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Lesson Practice/Practice Weakest Words (Issue?)

Hello! I am deeply sorry if this was posted before. I looked around a little but I don't usually keep up with Discussion...

I am currently not very far on the French tree (I'm just a little further after the first unlock, before Colors). I do switch a little between languages but my intention is to get a golden tree before doing new lessons. So, when I switched to French, at the beginning of the week I had one almost golden skill (Phrases), all the others being golden (or so I remember). Since then I tried Lesson Practice/Practice Weakest Words now and then, as my time allowed (during the working days I mostly learn while traveling with public transport, on the phone). Nothing special until now, I thought to myself that there must be there other weak words that probably were not as many as to be visible on the tree. Well... yesterday I did like 400-500 points just with lesson practice, but nothing (usually, no timed practice, but I had few of those as well, I got like 100 points with them). Words that I would last practiced like 3-4 hours before would appear in blue (usually used for those practiced a long time before as far as I could figure out). But there was no sight of those sentences that would keep my tree in a non-golden state. I don't want to sound inpatient or something but... how does those things work?

Is "Lesson practice" the same as "Practice Weakest Words"? (it seems so from the browser address)

Do these features actually throw you words that you did not practiced a long time ago or they just give you random sentences?

Edit: I had, indeed, 0-3 mistakes on most practices, I even failed some - if that helps. I had a lot of timed practices without even an answer, as I got into timed without knowing and... I was usually doing other things as well during the same time.

Edit2: Yesterday I only practiced on my PC.

Edit3: To make my issue clear I made this screen capture: http://s27.postimg.org/rk998n0bn/image.jpg

I did 2 untimed practice lessons and one complete timed practice lesson (18-19 points). I made this screen capture: http://s29.postimg.org/vbdbegqrb/image.jpg

As you may see, no single word of those that were not recently practiced was given. I got sentences with "manteau" though.

Edit4: By now I really think that this is some bug, as for the system to give me random sentences, I'd probably get those by now.

January 19, 2014



Hey Vrexu, sorry I'm just now discovering this thread!!!

It turns out that the words you want to practice have been "disabled" behind the scenes. There are a variety of things that might have caused this, but we do it in situations where Duolingo might otherwise spam you with these same words over and over again in practice. Those words are are "re-enabled" after you see them in a lesson, though.

The reason practice feels random is that practically all of your "enabled" words are at full strength, so Duolingo is probably breaking the ties randomly among them.

So... one fix is to redo your weak lessons in "Common Phrases" (by opening the skill page and clicking on the lesson). Since Duolingo treats lesson and practice sessions slightly differently, you're guaranteed to get those words and they will be re-enabled after the session for future practice.

We're working on a more elegant/intelligent way for Duolingo to know when to re-enable words.

Side note: I'd encourage you not to wait until all skills are golden before advancing. Some of my informal research suggests that Duolingo users do well by learning 2-3 new lessons per day, while keeping all skills at least three bars.

Hope that helps!


Thank you very much for the answer. It is exactly the thing that I wanted to know.


It seems like you are having a problem similar to what I wrote in a comment in this discussion: http://www.duolingo.com/comment/1525176
This is actually not the first time someone has mentioned having an issue with words decaying, but not being added to weakest words practice. There was another recent discussion posted to troubleshooting last week. The staff hasn't commented yet, but I have to think they are aware of it.

edit Here is a link to the discussion from last week


Thanks. Indeed, that's the issue. Also, I just found out that I have the same problem, at the same chapter, in "English from French".

Edit: The "English from French" thingy is not thoroughly checked, so it might be just my impression.


[EDIT] Just saw your screenshots. It looks like a bug. Looks like the words from "Phrases" are not included!

Lesson practice and Practice weakest words are indeed the same. At each session nine weak words a chosen, and the blue color indicates that the sentence was picked because of this word, thus implicitly the blue color indicates that the word is weak.

Do you have the old layout, so you can see the vocabulary? That would help you investigate what is going on.

"Words that I would last practiced like 3-4 hours before would appear in blue"
Did you try to hover over the words? This will show when you last saw that word. One explanation could be that the word have two distinct forms, and you trained one of them 3-4 hours ago, and now need to train another form.

