Why an XP Limit on testing out is a bad idea.

So, for those of you completely unaware, Duolingo has made the change that if you test out of a language, you get at most 20 exp rather than the 10 exp per lesson you tested out of as you would normally get 10 exp per lesson if you had done them individually.

Below I will list why this change is terrible and why the developers should change it back immediately.

  1. No one wants to sit through 100 additional lessons to get through one basic piece that only teaches you the same 5 words: This causes me to want to step away rather than "grinding" through useless lessons that teach me nothing.

  2. It destroys the "fluency" of learning the language: From an English speaker, it takes 150 hours to learn Esperanto, 480 hours to learn Spanish, 720 hours to learn Russian and so on. The problem with this new change is that now you are LIMITED to have to pretty much go one by one at a constant rate for all languages the adds to the hour when you're stuck doing the long basic lessons. I'll give you an example.

In Esperanto it's not going to take you 100 lessons to learn basic words because the language is easy and only needs 150 hours and in Russian, you go at your own pace to match the 720 hours needed. Unfortunately, if you are forced to do the lessons one at a time to eventually max out the experience of the language to 30,000 EXP it's going to take you an average of one hour a day for 600 days for ALL languages. Doesn't matter the ease or complexity, now you're stuck learning an easy language for two years if you stick here. Time to find a new website.

  1. It demotivates you from doing anything on this website anymore: The fun of this website was making this feel like a game and now it feels cheap. You mean to tell me that a person who practices the same 5 words gets more experience than someone who tests out of a whole lesson and learns at a much faster rate because they study and put time into it and actively engage and pay attention? Are you trying to promote a mindless droning of clicking and repeating on this site? Now people with millions of EXP will always be at the top and now people working hard are put lower than those mindlessly clicking. Good job, now I want to move to a different website.

  2. It destroys the community: I started one of the most popular Esperanto clubs on the mobile for this site and everyone loves to compare experience, love to test out to jump ahead and it pushes everyone. Now you expect us to see a 100 exp difference and try to get ahead when we all go at the same rate regardless of how well we know and learn the material? What's the point of the club? What's the point of talking to other people and pushing each other if it's all at the same rate? What's the challenge? Seems pointless to me and it seems pointless to all the other club members as well. We would have a much better time just chatting in an Esperanto server on Discord than on here.

  3. Prevents new learners: good luck new learners wishing to get ahead and max out a language. You know that language you should pick up in a few months? Yeah? Try a few years now when you're here. Doesn't matter who you talk with, doesn't matter how many friends you have to push yourself, doesn't matter how hard you try. To max out that skill tree, get access to learn new words and to learn new phrases and contexts is going to take years now.

If I don't see this going back then I don't think I'm going to be sticking around. Seems like this site is content with running away anyone new, punishing the veterans and running itself straight into the ground with the way they've handled past updates.

March 5, 2019


Prevents new learners: good luck new learners wishing to get ahead and max out a language.

That is a very interesting point.

Duolingo should allow skills to be completed in whatever order the user wants.

March 5, 2019

I've been ambivalent about all the other changes DL has made over the two years I've been here. This is the first one that's really pissed me off. I can't think of one good reason for doing this outside of being mean.

March 6, 2019

Just a theory, but it could be that it means more clicks, more ads, more money for Luis and his employees.

March 14, 2019

That's not a theory, it is a fact and not just more clicks, also more more time on the pages, more data and more ads popping up.

March 14, 2019

Part of the fun of this whole thing is competition. The more I compete, the more I learn in tandem. Also, as soon as I grasp the vocabulary and grammar rules a particular lesson is teaching, I want to be able to test out of it and move on to the next thing. It allows me to move at a pace that's truly my own without having to grind through the same tired lessons AND get proper credit for doing so.

March 6, 2019

Exactly. Do the sections, study the tiny cards, read the supporting material and search the web until I get comfortable with the material in the unit. This includes learning the exceptions, the weird conjugations and various related nuance. Then if I'm lucky I was allowed to reward my self with a big XP boost.

This is soooooooooo disappointing.

March 6, 2019

Another point I'd add is that if it rewards testing out, it encourages learning from other sources.

Let's say you are both taking a regular course in real life, and using Duolingo. With what you learn in your course, you'll likely find much of Duolingo boring and redundant. Same goes for using a self study book, following video/audio lessons, etc.

This change rewards people that stick to this single resource, but doing that hurts the user. Dumb move if you ask me.

March 7, 2019

I completely agree. I've lost my motivation to test out.

March 7, 2019

Me too.

March 8, 2019

Boosting this. I absolutely agree with the points made by Adam

March 6, 2019

I would advise boycotting Duolingo until this changes. Switch your daily maximum to only 10 points, do your perfunctory 10 minutes here, and then use Mondly or any of the other dozens of fun language apps out there, until Duolingo changes its policy.

This used to be the best site/app for language learning. I used to feel motivated to log in every morning and do my lessons. The ability to move ahead quickly was great motivation to come back every day. Now, this is just boring, and I feel like I've somehow been punished for having language skills.

March 6, 2019

I feel the same thing, DoctorDadd; it's like being punished for having language skills. =\

March 9, 2019

yup i just switched to casual for now

March 7, 2019

As I know, it was done to prevent people from cheating on Leaderboard.

So, let's find another way to cheat! Not because we are cheaters, but just to show to developers that their methods don't work. Cheaters will always find a way to cheat. It is not a reason to punish normal users!

I have an idea how to get thousands of XP per hour without doing anything related to studying languages :-) I didn't try it yet, but I don't see any reason why it couldn't work.

I'm going to try this idea when I have more time, maybe next week. But I still hope that developers change their mind before I begin.

