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A Question For Those Who Have Completed German

How long did it take you to reach level 20-25? Are you fluent? And how much XP do you recommend per day?

I'm fascinated with German....and I'm not exactly sure why. Lol. I'm surprised at how motivated I feel. Only two levels away from my current goal, so that makes me happy. ;)

May 14, 2018



I'm guessing it took me less than a year, maybe 10 months, to finish the tree. I finished at level 22, and this was before the crown update so I every day I would practice the skills that weren't gold. Around 3-6 skills had to be practiced but sometimes none if I did a lot of strengthening one day. However when I approached the end of the tree I began using more external resources to practice like Clozemaster or Easy German videos on Youtube (for listening!).

I am not fluent, but I can make sense of most German text I read such as newspapers and comments. A lot vocabulary builds off of the fundamental roots you'll learn through the tree so I can make pretty good guesses and/or consult a dictionary if necessary. I don't really speak it but I do practice pronunciation. My listening is okay and I probably could have a simple conversation, but I practiced listening mostly with Youtube videos.

I have a long way to go to reach proficiency, and it doesn't happen overnight! I have practiced/been exposed to German nearly every day since I began seriously going through the tree last March. Once you approach the end of the tree your curiosity should lead you to learn from additional resources.

Keep up the good work! German is indeed fascinating :)

[deactivated user]

    Hello Rebekkah.

    I reached level 25 in 7/8 months... which seems a reasonable pace. But no, I am nowhere near fluent in German. The whole tree took me a bit longer, a bit more than 1 year.

    I'd say you should strive for a 100 xp diet a day. Maybe 150 xp's if you are really into it.

    Being that German can be a tough nut to crack it's awesome to see you motivated like that.

    Ich wünsche dir viel Glück ;)


    Ahhh Nuno! :D Thank you for replying. I'd probably do more then 150 XP though. :P I guess that's OK?

    [deactivated user]

      It's more than Ok Rebekah... take full advantage of your enthusiasm. ;)

      [deactivated user]

        Take some lingots RebekahW. ;)


        Oh my word. XD I just saw how many were given. Thank you, but are you sure?

        Psssst....I just got on after a long break.


        How long did it take you to reach level 20-25?

        A couple of years I think. I was level 25 before I finished the tree. At one point, about 2/3 the way down the tree I suddenly realised I was getting stuck and getting too many answers wrong. I realised I didn't actually know a lot of the material I'd learnt in the second third. I spent a long time going over them again.

        I'm taking it much slower with Korean and only advancing to the next lessons when I feel very confident with the current material.

        Are you fluent?


        After I was done with the German tree I started watching lots of YouTube videos. Die Moomins are great. There's also Deutsch Plus for something more old school and @extra for something more cheesy.

        I also read, looking up words I didn't know and adding them to my Anki deck. (Took me almost 4 years to read The Northern Lights this way). Other books I just read straight through without collecting vocab.

        I then travelling through Germany for about two and a half months, staying with locals using Couchsurfing, meeting random people and almost fascistly insisting people spoke to me in German.

        I moved here about 20 months ago, got a couple of jobs in German, moved in with a couple of Germans and I'm now working as a web developer in German :-).

        But that depends on your definition of fluent.

        And how much XP do you recommend per day?



        Very interesting. How is your German now (C1 or C2)?


        Ich habe keine Ahnung ;-).


        Aw, come on! You must be at least at Level B-2 after two hard years!


        You are now my inspiration.


        Were you fluent almost entirely from Duolingo?


        It's not really possible to get so. It gives you a great head start, but duolingo on its own simply is lacking too many things to make you anything more than a highly proficient beginner:

        1) Vocab is too restrictive
        2) Nowhere near enough spontaneous language generation practice
        3) Very minimal actual practice in speaking and listening
        4) Not enough practice of more complex grammatical concepts.

        Which isn't to say it's all bad. You're getting the equivalent of maybe German II or halfway through German III in an American high school, and it's all offered entirely for free.


