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I am at level 17, but am only halfway through my tree. Should I speed up?

Hi everyone,

I had read the advice that you should go really slow through your Duolingo tree and practice often. However, I recently stumbled upon a discussion post asking people at what level they finished their trees and people were commenting that they finished their Italian trees at levels 12 and higher. I also learned that there are only twenty two levels total. Is it a bad sign that I am only just past "people" and am on level seventeen?

Kind Regards, Paige

August 23, 2017



No, go at your own pace. Better to do the tree slowly/at your own pace because you'll retain more knowledge than if you zoom through the tree (you'll forget the information you learnt and you'll have to redo the skills to remember it next time).

Also there are 25 levels not 22.

Levels do not reflect how well you know the language. You might do the tree a lot in a short time and get a high level, but less knowledge is remembered, so instead do the tree a bit regularly in a longer time and get a high level, since more knowledge is retained.


I agree that you should continue at your own pace. Often, people who finish their trees at level 11 or 12 have previous experience and are able to test out of some of the skills and didn't need as much practice.


The levels are based on points and not progress, so you'll actually probably reach level 25 (the max, it's not 22 :)) sooner if you review often.

In my experience most the people who finish their tree at level 12 with very little review are still very much near-absolute beginners. Usually the people who finish their tree at level 15/16/17 or (rarely) above retain more information and are more able communicating in that language, even if they aren't quite an intermediate speaker yet.

Also don't let the tree speak for how good you are at a language. I'm studying Spanish more outside of Duolingo now and my Swedish is a bit rusty above the basic stuff despite finishing the tree. I'm hoping to finish Italian next (near or shortly after December this year) and I'm taking my time on it because because I want to be able to think in Italian without suddenly switching to Spanish.


French is my 2nd Duolingo tree, and I'm currently at Level 20 and only halfway through the tree. I do a lot of practice and strengthening, and I am very happy with the results. I can pick any lesson in any skill level I've completed and do a timed practice with plenty of time left over and either do it perfectly or make only 1 or 2 mistakes. I plan to complete the whole tree this way.


Just to add in another "Do it in a timeframe that works for you" voice. Even if you got to L25, that would not mean you had to stop! The levels ONLY tell you the amount of lessons you've done and the XP accumulated, they don't reflect ability or how far down the tree you are.

To use my own levels as an example, you could be forgiven for thinking German was one of my best languages, which it decidedly isn't - I am (generously) elementary in German. French OTOH I tested out of a chunk of the tree, then tested out of almost all the skills individually having finished the tree from Russian. My French (albeit shoddy, tbh) is an order of magnitude better than my German; my relatively high level is purely because when I started on Duolingo. German was one of the few languages they offered that I 1) didn't really have any background in and 2) was reasonably interested in learning, so I did a lot... but I didn't progress very far down the tree.

Your best bet is to go at a pace where new lessons are challenging but not actively difficult. Generally speaking, if you're struggling to get through a lesson, do more revision, if you're flying through a lesson (or testing out of them), then you can stand to up the pace a little. The actual levels are neither here nor there; you want to be challenged but not disheartened, and if you can hit that sweet spot, you're doing great.

TL;DR: All the level tells you is effort expended/lessons completed, nothing else. Move down the tree at the pace that suits you and don't worry what other people are doing :)


Hi Paige, I'm not learning Italian myself so I have no idea how "far" "people" is in the tree, but I doubt it's a bad sign you're "only" there =) Different people learn in different speeds, and use different tactics/methods for learning. I've seen people on Duo who rush trough a tree and finish is with quite a low level, but have very little understanding of the language at that moment, or forget most/all of it very soon afterwards (when they continue with the next tree/language). If you're being thorough (hard for me to say without knowing you, but level 17 at least shows commitment) you might be better of in the end.

