SmarterGerman Review: My Experience

Discover how Michael’s innovative holistic approach and the personalized learning experience helped him achieve B1 and B2 certificates in 30 sessions, saving time and headaches.

This is a smarterGerman review by student Patrick Boulger. He shares his experience of learning with SmarterGerman.

The Beginning of my German Learning Career

12 months ago with bags packed, passport in hand, and butterflies in my stomach I stepped into a plane headed to Germany. I was moving sight unseen to be with my then German fiancée, now my wife.

Guess how many words I knew. Yup, that’s right, about 5. Bier, Wurst and “Ich liebe dich”. Now I am the proud owner of a TELC B2 certificate with an excellent speaking score.

I was completely new, foreign, dependent, and unable to speak the language. Needless to say, I had very good reasons to learn as quickly as possible. 

So, I rolled up my sleeves and got to work. With a few newly bought language books, a dictionary, and naiveness I quickly found out the difficulties, strangeness, and complexities were huge and well …terrifying.

Pushing through the difficult beginning phase I managed to achieve a very basic understanding of the A1 and maybe A2 levels in about two months. Two months of 4-6 hours daily of self learning and slight interactions with my future in-laws. In month four I enrolled in a language course.

To fulfill the visa and residency requirements I needed to pass the B1 German Language Test allowing me to stay in Germany. Because of my previous self-guided learning I scored high enough on the entrance test to start at the B1 level. It saved me about four months and a lot of money. But I still had three months ahead of me.

At first, the class was a good change and an opportunity to start using the German language, but it slowly started to become ineffective. First of all, it was a 5-hour class five days a week. Very time-intensive. Secondly, there were between 20 and 24 other students.

Although it was a culturally rich experience, as we came from all corners of the world, it also meant that each person was at slightly different levels of understanding and capability, and because of that it was quite common that the pace of learning would slow dramatically down to a crawl to match the pace of those who were struggling. So, paying a good deal of money, sitting in a class five hours a day, and learning about two hours worth of information, it was clear that I was under-utilizing my time, money, and energy. 

I am not going to beat around the bush with this. German is a complex, specific, and very demanding language.  However, so is any language if you are not guided properly either by yourself (one of the few) or a teacher. Better yet, a teacher that brings out the teacher within you. This is where SmarterGerman comes in.

smartergerman review

die Garage / Image via Pixabay

SmarterGerman Taught Me How to Learn Efficiently

I came across this YouTube video explaining simply and clearly when and why to use different past tense forms of verbs. The teaching was clear, the method was effective and it took about 5 minutes of my time. I was hooked. I went through all his videos. 

Each one gave me more insights into the German language as well as his teaching methods. Shortly later I started learning from him. 

Since I was already halfway towards achieving my B1 Certificate we set a goal of reaching B2. In the end, after 45 lessons spread across 30 sessions, I obtained both my B1 and B2 certificates, feel much more confident, and have a strong foundation that enables me to continue learning on my own.

Michael’s approach and teaching methods are creative, effective, and quick. He is the teacher I needed and wanted. He taught me techniques of how to learn, and showed me the shortcuts and the patterns.

He has a passion for his language and for sharing it. He challenged me to utilize his methods and use my critical thinking to become my own teacher. He saved me time and brought the German language to life. 

Attitudes to Learning German

Learning German is often perceived as a challenging endeavor, from the notoriously hard German grammar with its complex sentence structure, all the way to the compound words, and distinct German pronunciation. However, contrary to common beliefs, learning basic grammar, vocabulary and speaking skills doesn’t have to be an arduous task. Many learners find that with the right approach and resources, the journey to mastering the German language becomes more accessible and enjoyable.

It’s Way Simpler than They Say

German doesn’t have to be as hard as many make it out to be. I am 100%  positive I could have saved even more money, time, and a lot of headaches had I started learning from Michael from the start. 

If you want to learn the language, be smart about it. Invest your time, money, and energy in learning German with Smarter German.

Practice with German instructor Michael Schmitz

Michael is a native speaker and an experienced German instructor with a deep understanding of the language learning cycle and a holistic approach to the learning process. His SmarterGerman courses blend video lessons with concise notes, incorporating writing, listening, and insights.

According to Michael, traditional grammar tables and vocabulary lists are unnecessary. Progress unfolds intuitively through his method, explained in simple English suitable for beginners. The courses, adaptable to individual paces, allow progress tracking.

