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https://www.duolingo.com/AmmarHalabi

Go thru lessons fast vs. repeat until you master?

Guys,

I just started two weeks ago studying Spanish. The way I currently do it is to randomly repeat lessons I have finished many times until it all sticks in, then move to a new one.. then repeat, and so on so forth.

Is that a good way, or is it better to just keep moving forward to finish new lessons? While I know that new lessons kind of build on old material, so in a way reviews it, but still it feels annoying when you see a word that you know you have studied but can't really remember it.

Please share your experience with a newbie..

Thanks,

Ammar

3 years ago

47 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Wonderboy6
Wonderboy6
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I was going to write a post on this at some point, for me DEFINITELY keep pushing through the lessons and stumble your way through the tree is the fastest way to grasp the language. The thing is when you do this (cover a new lesson) you are actually also revising the entire tree up to that point, I used to struggle with grammatical concepts and instead of continuously drilling one aspect moved on and came across them later in mixed sentences where i eventually developed the native feel for what is right i.e when to use por/para instead of trying to upload about.com's complete guide to por vs para and trying to access and remember that when necessary i now instinctively know what is the correct usage of each.

From my experience this is without doubt the best way to go about it for the fastest learning growth - which thinking about it closer to how natives learn, for example if you ask a stranger what the future perfect is half the itme you'll get a funny look. Also, some people have like 400 day streaks and only halfway through the tree

And of course, some grammatical drilling is useful and definitely recommended just don't focus on it until you have mastered it

All the best ;)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Emmiegram
Emmiegram
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I've been pushing through the lessons, and am almost up to Level 20. But I just read another interesting post which suggested pushing through the first time around, but then slowly doing each lesson WITHOUT ERRORS afterwards. I'm compulsive enough to try that. It's a learning discipline that I never thought of. I've just tried to get through every lesson by hook or by crook.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Hucklebeary

For some reason, given your username, your avatar and your preferred method for learning, I read your post as if you were saying it while hopped up on about 8 cups of coffee and really excited to get your point across/share your experience. It's very entertaining that way.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AmmarHalabi

Thanks for sharing very interesting perspectives guys.. Nice to have a friendly community on the internet for a change.. :)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Vedney
Vedney
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The only thing I can say with absolute sureness is that as long as you're something you're going to achieve something. There has been countless times where I was able to achieve something I didn't think I could do. Whether it was learning how to play a drumset, singing high notes, or remembering the parts of the Standard Model of physics. All I did was:

Practice. Practice. Practice.

Doesn't matter if you don't get the new word in the first day, or even the first week. Everytime you read that word will help in the long term and you will eventually get it.

P.S. The moment a skill loses its gold status, attack it like it's the zombie apocalypse.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Wonderboy6
Wonderboy6
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There's a quote that goes something like:

'Those who think they can and those who think they can't are both usually right'

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AmmarHalabi

Yep.. It's Henry Ford I think.. "whether you think you can, or can't, you're right!" :)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/newbaconings
newbaconings
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This is what I do. I drill the lesson a few times before moving on. I find it helps me gain full understanding of the concepts. I don't understand the people who want to speed-run Duolingo (the gamification maybe?). Whenever I see a thread about how someone finished the tree in 30 days, I wonder how much they have actually retained? It can't be very much.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Wonderboy6
Wonderboy6
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See my post, to clarify I think it comes down to how much time you spend on the tree !afterwards! which is key, if you speed run a tree you'll have the foundations of the language outlined at a considerably less rate. Obviously due to the speed this won't be internalised and just hovering around in your short-term memory with (upon post-tree neglection) a fast decay rate post-tree, however if you continue rehearsing the words and concepts eventually they're are encoded into your long term memory.

