Learning Spanish Like Crazy Review – Is it Worth Buying?

The reason that the most people purchase a Spanish language learning course is because they want to be able to hold a meaningful conversation with everyday Spanish people. Learning Spanish Like Crazy is a course that promises that it can help you achieve that goal and in less time than other courses.

In this review I will share my experience using this course and what I found to be the major advantages and disadvantages of this course. I will also explain exactly what is contained inside of the learning Spanish like crazy course so that you can make an informed decision before you decide to buy. At the end of this review I will include my overall recommendation, as well is a comparison to some of the other leading course on the market.

How Much Does Learning Spanish Like Crazy Cost?

The 50 CD platinum version of Learning Spanish Like Crazy costs $299.95, the downloadable version $97.

What Is Included In The Course?

The Learning Spanish Like Crazy can be purchased in two different formats. There is a downloadable version of the course where the material comes MP3s and a physical version of the course on CD. Both versions of the course cover the same material.
Shipped Learning Spanish Like Crazy Package
The CD platinum version of the course includes 50 CDs of which 30 is audio material. When you purchase the CD version of the course you are given access to the downloadable version of the advanced Spanish level 3 and 4.

Learning Spanish Like Crazy also comes with a large amount of bonus material. This bonus material includes FSI programmatic 1, which was created by US Department of State to teach its employees Spanish. This course includes 17 hours of recorded material. The second bonus is the FSI programmatic level 2 which teaches the complex area of Spanish subjunctives. This course includes 12 hours of language lessons. The third bonus is Spanish level 3 which contains 13 hours of audio material and teaches advanced Spanish.

The fourth bonus is another advanced Spanish level course which includes 12 hours of recorded material. The fifth bonus is a rapid learning course that was developed by the Foreign Service Institute of the US Department of State. This is used to get government employees up to speed quickly before they are stationed overseas.

The Advantages Of Learning Spanish Like Crazy

Each audio lesson includes a transcript in the pdf format
Uses real-life Latin American Spanish – One of the best things about learning Spanish Like Crazy is that it uses real-life Latin American Spanish. This compares favorably to some other couple courses – such as Pimsleur Spanish – that tend to teach a very formal form of Spanish, that you would be unlikely to hear outside of a sophisticated soirée for diplomats. The Spanish taught here is the kind of everyday language that normal people use.

No exercises or drills – For people who dislike exercises and drills Learning Spanish Like Crazy will be a breath of fresh air. Using the course is as simple as pressing play on your MP3 player and following along with the material.

Suits busy people – Learning Spanish Like Crazy is designed for people that lead a busy lifestyle. I found that I could use the learning like crazy Spanish course without having to spend an hour each or so each day in front of my computer. I liked using the Learning Spanish Like Crazy audio course when I was at the gym and while I was walking my dog in the evening. You can easily add the audio files to your MP3 player, plug in some earphones, and you are ready to go.
Main screen with mp3 and transcript downloads

Separated into easy to learn chunks – Learning Spanish Like Crazy has been divided up into 30 lessons which are each less than half an hour. There is a lot of scientific evidence to suggest that we learn best will be taking your information in smaller chunks. The learning Spanish like crazy system is never overwhelming and doesn’t require you devote too much time each day to make good progress.

The Disadvantages Of Learning Spanish Like Crazy

Converting the download to CD is annoying – If you are planning on purchasing the downloadable version and burning it onto CDs to listen in your car or at home, then you may want to reconsider. Each of the MP3 files need to be first converted to an uncompressed audio file and then burnt onto CD. As there are 50 separate CDs in total this can be quite a task.

Insufficient grammar explanations – More explanations of the principles of grammar may be an improvement for this course. Occasionally I found I needed to search online to find an explanation of grammar usage in the course. Considering the cost of the course this is a little disappointing.

It is very basic in the beginning – If you have studied Spanish before like me, then you may find that learning Spanish Like Crazy can be a little basic. The beginning lessons of the course are very rudimentary and you may feel like skipping them if you already have some Spanish knowledge. Of course, the makers of Learning Spanish Like Crazy undoubtedly are right to aim the course at beginners but it something to be aware of all the same.

