I answered "das Heft" whilst translating "the magazine", and was marked incorrect. Should this be an acceptable response?
Heft is a little more general, as it can refer to exercise books aswell. However, at least in spoken language, it should have been fine.
I would say yes. It's a bit colloquial, standard would be Magazin or Zeitschrift. Heft refers more to the paper than to the content, it's also used for notebook or an exercise book, a comic or a similar piece of tacked paper.
Edit: cross-posted with Marie ;-)
In my opinion, "das Heft" should not be accepted for "magazine" because it is understandable only in contexts in which it is absolutely clear what you are talking about.
I think that the prevalent meaning of "das Heft", without any context, is "notebook", especially for students, "exercise book". If I tell someone that I want to buy "ein Heft", they will most certainly understand that I need something to write in.
In my opinion as a learner, Duolingo should teach us vocabulary that makes it easy for us to communicate; this includes a sufficient degree of precision of the words used.
To exaggerate a little: In almost any colloquial contexts, any object can be called "das Ding": "Gib mir mal das Ding rüber" will be totally understandable if you are in the situation.
But it would certainly not be a good idea to accept "das Ding" as a translation of, for example, "screwdriver" just because you could use that word colloquially in particular contexts. ;-)
Edit: It just occurred to me that "das Heft = magazine" is actually wrong in some contexts. Example:
In my spare time, I love reading magazines.
should not be translated to:
In meiner Freizeit lese ich gerne Hefte.
I would agree with this (ie it's not the same), eg if someone asked me to pass the 'Heft' I wouldn't think they meant a magazine even if they were pointing at it. :)
Thanks all! A lot of my practice these days comes from reading things like Perry Rhodan, Mythor, Raumschiff Orion, etc. As a result I frequently speak of "Heftromane", and "Heft" comes faster to my mind than even "Magazin".