I’ve been using Clozemaster for 9 months and it’s time for me to do a review. Before I begin, I just want to let you know that I’m using it learn to Spanish and my language pair is English so the examples will be based on that.
I aim to make this a complete review and hopefully, by the end of it, you’ve familiarized yourself with what it is and how it works. Let’s get started!
What is Clozemaster?
Do you like a fill-in-the-blank type of exercise? That’s what Clozemaster is and it’s done using a gamification strategy to keep learners engaged. You can use it for free on the website itself or via an app on both iOS and Android.
Clozemaster was released on March 16, 2016, and officially launched in 2017 by Language Innovation LLC. With 20344 users (at the moment of writing) and counting, you can select any of the 60 languages it currently offers.
- Mandarin Chinese
- Mandarin Chinese Traditional
- Norwegian Bokmål
- Persian Parsi
- Scottish Gaelic
With Clozemaster, you won’t be restricted to choose English as your native language. It provides you with 32 languages as your spoken language and over 170 language pairs as shown below (flip).
English, French, German, Hebrew, Korean, Tagalog
English, Esperanto, French, German, Italian, Russian, Spanish
English, French, German, Greek, Italian, Spanish, Swedish
All 60 languages above
English, Swedish, Turkish
Arabic, Catalan, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, German, Icelandic, Italian, Korean, Occitan, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Vietnamese
Arabic, Danish, Dutch, English, Esperanto, French, Greek, Hungarian, Icelandic, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish
Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish
Danish, English, French, German, Piedmontese, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish
English, Esperanto, German, Russian
19. Mandarin Chinese
20. Mandarin Chinese Traditional
21. Norwegian Bokmål
22. Persian Farsi
Czech, English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish
English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish
English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Spanish
Arabic, Catalan, Danish, English, Esperanto, French, Galician, German, Hindi, Italian, Mandarin Chinese, Norwegian Bokmål, Occitan, Piedmontese, Portuguese, Russian, Swedish
Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Spanish
English, French, German
Clozemaster gets its sentences and translations from Tatoeba, a huge online database that has just that.
How Does Clozemaster Work?
You can start right away once you’ve registered, choose your spoken language and the target language. If you don’t want to register yet you can still play around but it won’t save your progress and you won’t get the benefits of a registered user.
When you click Play on the Fluency Fast Track you’ll be presented with 3 settings; skill, sentences per round, and mode.
Pick which skill and mode you like. For listening and speaking skills you can only play one round per day for free. If you choose the text input mode you’ll get double the points. However, you can’t change the number of sentences per round as it’s set to 10 by default.
Once you finish your round you’ll see your stats. Please note that when you play not all the sentences are new. They also mixed with those you’ve played before which are ready to be reviewed.
The numbers are vary depending on how many you play on that day. Let’s say today I play 10 sentences. It could either be 5 new and 5 reviewed, 6 new and 4 reviewed, or even 0 new and 10 reviewed, etc.
Once you select the right answer you’ll hear the full sentence said by a native. Double click on any word to see more info about them.
Clozemaster provides straight directions (opens in a new tab) to Google Translate, Forvo, Wiktionary, Tatoeba, and SpanishDict (depends on your language pair) for the chosen word. How convenient!
There are a few buttons below the translation for multiple-choice and text input. Here’s what they are;
- Play sentence audio (normal speed) – The audio is the one being said by a native/ text to speech, not your own (even when you do the speaking skill).
- Play sentence audio (slow speed) –This is pretty much self-explanatory.
- Favorite sentence – This is a Pro feature. It allows you to add sentences to your favorite list.
- Set this sentence to 100% mastered– When you already know the sentence by heart you can click this button so it doesn’t appear that often.
- Reset to 0% mastered – Let’s say you already mastered a sentence and somehow you want to reset it. Just click this. You can also let it be because if you got it wrong when it appears again after a certain period (spaced repetition interval) it will automatically reset back to 0% no matter if you’ve guessed it correctly 2 or 3 times in a row.
- Ignore sentence – If you find sentences you for sure won’t use then you can ignore so it won’t be making its appearance anymore. Keep in mind that those you ignore won’t be counted on your progress.
- Discuss sentence – This is a Pro feature. You can read the comments made on all the sentences on Clozemaster on the forum.
- Edit sentence – Most of the setting here is the Pro feature except for the alternative answers. You can add alternative answers if you think the sentence deserves such additions.
9. Help – Click this in case you don’t know how the exercise or the points works.
10. Game settings – Below are the settings you can change when you play the multiple-choice.
- Translations – Make the English translation or your chosen language pair either visible (you can see them all the time), show after answering (you have to blindly guess what the missing answer is), or hidden (no translation at all). In the last 2 options you’ll see the toggle translations button where you can click on should you find the answer too difficult.
