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Lessons learned after finishing the French Tree

Following the ritual, I leave in here a message sharing the joy and my experience, in case it is useful for others.

I started with Duolingo in early April with no previous knowledge of French. My target was 30XP per day during weekdays (I use Duo while commuting to my workplace) but I did a daily average of 60XP (weekends included). It took me a little longer than 8 months to finish the tree, with a little over 14,000XP (achieving level 19). My French Fluency is 68%, which corresponds to an advanced level. I know almost 2,700 words. I have to add I am a Spanish native speaker and that I have a reasonable command of Italian.

I have seen people with a level 13 and the tree finished. I tool it more slowly. I aimed to keep all the skills golden before advancing into a new skill, so I created a solid basement before engaging new lessons. It worked very well to me! I realized that when I don’t use Duo during weekends, a lot of skills weaken. I went once on holidays for 10 days and when I looked again to Duo, it was devastating. No worries, in a couple of weeks it is fully golden again. My advice is to try to use it for doing at least one lesson every single day (if possible).

I estimate that I have spent 100-150 hours in Duo. I have been also going to French lectures (2h a week) and I think that I have spent around 40-50 hours in lectures. I also used Coffee Break French free podcasts (plus some videos in TV5 monde and some reading in internet). In total I have spent around 200 hours actively learning French. According to my teacher, my level is low-intermediate or B1 and I think he is accurate, so my advice is to forget about the Duo fluency level. I remember that after four months it was still in 12% and some weeks going down. Suddenly, with no apparent reason, it went up and reached over 40% in a couple of weeks. Nonsense …

Can I speak good French? I can say that I cannot work in a French environment and it would have been impossible to write this review in French. However, I can get into my class and stay a full hour listening to French, of course understanding everything. I can watch a movie in French with French subtitles enjoying it because I understand it. If I go to France, I can have a conversation with someone in French, but he/she has to forget about speaking about the metaphysical meaning of the existence. Achieving this level in just 8 months with such a little effort (200 hours) mostly during my free time is amazing. I aim spending up to 300 hours more before reaching B2, where I will do a level test to feel comfortable to add French to my CV.

My next steps are: 1. Keep the French tree golden. 2. Do the reverse tree from Spanish. I did the direct tree from English to French, so I can make mental connections between French and Spanish as well, which is going to be helpful in my mental map. 3. Start listening to “News in Slow French” every weekday (there are over 350 podcasts of 6-10 min each for the Intermediate level). 4. Read Le Petit Prince in French.

Once I finish the reverse tree, I will start with FrenchPod101-Premium. It is not for free, but I have read it is worth.

Any advice? Thanks and good luck.

December 12, 2017



Félicitations pour avoir fini le cours. Vous avez un plan solide et vous vous y prenez bien. Vous pouvez aussi regarder des vidéos français sur YouTube à n'importe quel sujet. Il y en a beaucoup qui ont des sous-titres pour améliorer votre comprehension du français parlé. Un autre conseil : il est opportun de commencer à écrire en français. Faites corriger votre écriture par quelqu'un qui maîtrise bien l'orthographe et la grammaire.

How much can you understand of my faulty writing above?

Thank you for sharing your perspective and your journey. I like hearing from people who are very motivated to learn and have a good plan. I think you're going about it the right way.

I have two questions. 1. How comfortable are you with French grammar at this point in your learning? 2. Did prior knowledge of Spanish and Italian help or hinder your Duolingo progress?


Thanks George for your message. On your questions: 1. I could understand everything. 2. I don't feel comfortable with the grammar so at a certain stage I will need to study it on purpose. 3. My prior knowledge of Spanish and Italian helped a lot with the part related to vocabulary (new or revision).




For additional tips and resources for immersion and learning / practicing the French language, here is an option: http://languagesenrose.tumblr.com/Ultimate%20French%20Resources


Congratulations! That's awesome!

I love FrenchPod101, and while I don't use premium (too expensive), it sounds pretty good.


Congrats, on finishing the French Tree!


Thank you for this most useful insight, it has helped me with motivation and to be realistic of the path ahead.

[deactivated user]

    Very impressive! This is raw motivation to keep me going throughout my language endeavours. Thank you for sharing! Respect.


    Toutes mes félicitations. Je suis aussi au niveau B1. Il y a des sites que j'aime et qui m'aident à apprendre le français--




    Peut-être vous les aimeriez aussi.

    En parlant de livres, je préfère Harry Potter en français plutôt que le petit prince.

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