There will always be a learners preference and most suitable method but for me i have experimented with both and found speeding through a tree a lot faster method for grasping a new language

*and like i mentioned in my other post when learning a new skill duo tests you on everything you've learned before all the way up to the current unlocked skill with it's spaced repetition system and i've found when i don't quite get something by learning more of the language i can finally understand why or how that particular puzzle piece fits rather than staring at the screen blankly in confusion ^^

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/brigcampbell
brigcampbell
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At the beginning I was serious about keeping everything gold but at about 3/4 through I decided to push to finish the tree. I'll go back and make everything gold after, about 1/2 are degilded now. Strengthen a specific skill is good practice and keeps it gold but "Practice Weak Skills" really exposes the lack of comprehension. That only comes with time and effort.

I chuckle when people fly through the tree "I'm done!" Really? Let me see you get through 5 rounds of Practice Weak Skills with your hearts. Not a chance.

Bottom line: when you've completed your tree you're not done with duolingo.

Edit: Practice Weak Skills is the terminology on the apps. It's the same as Strenghten Skills on the right hand side of the desktop version.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AmmarHalabi

Thank you.. Is "practice weak skills" the same as "strengthen skills"? i get one on the iPhone app and the other on my computer.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/brigcampbell
brigcampbell
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Yes, Practice Weak Skills on iPhone/android is Strengthen on the desktop located in the right hand window, not the one in the skill.

Within any individual skill there is a Strengthen but for just that specific skill.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/attanatta
attanatta
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This is a very astute point. I was just thinking this after reading someone's post about "I've finished my tree, what do I do now?"

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rclyde
rclyde
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Your current method of learning is good. It is better to have a solid foundation with the lessons before moving forward. It would be unwise to finish a tree at a fast pace when you don't remember half of it. :)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/attanatta
attanatta
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Estoy de acuerdo. Foundation is key.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/OnesimusUnbound

These are what I do

  • Strenghten at least three times daily to ensure no skills will decay
  • Complete three to four lessons daily. I won't go ahead if one of my skills has decayed.
  • If there's a word or gramatical concept related to a skill that I fail many times, I focus on that particular skill.
  • If I'm really having a hard time completing a skill, I study it online.

I personally don't prefer repeating a skill until I pass it without losing a heart because I tend to just memorize the sentence, not understand it.

Anyway, just pick up some of the fine suggestions our fellow Duolingo-ers have posted, try them within a week to see if you improve. Rinse and repeat.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Hucklebeary

I'm taking things a bit slower than most as I'm not solely interested in "gotta finish the tree!". Not saying that those that are blazing through are only all about that but it seems that way a lot of the time. Wonderboy has a good take on it though and I never really thought about it in that context and it works for him. Albeit, he doesn't have partial badges of every single language offered... that's when it indicates to me that "ok, they're here for achievements first and learning is an afterthought".

Just to get a sense of things, I've been a member since 2013 but I didn't start seriously going at it until about March this year and then I wound up not coming around again because life got in the way. I picked up again around ... oh... June I'd say? Maybe July? And that's when I buckled down.

I'm only halfway through the tree and have been that way for a little while now but I'm also learning via other sites & methods. I use studyspanish.com as well as spanishpod101, spanishdict and some workbooks (the practice makes perfect series is fantastic) and I'm working my way through the FSI spanish course (I can't believe that wealth of knowledge is freely available for download).

I also spend a great deal of time working with a language exchange partner. He's from Madrid so there are some additional things I had to learn in the beginning such as the use of vosotros as well as properly pronouncing c's & z's as th instead of s. Due to that fact, I put things on hold here for a while and was only coming on to refresh some lessons and some days just coming on to do a quick lesson to maintain my streak seeing as how I had other things I was working on.

Initially I did do the "repeat a lesson until you can complete it with all 3 hearts" but as someone else mentioned here, you just wind up memorizing the actual sentences. I think there can be some benefit to that, but I think it's not as much as you'd expect. Then I started just saying to hell with it and began blazing until I got up to the participles. Now though, overall, I'm more concerned with listening comprehension and conversational ability as I plan to travel to and live in Spain and possibly South America eventually.

