy to pick up (or review) one new word a day with zero effort.
- 60 Day Refund Guarantee: VERY important from a business perspective and I’m glad they have it. You can just ask for your money back if you don’t want to learn… or if you don’t like it.
- English Talk & Banter. For more advanced, serious learners that want PURE NON-STOP Polish, this will be a problem. There is English involved in the lessons as they explain. Also, since the teaching method is a relaxed radio/podcast style, the hosts go back and forth with small talk/banter as they teach.
- No good for Learning Grammar Rules. If you want to learn grammar rules head on – I don’t think they will satisfy you here. The grammar is “interwoven” into lessons so that you hear it in conversations. But, you won’t learn it as “Rule #1 is…,” “Rule #2 is….” You probably need a textbook for that.
- Don’t rely on it alone. Well, in general: no ONE book, one class, textbook just watching Polish TV shows all day will take you to fluency. That’s just what i think.
- Can’t Choose A Username. I thought this was odd. But when you sign up on the site, your username is your email address with some numbers. Would be more user-friendly if I got to choose it. (Update: you CAN change it in your account settings after joining.)
Final Word: ✅ Yes, I recommend it for learners from Beginner to intermediate.
Why? I like that they have 1) TONS of lessons, 2) that you get new lessons non-stop, 3) that you can take and retake lessons as many times as you want and learn. It’s a great way to learn Polish as it’s spoken by natives and master listening skills. Very easy and friendly approach.
But… I don’t recommend it to advanced learners, nitpickers, grammar nuts and pedants. If you want pure grammar rules, get a textbook. If you’re hardcore, get a real teacher.
My advice is to you is to have a “growth mindset” (meaning: you believe that intelligence can be developed, that the brain is like a muscle that can be trained- this leads to the desire to improve) and thus, use the site it for it’s value.
For me, the best part is… A ton of lessons and new lessons every week – that’s not something many (textbooks, software, apps) can do for you – which probably what won me over.
Thanks for reading.
– Written by PDF Jeff (December, 2016)