Comparison To Other Courses

The course that Learning Spanish Like Crazy is most comparable to is Pimsleur Spanish. Like Pimsleur Spanish the course is audio based and uses the principle of chunking the material. If you like the Pimsleur approach, then you will also probably like Learning Spanish Like Crazy. The main difference between the two is the Pimsleur tends to teach a more formal version of Spanish, where as Learning Spanish Like Crazy is closer to the everyday Spanish spoken by normal Latin Americas.

Another course that is closely comparable to Learning Spanish Like Crazy, is Rocket Spanish (my review). Rocket Spanish also features interactive audio lessons in a similar style to Learning Spanish Like Crazy. One area where there is a significant difference is the price. Rocket Spanish is typically priced at $99.95 for the premium course (although it is currently on sale for $69.95). In contrast the Spanish Learning Like Crazy Course is priced at $299.95 if you buy the platinum version on CD. You can also try Rocket Spanish out for free for six days, which is something that Learning Spanish Like Crazy doesn’t offer.

Overall Recommendation

If you are looking for a less formal version of Pimsleur Spanish, then Learning Spanish Like Crazy is a good option. The course is fun, moves along at a good pace and is well suited for beginners. The course could be improved by including better explanations of the grammar principles used and at $299.95 it can seem a little overpriced. Overall it is a good course if you are primarily interested in learning informal, spoken Latin American Spanish. If you are looking for something a little more comprehensive than a better option is Rocket Spanish.

Free Spanish Verb Conjugation Chart

If you’re anything like me, you’re dizzied trying to keep all the different Spanish verb conjugations straight –

Do I use the past participle…?”

“I can’t remember if the pluperfect uses haber.”

“Is this a subjunctive case?”

“What if it’s a command?”

These questions are difficult, and common – so how do we tackle conjugation in Spanish?

Forms of Conjugation

In Spanish, and many other languages, verb conjugation is an important part of being understood.  The form of the verb changes based on the listener and also based on time or conditions, e.g. happened in the past, will happen, could happen, etc.

Here is an example of a simple verb conjugated in the present tense for each listener:

COMER (to eat)

spanish-conjugation-chart1

Now multiply that by the 10+ time/condition-based conjugations, and you’ve got your hands full!

Some verbs are irregular and change their root (called stem-changing verbs), and follow a common “boot” conjugation pattern, where all the singular forms plus the “Ustedes” form adopt the same root spelling:

VOLAR (to fly)

spanish-conjugation-chart2

If you notice the red text changed from ‘o’ to ‘ue’ – the “boot” comes from a mental picture if you were to draw a continuous line encapsulating only those boxes containing the verbs with red text.

 The Real World – Conjugation Strategies

I spent hours (probably days) poring over my old Spanish conjugation charts, memorizing the proper forms (above), and here’s what I found:  I almost never got it right in real-time speech.  The feedback of studying just wasn’t fast enough for me – plus, there are so many times when you get it wrong, and people understand you just fine.  Think of all the folks who speak broken English to you – chances are you can easily rephrase what they mean, and they will confirm with a heartfelt (and relieved) “Yes!”

But assuming you’re an aspiring scholar of Español, or at that really advanced level, then you’ll want to make sure you completely nail verb conjugations.  It is a true sign of deeply understand the mechanics of a language.

What it does take is practice, practice, practice – and a little help from some tools.

Let’s take a look at some strategies for mastering Spanish conjugations.

1. Live Conversation

As you’ve probably gathered from the rest of the articles on the site, getting yourself out there is the best way to learn any aspect of a language.  While it sometimes is not fully practical, engaging with native Spanish speakers is one of the surest ways you’ll improve your conjugation skills rapidly.  They’ve been conversing in these terms all their lives, and it comes naturally.

Not only are you forced to recall (or in most cases, forget) all the different forms on command, but if you don’t get it quite right, you’ll have immediate help and feedback.  Plus, you’ll also have the opportunity to listen for conjugation forms, and ask the speaker to repeat themselves if you didn’t quite catch it.