- Pronunciation – This is only shown if it’s available.
- Sound effects – The sound it makes when you get the answer right, wrong and when you finish the round.
- Text-to-speech – It will be played once you’ve selected the answer. It has 3 options;
- Auto-play: Turn it on/ off
- Use Clozemaster Voice: If you turn it off you’ll be provided with 3 system voice options;
- Random (randomly use the next 2 options)
- es-ES Google español
- es-US Google español de Estados Unidos.
- Speed – The speed of the text-to-speech audio.
- Dark Mode – Change the white background to black if you prefer that way.
11. Report error – Use this button if you think the sentence is inappropriate or translated incorrectly.
As for the text input before you select the answer you’ll see two buttons.
- Switch sentence to multiple-choice – This will reveal the multiple choice for the answer.
- Single letter hint – You’ll only get 1 hint per sentence and your score will be reduced to half.
The game settings for text input are pretty much the same as multiple choice. There are only 3 additional ones.
- Spelling hints: If you type one letter wrong or with/ without accent it’ll let you know.
- Typing color hint: The color will change from green to red.
- Text box size: The size will change depending on the length of the answer.
When you click on the Record button you’ll see the sentences automatically written below it as you say each word. Everything is still the same as the above.
Clozemaster Spaced Repetition Interval
List Of Clozemaster’s Features
At first, the Clozemaster dashboard can be a bit confusing since there are so many things to look at. There are 11 sections at the top and 3 settings at the bottom.
- Add Sentence to Collection – This is a Pro feature. Create a collection(s) of the Clozemaster’s sentences and practice with them.
- More Stats – This is a Pro feature.
- Search Sentences – This is a Pro feature. Want to find that specific sentence you came across while playing? Use this.
- Review Settings – This is a Pro feature.
- Score – This is where your overall stats are. You can see your score, total sentences played and mastered.
- Level – This shows your current level and how many points are needed to go to the next level.
- Streak – If you are familiar with Duolingo you know how this works. It also shows how many new sentences and review sentences you’ve played.
- Ready for review – This shows how many previous sentences are ready to be reviewed.
9. Leaderboard – See your current position. You can check everyone’s position including the people you followed as well as their level be it weekly, monthly, or all-time. The star refers to those who upgraded to Pro.
10. Favorites – It shows the number of sentences you’ve marked as favorite. You can view, play and even download them.
11. Graph – Visually see your progress. Hover over on any date to see how many words (new and reviewed) you play that day.
The 3 settings at the bottom of the dashboard are dark mode, reset all progress, and delete your chosen language.
Fluency Fast Track
It consists of a list of most common words in their order of difficulty. The amount can change depending on how common or lesser-known your target language is.
There are 2 ways you can play this, randomly or manually. If you want the system to randomly choose the group of sentences for you just click on the big play button.
This is a pro feature. It allows you to add your cloze and/or take one from the Clozemaster itself and play. You can also take sentences from other languages’ software or apps and bring them here.
Give your collection a name and add sentences to it using these 5 options; manual entry, file upload, search and select word/ phrase list, and from a text. The last 3 are done using sentences from Clozemaster.
If you expect to see grammar rules here you won’t find any. Instead, you’ll learn them in context. This might be a bit difficult at first but as time goes by you’ll begin to realize the pattern from the cloze. For Spanish, only por and para are free. The rest are pro.
Can you guess what the rules are from these images?
Toggle the down arrow button to see the difficulty level of each article and its cloze count. Each sentence will have one missing word. The article isn’t that long though. Clozemaster only takes the intro section.
They are divided into multiple paragraphs, but you can do the sentence separately if you want by clicking the arrow down button (toggle sentence view).
Click on the blank to see the possible answers. They come in multiple-choice. Highlight the whole sentence or any word (or double click) if you want to know their meaning.
Once you complete the paragraph the 4 green buttons will be clickable.
- Play audio – listen to the audio of the whole sentence.
- Add to cloze-collection – this is another feature which I’ll talk about after this.
- Copy to clipboard – Copy the chosen cloze to your other language tools or collections outside of Clozemaster.
- Open in Google Translate – It will open in a new tab with the translation of the whole paragraph.
The points you got from both cloze-reading and grammar challenges are added to your overall score, level, and streak but don’t affect your sentences played, mastered, or reviews.
When there’s a streak there’s a goal. Set it to a doable level. You can always change it later.
Clozemaster Pro Price & Features
There are 2 payment plans for the Pro version, monthly ($8) and yearly ($60). Only the latter is covered by 30 days money-back guarantee. Both can be canceled anytime. If you find the yearly to be expensive you can upgrade when they have a promotion such as Black Friday which is 30% OFF. Some of the features are;
- Unlimited speaking practice.
