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Stop time after having answered in Timed Practice

I think you should stop the countdown in Timed Practice after one has given the answer, to give the chance to check the right answer and the mistakes you have made. I think the point of timed practice was to test the promptness to answer, and that would still be granted stopping the countdown after having answered. In the way Timed practice is currently structured, learning from errors is discouraged, because you have the time running down and prefer skip to the next question instead of reading the errors you have made.

December 22, 2012



I agree too. Another solution would be to allow users to review their mistakes after the timed practice is over. This would be good even for some of the non-timed exercises as well because I am often too quick hitting the enter button when I don't think I have made a mistake. But out of the corner of my eye, I see the red at the bottom of the screen just too late to stop.


I like this suggestion a lot because the review at the end the the timed part going. Part of the intensity of the timed practice for me is the rapid fire nature of it. That's what's important when you're actually conversing. If you're able to stop and re-collect yourself midway through the practice, it seems a little less effective (at least for me).


I can't believe this doesn't have more votes. Completely agreed. On one hand I like the timed practice exactly because of what you said - it forces you to stay on your toes and just keep going. Then again, these are all different 'flavours' of quiz one could simply select at the beggining.

  • Standard timed practice (what we have now)
  • Timed practice (pause after every question) <-- could be a checkbox
  • Show mistakes on quiz completion <-- again, could be a checkbox


Furthermore, for those of us who like to blaze through the quizzes, why not add an option to auto-advance once the question is checked? I admit to have having lost 2-3 seconds sometimes between 'checking' the question and proceeding to the next.


I like this idea as well. If we can review our mistakes after the practice round is over then having the checking section after each question becomes unnecessary.


Well, some questions have multiple valid answers, so that's not an option right?


I would love to have more 'flavours', but also options like 'only FR > EN questions' and otherwise.


I meant once you hit ENTER once for 'check'. I don't think there's a need for hitting ENTER again in the current state of Timed Practice.


I bet it has so few votes, because it is so hard to find anything on this discussion page


Hey, this is a great suggestion! I would really like to see the option for reviewing the mistakes at the end. That way, I could go through discussions and learn even more. Somehow the timed mode at the moment does not allow us "to learn on our mistakes" :)


Maybe it would be a good idea to display the evaluation and stop the timer only when you make a mistake? That way, as long as you answer correctly the normal ‘Continue’ button and green panel aren't shown and you have to be even more on your toes than currently, but when you mess up you can still take a few seconds to learn from your mistake without stopping the clock. I also think that when the timer reaches zero it should first fail your current question so you can see the answer and only after you click ‘Continue’ should it end the test.


We are going to try this. Timed practice is certainly a bit frantic, albeit a lot of fun, in its current state.


I like frantic, that's a much better reflection of real life conversation. You don't usually get to stop people after each sentence, you either understood or you didn't and if you dwell on it you'll miss the next thing they say too. Learning to listen and respond under continuing pressure is a much better teaching method.

The compromise of showing the incorrectly answered questions after the test is a great idea.


In real life the other person can look at your face and see if you understood him or her. Also in a real life conversation there is much more coherence instead of -often random- sentences that are not interconnected through a story. Also, in real life a person can point at things, make gestures with their hands and their whole body. It's uncomparable if you ask me.

The problem with the frantic nature of the current timed practice sessions is that it can be frustrating and stressful: I tend to make typo's that are not "gracefully allowed" because I type too fast and it gets on my nerves, and I miss things because I read too fast, e.g. I read "un perro" (a dog) instead of "el perro" (the dog). If I would make that mistake in a real life conversation, the other person would probably immediately understand me completely, but in timed practice it's a 100% wrong answer. Same goes for gender mistakes (la instead of el for example): 100% wrong while in real life the other person would understand me.

I notice I'm starting to avoid timed practice more and more because it's just not working for me. I know I'm just one person and I may be a minority, but I hope the timer will at lease pause after you "check" the answer so I can check what I did wrong if I made a mistake, and so that I can take a short pause to breathe.

