I'm very new here
I haven't actually gotten past "Animals 1" on any of my courses, so I'm wondering if the "Test out of _ skills" is required to pass to the next lesson after you complete "Possess."
test out is not required. It allows you to skip lessons. Its designed for people who know a bit of the language already. Example say you took Spanish in HS, you can "test out" if you remember the animals
No, the test out of option is for those with prior knowledge of the language who do not want to study/practice basic words and structures.
To get past Animals1 you just need to finish all the lessons in Animals1 skill and all the skills prior to it.
It is not because if you do that and get the answers correct then you can skip the unit.
No, you actually do not have to test out of any skills; just get through the exercises with somewhat of a smidgen of skill. I am also new and I am not from Duolingo but this much I've figured out.