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Is there a better explanation of the Health system somewhere?

I've been using the app to learn Japanese for a couple days and haven't had any trouble so far, but I'd like to understand how Health works.

Question #1: Losing Health bars. I've seen the FAQ (excerpt below), but still have some questions. What is considered "answering incorrectly too many times"? Is there a set number of mistakes per lesson or in a given amount of time? Does 1 bar lost correspond to a particular number of mistakes? Do you lose health for any other reason other than mistakes? Does anyone know?

Question #2: Gaining Health bars. I'm assuming that there is one Health for all your trees. Is that right? Can doing 5 Spanish review lessons on the website, which I would do anyway, replenish me to Full Health?

Question #3: Why do I see Health in Spanish on the App but not in Japanese? The health icons disappear when I switch to Japanese.

The explanation I've seen so far from the FAQ:

"Health is a way of pacing Duolingo lessons to discourage binging behavior, which is shown to be ineffective for learning a new language (consider users who don’t care how many mistakes they make but simply progress through lessons to achieve status). You lose Health by answering incorrectly too many times, which has been encouraging users to pay closer attention to what they are answering before hitting “submit.”

How do I restore my Health? You practice previous material to restore it. Each lesson practiced will restore one bar. Or you can take a break and let it refill on its own. Five bars is considered “full” Health. For those who still want to binge on Duolingo without taking a break or taking the time to review lessons, Health can also be refilled with Gems."

June 4, 2017



I haven't done much with the health system yet myself, but I have read a lot about it. Here's what seems to be the case:

What is considered "answering incorrectly too many times"?

Apparently one health is lost for each mistake made. I just tried to test it, but it does not seem to be possible to lose health on gilded skills.

Do you lose health for any other reason other than mistakes?


I'm assuming that there is one Health for all your trees. Is that right?


I think that doing 5 Spanish review lessons on the website, which I would do anyway, should replenish me to Full Health.

The "Practice" button on the iOS app is dedicated to refilling health, so the "Strengthen Skills" button on their website probably won't refill your health.

Why do I see Health in Spanish on the App but not in Japanese?

The main reason is probably that Japanese is still in beta, as KenBookmye mentioned. It is also possible that they haven't added the health system yet because Japanese is much more difficult to learn from English than many other languages, which means many more mistakes will be made. It would have been too much for only five health.


Good answers (and quick too)!


You know what I just figured out last night? By the time duo rolls out health in Android it won't matter to me at all. I've already finished the English to German and German to English trees and I'll be done with Spanish in the next two weeks. All of my lessons will be review. It doesn't change my opinion at all it's just ironic.


There you go, its not as bad as you thought.


Thanks to everyone for the responses. Currently, I only use the app for Japanese and prefer the website for everything else. Based on what's been said, it seems likely that I'll be done with all the new Japanese lessons long before Health is added to Japanese, so it won't affect me.


Japanese also is still in beta which means that there are probably a lot of mistakes with the lessons like commonly accepted translations not being accepted as alternative correct answers. So duo is not going to limit your mistakes to five when many of them could just be on Duo's end. I would expect that in a year duo will use health for Japanese once it's reasonably complete.


I think you're right; that's probably the main reason.


A couple follow-up questions:

  • You lose health only on new lessons. Is that right?

  • Do the lost bars/mistakes carry over to the next new lesson? If I were to make three mistakes on one lesson, then continue to the next new lesson without waiting an hour for each bar or doing any review, will I get kicked out of that lesson after only two mistakes?


Yes, health only affects new lessons. And yes, health applies across languages (other than those in Beta) and the bars are not refilled for each lesson. If you have zero health left, it takes around 25 hours to fill up to full health again, unless you hit the practice button in the app to practice already completed skills.


Thanks for your reply. I've not had to deal with this yet, but it doesn't seem like it would be all that difficult to do a few practice sessions. Maybe I should try it out on a new language.

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