Remember the old “fill in the blank worksheets” you used to get in school? Picture that online and you’ve got Clozemaster, a language learning app based on cloze learning.
Cloze is a worksheet exercise or test where you’re given most of the sentence and then have to supply the missing word. The idea is that by being able to fill in the space with the right word you can learn, reinforce, or test your language knowledge and understanding.
Cloze tests are easier when they use multiple choice options. But you gain more learning and insight into your knowledge and understanding when there are no helpful hints.
In this Clozemaster review, I’ll take you behind “clozed” doors to investigate the app and what it offers. And, of course, I'll give you my honest conclusions on what Clozemaster is good for. And what it lacks when it comes to learning a new language
- Presenting vocab in context shows how a word fits into a sentence.
- You can adjust the speaking speed which lets you listen at a comfortable pace, if you find the everyday speed is too fast.
- Clozemaster uses many colloquial sentences, unlike those you’re likely to find in a textbook.
- If you know enough grammar you can use clues like word endings to work out which of the multi-choice options would be right, even if you don’t know the meaning of each word.
- The retro-theme font reminded me of the ‘90’s Space Invaders and was a real turnoff at first. Although I did get used to it eventually, I still find it odd.
- In most challenges the random sentences have no relationship to each other, so the context is limited to one sentence.
- Often the sentences are not ones you’d need in everyday speech.
- Beginners beware; you need to already know a fair amount of your new language before you’ll really benefit from using Clozemaster.
- $8 US per month
- $60 US per year
- $140 US one-off lifetime subscription
Clozemaster is great for helping advanced beginners to gain more fluency by learning and reviewing new vocabulary in many languages.
However, it isn’t a complete package (despite what the app villain wants you to think), being more about reinforcement and memory rather than learning new language skills.
What’s more, if you’re a complete beginner, this isn’t the right app for you. In fact, if you want to go from beginner to intermediate in your target language, through stories, not rules, my top recommendation is my Uncovered courses which teach you through the StoryLearning® method – find out more and claim your free 7-day trial.
Clozemaster Review: What Is Clozemaster?
Clozemaster is a language learning website and app that helps you learn vocab within the context of a sentence.
In essence, Clozemaster shows you a sentence with one word missing. You learn new words by choosing the correct word from multi-choice options.
Or you reinforce your existing knowledge by typing in the word without seeing the alternatives first.
Available on mobile and desktop, it has a database of thousands of sentences and promises to “rapidly increase your vocab, improve your listening skills, and more” if you keep using it regularly.
To make the most of this app you’ll need to be at least an advanced beginner who already has an understanding of grammar and a good set of vocab in your long term memory banks.
What's Included In Clozemaster?
- Sentences grouped according to how often the words are likely to occur
- Collections – create your own or played ones that others have shared
- Grammar challenges – articles, prepositions, determiners and more
- Listening practice with a variety of speakers and accents
- Cloze Reading paragraphs broken into sentences using articles from Wikipedia.
A Look Inside Clozemaster
Clozemaster doesn’t create their sentences out of thin air. Instead, their AI algorithms select sentences and translations from Tatoeba, a massive dataset, released under a Creative Commons License.
They use these, plus articles from Wikipedia and translations from Google Translate to create thousands of different fill-in-the blank sentences and paragraphs.
The mobile app and desktop versions offer several different learning categories.
Fast Track To Fluency
In Fast Track each word is matched against a frequency list (a list of words ordered by how often they’re likely to occur.)
Clozemaster blocks out the least common (most difficult) word in each sentence and presents the sentences in order of difficulty.
When you’ve finished going through a set it shows you the number and percent of correct/incorrect answers and shows where you might need more practice.
Common Word Groups
These sentences are grouped by difficulty and each missing word appears up to ten times per collection. The aim is to give you plenty of practice at each less frequent word.
Only available in Clozemaster Pro, the collections section lets you create and play your own sentences. You can type them in yourself or search and select sentences on Clozemaster.
You can also share your sentences and add ones that other Pro subscribers create and add them to your personalized collection.
In grammar challenges the words are blanked according to a common grammatical feature. So, in French Articles the blanks will be words like au, de, les, la etc.
The free version only allows you access to one grammar challenge, however there are many more available in Pro.
Once you’ve got some practice under your belt, Cloze-Listening is designed to help you improve your listening skills at the intermediate level.
First you hear the complete sentence, then see it with a missing word. Listen to the sentence as many times as you want before filling in the missing word by typing or selecting from four options.
Cloze-Listening offers you the chance to listen to different accents and background noise as well as variable audio quality. It’s a chance to listen in “real world” conditions instead of a clear lesson-quality recording.
This section offers three sentences per day in Free and unlimited numbers with Pro.
The Cloze-Reading section chooses articles from Wikipedia to give you fill-in-the-blank practices over multiple consecutive sentences.
