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How long should it take to complete the Duolingo course?

How much time do you think it should take to complete the Duolingo Russian course? I don't want to burn through it took quickly and not fully benefit, but I also want to set a goal that I need to push to achieve. Thoughts?

November 12, 2015



I haven't gotten started good on the Russian yet because I'm focusing on Spanish. I've done the Spanish tree twice so far, most people say to take it slow but I like to hurry through pretty fast. I always say I'd rather do a tree 12 times a year than once a year because when I did my Spanish tree the first time it took a month and a few days and I could read some easy spanish readers and I could struggle through a regular book with a dictionary in one hand when I was finished. Someone taking a year would be still memorizing the fourth skill learning their colors or whatever while I'm reading, and reading is great practice. I do a lot of review and get better everyday, I've been studying Spanish for about 6 months and I'd hate to only be halfway through the tree now.

If it weren't for the fact that I can read some and understand quite a bit of the Destinos video series when I watch it I would say that doing the tree a lot of times over a year or doing it really slow once and learning it thoroughly would equal out in the end but I think for that reason doing it fast several times has the advantage. Just don't do it so fast you don't remember anything, I think if you try to keep it mostly gold you'll be alright. That's the good thing about Duolingo, after you finish the tree you can go back and review any skill you want and you can see which skills you need to use outside study on.

But fast or slow, I think most people just naturally work out what's best for them after they get started good. Maybe somewhere in the middle is best, but when I get started good on my Russian, it's going to be as fast as possible the first time.


This greatly depends on the language (how close it is to those you are already familiar with) and your dedication.

Personally, I finished my first tree (French) in exactly three months. But I was so enthusiastic I really spent most of my free time on French. I used several resources to learn, so I knew some things by the time Duolingo began to teach them. And I did a minimum of 10 lessons or practice sessions a day, normally even more.

With German, it took me about half a year to finish the tree.

With Spanish, it took me three months.

With Portuguese, I went at a leisurely pace and it took me more than a year (I made some big pauses, too).


I think this is a bit of a 'how long is a piece of string' question, because it depends way too much on the individual. Remember also that finishing the tree the first time =/= having learned all you can from it. Given enough actual time, anyone can brute force their way through any tree, but it's unlikely to stick if you slam through it once and never go back.

It's going to depend on things like your previous exposure to Russian or related languages, how quickly you grasp the grammar, how much time you have to spend on it, how much skill and practice you have at learning any language.

Personally, my gold standard is "am I making errors because I failed to understand stuff from early lessons/skills?"

  • If when you do new skills, you're assimilating information well and learning quickly from your mistakes, you're probably going at about the right speed.
  • If you are using the wrong case that was learned three skills ago, or it's taking you 30 or more question to get through a lesson (disregarding errors in the beta course), you're probably going too fast.
  • If you are reading the grammar notes once and then making few/no mistakes on new skills, then you can probably go as fast as you like!

I know for me - especially under the old hearts system, but still to some extent with the progress bar - if I haven't learned a previous skill as well as I should, it will start to show up in new skills because I'll be making more elementary errors.

I know that happened to me a lot in German when I tried to rush through the tree at the start. In contrast, the Esperanto tree I did a fairly good job of assimilating new information and so didn't feel a lot of need to revise before going back, and in the Ukrainian tree I could pretty much push on through because the grammar and even some of the vocab was semi-familiar to me for large chunks of it.

Most of the people I've seen finish the tree already are native speakers - it is a pretty long tree. (German is longer, but I am pretty sure Ukrainian, Esperanto and English-from-Russian are all shorter.) I'm formerly fluent but v out of practice, and I'm almost at the last checkpoint, and even then, I know there's stuff I've skimmed over a bit in my eagerness to finish, because I really want my Russian golden owl ;)

You should be able to tell from how you cope with new lessons how you've grasped what you've already been exposed to - let that be your measuring stick for how fast you 'should' go. And remember also that no matter how fast or slow you go, revision and practice are the keys to how much you'll retain in the end.


Some people finished it in a few days, but to really take it all in and retain all the information, I'd say it would take at least a few months if not more.

Don't worry about time. Take as long as you need to.

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