I'd also like to point out that Duolingo seems to be a perfect method to learn a language for people with ADD. The problem with timed practice is that in its current setup it can be discouraging and stressful for that same group of people. I wonder if Duolingo ever did research on how people with ADD use their service, could be very interesting!

Please note this post is only meant as positive/constructive criticism. Duolingo is a really unique and good system for learning languages and I only hope to contribute in making it even better by posting this :)


I like this idea the most


I agree that, in general, the stress of a timed exam is an excellent way to force people to think under pressure and I enjoy tests and high-pressure environments in most subjects.

But the timed practice tool in Duolingo has never been particularly useful to me. For one thing, it's not efficient for me to complete two questions, run out of time, hit "Practice again", see the tip, complete only one question before running out of time, starting over, do two questions, repeat. Perhaps if I could try to beat my previous practice time or if the times were three or four times longer I might find it difficult but doable. As it is I'm clearly not in the same league as the people for whom this feature was designed so using it makes me feel a bit ridiculous. (As seems to be the case with a few other people in this forum.)

Which is another thing, this feature is a little depressing in the same way that failing my way through four years of high school Spanish was depressing. I like that Duolingo generally lets you go at your own pace without having to compare yourself to others. I don't feel judged for taking a dozen tries to successfully finish a lesson or a few weeks to complete a single skill. But the presence of a feature like this is a good reminder that I'm probably at the lonely end of the bell curve and that showing up and using an app a few times a day isn't going to be enough (for me) to ever learn how to speak Spanish. Perhaps that reminder is good to encourage me to take a different approach in my studying if speaking Spanish is actually my goal. At the very least it prevents me from gaining a false confidence.

I don't think it should be removed because it's clearly useful for some people but I just wanted to throw in an additional datapoint to support @RuudHier and others' experiences.


Its been nearly a year and people are still only talking about it, this for me is the most frustrating thing with duolingo...


Still been a year, still there.


Still waiting for it...


When are you going to try this? Or have you already?


Future here, what's the status on this?


Totally agreed.

If you get the answer right, auto-advance... if you get it wrong, stop the timer until you can review your mistakes.


That could work too...


I think it is by far the better suggestion, to review all of the mistakes at the end of timed practice. That's where the suggested corrections should be allowed, too, rather than in the middle of the timed practice.


This solution would probably be best to retain the feeling of urgency throughout the whole exercise. I just wanted to add that it is important that we also be able to see the discussions about questions at the end, not just the computer's correct answer because sometimes I need to look at the discussion to know what I am doing wrong.


Yes! I like the idea of being able to access the discussion and error reporting sections from the review stage of the timer practice.


I think it is better the way griva89 proposed.. it's simpler.


I do the same thing with hitting enter to quickly! Love your suggestion- we definitely need this!


I totally agree. So many times I've continued on without knowing my mistakes; just to save a few precious seconds. Now, I don't even bother with timed practices unless I know the vocabulary fairly well.


In addition maybe Duolingo should allow you to complete your last answer when you're out of time? I hate it when I finish the last question just a second too late and I don't know if I had it right or wrong.


Or at least show you the right answer… :)


I love the timed practice! I would like to see the questions/answers available for review at the end of the quiz, especially for the questions we get wrong!


Some of the timed practices questions seem to be more about testing your typing speed rather than your knowledge, too.

Having an option to stop the timer after answering would be welcome!


I don't type terribly quickly (but not terribly slowly either) and the timed practice has made me close the program more than once. It is so frustrating to know the vocabulary, conjugation and spelling only to be too flustered to do anything but suck because my typing isn't quite up to par. I think not taking up the time with checking the answers is a marvelous idea. I need that fifteen extra seconds to prove I'm not a dolt.