        Given it's impossible to "get fluent" from any single resource or place (including classes), I would argue otherwise. Obviously I didn't learn exclusively from Duolingo but it provided the foundation for all my learning and allowed me to then start branching out in different areas of immersion like reading books, watching videos and, eventually, speaking to real human beings.


        thanks for the recommendations on the videos

        I myself am at level 22 with two skills to go to get them to level 1. I think that will happen within level 22. With the crowns I seem to have a lot of work for me ahead and I don't mind :-)

        So far it took me 9 months to get this far. I also got stuck in the tree and started to go back, practicing old skills. Tinycards just came in, in that time and have been working on them too. I watch television, but these videos are great, with German subtitles. Thanks Druckless!


        ok, I've done the whole tree now, still at level 22. Crowns are 1 or higher. I'm glad I'm there, but I feel learning German is only just starting!


        Congratulations on finishing the tree :-)


        I'm not quite sure about the timing, but I'd argue that Duolingo alone doesn't give you enough to be considered "fluent" and levels are not really meaningful. Stories is a very nice tool that you should integrade in your learning as soon as you feel you're ready other than that, keep going with videos, podcasts, books, comics.

        Try to avoid the much too common mistake around here of considering the tool (Duolingo) like the objective (learning a language). German is a fascinating language, keep studying and enojoying the learning process. You'll get there :)


        Duolingo can't make you fluent because you cannot possibly learn enough vocabulary through it. To pick up vocabulary you need to read German texts and listen to German and look up words you don't know. Picking up vocab is the most tedious part of learning IMO


        What "stories" ?

        [deactivated user]


          Daaaaamn, how did I miss that ! They should have put it to German course, so people could see it. Right next to the "practise" button .


          It took me a couple of years to finish my tree, but I was very on and off. Duolingo will not make you fluent, but it will get you to a level where you can learn by immersion (reading, writing, listening) which is 100% the best part of learning a language. You should consider Duolingo to be a tool and resource, but not an end-all-be-all to language learning.


          Hello RebekahW! I apologize in advance for the length of this post (I usually don't write this much).

          I completed the German tree (old style, under crowns) in a little bit over one year, in January. I don't remember exactly, but I think I was very close to level 23 at the time. For the last month and a half I was pushing to get through the tree, rather than trying to keep everything golden.

          For the past few months, I've been doing somewhere between 300-600 XP a week on Duolingo, using a combination of the reverse German tree (English from German), the forward German tree (to strengthen skills and to push towards level 5's on crowns on the various topics), and using the Duolingo Labs / Stories to help with my listening comprehension and increase my vocabulary.

          I also like to use the ard.de web site for the news. Also on the ard.de web site is a kinder video section, which I have used a lot to help with my vocabulary (hint - UT is Untertitel, or what we call subtitles). They post new videos there on a regular basis. Every time I re-watch a video, more of the vocabulary sinks in. I also use other videos as I find them (e.g. @extra and etc.), for variety. Every now and then I'll grab a magazine from a local bookstore (Landleben oder Landlust); these have a nice combination of pictures and not-too-difficult vocabulary, and include a variety of things like food recipes (want to cook in German?) and some information about travel destinations in Germany.

          For the past few months, I meet someone locally so we can talk in and about German, for one or two hours almost every week. Speaking is my weakest ability; listening is my second weakest, and a chance to practice these one-on-one with somebody is important!

          I'm very glad you're enjoying German. It is a fascinating language, and a fascinating culture - rich and complex, just like people everywhere are.

          I'd like to give you two thoughts.

          The first is the 80-20 rule (80% of the benefit comes from 20% of the benefit). The gist of this rule is that for me, striving for perfection causes me to get paralyzed, and not move forward. You want a good balance between moving forward, and polishing the skills you have. The further you get in the tree, the harder it can become o continue moving forward. Don't let that happen, because some of the later stuff helps the earlier stuff really sink in!

          The second is something I call the "rule of 50". I sometimes get frustrated with my lack of ability to remember a word, or a gender for a noun, or something. But about the 50th time I see something, all of a sudden, it starts to seem "natural". This rule means that you're going to encounter a snow-ball effect - the more you learn, at some point, things will start growing on you, and you'll be able to comprehend more and more stuff.

          I'm nowhere near fluent in German (maybe high A2 or low B1), and a LONG way from being proficient. But I sure am enjoying the journey!