March 7, 2019
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Has Duolingo made an official statement that it was done to prevent cheating ? I haven’t heard of cheating on leaderboards. Testing out because you don’t want to redo the same lessons many times is not cheating

I like testing out after reaching level 2 in a skill, this is really a demotivating change for me too !

March 8, 2019

Even if they made, it wouldn't convince me, coming from a website, that makes streaks of 1.5 years and more disappear and then offers users to buy them back for - as officially admitted - financial reasons.

As the optimistic dreamer I am I still hope it's just another bug and will be fixed. If you test out and keep your XP of the day and compare with your data record it will show that they have the right amount XP in your record.

Check your

They'll tell you it might take 30 days to get the data but I got them about 2 hours later. You find the XP you should have in the Inventory file of your download.

You just got to stop gaining more XP after claiming the drive through of your data.

The bad internet experienced realist in me tells me it#s again just another step down from idealism to greed. This new setting is harvesting way more clicks and data which makes it utterly interesting for DL - well, at least until the day when the users had it and run.

Correction: Sorry, I gave a wrong link. Check your

March 8, 2019

Bye bye Plus. Not anymore... With the risk of losing my 1118 days streak...

March 9, 2019

100% agree. My fiancée would test out like mad to catch up to my XP, and I started testing out like mad to keep him at bay. I did multiple lessons to finish a section to earn the 50 gems for getting to the next level (which meant seeing multiple ads), and tolerated watching even more stupid ads to accumulate extra gems I needed to test out. Now we have both drastically reduced our use of Duo—he’s switched to Mango and I use Memrise more. I do the bare minimum in Duo to maintain my 800-plus day streak. I went from sitting through 5-6 ads a day in Duo to just one. I hope Duo is experiencing a huge loss in ad revenue now.

March 17, 2019

I 100% second this. If anything I think the option to earn that massive amount of XP is one of the things that makes the app so fun. It's supposed to be a challenge that reaps real reward, because they are challenging. If anything make the tests more challenging, don't limit the XP!!!!

March 8, 2019

I started using duolingo to learn Welsh.I then decided to better my German.When aked if i was a beginner i typed no.I have German.Not perfect as my wife tells me often enough.I found doing the courses one at a time very boring so i tested out.I made go progress.I still make mistakes but im learning from them.It was fun too.Now only recieving 20 xp points is really bad.Having knowledge of a language isnt cheating is it?

March 8, 2019

To me Level shows a users Language Level (hence the name). If you can test out then you have demonstrated just that. Test out cap is only done because of the silly leaderboards. Much better to disqualify those who test out from these Boards. I have stoped Learning several Languages because of this change. I'm starting to lose hope that DL will listen

April 4, 2019

I can not reach the level I really have. Dou is boring now, if I need to repeat the same basic lesson 40 times...

March 5, 2019

But, looking at it from Duolingo's perspective, those are 40 chances to click on an ad instead of just one!

March 14, 2019

You can just use adblock and that will be better!!

March 15, 2019

That's the way to go! If duolingo is going to be so mean and stubborn, I just installed adblock. Might as well make duolingo a paid service. They ruined it.

June 30, 2019

March 8, 2019

Completely agree with you. This update is so retarded. I was around level 15 at german on my previous user, because I got XP so fast from testing out. Now I only get 20XP for testing out which is absolute horsesh*t. It takes forever to go through it the regular way, it's super repetitive and tedious. You can earn 150XP+ for grinding through each one, but only 20XP for doing the whole set with less than 4 mistakes? That is so idiotic. Why did they do this? Hope they patch this, duolingo was way better before.

June 30, 2019

From a language teacher's perspective: if you're actually looking to acquire the language (meaning you can use it rather than you know about it), the repetition itself is necessary. This change makes XP a mark of time spent with the language, which is ultimately going to be a better indicator of ability. Getting the answers right on a single test doesn't represent the same amount of learning as actually "grinding" the [x] separate repetitions to reach the next level, which is why it shouldn't yield the same XP.

If you're looking to compete on quantity of XP but feel like you're done with the unit, you can always test out and move on to the next one. Or you can practice, which integrates all of the units you've unlocked (and so requires you to recall from a broader set of material).

And I assume (but don't know) that having unlocked higher levels on a skill would result in more difficult questions showing up in practice.

July 11, 2019

@MCroisant: Having unlocked higher levels will give you the same questions as you have already answered on the lower levels. There is hardly any rise in difficulty - maybe more typing keyboard, less word bank. When you are done with level 1 - you can check that on - you have had all vocabulary available on that skill. Before the crowns were introduced, you could repeat the unit in a skill that you wanted to, or you could use the practice button, which had a decay and individual mistake-rate function and only showed words and sentences that you either didn't practice in a long time or often had mistakes in. I found that very helpful. DL's aim now is no more the optimization of learning, but the maximization of profit. A change in philosophy.

July 13, 2019

I don't agree. The xp system for me is about how much you practice. So if you know something already, you practice less and you get less xp. If you get so much xp for testing out without practicing, I think THAT was unfair. People with less language knowledge are practicing very hard, to be surpassed by someone who tests out? Why is that fair? I thought that it is beautiful that Duo would encourage practice, not knowledge. Everyone who practices a lot, gets rewarded. If you had the privilege of a good education, you shouldn't get a headstart on Duolingo as well. You do a placement test, and test out of skills, but in the end, only your amount of effort counts, not your previous knowledge.

I do agree that the change is not fair. But I think the new system is more fair than the old system.

In short: yes, if you practice more, you get more practice points. If you test out, you get faster crowns and lingots.

I would like to hear what you think of this opinion.

July 26, 2019
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