Correlation between your level and speaking ability
My question is mostly regarding Spanish. For those of you who are studying spanish, can you give me some idea of what level you were when you were first able to truly communicate?
I think there is some, but not very much, correlation between one's level on Duo and the ability to understand/speak everyday Spanish. Just my experience. Depends on what you mean by 'truly communicate' of course: Get by in a restaurant or taxi? Talk about past experiences? Argue politics or philosophy?
It is pretty difficult to learn how to play golf, or the guitar, over the internet. Spanish as well. Until one has spent time listening to native speakers and trying communicate with them it is very hard to know 'where you are.' I know people that got A's in 3-4 years of high school and/or college Spanish, traveled to a Spanish-speaking country, and were totally lost. I think that is why Duo's publicity that says it is better than taking a class is a bit weak -- taking classes doesn't prove much. ;) I was a subject in that study, by the way.
I also know people that have lived in Mexico for years, own property, run businesses there, and get along fine, and never use the subjunctive mood or present perfect tense. So some of what Duo teaches is not really 'necessary' to get along, if the goal is everyday communication -- rather than translating articles for Wiki-pedia. ;)
Want to see how well your level translates to 'real life?' Get thee to a Mexican or Spanish restaurant and talk with the staff! ;)