          • 2042

          131 days to finish the tree, something over a year to get to level 25, Duolingo won't make you fluent. If you do only Duolingo you will be where I am with French (about one week away from level 25 and nowhere near to even intermediate level). On a scale 1 to 10, my French is about 2/10 while my German is about 8/10, because I did tons of other work for German and mostly just Duolingo for French.

          • 2407

          At this point I'm well beyond Duolingo German, but after finishing the tree in ~6 months (and using other resources!) I tested into third year German at my college/uni. I have since gotten a degree in it and spent time in Germany. I found that I really knew my grammar and had an okay vocabulary - speaking was my problem, but because I intellectually knew what I was doing, I was pretty quickly able to converse well. I can say that my German has improved substantially since then - I still need subtitles to catch everything when watching movies, but if I have subtitles, I really do catch everything. I think you can argue that's fluent. I'd say I'm probably right on the B2/C1 border.

          I've reset the tree a couple times as new versions have come out, so my current level isn't terribly representative of my Duolingo German experience.


          congrats on coming so far :-)


          Danke! Same to you. That streak of yours makes me jealous. ;)


          I've finished the tree, but I'm going back for another round because I dropped the ball a lot (which is why it took me four and a half years to do).

          I'm not fluent yet, but that's because I need to work on the tree again and then do some real-world stuff. There's a site called Clozemaster designed for those who have taken a beginner's course in a language and intend to keep going; I've heard good stuff about that and intend to get to work on it soon.

          You're fascinated with German because German is just infuriating and weird enough to be fun. Keep it up.


          Wow! All these comments! I'm very surprised. It would take quite a while to write back to everyone......so.....

          I appreciate the time everyone put into these comments and all the kind words and encouragement. I honestly don't understand why German fascinates me so much...but it does. ;)

          I'm determined to reach level 25. And, like I said, I feel extremely motivated. Unfortunately, when summer break comes, I'll probably be staying off of Duolingo. I'm not sure how I'll manage to keep my streak, perhaps by using a lot of streak freezes. XD I'll probably run out of lingots, but that's OK. :P

          Anyways....love y'all. ;) And....well....

          Danke. xD


          Good discussion... Congrats! I am currently at level 22 and have done every subject in the tree to at least level 2. I am in the process of getting everything to level 5 now. This has taken me 97 days - but I put in some time every morning and every night. As others have said, I'm not fluent, but have a good initial grasp of the language structure and should be able to piece words together to communicate.

          I am to the point of communicating in Denglisch even if I don't mean to! :-)

          I watch German shows on Netflix (Dark is really good if you like Stranger things), listen to German Podcasts (dw.com - Langsam gesprochene Nachrichten) and listen to German Music (Fanta Vier, Peter Fox, Seeed, Rammstein).

          Once done, I'll reverse the tree (Learning English from German)

          Good luck!


          Your post makes ME very happy! I love German and have studied it most of my life. I once lived with a German speaking family and as a result I 'd go for days not speaking my native English. As much as that improved my fluency, Duolingo has been a great help in learning proper grammar. Ich wuenche dir alles Gute!


          Thank you. :) Your German level makes me very happy. LOL.


          German is a very difficult language to learn. I am new to Duolingo and I find it an epic help to start up with a new course. I am a fluent German speaker as I practice it for 5 years, in Duolingo I made it to the level 11 in just 20 minutes or so. I mean numbers show nothing and German is a hard choice to have to get in contact with everyday German etc and YouTube such like Duolingo are going to make a great to your skills. So ich wünsche dir einen guten Start mit meiner Lieblingsprache!


          Congrats!! I do not remember how long it took me to level 25, but it was a lot easier before. No, I am not fluent, I understand some German, I can read and talk, but I am not fluent. With Duolingo you can reach a little less than A2, you will need some more grammar and more listening comprehension. Duolingo is a great start and you can supplement it with the DW courses to practice more listening comprehension and learn more complex sentences.


          Is your descent German? That was/is the case with me. I was really fascinated by German and later found out that I am half German!


          I'm not sure. xD Though my Dad says I probably have some in me.


          That's awesome! It's fun right!?