One problem with the timed practice is that it can make you lazy. It always gives you a 'correct' when you haven't put any accents in and, as putting them in takes more time, I tend to leave them out.


I agree, sometimes I'm unable to send feedback on a error because time runs out.


I would like to keep it frantic. It reminds me of my past travels, with my limited vocabulary and stumbling attempts. BUT - I really would like to see the ones I missed at the end. keep up the fast pace, and don't stop the clock, but give us a chance to see what we screwed up.


Adding on to that, you should also let us report problems on that results page. That way, the timer won't run out while someone is trying to tell you about an issue.


I agree! Its hard if it wastes time saying 'Correct!' when I just want to go or if its wrong I want to understand my mistakes not just go with it


Maybe it should be stopped once you have typed in your answer and hit continue? I have an occasionally extremely slow internet connection, and I can't beat the timed practice because I have to wait for the next question to load.


It's been a long time since this improvement has been suggested and it's the most popular suggestion here. I think it's kind of easy thing to fix, yet, it's still the way it was. I wonder, why?


Hi fenec - Enormous issues with timed exercises, hopefully there will be a resolution in the near future.


Hi, what do you mean by issues? Stopping timer once the answer is made is an extremely easy thing to do. It would take an hour including testing for a programmer to do this feature.


Maybe we could just review all of our wrong answers after the timed practice?


An alternative would be to add some additional time to cover the navigational elements so that the time is more realistic. I am fluent in German but I still often cannot pass the timed tests on German (much less Italian, where I am still learning). It is discouraging to always fail the timed tests.


Well, as I said in a comment farther down, I had this exact same thought, but that was before I realized the real world application/benefit of forcing us to move on without time to reflect on the mistakes of each sentence; how it does prepare for a real conversation in that regardless of whether you miss what your conversation partner says or not, if you take time to think about it, you will miss what they say next.

However I believe there should be an option in account settings to (1) pause the timer after a question has been answered, before the next question is presented as well as after the test, BUT severely reduce the amount of time given for the whole test, OR (2) simply have the results at the end of the test.

Giving us users the choice between these will make us feel like we can condition how we learn, at least a little, and will allow us to perform tests amongst ourselves and debate with one another over which one we think helps more. I think it would be a win/win.

And for people who are hesitant to add more options to the account options page, just remember that "if done well, anything can be done well". I just really don't like seeing services hesitate to add more flexibility because they don't want to confuse a minority of the users. I'd much rather see effective design with them in mind, than selective design for only their minds.

There can be an "Advanced" portion of the options that is hidden by default, and has a reset-advanced-options-to-default option. This would make things simpler for those who want it simple, and allow for people who enjoy customizing their experience the ability to do so.

I just hope that makes sense.


The timed test, tests my typing speeed


I agree with that, my time runs out because I stop if I make a mistake to find out what I have done wrong, even if I am answering very quickly.


I have often requested on "feedback" for them to let us see our mistakes at the end. I like the timed practice (not as annoying as the other), but not being able to see where we have gone wrong limits its usefulness.


I have another suggestion for the Timed Practice. Since it is kind of challenging arriving at the end with some seconds, maybe every two or three seconds left could be transformed in one Skill Point. :D

(I look for all chances to get more Skill Points, I must be addicted to them.) :)


I like the idea, but I think 1 s = 1 sp makes skill points too cheap.

Another problem is that sometimes you get a lot of really short sentences and multiple-choice questions and then you finish with 40 s left. If you'd convert those to skill points, that would in my view be undeserved xp.

Maybe the timer should be adjusted for the difficulty of the questions?


Like the other people, I like timed practice, but the timer needs to stop after answering a question for multiple reasons: 1) I was doing timed practice today, and the timer ran out while I was trying to submit a problem, and it prevented me from actually submitting the problem; 2) It's good to see and understand your mistake (if you made one), and the timer discourages that; 3) Some people have slow internet connects, and it could take more than the time remaining to even check an answer.

