Memrise Russian Review: Will This App Help You Learn Russian?

By Ari Helderman
May 2, 2022

If you’re into language learning, then you’ve probably heard of the Memrise app before. It’s a pretty new concept and the app claims to be a great learning tool. You can use it for thousands of different subjects. So apart from learning Russian and other languages – you can also take courses on classical composers and ear training for example. However, the focus of today will be on how you can use the app for learning Russian. If you’re interested, please continue reading my Memrise Russian review.

Memrise Russian review

Memrise is an app that’s available on both Android and IOS. So you can install it too. I like that it’s mobile only, since if an app can really nail down a good learning experience on a mobile phone – it usually means it’s a good tool.

It’s a free app to learn Russian, but you can choose to pay for more extensive features. Here’s an overview of what you’ll get when you either sign up for the free vs paid Memrise course. However, I’d recommend you first sign up for the free mode – that will give you enough overview whether it works for you.

memrise review languages

The best thing to compare Memrise with is a gamified flashcard app. At least, the free part. What that means is that you can easily use it to practice a lot of new words in your target language. However, what some people don’t know is that Memrise uses a lot of mnemonics. This word means that you take a difficult word – and create a fun idea around it that will help you remember it a lot better.

For example, the Russian word for chicken is курица. Now, just remembering this by itself might be tricky. Your brain doesn’t really learn well from just seeing and reading words. (as you might recall from high school ?). So what you want to do is make it easier for your brain to remember. So we take the first 2 letters of курица: ку. This in English sounds like ‘cuu’. And what does a male chicken scream in the morning? Exactly ‘cuu cuu ru cuu’.

So now that you’ve got the word курица added to a mental picture of a rooster making his cuu sound. So every time you see the word курица, this mental picture will come in and it will be a lot easier to remember what the word means.

You can do this for basically any word. And science is clear on this. It does help you with learning and remembering the word. And that is exactly what Memrise does. It gives you these easy to remember mnemonics right up front. So you won’t have to go through the trouble of creating them yourself.

Watch this video where I tell you in Russian (with English subtitles) 9 reasons why Russian is actually easy to learn.

2 Types of people who’ll get the most out of Memrise Russian

In general I’d say there are 2 types of people who’d benefit the most from taking up the course after reading this Memrise Russian review:

  • People who want to take every word more seriously and learn it effectively – if vocabulary is traditionally one of your weaker points, then using an app like Memrise will surely and effectively help you out for learning more words and phrases.
  • People who are already following another course and want to take their vocabulary efforts to the next level – on its own Memrise might be a bit one-sided. However, if you add it to an effective course you’re already following (such as Russianpod101 for example), you can skyrocket your comprehension of Russian and will learn a ton of useful words in addition to what you’re already learning.

Memrise Russian review – how to use Memrise for learning Russian

So let’s be clear here. I do not recommend you start your first Russian course with Memrise. The program is too much focused on just vocabulary and you won’t learn too much grammar either. So what are you supposed to do? Simple, check out this guide on how to learn Russian fast and effectively. And while doing that, you can also spend 10 minutes a day doing Memrise. This will ensure that you learn more and new vocabulary at a faster pace.

This would be the recommended route. Does that mean that you can’t just do Memrise Russian? No, it’s a free program so you can of course start practicing Russian with it. Please note, however, that JUST doing Memrise is not going to allow you to speak conversational Russian.

It’s a danger a lot of these gamification apps have. They make it very easy to feel like you’re progressing in a new skill – but Russian is more than just knowing some words. You need to integrate all this knowledge with knowledge of grammar, sentences construction, verb conjugation and a whole lot more.

Another bad thing of Memrise is that some of the courses are user generated. Now, this is great for adding more vocabulary to things. But it can also mean that you’re not doing an official course. People make mistakes and user generated content is often of low quality.

Memrise Russian review conclusion

If you’re serious about learning Russian, then I recommend you check into a more serious program in addition to Memrise. It might cost some money – but if you’re not willing to spend, let’s say at least 20 bucks per month, then you’re not really serious.

There are thousands of people who go to college to learn Russian and spending tens of thousands of dollars on it. Or other who go to immersion programs in Moscow or Ukraine that aren’t cheap as well.

But it doesn’t have to be a lot. I’d recommend you start off with Russianpod 101. It’s by far one of the most effective programs that I’ve done to learn Russian. Plus it can cost anywhere from $4 to $50 per month. So you can decide yourself how actively you want to use the program.

You can check out Russianpod 101 and see how the program can work for you!

What should you do next?

Learning Russian does NOT need to be difficult. All you need is a solid plan that helps you improve the following things daily:

  • vocabulary
  • grammar
  • listening skills
  • speaking skills

That's ALL you need. If you can do this for a couple of weeks, you’ll already be making great progress in your Russian skills.

And the best part? If you improve a little bit every day, soon these practices will become daily habits.

And then you will start making progress on autopilot.

This means that learning Russian is now a part of your daily routine. So you won’t even need discipline anymore to get yourself to practice.

If you like the idea of this, but don’t know where to start, go here for more information.

About the Author

My name is Ari Helderman and I help people learn Russian through videos and blog posts where I share my experience.   I have been learning Russian since 2016. I often get mistaken for a native speaker these days, so I've learned a thing or two about what works and what doesn't if you want to speak Russian well.

Ari Helderman