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Is there any way to upgrade the difficulty of "strengthen skills"

So as I try to improve my German skills - which means repeating words that I have already learned - I have two options: Either go to indevidual lessons I have already completed, and use the "strengthen skills" there, which normaly is great and challanging, but of course it's only a drill relating to that given lesson.

The problem I have is when I press in the main menu tree on "strengthen skills". When I do so it's almost 100% of the time lets me practice very simple, first lesson- ja nein frau mann - level, while I am already at level 9 at the moment, and already learned quite a few other words, and I wish to have a mix of all lessons. Yet the "strengthen skills" on the main tree does not give that.

any advice? is there anything I can change so the "strengthen skills" button gets a bit more rich in it's options?

May 8, 2017



Do you also tried the timed practice? In my experience there will be new and more difficult exercises in addition to the time limitation.

And have you already finished the tree? From your question probably not. If this is the case, then go ahead to the next lessons, which are added to your exercise pool then.


Regarding the time practice: I have not yet tried that. Regarding the tree progress: I did not finish the tree, but in order to better remember old lessons\words, I want to practice it more, whilst I learn new lessons\words.


I understand your point. But from my experience, the words and phrases from the older lessons will be used in the later lessons. So if you go ahead, you will automatically use and learn the vocabulary from the older lessons.

If you are only in the first circles, then there is naturally not enough material to provide you more difficult answers. So you have to go ahead, then you will get more and more difficult exercises and the amount of the strengthen exercises will increase, so that it makes sense, to use the strengthen function over and over.

Again from my experience, the exercises seems to differ in the following points (at least in the EN-PL-Tree):

  • Normal lessons have a small amount of questions, which are presented in the same order, so that one can learn it quickly.
  • Strengthen practice in a lesson have more questions and sometimes they use new words to check, if the learner understood the grammar concept. The question order is not necessarily the same and there may be new questions if you start the practice again.
  • Same for strengthen practice over the whole tree, but harder, because all so far learned vocabulary and grammar points is used.
  • Timed practices double the effort: You will get more and more new examples in a very short time. The question order is not the same and there will be new questions if you start the practice again.

I exercise in the following way:

  1. Doing normal exercises to learn new words and sentences, till I am able to answer the the questions of all circles/lessons 100% correctly without look up vocabs.
  2. Then I use the normal Strengthen practice - also till I am able to answer all questions 100% without look up vocabs. If something is not clear, I read grammar notes etc.
  3. At the same time I use the strengthen practice on the main tree - here it may be difficult to reach 100%, because there will be new questions, which you may be unsure with.
  4. If I am able to answer the strengthen practice in a lesson 100% correctly, then I use the timed practice. It is much harder, because you have to think and write very quickly, very less time for think about it or to look up the meaning of words or grammar. Here you can see, if you really know the vocabs and if you really understood the grammar. I also try to reach here 100%, of course :-)
  5. When my answers are (nearly) 100% correct in normal exercises, strengthen and time practice (also when I reapeat them) of a lesson, I go ahead to the next lesson.
  6. I use the timed practice also in the strengthen practice of the whole tree. This is hard, but if you begin early to do this regularily, than you will surely master it.

I would recommend to start with the timed practice as early as you can, because - as I wrote above - in the begining, there is too less material to provide you much and difficult questions, so you can develop your abilities more easy.

I sadly began the timed practices after finishing the tree and it was - and is - very hard for me to fight through the questions, especially in the strengthen practice over all lessons of the tree.


A lot of people, me included, are disappointed with how the 'strengthen skills' works.

Instead of forcing people to perform strengthening with the new health feature, they should improve strengthening so that people choose to do it.


Can you alaborate on the health feature? What is that exactly?


For me it is not a feature, it is an obstacle. The new way is more like an so called "freemium"game, as we call it in German. Actually it seems to be only in the newest (iOS?) app.

From my short experience: You have 5 lifes and if you make too many errors (but you don´t need much), you lose a life till you do not have lifes anymore. After that you have some options - You can fill your lifes by paying "gems", in my case 450 gems. If you do not have enough, you can buy gems with real money. If you don´t to pay gems, you have to practice old lessons to earn new lifes - but you need to not make any mistakes during your exercises, otherwise you won´t get a life. If you were not successful (or if you would be?), you have to wait a certain amount of time - in my case about 4-5 hours to earn the next life. May be the next waiting time may be more hours... Sometimes the app presents you another option: You can look a video clip with an advertisment, in my case 30 seconds, to earn a life.

To be honest: I don´t like the new changes in the app and won´t use it anymore. Sadly. And I hope, they won´t also implement such changes into the web version of Duolingo!


Strange, I have non of these on my app


On my iPhone it changed some days before with the last update.


They are testing on limited users if they don't lose a lot of users they will adapt it to everyone as a source of revenue


Hopefully if enough users switch to the website to avoid it they will consider it failure and stop implementation


The problem is for me, that I am often on the way and do not have access to a computer. That´s why I use the app more often than the website. Now, without the app, I am not sure, how to maintain my streak...so yes, I also hope, they will stop this implementation and go back to the version before, but I´m afraid, that they won´t. Also the new website sadly misses some useful features (Keyboard shortcuts, Lesson review, Quiz).


What about the mobile website version?


Yes, they changed also the mobile website version. Before, I could use the desktop version on my iPhone, but now, the mobile version looks like the app without the newest changes and I can´t go to the desktop version anymore. But yes, I´ll try this out. Before, the website reacted much slower than the app, that´s why I didn´t use it.


I'm at level 25 and strengthen sometimes gives me a challenge but most of the times they are easy basic stuff I just flip through them quickly


Start to learn Polish ;-) :D


Sorry for linking an article in German, but the English article is not very detailled.

But seriously: I think, you learned very well. May be, the trees differs in this point also? In the EN-PL tree the strengthen and especially the timed practices have more questions, much more sentences and combinations and more difficult exercises than the normal ones. Also it surely depends on how good the tree is managed by the developers. They have to add all these additional sentences and exercises, I think. So the German tree really may be too easy?

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