Today I have finally completed and gilded the German tree, level 22, with 63% fluency.
I started the course in February 2016, so it has been over one and half year of learning. Since the beginning, I had as a goal in mind to finish the tree. As with every new challenge of such a scale, the beginning was frustrating, but I enjoyed the greater part of the learning. I could see my progress the further I went down the tree and the difficulty was just good.
Right now, I can say that I might have a A2 level of German. This is nice because the most tedious part in my opinion, wich is the formal learning of the basics, is done. And I am at a level right now, where I can either choose to continue to learn the language formally through other courses, learn it casually by starting to read and listening to authentic German content, or put the learning on hold and pursue it later, when needed professionally or for a vacation trip. However, before leaving, I will still keep on maintaining the tree golden until February 2018.
Aside from Duolingo, which I used for 90% of my time, I also used the Memrise Duolingo course, Pons.com for vocabulary explanations, verbformen.de for conjugation and 'Grammatyka Niemiecka' from Stanislaw Beza, a grammar book for beginners.
I want to thank all the contributors especially Jason Putra, which I followed his many threads with interesting vocabulary and grammar questions and SimoneBa, az_p, and mizinamo and many others, which I enjoyed their very thorough and frequent answers on the forum and in the sentence threads.
Learning a language, especially if you have some spare time is a formidable opportunity to expand your horizon, get some useful professional skills or to break the language barrier for a trip to the place where the language is spoken. So I am really happy to have done it as there is not always the opportunity to take on a such a task in one's spare time.
Good luck everyone in your learning, thanks for the read and thank you Duolingo for the learning experience.
Edit : Thank you everyone !
That's great. Thanks for sharing. I agree with you that the beginning phases are the hardest. I've done it with 3 languages so far and I'm not sure if I will ever want to do it again :-) It's really the most frustrating part of the language learning process. Everything after it (even if it takes 20 years) is much more fun. Good luck with languages and everything.
Congratulations!! I understand by discussions here in "duolingo discussions" the tree finish in 25 level. You still have time. Thanks for the link "https://el.pons.com/%CE%BC%CE%B5%CF%84%CE%AC%CF%86%CF%81%CE%B1%CF%83%CE%B7" How did you use that?
Congratulations of course, but my god, you took a long time :) I also finished the German tree today and it took me exactly 5 weeks. I did maybe like 60-90 mins per day on average (but I can type really fast). During the first half of the tree I always tried to strengthen it to keep everything golden, but then it started taking too much time and I just went on with the tree from there on and did no strengthening. I did manage to remember a big part of the lessons, but definitely not all and I'll be strengthening for the next couple of weeks for sure, to get all golden and to actually properly learn most of it. I will also be doing Anki to learn the 4000 most common words (will take me like two months I assume) and start reading www.nachrichtenleicht.de
Slow and steady wins the race. I've been working on my French tree for over a year (still only about 70% done) and I don't feel like it's worse than when I went through the German tree in 4 months. There is no perfect way to study a language. You either study or not. The speed depends on your goals, your free time and how the language is hard/easy for you.