More complaining necessary
I'm sorry, but it is just too tedious to do tons of the same easy exercises in order to get to the writing and speaking exercises. Please give advanced users a way of practicing what they want to practice! Stop forcing us to slog through piles and piles of unchallenging material. This is not helping us improve.
It is certainly helping me. Repetition and time are the key to fluency. You need the answers to come to you easily, if it is difficult it is less helpful and harder to sustain. I doubt just finishing the Russian tree has made you advanced in Russian, especially if you only were awarded levels ones and twos. I got a fair number of threes too but don't feel advanced enough to resent the easier iterations, in fact I am delighted there is so much more practice to be had from the tree. With the old system each exercise was taking far too long and felt like a battle as I was getting really difficult questions all into Russian and typos were all too easy to make as were mistakes with the case endings and these mistakes were then penalised with extra questions dragging it out and not rewarding me with enough progress when I had finally finished. My advice is to stop your complaining and get into the flow state where learning is easy not difficult. I have made far more progress across all my languages since the update, and I mean real jumps in understanding not just progress on the trees. There are so many different ways you can tackle a tree that you can tailor your approach by language, getting to higher levels in the more difficult ones to make unfamiliar vocabulary stick and gliding through on the easy ones or on those you have more experience in to get to the more challenging material at the end of the tree.
I am advanced in Russian because I have previous experience with the language, not because of Duolingo. I have only one or two crowns because I went through the tree quickly before crowns were introduced. I want to use Duolingo to stay in practice and to maintain my level. Clicking hundreds of boxes with pre-selected words doesn't help me do that.
You could try doing the English for Russian speakers course instead. At the lower levels you'll have a lot more translating English to Russian. There may still be a lot of clicking the boxes exercises. I think those are only in the app though, so again use the browser version if at all possible.
P.S. Some of the English in that tree is still a bit of a mess. There should be a new tree coming.
I'm on mobile so I've no way to check if you are learning anything besides Russian, but if you are, it's worth checking out the trees geared towards Russian natives. I've done large chunks of German and I completed the French tree in Russian first. Tiring, but v good practice!
Use a browser. I use the browser on my kindle as the app has been horribly neglected anyway. You get the flexibility of the instant keyboard changes and the option to switch to typing. Although I prefer the boxes for inputting English as it avoids entering a correct answer that simply isn't accepted yet as well as typos. I translate in my head before looking at the boxes from just the audio where possible. In this way I make even the earlier exercises more challenging. It is what I love about the trees - there are so many ways to use them!
Even if you are already advanced from outside Duolingo the investment in time to get the tree to a higher level will be worth it and drills never hurt. You can just concentrate on the end of tree where the exercises are more challenging even from the earlier lessons. If you are constantly getting questions right the system does register this and it gives you more difficult questions, indeed they seem to be getting better at this lately. Remember it is early days for this update, they will keep tweaking it to improve the learning experience.
I did a full practice session with the Practice button a couple days ago on German, and I found it quite difficult. :(
I have already finished the Russian tree. Testing out is not an option.
The problem is that I am at either one or two crowns in all skills, and there are virtually zero writing or speaking exercises at this crown level.
I know that it is possible to switch to "use the keyboard" on the computer, but this is not possible on Android where it is easy and comfortable to use a Russian keyboard.
It should be possible even on Android to use the web version. Just open your browser and go to www.duolingo.com. Though admittedly it's been three years since I did any exercises on a phone and I don't know how well it works.
I'd also recommend installing a Russian keyboard on your computer and either memorizing the layout or getting Cyrillic keyboard stickers. Being able to easily type in Russian on your computer is likely to come in handy for more than just Duo.
Woah. And here I am thinking DuoLingo is the 'Beginner to Intermediate' language-learning stage... I would never recommend an advanced user to go through DuoLingo. As someone who has ZERO experience with Russian, I find the tests extremely challenging. Perhaps they will introduce 'Russian stories' in the 'Labs' section which will be better for advanced users.
For me it is still good practice to hear Russian sentences and to translate from English into Russian. Duolingo does offer such exercises, but in the Russian course not at the low crown levels (which is why I originally posted here and not in the main forum). This appears to differ somewhat from course to course.
Dizma, I, too, started Russian with no experience and find even the early lessons extremely challenging. But I'm not convinced the crown system actually helps even for someone like me. I don't like that I cannot redo the same lesson when I know I didn't really "get it." Today I did a lesson and deliberately quit before the last question. I won't get XP for it, but Duolingo isn't giving XP for practice any more anyway.
I still get 10XP every time I do a practice. And when you reach five crowns in one module, then you can specifically practice what's in that module if you don't get it. Just click on the module as if you were going to continue it, and click on "practice" when it comes up in the pop up.
But you must load an add even if you cancel a practice in the first question, (some months ago) in the lastone is self-boycotting. Crowns are just that... adds.
You can avoid crowns with Duo version 3.60 (android) and so you can use the system you love/want.
(edit: android 3.60 do not exist )