Symbols - Practice vs. Key vs. Start vs. Bulb
Which way should I practice and when should I use each symbol? I tapped the "Practice" then got a "quiz" alike with words I haven't met in any of the previous lessons. What is the right way to learn with Duolingo?
The lightbulb shows you the Tips and Notes. Each time you start a new skill, the Tips and Notes is where you should start (if there are any for the skill in question). They explain the grammar for the skill in question. "Start" then starts the next lesson in the skill. The key allows you to test out of the skill. If you pass it with three errors or less, you get all the XP for the individual lessons and you reach the next level for that skill in one go. You shouldn't use it unless you have prior knowledge or in later Crown levels, if you find it gets too repetitive. The Practice button should give you a practice sesson using only words you already know, focused on the weakest words (i.e., the words that, according to Duolingo's metric, you know the least).
There is no one right way. Everybody is different. I go through the tree at two or three new lessons a day and doing a few additional lessons on the way to higher crown levels further up on the tree. I try to keep the skills within one checkpoint at more or less the same level. In addition, I use duome to figure out the weakest skills and start with those. You can reach it under doume.eu/YourUserNameHere/progress If this is too fast for you, you might want to add in practices for weak skills. If it's too slow, you can use the test out (key button) to reach higher crown levels faster. This makes the lessons and also the practices harder.
Thanks a lot for your comprehensive answer. It's really helpful! May I ask:
what is the "tree"?
what is "duomi"?
how can I find my "weak skills"?
The tree is the Duolingo course. You know, the thing you see when you access duolingo.com. It's called that, due to its structure. Duome is a website not affiliated with Duolingo that takes data from your extended profile and visualises it, giving you additional information about your study on DL. DL stores this information, but doesn't show it to you. If you go to duome.eu/NatanSun/progress you will see a list of skills in different colours. Those shown in gold are strong and don't need practising. Those shown in a colour corresponding to your crown level are weak and you should practise them. Behind the name of the skill it will say "@100%" or "@75%" or less. This tells you an approximate skill strength, showing how often you need to practise a skill. I suggest you look around duome a bit and read their Help or FAQ page. They have a lot of interesting info.
thank you for this note. Maybe I should start a new post, but I should tell you that I only by chance came on this discussion forum though I've apparently been on DuoLingo for a year. I don't seem to get the "tips and notes" when I "start a new skill", but now that you've pointed out "duome" and I found my own "progress" I should be able to get the "tips and notes" and even do some "practice":)