7150 XP in one day
So there I was, plugging my way through the tree pretty systematically, cleaning up to Level 5 mostly as I went down to just short of about halfway. I figured that at the rate I was going (about 200 xp per day, with additional tiny cards drills) I'd be completed in another 2-3 months' time. All good.
Then, BLAM, the tree turned into a purple megatree. Most of the new material appears to be behind where I'd got to. I fairly easily tested out of the three checkpoints and earned ~7000 XP instantly, taking me from level 16 or 17 (can't recall exactly) to Level 21 in one morning. I tried a Practice session and it was entirely simple and unchallenging material.
Looking more carefully at the new material I can see that there is some interesting new stuff there in the tree behind where I'd previously got to. For example, there's a History lesson behnd where I was that's in the past tense and that introduces Spanish years (e.g. 1780). I hadn't yet quite got to the past tense or numbers in the previous tree so this was fun.
So the new but more basic material is mostly thin gruel, but there is SOME protein in there - but where?. The dilemma is what to do at this point. Ignore the tedious repetition of the more basic stuff and miss out on the occasional interesting new thing, or suck it up and spend the next 3 months getting back to where I was. I think what I'll do is continue down the tree from where I was at before, but then occasionally dip back for sections that seem like they might have something interesting. It's a bit disappointing to know now I can never finish the tree, and that the XPs don't mean anything anymore, but hey, I'm here to learn Spanish, not win a game.
I have to say I thought the previous tree was close enough to being a good balance of grammar progression and repetition. But everyone has their own take on these things I guess.
Anyway, thanks Duolingo for an awesome free service - really appreciate what you do.