When I first started with my language exchange partner, while he speaks English rather well and my purpose to him is in an "advanced English" & "learn to say things the way natives do and not the way an English book tells you to" capacity and we can communicate quite well, when we would switch to Spanish, even though I was well into the tree (more than a 3rd I'd say), I'd realize how quickly I'd stumble and lose what he was saying and how much of the basic "day to day" conversational things aren't covered by duolingo near the beginning, so I've been working on my listening a lot lately using podcasts, listening to some Spanish music, watching some Spanish youtube and just recently I signed up for that Universidad de Salamanca Español A2 course-- which is fantastic btw... my listening has skyrocketed in just the past couple of weeks from that alone.

Even with the stuff you do cover such as basic greetings, without actual practice and utilization, it's quite startling how easily you can stumble and lose track of an entire sentence when one thing isn't what you expected lol. Like how the first time we spoke and he used "encantado de conocerte" ... (oh jeeez... ) "uhhh... mucho gusto?" "no no, puedes decir "igualmente" mi amigo. Quizas despues de mucho gusto." (Whaat?) lol. So I realized that while I may be able to conjugate 50 or so verbs(at the time) in every way in the present and some past tense, it wasn't helping much to be able to say I want the green shirt and yesterday we swam.

So now I go through each of my courses a bit at a time, learn the core concept, add everything to anki(which kills memrise imo) and then expand upon that by practicing the concepts on my own by corresponding with my partner and then conversing with the new words/phrases/concepts on our skype day and then taking what he adds to it and mix it back in. The improvement has been monumental and I'm quite happy with it.

However, after reading wonderboy's post, I'm gonna try and push through harder and faster now because he makes some good points and I believe that my foundation is rather strong now and I'll be able to pick up on stuff a lot quicker and as he said, cramming a bunch of the stuff and then going back over it at least "gets it in there" to begin with which will open up a lot of understanding to you even if it's not perfect.

Anyway, sorry for the ridiculously long rant.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Klgregonis
Klgregonis
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I'd do a mixture, depending on time. Strengthen anything that decays on a daily basis. Depending on the time you have, if you lose all your hearts, do it again. If you are short on time, do one pass through strengthen skills without the timer, then a second with the timer if you all hearts. But DON'T drill until you lose no hearts on a lesson. That will be really discouraging if you find out later that when you go back to review it you lose points. Do one new lesson (not skill, lesson) daily to keep yourself fresh. The reason the tree is structured as it is is because you need skills from early in the tree for lessons later in the tree, so you get practice on old skills in new lessons. Frequent short sessions help you retain information better than long sessions of intense drilling.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AmmarHalabi

Thank you for the very practical advice.. Out of curiosity, how long did it take you to reach those high levels in so many languages? I'm just focusing on Spanish now, and I'm doing one skill a day, but perhaps one lesson a day would be a better approach.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Klgregonis
Klgregonis
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The German and French are sort of deceptive - I had taken them in high school and college many years ago, and retained enough to test into level 6 or 7 to start with (basically, everything up to the first checkpoint was gold, with some access to other lessons after that). I guess I've been working on Dutch for about 3 months now, strengthening decayed skills and doing one new lesson daily, Really, the levels go fairly quickly at first. I've been working on Spanish through English about a year and a half and am just keeping the tree gold now, same with English through Spanish, Those trees are completed. I'm really only working on Portuguese through Spanish, and Dutch right now as far as new lessons are concerned, and just strengthening as needed plus one new lesson daily for the trees.

If you have the time to do a whole skill daily, go for it. Just be careful not to overwhelm the little gray cells.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AmmarHalabi

That's amazing! I'm wondering though, would one benefit from doing English through Spanish if they're actually learning Spanish? And is it confusing to learn more than one language at the same time?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/attanatta
attanatta
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Yes Ammar, I did the "reverse tree" and found it very useful as extra practice.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AmmarHalabi

I'll certainly give it a shot when i finish my tree.. i'm only one third thru..