          I have a lot of german blood too!


          though I also have another reason, I have also no idea why it is which makes German so important to me. My second language is English and I feel very connected with that language, far less with my own language, which is Dutch. So why German since there are similarities between Dutch and German? Really, no idea


          I took HS and college German. Working on Spanish on Duo, but have a decent amount of head start once I get to level 25 on espanol. If you guys love German, and you're an adult, watch Babylon Berlin on Netflix. Post WWI Berlin, and you can watch it in German with English subtitles. Let's you try to listen auf Deutsch, but will help with anything you don't understand. Plus, it's a cool show. BE FOREWARNED THOUGH - there's a Game of Thrones level of skin/language and debauchery.

          Really drove home how often words like "genau" and "wirklich" work their way into conversational German.


          I'm learning german right now.


          It took me about 6 months to get through the tree the first time. However, that's a LONG way from fluency. 2 years after starting, I'm at level 24 and still nowhere near fluent. I'm pretty good at reading (or at least reading DL sentences), but I would be hopeless in a conversation. As one of the "idioms" sentences says:

          Deutsch ist schwer.

          German is one of the longest trees in DL, with over 120 modules. To somebody much more familiar with Romance languages (especially Italian and Spanish), the vocabulary is hard. And the grammar takes a VERY long time to wrap your head around.

          How much to do depends on whether you're just doing German or are also serious about other languages. My pace since the change to crowns has been about 50XP per language per day. (Before, it was a bit lower, but you can do the math: 28K of German XPs divided by 2 years works out to about 40XP/day.) When going through the tree the first time, that was obviously spent on a single module. But after a while I was spending much of my time on review. Now that we're on crowns, I try to do one lesson in each of 5 different modules per day, working down the tree until everything is the same level, and then starting again from the top. In German I'm about half-way towards getting everything up to level 3 (red).

          DL learning does work, but it's gradual. I learned French pretty much from scratch using DL and found that I could understand French TV and conversations, and even religious sermons, pretty well. But German is probably my weakest language, so I'll be happy if I can comfortably handle simple business (asking for directions, ordering dinner, reading signs, buying stuff) when I visit Germany in a couple of weeks.


          I don't know exactly how long it took me because i started it then I stoped I now I have started again. My daiy goal is 50 XP. I acctually started while I was in europe for 4 years. I love german.


          It took me about 2 years to finish the tree. I'm certainly not fluent, but a certain amount of this is due to having forgotten old vocabulary and lack of practice with other speakers. DuoLingo is an excellent source of vocabulary, but to really speak the language you must also practice it with other people and listen to German media to improve your listening comprehension. For the former I would recommend an app called Tandem, which lets you speak with Germans who are learning English (as well as people who speak and learn other languages). I often listen to the Tagesschau and German music, the latter on Spotify. To further improve your vocabulary, you should also read newpaper articles and books, using a dictionary when necessary. (Don't look up every word, just ones crucial to understanding the material.)


          I reached level 25 right about the time that I was switched to the crown system. I'm not sure how or if the levels coincide with "completing the tree", but I made the entire tree gold, and then a few days later the crown system started, and I learned that I had only reached level 2 on most of my skills.

          I don't feel fluent at all, especially since I've never actually spoken German with anyone in my life. But I'm developing a pretty decent grasp on grammar. I can listen to audio books on slow speed and, even if I don't know all the words, I can understand enough to get the gist and stay entertained. I'm listening to Harry Potter, which I already am familiar with, and understanding quite a lot.

          I don't know how many XP I do per day, exactly. At least over 100 most days, I think. I plan on bringing all my skills up to level 3, then 4, then 5.

          I haven't gone up any more levels since starting the crown system, so I assume it's capped at 25, or they just don't do that anymore.


          I just did the last test and passed, and I've been doing German for a good while - but I still don't feel fluent. The die der und das and cases still kill me. I think the only way to get all the way there is to go to Germany and immerse, if possible. It is interesting and beautiful and weird as a language. I'm still interested. I'm learning Chinese now, and I think German, Chinese, and Irish are the hardest languages I have ever tried to learn. (Therefore I'm obsessed, of course.) The Romance languages seem easier. I can't wait to try Arabic or Hindi. But until then, still slogging on German despite having tested out of the tests.

          Learn German in just 5 minutes a day. For free.