Despite I've tested all my skills, Practice Button started from the basic ones

Hi everyone,

Recently I've gilded all my Italian tree (reverse tree for me) using the new Test-out feature.

But despite this, Practice Button is giving me basic sentences. Yesterday it started from Basics 1 to Food, and today from Plurals to Animals. It is proceeding linearly.

Is the algorithm so dumb? Why do I have to repeat all this boring material?

June 28, 2018


Hi Luca,

congrats on your 100% golden tree with ALL skills on crown level 5 :-) :-)

I believe this is a new bug with crowns level 5.
I read about it in a previous thread (can't remember the thread name or id).
You should report it here:

Yes, "normally" the global practice button is pretty dumb.
It goes from the top of your tree to the bottom to your first non-golden (strength < 100%) skill and selects (re-strengthen) words/sentences from.

But as your currently selected Italian course is fully golden / 100% strength + all crowns on level 5 I believe we can (should) expect something different (mixing different skills) from the GLOBAL practice button:

Have you tried the single strengthen (practice) buttons?

  • Do they correlate with crown level 5 and give you longer sentences of greater difficulty and require you writing (typing) in the target language (Italian)?

  • If YES: The global PRACTICE button algorithm (is there any?) is corrupted

  • If NO: Each skill re-strengthen algorithm is corrupted by reaching the highest crown level 5 (this is what the other thread was AFAIK complaining about).

  • Have you tried the "Skill practice" button before on lower crown L1-L4 levels and was it better working?

  • How big is the difference between the global or skill practice button (to select sentence length, difficulty) vs "Skill test-out"?

Viele Grüße

June 28, 2018

Hi Thomas,

As far as I know, the 'single skill practice' should work fine, but I can't compare it to global practice because 'Practice Button' is still at basic units.

I believe we can (should) expect something different (mixing different skills) from the GLOBAL practice button

I totally agree with this. I thought that 'Practice Button' already had a sort of algorithm to pick sentences from various skills... But now I have some doubts.

How big is the difference between the global or skill practice button (to select sentence length, difficulty) vs "Skill test-out"?

Well, all the tests are more or less the same. There are mostly translation exercises and a couple of listening exercises. No speaking exercises at all. It was definitely more difficult practicing from L2 to L3 than doing the test to L5.

June 28, 2018

[UPDATE] Today I did 5 repetitions in a row as usual with the Practice Button, and I only had Food lessons. What?? Are you kidding??

June 29, 2018

Is the algorithm so dumb?

It is an old issue.
The "general practice" button strengthens your skills starting from the top of the "language tree" instead of starting from the bottom of the " language tree".
You might read

Unfortunately, this version of the "Crowns" method does not have the "individual skill practice" buttons of the old teaching method, but you can still use those buttons in your unofficial but very useful progress page in


However, in the teaching method before the crowns, I got only complicated sentences in decayed skills.
I am very curious to your experiences, because I don't have the "test out of individual skill button" yet.

June 28, 2018

I didn't have it either, but you can test-out on browser just by correcting the URLs of your skills. You only have to type "test" instead of the last number. For example:

And to do "individual skill practice" (with or without timed practice):

June 28, 2018

About my experiences, I found all the tests too easy. They are all the same and don't progressively become more difficult (even from level 4 to 5). This is awful!

June 28, 2018

[FEATURE REQUEST]: Generic practice (Strenghten skills) needs added "bottom to top" setting per tree:

June 28, 2018

The Practise button (a.k.a. Strengthen Skills) picks weak words from throughout the course. There's no point using it if you have any weak skills. Even if all skills are gold, there will be some weak words in most skills, and as you say, to start with it'll choose weak words from early in the tree. You have to use it a few times a day for a few days before it starts becoming useful. If you stick with it, though, it's one of the most useful tools on Duolingo.

July 2, 2018

Hi Hugh,

have you read my comment$comment_id=27804293 above?

The tree from Luca is at 100% strength (all skills gold, all skills at crown level 5, fully "crown golden")!

There is not a single non-golden skill in his tree!

What I personally believe:

  • The "Strengthen skills" code is not really ready for crowns.

  • It does not yet work well with final crowns level 5 (probably never has been tested by staff (programmers) or any testing department (is there any?) before?!?)

  • It has not been touched / re-engineered since 02/2018 when the "crown update" rolled out

  • with all the bugs in the user word database (column "last_practiced" not being appropriately being updated) the button may still choose and over-repeat those words, which are not at "strength: 1.0"

  • we can not expect a "select algorithm" to work 1000% correctly, when the underlying word add/update algorithm is (completely or half-) broken

July 2, 2018

My words list is completely broken:

However, I got the skill "Future Perfect" back in the stream and "DuoLingo skill strength viewer" list ("lesson test-out"); still works now; not any of the other missing grammar / tense skills!
The second funny point is, that the words list (vocabulary overview stream) does not seem to be compatible in any kind with my new A/B test EN-PT tree from June 2018!!

It simply does not show new skill names, e.g:

  • "Pretérito Perfeito Composto" = was "Verbs: Present Perfect" before (but never showed)

  • Contractions 1-4

  • Abstract Objects 4
  • Pretérito Perfeito 1+2 (was "Verbs: Past" before)
  • Verbs: Infinitive III (there was I + II before)
  • etc.
July 2, 2018

I think the key point here is that Duolingo doesn't directly keep track of the strength of skills. It keeps track of the strength of individual words. The strength of a skill is derived from that. Strengthen skills is still useful even if every skill in the tree is gold - in fact, it seems to me it's only useful if the tree is gold - because it shows you weak words that are hidden away in skills the rest of which are gold.

Yes, ok, when you first use it it shows you "weak" words which actually you know. It takes a few days to get it trained.

July 30, 2018

Any news Luca?

Have you got by chance any reply from staff/admins according to your submitted bug report?

July 23, 2018

Any news?

October 20, 2018
Learn a language in just 5 minutes a day. For free.