Learning German Grammar

Michael claims that grammar tables or vocabulary lists are unnecessary and that progress will come intuitively through his approach and clear course structure. All the lessons are taught in simple English, so if you are a complete beginner and haven’t studied German much before, you will be able to understand the grammar that is being explained.

The courses can be completed at your own pace and the first lesson is free. They also offer opportunities to track your progress through the course.

Reading and Learning Vocabulary

Approaching reading and vocabulary acquisition in this manner diverged significantly from other courses. Unlike traditional methods that introduce key vocabulary before diving into a text, SmarterGerman provides texts for immediate engagement. The complexity and length of the texts appear to increase as you advance through the course.

Listening Skils

Engaging in the active listening segment involves straightforward instructions. You’ll revisit the same text used in previous exercises, and by now, you should be somewhat acquainted with it.

Essentially, you’ll listen to the text again. During the initial listening, frequent pauses may be necessary to grasp the content and perhaps look up the meanings of unfamiliar words.

With subsequent listens, aim to pause less frequently, ultimately progressing to a full, uninterrupted understanding. Don’t stress if certain parts pose challenges; afterward, you’ll tackle multiple-choice questions about the text.

Writing a Dictation

Engaging in a dictation exercise constitutes another phase of the learning process. This activity serves as a valuable tool for honing various aspects of the German language, including reading, writing, and grammar.

The class provides audio support for this step. Michael outlines a step-by-step approach in utilizing dictation, emphasizing that beginners should refrain from transcribing every single word they hear, as detailed in his instructional presentation.

Feedback and Support

The level of support provided by Michael is another aspect of what makes a good course, according to most learners. He conducts a free group coaching program weekly for German-speaking students, which has proved highly beneficial.

Individual questions are addressed, and responses are shared on the Community Platform, not just through email. The features shows a personal touch, distinguishing it from a typical online course. Personalized emails, with responses and great advice arriving within a couple of hours, are a rarity in the tutoring and student community, making this service exceptional for learners in a group setting.

Why Choose a SmarterGerman course?

So, why opt for SmarterGerman? Lower-level courses intertwine with a mystery story, enhancing engagement and understanding of language elements.

Specially crafted songs and cultural insights add vibrancy. SmarterGerman provides a personalized learning journey, complete with interactive tools, video lessons, audio recordings, quizzes, and tailored feedback. You can also check out their series covering innovative ways to enhance your language learning on their blog.

How much does SmarterGerman cost?

For levels A1 to C1, SmarterGerman offers the Pay in Full option, which costs $429 for the entire course. Also, there is a Pay Monthly plan, with three monthly installments of $149. Special courses, such as the B1 exam course, the Pay in Full option is available at a reduced cost of $249, or two installments, each amounting to $137.50.

For more information, check the SmarterGerman website. You can sign up and take the first lesson of any of the SmarterGerman courses free of charge. They also offer a 30-day money back guarantee.

FAQs about learning the German language

Here are some of the questions people interested in language learning methods ask about learning everyday German.

What is the best platform to learn the German language?

SmarterGerman offers a comprehensive and engaging learning experience with courses covering levels A1-C1, plus some special courses. The Everyday German course, designed with a mystery story, provides context, making it an effective platform for mastering German.

Is learning German good for your brain?

Absolutely! Learning German, especially through holistic methods like SmarterGerman courses, has cognitive benefits. Engaging in language learning stimulates brain activity, enhancing memory, problem-solving skills, and mental flexibility.

Does knowing German help you get a job?

Knowing German can indeed boost job prospects, especially in international business or with companies that have German connections. Language skills, including German, are valuable assets in various professional settings.

Is Duolingo enough to learn German?

While Duolingo is a helpful tool to learn at your own pace and is completely free to try, it might not provide the depth and personalized learning experience offered by other comprehensive German courses. To master German effectively, incorporating diverse resources, interactive exercises, and audio materials is beneficial. Ideally, having a conversation trainer or interacting with native speakers is also recommended to practice what you have learned.

Summing Up: SmarterGerman Review

Contrary to popular belief, learning German, even its grammar, can be simplified with the right resources and the approach of German instructor Michael Schmitz. SmarterGerman’s online German courses offer a personalized learning experience, intertwined with an engaging crime story and cultural insights and other resources, making them a great tool to make use of at your own pace.

The holistic approach, coupled with personalized support and feedback, positions SmarterGerman as a wise investment for efficient language learning. Explore SmarterGerman with a native German teacher to navigate the intricacies of the German language smartly and enjoyably.