You can choose from categories that include science, history, geography, philosophy, technology and more. As with Cloze-Listening, you have only a few articles to choose from on Free and many more available on Pro.
You score points for each correct answer. And the points diminish if you have several tries before hitting on the right word. Your points are saved after playing all the sentences in one article and count towards your total score, level, and streak.
When you’ve gone through a list of sentences you can review them all at the end of a session.
The sentences also go into the Reviews section where you can manually review them again.
Sentences are classed as new, 25% Mastered, 50% Mastered, 75% Mastered and 100% Mastered and repeat at spaced intervals until you get to 100%.
For example, you get your first repetition after one day (25%) and your last repetition at 180 days. If you still remember it, it’s classed as 100% Mastered.
These default repetition settings are the only ones available on Free, but you can adjust them as much as you want on Pro.
When you’re using the desktop version of Clozemaster it can be handy to flick through more quickly using the shortcut keys. This is one of a number of handy explanations you’ll find throughout the app (click on the ? symbols or go to FAQ).
Gamification And Goals
Clozemaster aims to keep you motivated by awarding points for correct matches and encouragement to come back every day to keep your streak going.
You can set a daily goal of points to earn (anywhere from basic which is 10 points all the way up to insane — 1000 points per day.) Once you’ve set a goal, add in the “daily reminder email” in case you get busy and lose your streak.
Links To HelloTalk, iTalki
While Clozemaster doesn’t offer lessons or personal support it does include affiliate links to iTalki and HelloTalk.
On iTalki you can find tutors that give lessons in many different languages, while HelloTalk connects you with other language learners. You can text back and forth and improve each other’s understanding and fluency.
Clozemaster Review: What I Like (& What's Missing)
There’s a lot to like about Clozemaster if you’re an advanced beginner or intermediate learner. The app exposes you to plenty of new vocabulary and lets you set the hints or clues you need for comprehension.
For example, you can:
- Listen to the sentence with no translation or listen and read at the same time, with the translation in small words underneath.
- Have multiple choice options or try to type in the text yourself (for double the points)
- Adjust the pace so that you’ll hear a sentence at a speed you can understand.
Although they don’t offer grammar lessons as such, in the Pro version you get the chance to practice grammar groups (e.g., 46 French prepositions) in the context of a sentence.
And when you’re ready for a longer passage, Clozemaster uses Wikipedia articles and turns them into fill-in-the-blank sentences, too.
In my opinion, one of Clozemaster’s best features is the ability to set so many languages. For example, you could put the “I speak” setting to French and set “I’m learning” to Arabic.
This feature allows multiple mix and match language combinations that cater for all language speakers and learners.
That flexibility also allows would-be polyglots to practice two languages at the same time. So, if your native language is English but you’re learning Spanish and have just taken up Turkish, you could set “I speak” to Spanish and “I’m learning” to Turkish.
But Clozemaster doesn't have it all. Lessons and support are the big gaps in the Clozemaster system.
You can find links to lessons on other systems, e.g., iTalki, where you get a discount after your first lesson, but Clozemaster itself doesn’t offer tutors or individual help.
How Much Does Clozemaster Cost And Is It Worth It?
It costs you nothing to sign up and access many of Clozemaster’s activities for free — although of course you’ll have to put up with ads appearing at regular intervals.
If you want more flexibility and extra learning opportunities, they offer a Pro version as well.
Pro payment options (in USD) are $8 monthly and a slightly cheaper $60 for a year’s subscription. However, if you know you’d use Clozemaster a lot over several years, you might prefer to pay $140 straight away and get access to Pro forever.
If the idea of learning through “fill in the blank” activities appeals to you and you’re prepared to practice daily, then it’s worth taking a punt with Clozemaster, especially if you’re learning multiple languages.
However, if you’re a beginner or want a more complete course which doesn’t leave you dangling and confused when you don’t understand something, there are better courses out there.
An Alternative To Clozemaster: Uncovered Courses
Uncovered is a comprehensive online beginner course that takes you from a complete beginner in a language to an intermediate level.
Similar to Clozemaster, Uncovered teaches through context. But instead of using random unrelated sentences and cloze activities, Uncovered works with a unique, fun method called StoryLearning®.
StoryLearning teaches languages naturally, just as you learn best when you're a child – through stories. In Uncovered, you'll find yourself gripped by a tale that's unveiled, serial-style throughout the course.
It's not just any old story, though. It's an original story, written especially for Uncovered, with each word deliberately chosen for what you can learn from it in that context.
Of course, we don't let you read a story and then leave you hanging. You also have an experienced teacher by your side—one who knows the difficulties and pitfalls of learning another language because they're a language learner too.
Your teacher will offer support with explanations in English and tips to help you learn along the way.
Uncovered teaches all of the key aspects of the language: reading, listening, vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation and speaking. So by the time you've finished, you'll be a confident intermediate level language speaker, ready to go out and use your new language in the real world!