2. Good ol’ Paper

Remember that “Spanish conjugation chart” I mentioned spending days studying?  There are several variations of these, some of them compact, in a pamphlet-style folder, some on a long legal-sized sheet, some even blown up to poster size.  In any format, these hard copies can be useful for the myriad “regular” verbs in Spanish – those that follow well-defined rules.  They’re also great for quick reference and tend to have helpful color-coding; but many folks also find them incomplete and overwhelming.

3. Online Software

Apart from standard search engine queries that will often only yield results for your verb of interest, there are many software products aimed at helping you master conjugation.  You’ll want one you can customize to your own level, which lets you select any number of verbs, the time you have to translate simple sentences, and which tenses you want to practice.  This way, you can really hone in on problem areas and immediately get feedback on your performance.  You should also focus on a product that allows listening and speaking translation, otherwise, you might get stuck when listening to a native speaker whose voice you’re not used to.

4. Live There!

It sounds trite, but if you have the means, even for a month or two, go live in a Spanish speaking country.  Then you won’t’ have to deal with any “Spanish verb conjugation chart.”  It’ll all be right in your brain.  Not only that, you’ll get the benefit of cultural context, which is immeasurably valuable with language retention.  You will be able to form so many associations with the language you acquire, it becomes harder to forget even the most complicated conjugation patterns.

Conjugation in any language is tough, but hopefully you’re better prepared to go give it your best shot!

Rocket Spanish Review – Is it Worth Buying?

rocket-spanish-trialIt is incredibly easy to get started with Rocket Spanish, and you don’t have to provide anything more than your name and email address.  I was expecting a whole “signup” process and a big form (because that’s what I’m used to with free trials), but not so with Rocket Spanish.  This was a couple clicks, set a password, and done!  It was entirely painless and a great start. Please continue reading for full Rocket Spanish Review and sneak peek into the members area

Once inside, it felt like there may be a lot going on, but right in the middle in big colorful letters was a “Start Here” guide, which I clicked to begin.  Leading you through the features of the site is definitely a perk for a first-time user, and there are 10 check boxes that light up as you explore the trial features. (more…)

Benefits of Learning Spanish as Second Language

For millions of people, Spanish is their mother language, and millions more speak Spanish as a second language. Apart from the fact that this romance language is fun to learn, there are many benefits associated with learning it. Whether you are travelling to countries where they speak this language predominantly, or are hoping to do business with Spaniards or Latin America, it is all worth the trouble to learn Spanish.

Use of Internet

spanish-internetThe world is gradually becoming a village, meaning that we meet new people from diverse backgrounds every day. You may be surprised to learn that most of those you meet on a daily basis have at least some basic knowledge of Spanish. Given that most people spend more time on the internet than anywhere else these days, some knowledge of Spanish may provide a boost when it comes to making new friends. It could be great to chat in your newly learnt language, even if you make some mistakes. (more…)

What is the Best Way to Learn Spanish?

The world is gradually becoming a global village and there is an increasing need to interact with people from different parts of the world. Diversity is good, and is something that is actually adds spice to our lives, along with opportunities to learn. However, with diversity comes the need to interact with people from different cultural backgrounds, that speak different languages. Among the many common languages in the world today, Spanish is one of the most widely spoken (as you can see on our chart here). It therefore pays to be able to understand Spanish. Generally, the best way to learn Spanish is to immerse yourself locally in a Spanish speaking community, but not everybody has the free time at hands for a full-fledged language study abroad.

Top Rule of Learning a Language – Speak without Fear

spanish-cartoon

Irrespective of all what you may have heard or read elsewhere, the most important part when it comes to learning a new language is to speak it more often. The tendency is for people to try to learn all the grammar and writing skills for far too long. However, all this study will be for naught if effort is not made to practice the language verbally. It’s said: “Practice makes perfect!”

As you learn to speak a language, you will be able to become more efficient and (more…)