Re-open the shortcuts, after adding new lectures
When adding new lectures - as recently in Spanish and German - it might be also worth considering to re-open the various shortcuts with 1-3 attempts. This would allow a user to decide if he really wants to do all the new lectures one by one or just want to restore his tree as fast as possible.
A second suggestion (I'm less sure about this) is to generally let the shortcuts open, after successfully passing them. This could be a tool, if users learn two or three languages to get back in track after some weeks/months of absents in one of their languages. And it might also be useful for practising some verbs with low strength in earlier lections. However there might be a potential of "cheating". Maybe this needs to be tuned in a way - you get the shortcuts back after x weeks absence.
Agreed. I've suggested this a few times, but it's largely fallen on deaf ears so far. Hopefully as more people suggest it, the devs will consider it. I've noticed that with the most recent changes, the "test out" option is available in the individual skill sections. While not as speedy as using the shortcut tests to catch up at once, it does allow you to get through the updates a bit quicker. A side bonus is that it refreshes every word in the skill, so that you end up cleaning up degraded words, if any, at the same time.
I also like your second suggestion. If they're not willing to leave them available permanently, I would suggest that at a minimum they could re-enable the "test out" exams once a certain percentage of words in a given skill have degraded, and then to re-enable the shortcut exams if a certain percentage of skills in that section become degraded. Either way, I like the idea of using the shortcuts to demonstrate, or re-demonstrate, one's competency with a skill or group of skills quickly without having to slog through a bunch of old material.
I agree. I've studied German for a while, and I wanted to jump ahead, but I realized there were some words that I had forgotten and little grammar rules here and there. After running through the shortcut quiz once or twice, I had mostly refreshed my memory, but I realized it was too late, and I had only one 'life' left (which I messed up on stupid mistakes). And now I have to go through all the lessons just to catch back up.