But other than those few qualms, I like the concept of timed practice.


For anyone who really wants this fix, there is one. It's been around for a few years already, actually, but I don't know how many people actually use it.

You may consider it cheating, but there's a Userscript for stopping the timer after each question. You can find it here. It's based on the version by FieryCat, with some edits from me.


It should have no problems with it doing things you don't want it to do, and it doesn't have viruses. (I posted it)

If you like it, please rate it. Now go stop time!


Nice Point. I totally agree!


yup i'm with you 100%


This is a great idea! I think that this would really help...


not enough time for me, never finish within 2 minutes


I'm quick and even I couldn't get past 3/4ths of the timed quiz!


I agree about being able to see your mistakes without time running out. I am having a problem of not being able to type fast enough. I have been stuck for 5 days on a timed section and the closest I have gotten is 2 answers left.


Am I missing something? This is the third or fourth time I've seen someone talk about being 'stuck' on a timed section. I've never seen a compulsory timed section, they are optional practice and it's impossible to get stuck on these, if the clock runs out you don't 'lose' you just score fewer points.


I had an option on the early ones and soon realised there was no way I could do it so opted for the untimed. As the course went on this option disappeared. Now I have to do the timed one. I have tried and failed - several times!. As a result I can't unlock the next sections. I am looking for another course now.

As an indication of the standard of my typing I use three fingers and it has taken over 5 mins and use of the spell check to do this post! It is frustrating that my ability to learn German is limited by another unrelated skill (typing) which I do not have.


Oh … I see. Is there anyone else who has experienced this? I quit practising the timed lessons for the same reason as lynetteduo (my typing is too slow). At the moment, I'm doing the Spanish course and I appreciate it not having to do the timed lessons. With the knowing not being able to proceed later, I would rather give it up now and look for another course also.


KreatIL - I've completed the Spanish course and you are never asked to complete a compulsory timed section. All the timed stuff is optional practice only, it's not necessary to unlock later lessons and it's impossible to 'fail' it. I'm also at various levels on Portugeuse, Italian, French and German, I've yet to see a compulsory timed section. I'm currently racing through the German Basics to catch up with Lynette and see if I experience the same thing.


OK. So I've advanced beyond Lynette in German (completed more courses) and I've still not seen any timed section as part of a course.


agreed. i'm on a slow connection and if i'm waiting for the audio to load i stand no chance.


"In the way Timed practice is currently structured, learning from errors is discouraged, because you have the time running down and prefer skip to the next question instead of reading the errors you have made." This is it exactly. I am currently discouraged from actually learning from my mistakes, and instead I am encouraged to just grind through the next words I DO know, for points. Changing this would make a huge learning difference, DuoLingo!


If this is your concern, then why not do the untimed practice instead?


This is not an option in German. You can't do the timed practice, the course stops.


So when you are shown the green 'Start Timed Practice' button there is no white 'Practice without Timer' button to the left of it? It's shown there for me in the German course (and all other languages too)


Also I've never seen a timed section that unlocks later courses. With some languages they come up for Mastering a course, but you don't need to master a course to unlock new course. I'm wondering if this is a bug or whether you are on some experimental course than Duolingo are trialing and not the 'normal' course.


Whether to stop the timer after each given answer or to have a review at the end is a question of taste, What however is unnecessary, is to jump to the points screen once the time is up. When the time is up just display "time is up" and change a button to "next". This would give the student time to at least dwell on this question. A review of all question would be much appreciated.


I agree. A review at the end of a Timed Practise would be very helpful.


I was unable to complete the quiz in the 2 minute time limit...so I had my boyfriend whose first language is Italian (what I'm learning) and he was also unable to get through all the questions before the time was up. :(


What two minute time limit? In the timed practices there are 30 seconds on the clock, you score 7 seconds for a correct answer and there are twenty questions in total.