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/friends_are_bae

i would suggest that you go ahead a little bit and then go back to study/remember the old thins you learn so that you don't lose those basics. but yeah i think that what your doing now is a pretty good strategy.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/niagy
niagy
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For the most part, I have been able to keep my tree gold. I have done that by going over a skill until I am reasonably comfortable with most of the words, and then starting a new skill. I find it helpful to use 'Strengthen Skills' to review all of the info, but more often, I review parts of a certain skill that's a little harder. That helps to really get it into my brain because it is so limited/ dialed in. Then it is easier to move on to a new skill.

Of course, it depends on time. If you do nothing else, do some form of review every day. If you don't have much time, don't do a new skill because it is not likely that it will stick. This is just my way of doing things, but maybe it will work for you.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/97kll

This is probably the best way for you to learn a new language. Scientists say it takes 7 times before something sticks with you, so repeating old lessons should help you remember.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BobbieL
BobbieL
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In theory, the spaced repetition system that Duolingo uses should mean that it can bring up things to be practiced appropriately, and if everything is gold you should move forward. In practice, my personal experience was that Duolingo didn't do enough vocabulary drilling for me. Things improved tremendously when I started using Memrise/Anki as well.

I think you have to feel it out yourself a little, and see how you're doing and how you feel about it.

I will say, though, that software that uses spaced repetition systems usually seems to aim for around 95% correct over time. You shouldn't shoot for 100% correct all the time, because it tends to mean that a small percentage of actual knowledge ends up eating up a hugely disproportionate amount of your time. (Kind of like how people frequently claim that 20% of your effort yields 80% of the results. The percentages aren't quite the same, but the core idea is to grab as much value as you can for the time you put in, and if you just can't seem to remember the word for sponge, don't let that hold you back from learning other things.)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Matt.91

I just keep repeating until I master it and it becomes easy. Everyone is different but I find this to be the best strategy for me. You know you have mastered something when it becomes so easy that you want to move onto something else.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tu.8zPhLD72zzoZN
tu.8zPhLD72zzoZN
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You are right. Practice is important. Also, you may not see all the words the lesson has to offer with just one pass through it, due to the algorithm which creates randomness so you don't get the same problems in the same order when you practice it.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Deliciae
Deliciae
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I think we all learn a bit differently, so what works for one might not work for another.

For me Immersion helps, because my brain has a tendency of forgetting what it deems to be "not useful". If a newly learned word is put to the test again soon after learning, by helping me puzzle together an interesting sentence, then it sticks better.

Strengthen skills is great too, but I prefer doing the overall one rather than going through specific lessons. When you get 15 sentences about the same thing it ends up involving less thinking than if you get 15 sentences involving as much as 15 different concepts. It keeps you sharp!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ampdot

Do the timed practice, use Duolingo flashcards, look at your word strengths, snd use other external services like Quizlet. If you don't really get it yet, instead of redoing lessons, use review; review>redo, unless you didn't remember the "explain part." If you redo a lesson, try getting all hearts not lost.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AmmarHalabi

Thanks again guys.. One thing I didn't see anyone mention is taking notes. Does anyone do that? or is it the traditional way of learning? Because right now, I summarize every skill in my own notes and I use those notes to review every now and then.. Not sure how effective that is though, because I feel those words that stick in the long term memory are actually the ones I get from repetitions rather than notes.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/attanatta
attanatta
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I have been creating this spreadsheet on my google drive for some time now as a way of taking notes. I started with the verb conjugations and then added common vocabulary for other parts of speech. Feel free to take a look:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1-B3M2oER8pzdk1pIR9SMZ4_SZPZqIGl9jrdD7uH8rtQ

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AmmarHalabi

Thanks attanatta.. I'm also building my document.. will post it when complete.. PS: for some reason the link above is giving an error.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/attanatta
attanatta
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Okay Ammar, I have edited the link, it should work fine now. Please let me know.