- Unlimited listening practice for 16 languages.
- Change numbers of sentences per round and sentences reviewed when playing new sentences.
- Change the repetition intervals.
- Favorite sentences and download them.
- Access to more grammar challenges.
- Create custom cloze-texts for cloze-reading.
- Access to more articles on cloze-reading.
- Create custom cloze-collections.
- Automatic translation from Google within the same tab.
- More advanced stats such as times of day you learn best, etc.
- No ads.
Some apps only have English to your desired language translation which is unfortunate because let’s just face it, not everybody knows English. But, Clozemaster has a few options for you to select the primary language.
It’s good for both vocabulary and grammar. I like the latter section because I can practice and improve my knowledge there.
Words are used in a variety of different sentences to help you remember them.
Allows you to remove words you don’t need and work only with those relevant ones. But then, be careful because those you remove may be useful when you watch movies, etc. Just because you don’t use it doesn’t mean other people won’t.
I found Clozemaster through one of its blog posts back in September last year and I joined right away. I have to say they are worth reading.
The cloze-reading article is good for immersion.
They have a forum where you can learn more about everything on Clozemaster. The topics are divided into 4 categories; language-specific for any comments about the sentences, language learning for things related to just that, Clozemaster, and bug reports.
Any of you use Reddit? They are there as well and Mike, the creator is quite active in replying to people’s comments. He is open to any suggestions and feedback.
It’s definitely not beginner-level friendly. Provided that you’ve learned Spanish using other resources before using Clozemaster you’ll have no difficulties.
The thing is when you already learned like 1500 words and above you’ll probably going to see them frequently in the beginning. You might even be stuck on a certain level for quite some time before you get to see new ones. Personally, I don’t think it’s that bad. I just think of it as a way to strengthen my memory and understanding more.
For the speaking exercise, you can’t listen back to your audio recording. It would be great if such a feature exists so I can make a comparison. Sometimes it can’t even pick up what we say correctly.
Talking about audio, most of them are using text-to-speech. I might be wrong but some (cloze-listening exercises) do sound like natives. The rest not so much. Clozemaster mentions on their about page that text-to-speech doesn’t work the same for everyone.
Speaking practice can only be done on Google Chrome. It can be a bit difficult for those who use other browsers. It’s like you know how not everyone uses Google as their search engine.
I heard somewhere that some languages still lack audio. I’m guessing it depends on how popular the language is.
Speaking skill isn’t available on the app.
While the cloze-reading article is good it’s also a bit boring. I wish they include articles from other popular websites as well.
Since the sentences are from Tatoeba you can’t guarantee their accuracy. Even the Tatoeba Wikipedia says so.
Clozemaster should provide more options for the streak reminder such as notification on your phone. Not all people check their email all the time.
Despite offering more than 50 languages cloze-listening isn’t available for all. It’s only for 20 languages.
The forum isn’t very active. I guess it’s because ‘only Pro users can contribute.’ I think it’s a bit unfair. They should let everyone contribute. Could it be that they are trying to keep it in order and clean?
Free users will see ads on the lessons when they use the website but none on the app. Honestly, they don’t bother me at all but I’m just pointing this out because some users are just the opposite of me.
How To Best Use Clozemaster
Since there are many options in Clozemaster below are some of the ways you can use them.
- Some people say the multiple-choice questions are less effective because it doesn’t require much thinking. Whereas, text input is quite effective because it’s the opposite. What you can do with the MCQs is covered them before you answer.
If you happen to find more than one possible answers you can make other sentences with such answers for your own cloze-collection. The same can be done with text input. Also, there are 3 choices left. Copy the rest somewhere, figure out the meaning and try writing your own sentences with them.
- Turn on the English translation at the beginning and turn it off when reviewing just so you can see if your understanding has improved.
- If you’re not sure the translations are correct write them down and ask your native language exchange partners. Then, add the correct translations using the alternative answers.
- There is no way to know if your pronunciation is correct using the speaking skill exercises. So, record them yourself and send them to native speakers. After all, one-on-one feedback is still one of the best ways for language learning.
I said this many times in my other posts that you should diversify your language methods and don’t rely on just one source. This can be a great addition to your language tools given its simplicity.
Learning any language in context is without a doubt effective. Some of the cons can easily be fixed if you’re willing to go the extra mile while using it. The price isn’t that bad compared to others.
Clozemaster is worth checking out. I can totally see myself using it for many years to come and even upgrade at some point. I’m really looking forward to seeing what they have in store.
Do you use Clozemaster? How has it been so far? Let me know in the comment below.