Testing out of skills (1) repeats sentences (2) has same test & doesn't get harder w/ each level.

I think the test-out feature is a great idea. However, I think it is poorly implemented. I've tried it in Spanish and German, and it seems particularly bad in German but there seem to be problems in both languages.

Here are my observations

  • It repeats the same sentences, often many times. Giving you the same sentence multiple times makes little sense on a test, because if you make a mistake once, it allows you to just copy the answer verbatim when it comes up again. This makes the test too easy.
  • The given sentences are extremely simple, not representative of the average difficulty of the section as a whole.
  • The tests recycle material heavily from earlier sections. I often see the same words over and over again; I know from going through the lessons manually that these lessons also teach other words.
  • The difficulty level of the test doesn't ramp-up when you get to the higher levels. Testing out of level 3 is pretty much the same for levels 4 and 5.
  • The test itself is also nearly identical, so testing out of levels 3, 4, and 5 all at once usually amounts to just repeating the same exact sentences. This makes it less of a sincere test; it actually gets easier at the more advanced levels because you can correct the earlier mistakes.

I would really like to see this addressed or fixed.

July 30, 2018


Yep. For example, I have just tested out of level 4 'negation' in German and the first 12 questions (out of 20) were:

  1. Write this in German:
    Cows don't wear hats. (Kühe tragen keine Hüte)

  2. Write this in German:
    Fish don't drink orange juice! (Fische trinken keinen Orangensaft!)

  3. Write this in German:
    Sugar is not good. (Zucker ist nicht gut.)

  4. Write this in German:
    Cats do not like water ('Katzen mögen kein Wasser')

  5. Write this in English:
    Kühe tragen keine Hüte ('Cows don't wear hats')

  6. Type what you hear:
    Katzen mögen kein Wasser.

  7. Write this in English:
    Zucker ist nicht gut. (Sugar is not good.)

  8. Write this in English:
    Katzen mögen kein Wasser (Cats do not like water).

  9. Write this in English:
    Fische trinken keinen Orangensaft! (Fish don't drink orange juice!)

  10. Type what you hear:
    Kühe tragen keine Hüte.

  11. Type what you hear:
    Fische trinken keinen Orangensaft!

  12. Type what you hear:
    Zucker ist nicht gut.

So I was basically asked about four simple sentences (Fische trinken keinen Orangensaft!, Zucker ist nicht gut., Kühe tragen keine Hüte. and Katzen mögen kein Wasser.).¹

I agree that testing out is easier than taking the individual lessons and it would be nice it this were addressed.

¹At least they actually had negation in them. When I tested out of the 'not' skill yesterday, only the last two sentences were negated. The rest were I am ready, He is ready, He is funny, It is funny, He is healthy, The children are healthy and the like.

As a workaround to the problem you mention in your last bullet point, I test out by level -- I first made my tree completely red (level 3), then orange (level 4) and now I'm making it gold. This way, I've put some distance between testing out of the same skill at different levels. Still, it would be great if different sentences were used for testing out of the same skill at different levels.

On the other hand, I have found the reverse tree more challenging than before! (well, at least testing out of level 2, which requires doing lots of English --> German translation).

July 31, 2018

Yes! This is exactly what I've experienced! I also noticed what you said that there were some sentences that didn't even include the skill being for you it's negation, but also I had ones with like, a particular tense and it didn't include that tense, or an adjective section and it didn't include an adjective...stuff that was ridiculously inapplicable to the section at hand.

It seems a very broken feature.

July 31, 2018

I'm experiencing the same thing in German. . It's the same test out for levels 0-4. All of the Clothing tests say "Women and men wear jewelry" for half of the questions. It's super frustrating. Then, in practice, there are terms that were not in ANY of the tests.

July 31, 2018

When you say "The difficulty level of the test doesn't ramp-up when you get to the higher levels.", that is only half true. At first, Duolingo asks you to match words. Then, it asks you to write in English from L1. Then, it asks you to write in L1 from English. Finally, Duolingo asks you to "Type what you hear". Also, these are not just suddenly added. They slowly incorporate them through the tests.

July 31, 2018

This is true, but you're still constructing the same sentences. I've done the pick-a-word-tile, listen and write, translate both ways, etc. for the same basic sentences in all tests. The sentences in the lessons are by and far harder than the test outs.

July 31, 2018

I think I haven't noticed this because nearly all my skills were at levels 2 or 3 to begin with, so I've mostly been testing out of levels 3, 4, and 5. I notice little appreciable difference in these levels. Perhaps I do notice a slight increase in the "type what you hear" at the highest levels, doesn't seem any more difficult to test out of the higher levels.

If anything it's easier because I'm less likely to make a mistake in the "type what you hear" exercises than I am in an open-ended translation exercise for a sentence I haven't heard recently.

August 1, 2018

I just tested through German "Numbers 1", and got little more than 3 eggs, 3 girls, 3 men, 3 women, 4 boys and 2 girls, etc etc etc etc on levels 4 and 5. How is that testing? There was plenty in the regular exercises that was missed.

September 13, 2018

I have noticed this as well and I hope DuoLingo will fix it!!

September 24, 2018
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