1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Troubleshooting
  4. >
  5. The ineffectiveness of the "S…


The ineffectiveness of the "Strengthen Skills" button

I currently have four sections of my Portuguese tree that are not at full strength. I have noticed before that if you opt to strengthen skills via the "strengthen skills" button, you can actually strengthen some of the skills in your tree that are not filled up completely. However I have noticed a few times that it doesn't actually strengthen any of the section, and in fact gives you fairly easy content to revise that you have done many times before.

What is the point in this button if you cannot be tailor made a test that focuses on the sections that are not 100% strong. It is especially annoying as a whole 4 sections of my tree are understrength not to even strengthen 1 after using this button. Maybe someone could explain to me the functionality of this button so that I don't waste time reviewing content that doesn't need to be reviewed.

January 7, 2015



The problem is the way the button is named. It's not actually "Strengthen Skills", but "Strengthen Words"! If you do it repeatedly, you will sometimes not upgrade any skills, but sometimes you will upgrade 2 or more. Furthermore, since you are working on all the words in your vocabulary, the other skills will not decay as quickly (the strength of a skill is just some function of the strength of the individual words included in it, so even 'gold' skills usually include some weak words). Keep at it : )

  • 1444

The problem is that, at least for me, the "Strengthen Skills" keeps showing basic words and expressions that I got right countless times.

I'm learning Dutch, and I'm still getting things like "Een man" and "De kat" on a regular basis. Duolingo shouldn't show me these words that often once I got them right many times.


Same with me, this is partly why I was agitated by it.


I have the same issue with Dutch. Constantly revising animals but never anythign like clothing, conjunctions, etc.


Right.. my point exactly.. today I have 12 skills that require strengthening.. and so I press the "Strengthen skills" button.. to strengthen the 12 skills that I need to strengthen.. And absolutely none of them improved in their strength rating!! I was instead bombarded with questions that I have covered about 100 times. What a bloody waste of time..

  • 1444

So I tried to pinpoint what was happening with the “Strengthen Skills” button, and here’s what I found:

One week ago, I tried to strengthen my weakened skills by doing some heavy sessions with the “Strengthen Skills” button. I collected more than 1000XP points in the span of 2 days but, to my dismay, none of my skills had any progression. And I’m not just talking about skills turning to gold: none of my skills had any progression whatsoever in its strength bar. Also, all of my review sessions showed an excessive amount of repetition of words and expressions that I already know and got right many times.

Since it became pointless to learn Dutch in this current state, I decided to remove and restart the Dutch course. I went to the first checkpoint, and waited for some skills to decay. When I got two skills with only 4 bars out of 5 in their strength levels, I used the “Strengthen Skills” button. And it only took 2 review sessions to have these skills go back to gold!

So, my guess is that my Dutch course had somehow gotten in an erroneous state which caused the “Strengthen Skills” button to not work properly. Removing and recreating a Dutch course removed this erroneous state, and now I don’t have problems with the “Strengthen Skills” button anymore. Though I’m not 100% sure about it since it’s been only 1 week since I restarted my course, this would explain why only some people seem to encounter this bug.

I don’t know if the Duolingo staff sees these messages, but they should check why some accounts have these problems where the “Strengthen Skills” button doesn’t work. Because, prior to resetting my course, there was no way I could continue to learn the Dutch course.


Very Interesting. A lot of the time I use the function, I get a lot of the same questions coming up. It would be nice if they did something about it.


I love that button and I use it at least once everyday. It helps to revise everything (or most things) at once. I have no complain with it, also since none of my skills are ever anything but golden.........If you want to strengthen a particular skill, just click on the skill and you'll find a "Strengthen <skill>" button on the right-hand side.


I am aware that you can individually strengthen skills. My point is that if not much in a "non golden" skill needs to be strengthened it would be better that a skill related test was tailored to you via the "Strengthen skills" button instead of having to waste time going through 4 individual sets of 20 odd questions in order to strengthen a few words or phrases. What exactly is it strengthening anyway?


I often find forgotten words in each lesson, each strengthening lesson......


It is more efficient if you do the timed practice. That route takes you to your weakest words in that section first, and even if you don't complete the refresher you get points.


So far it is working fine for me, but I understand your concern.

Learn a language in just 5 minutes a day. For free.