It has to do with some weird glitch in the Duolingo forum where if you use an ampersand in the URL it will cut off the rest of the address. Luckily that info wasn't required anyway, so I removed it.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AmmarHalabi

Thank you.. It works fine now.. Looks like a great summary.. bit too advanced for me still, but I should get there in about 10 days. :)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/attanatta
attanatta
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Yeah, I suggest creating your own conjugation chart from scratch instead of just using mine...it would serve you better for learning the logic behind the conjugations. You could use mine for reference in the mean time though.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/brigcampbell
brigcampbell
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I always write down new vocabulary or words I used incorrectly. It helps tremendously by reinforcing and you'll have to spell that word later in the lesson. This drastically reduces losing hearts because of spelling errors and having to redo a lesson.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/CrazyCurtice

just pushing through the lessons seems to be working for me...

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JamieSmithABDN

Yeah, I also prefer mastering each lesson at a time rather than rushing my way through. Consolidation is a good way to learn I think =)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/B1ond1e

I agree with Wonderboy 6. I have pushed through each lesson and then do a the odd class review to keep the bars up. I have struggled with the object pronoun until I've completed the class today on Los, las because the class used words and sentences I had already learned and it has sunk in a little better. I'm hoping the others will work the same way - I will let you know!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/akamidori93

I just started, but I'm enjoying rushing through it. Mainly I just want lingots to buy the additional lessons.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AmmarHalabi

What do you mean you want more lingots to buy additional lessons? My understanding is that all the lessons in the tree are free..

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/akamidori93

There are extra lessons: Flirting and idioms. But they cost alot of lingots.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AmmarHalabi

I see.. Don't worry about those two extra lessons now, because they're a bit advanced.. By the time you're ready for them, you would've already accumulated enough lingots. Anyway, here's a summary of the Idioms one.. I list the literal translation first then the actual English equivalent.

Bonus Skill: IDIOMS quien, con, más, todo, corazón, se, el de, cuenta, mal, dios, hay, no, vale, consejo

Barriga llena corazón contento. Belly full heart happy. A full belly and a happy heart.

Cada loco con su tema. Each/every crazy with their subject. To each their own.

El amor todo lo puede. The love all can. Love will find a way.

Más puede la pluma que la espada. More can/able the pen than the sword. The pen is mightier than the sword.

Quien espera, desespera. Who/that/whom wait for, exasperate. A watched pot never boils. El que espera desespera. Una olla vigilada jamás hierve.

Donde fuego se hace, humo sale. Where fire since smoke play a joke. Where there's smoke there's fire.

Borrón y cuenta nueva. Stain/smudge and account new. Let bygones be bygones.

Más vale tarde que nunca [Mejor tarde que nunca]. Better late than never. Better late than never.

De tal palo tal astilla. Of such stick, such splinter. Like father like son.

En boca cerrada no entran moscas. As mouth sealed, no enter uneasy. Silence is golden.

Consejos vendo y para mí no tengo. Advices sell and for me don’t have. Do as I say, not as I do.

No hay rosa sin espinas. There is no rose without thorns. Every rose has its thrones.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/aliugull

I found another website check it out www.languages-online.net

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AmmarHalabi

Hello guys.. just wanted to share my experience in the past week as I experimented with a couple of different methods (I know a week is hardly enough to have any meaningful observations, but here goes anyway)..

I tried speeding through a couple of skills quickly (3 skills of about 16 lessons) but I noticed that not only very little stuck in short term memory, but I was also confused about stuff I learnt before.. So I repeated all the lessons one by one, took notes on every new word or verb with its conjugations, and did a few more repeats until things stuck and got a far better result.

So for me, what seems to work is: 1) Repetition. 2) Taking good notes.

Good luck to all..

A

3 years ago