Voice recognition issues
I've tried two microphones and the speech recognition parts of the exercise are just not working. I'm speaking very slowly, enunciating, and it's still picking up ridiculously incorrect words. (redcoat instead of robe WTF). I can try to get around this by pronouncing the words literally as they might be pronounced in English, but this defeats the purpose of trying to learn how to pronounce things in French. If I try to skip it counts against me. This problem is making this otherwise really cool program unusable.
If you use Chrome the exercises are a bit more strict than they used to be, and much more accurate nowadays. Before you could have spoken complete gibberish and sometimes the program accepted it. I can't speak for the French lessons, but in Portuguese it can be quite accurate sometimes and sometimes not as much.
At this point you can either deactivate the spoken practice, or try to persevere.
Well, it seems to vary from user to user. A good microphone in a silent room is important, aside from that the voice exercises have some issues which are quite hard to resolve. Anyway, I hope another browser will make it easier for you. Try using this: https://www.google.com/intl/en/chrome/demos/speech.html . Duolingo uses the same technology, so if it works there it should also work in Duolingo.
That said, it also happens to me. , Unfortunately, getting voice recognition working correctly is a big problem even in the most expensive software.