Re:Felonyrose comment: I agree! Your boyfriend is fluent in Italian and he couldn't do it. What chance does someone who is trying to learn thelanguagehave? I read comments from others and it seems as if there are different rules for different languages. In Italian I have the option (timed or untimed) unril I learn, then there is no option. All lessons are timed until I master the topic. I have read other comments and some have said thet as soon as the clock reached 2 minutes you can't do any more. I can continue until I am finished. r


It's not different rules for different languages but different rules for different people. It seems newer users are getting these 2 minute timed sessions to master a language while users who joined up months ago don't get any timed sessions when mastering just a mix of untimed rounds and translation work. The only time rounds we see are the entirely optional 'Practice weakest words' rounds where there is a 30 second time limit and each correct answer earns a further 7 seconds and 1 skill point.

I'm currently learning all the languages Spanish/German/French/Italian/Portuguese.


Re: NobleJohn: Thanks! That clears it up a little. I started Duoling about 2 months ago (I love it!). I am finished level 9 and am 1/2 way through level 10, so I guess that at some point I'll be able to get just the untimed lessons. I've only had the option to do translations a few times but I like them. It's a real test of my knowledge of the language. I don't use 'practice weakest words' too often but when I have I usually do 'untimed'. I'll have to check out the 30 second timed lessons. At least I can get more than 5 points for the lesson. Thanks for the info.


I'm not sure whether you will get the untimed lessons. They seem to be using new users as guinea pigs to test new features, it may be that all users will get the timed lessions instead.


I also agree! There are 20 questions in 120 seconds - six seconds per question is not near enough time. Forget translating! I couldn't re-type what is on the screen in the same language, click on check, and click on continue, in six seconds. I don't think a person who is fluent in the language could do it. As griva89 has also said, it discourages you from learning from your mistakes. It's also a lot of time to get only five points. Maybe we could set our own time limit, with a maximum of four or five minutes, and then decrease our own time to challenge ourselves as we get faster with the translations. I've read some of the comments below and it seems as if the timed exercises are optional to some. I don't seem to have a choice. In Italian, as soon as I 'learn' a topic I have to do them until I 'master' it.


Yes! I get so discouraged whenever I am looking over my mistake and the timer keeps going. True, they may do that so you do the next after the next..... so on. But I don't think it helps. If we can't learn from our mistakes.........well, how are we going to learn?


I imagine that you, the Duolingo team, have your hands full scaling up the excellent service you've already built. I understand that you probably don't have the resources to roll this out anytime soon, but I'ma just dream out loud for a second here. Would it be reasonable and effective to expand the Timed Practice seshs into chatting with a chat bot? If you don't have the money to hire a Loebner Prize winner, maybe just ask one in the spirit of collaboration. Just like in timed practice, learners would have a limited amount of time to appropriately respond to the chat bot. If chat bots are too open ended, maybe script coherent timed conversations with definite rights and wrongs (as opposed to the current crop of conversationally unrelated question-response items). Learners could get an endurance award for 5, 10, 20 minutes of flawless performance. Here's to someday :)


i think it helps me think better because if you're having a conversation you don't just say all the time stop what you want to be able to understand quick and easy


The only part that's really hard on me is when I'm on a slow internet connection and the 10-15 seconds disappear from the clock before the next question appears. That's frustrating enough to make me quit for the rest of the day, easily.


I agree with this suggestion. I think it would be useful to check your errors. But also it would allow more time to get more answers in.


i hope it is possible to implement at least some of the suggested changes


I also agree completely. Even knowing the content thoroughly is still hard because I have to switch the keyboard over which takes up even more time.