I think the main thing is how you feel about your progress, if you learn enough new things to keep you motivated. When I was nearing the end of my Norwegian tree I "discovered" it was next to impossible for me to keep all previous skills golden AND do new ones (as the tree is quite long) so I decided to just let the old ones "ungild" and continue with the new skills so the progress in my tree increased again. After finishing it I debated whether I would try to make it all golden but decided I'd rather try my newly learned language skills on some books instead of rehearsing the same lessons over and over again. I now do some daily strengthening exercises but nowhere near enough to make/keep everything gold but who cares =) I'd rather spend my time reading books/watching movies in my target language than redoing lessons =)

Anyway (this turned out to be longer than intended =)), to summarise, I think you should discover a balance between rehearsal and new skills (thus progress in the tree, and finishing it) with which you are comfortable and keeps you motivated. All the XP/levels etc are fun for those who care, but in the end we are here to learn languages, not scoring points!

PS. There are 25 levels instead of 22, and the higher the level, the more XP you need to gain another level (for example, I need 4000 XP to get from 24 to 25 in Norwegian, that's about the same amount of "work" as getting to level 12 from the beginning =) More info on XP and levels: http://duolingo.wikia.com/wiki/Xp


Also worth remembering that the levels are not linear wrt XPs:


For what it's worth I've just started the final "section" on German and I'm on level 21


PS. I did an basic (15 question) online CEFR test last night to get an estimate of my real ability: A2 (level 21, 49% "duo fluency".)


I think it really matters what your background in Romance languages is. If Italian is your first one, then your pace will necessarily be slower (where "necessarily" excludes the kind of people who race through trees as a matter of habit or custom, although such people probably have a certain measure of language experience of some sort). But Italian was the 5th Romance language I started learning, so, yeah, I finished the tree at level 12. How much does one retain from such an endeavor? Not so much, of course, but it's enough to fill in a few basic gaps, get a look at the spelling system, and jump into authentic materials with a fair degree of ease. How different would this have been had I not done the tree at all? Not so very much perhaps, but, I also didn't spend all that much time on it.

In short, if Italian is your first foreign language, or at least first Romance one, then it sounds like you're on a great pace (I think I was on an even slower one with Dutch for a good portion of the tree, and quite enjoyed it that way, although I came to wish there were a good deal more translation into Dutch, since I just think that's a more effective way to learn — might be something to keep in mind if your translations are still mostly into English). If you're already a fluent Spanish speaker, for example, then you could probably profitably reallocate some of your Duolingo review time to advancing more quickly through the tree / other learning modalities.


There are not twenty two levels: There are twenty five. Also, more to your question, no, don't worry about it. Go at whatever pace suits you best. Levels are just based on XP. Don't worry about it.


No, go slow. I'm on level 15 i think, but I'm till on almost the basics. My recommendation is, if you learn slow, you'll know better. finishing a whole tree fast is like finishing you math lesson really fast. you won't learn anything


No, take your time. I don't think it's bad at all. I'm on German level 13 and only about a quarter of the way through the tree. It's not because I'm doing it slowly but because I'm practising quite a lot and gaining a lot of XP. I have no plans to speed up and am happy doing no more than one lesson per day, and then practising lots.


Level 12 is 3900xp, so finishing at level 12 basically means you did little to no review. That combined with the fact that cheating is required on new lessons, you most likely will have retained only a portion of the material. I am averaging 3 reviews per new lesson which will give about a level 20 finish and I feet pretty good about my retention. Do what feels right.


Checking the hints isn't "cheating," all the less for new lessons.


I would say Level 17 is just a bit behind compared to where I was at halfway. I would have to agree though with Xamaranth and say the pace is up to you!


Do what you like but if i was you i would try to complete the tree first to get a bigger vocabulary instead of practicing the same stuff over and over.


Take as long as you need. I finished my tree yesterday on level 21 and it took me 198 days consecutively, but still feel like i need to learn a lot more and go over what I learnt.


Going on slowly helps you understand the language better and you'll get quite fluent in it!

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