"But there was no sight of those sentences that would keep my tree in a non-golden state."
A skill can become degraded even witout any of the words being particulary weak. If half or the words of the skills have full strength and the other half have 3/4 strength, then the whole skill will become degraded. Perhaps this is what is happening?

I can only guess, but if you have access to the vocabulary you should be able to see whether my guesses are probable.


Yes, I completely agree with your analysis, this is definitely a bug, and it is probably caused by not seeing those words enough times.


Thanks a lot for your effort. It seems that you started writing this before I added edit 3.

The 3-4 hours before was actually a mouse-over number. But I suspect that happen because of the amount of practice that I put in (compared to the little number of lessons that I learned).

Edit: Ugh, yes. Still, thanks.


I see that this problem has been going on for two years!! I just became aware of this bug because now, after a 500 day streak, it's affecting my tree and progress. The only thing I can say is, now I know I'm not alone. ;-) It is frustrating, however.


I can see all over that there has been a problem with word strength for at least two years. But that is my problem. Scrolling down my vocabulary list, there are words that it says are weak and "last practiced" two years ago. Now, I know I've seen many of these unpracticed words in the last week. My whole tree is gold and has been for some time. I'm running a 200 day plus streak. It wouldn't be so bad if they had unpracticed words from years ago that were marked strong, but why if they are marked weak am I not being given them to practice (but am actually practicing them)? I normally use the Android app, almost never the online app, is this part of the problem?


Thanks. I actually read that post yesterday. Sadly, it is few months ago (1) and it says nothing about my skill being at 3 lines and about me not getting any of those words in my lesson practice (2).


Well, there are many such posts [1,2,3], going back to a month ago, I just can't remember the exact wording. But here are some hints to your problem[2]:

  • Timed vs. un-timed practice. In timed practice, you get 1 point for each correct challenge, and all words are updated. In un-timed (and mobile app) practice, you get 10 points + a heart bonus, just like lessons. Also like lessons, none of your words are strengthened if you fail (run out of hearts).
  • Word strength vs. decay rate. When you get words wrong, they might still be strengthened, because you just saw them and they are fresh in your memory. But they will decay faster than if you got them right, so Duolingo will get you practice them again sooner.

[1] - http://www.duolingo.com/comment/878880
[2] - http://www.duolingo.com/comment/486819 [3] - http://www.duolingo.com/comment/997120


Check Edit 3. As well, thanks for your effort, sadly my problem seems to be different.


This seems to be a bug similar to this [1]. You should consider moving this to the troubleshooting section. The words that are most decayed aren't being shown in the practice. Until it is solved the easiest way to get through this is to practice in the vocabulary section, till it tells you that all words are at full strength. That may take a while, and the alternative is waiting for the staff to fix the bug, or you can simply go into the 'phrases' skill and practice just that.

1- http://www.duolingo.com/comment/1052217$from_email=commentcomment_id=1109618


Thanks. I never actually saw the "sections" area. The idea was not to actually walk around the problem, but to present a clear case of the bug. Though, as I was saying, because of not being used with the discussion area I had no idea of the sections.


You're welcome. In this case perhaps you would benefit from this guide created by the community about various aspects of Duolingo, http://www.duolingo.com/comment/1278938$comment_id=1426116.


no puedo entrar a la siguiente leccion GENTE please help me




How do you find "Practise weak words", please? I can't see it!


This is a post from years ago, the interface has changed. Now is called, at least on my web interface, "Strengthen Skills".


Hi Vrexu, it seems to me that there is no specific strengthen skills section for weak words. Am I correct?


You can go to the Strengthen Skills button on the right hand side of your screen. Or you can click on Words, sort them by strength, click on those considered weak, then go to the lesson group they are listed as being in. Once there you can either do the specific lesson that lists the word, or the strengthening series at the end of the set.

Unfortunately many of us have words that are marked as weak, but also marked as not practiced in two years or more when in fact they were just practiced today. There are "dead" words that possibly were moved to a different lesson or removed from a lesson or somehow no longer being updated when they should. I have about 200 words like that.

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