I love the idea of timed practice, helping to promote listening & answering in real time, but the way that it is presented here could be improved. 1) The clock should surely only be counting down after the voice has started speaking, & until the answer has been submitted - on occasions, I've seen 4-5 seconds count down before I hear anything.
2) As mentioned in gio.89's post, the counter should not be ticking if you wish to review your mistake.
3) I know this sounds paranoid, but I'm convinced that the sentences in Timed Exercises are consistently longer than in Untimed Exercises (I do both, using untimed exercises to work on precision with accented letters etc). Surely there should be some sentences which can be excluded from Timed Exercises for this purpose? Sentences that are three lines long are not feasible for this purpose - I'd struggle to type down dictation of these in my first language!


Why not have us just answer, w/o checking........and then tell us how we did at the end of the two minutes. No 'check' while we're answering. After we're done, let us scroll back to see how we did.


Definitely agree with this.


As many others, I would like to have the chance to see all the mistakes after the exercise has been finished. Furthermore, on more advanced classes the content is often less precise or more sentences could be used, and I like to report all of these things. Because you probably know that not all that duolingo mark as a mistake is not necessarily one.




I can't do the times sessions as my typing is too slow and inaccurate (even in English). This means I can't move on and get stuck. I can't find how to get past the timed sessions and am thinking of giving up! How can I get past the horrid thing and start learning again???


I agree. Especially as you progress, it is really impossible to pass a timed test in two minutes.


Hallo Elenabella - You're not the only one . Not a fast typist ,but also computer is very slow. Even if a am perfect , I have no chance of passing a timed test . As I have said before , all timed exercises, either practice or regular lessons, should be optional. Otherwise, you seriously risk driving learners away.


I agree. It even adds an unhealthy stressful feeling for me: I want to check what I did wrong, but I can't because my time is running out, even though I still have to click continue or press enter to advance to the next question and not learn what I did wrong. I need some room to breathe sometimes. Sometimes timed practice is really discouraging because of this particular problem: I want the healthy stress of having to answer a question in time, not the feeling of not being able to learn from my mistakes.


I completely agree because I am a perfectionist and HAVE to learn from my mistakes and thus recieve very few points from each session due to the fact that I look at the mistake.


I completely agree with this.

Please stop time after having answered. Regardless of whether or not we got it right.

Just reduce the amount of time we have to begin with.


on long run, it would even prettier if one could check at same point which kind of mistakes were done most often in exercises e.g. if a person always forgets to put an <s> in some verb forms it would be great to hint to that problem


Still, to me, it seems to be more exciting when the time goes on even after a wrong answer ... first, in "life", usually, there is no time neither to start crying: just go on; second, the time pressure is precious since it the is fun part of this game, if you can just relax after making mistake, to me - after thinking about it - it just seems odd. The person who gets everything right has no time neither to relax in between ... so, better not to kill the game but to give a review of the mistake after finishing the Timed Practice.


I just started doing timed practice after exclusively doing non-timed. It's fun but I feel like I learn less. This thread has many good options to improve the timed practice. 1) stop timer after providing an answer - this allows the user to review the last question. it seems like this should be easy to implement. 2) if not stopping the timer, then provide a review of the missed questions at the end of the review 3) allow user to finish the last question when time runs out - it's frustrating to answer and be just a bit too late. I love using duolingo, thanks for opening my mind. I tried to learn other languages before and this is the first time where it seems to be working.


Also, giving me this huge two line sentence to translate when I've just got 5 seconds left is not funny :P


I was also thinking about it and I really support this possible change. :)


It doesn't make sense to me that you get +7 seconds for any correct answer when some sentences are much longer (and therefore take more time to translate) than others. Usually if I see a long sentence I skip it and try for a shorter one. It would be better if the additional time given for correct answers corresponded somewhat with the number of characters in the sentence.


I agree with you. I also agree with keema.


I agree, being able to review your mistakes after timed practise and even perhaps lessons would be great! If you could include why they were wrong that would be great too... ;)


I find this a really useful proposal. It will contribute to the learning, now i find it a petty i need to skip without looking at what i did wrong so i can save some time.

Please duolingo staff, move this up the priority list.


Why is this still not fixed?


I've got an idea that would be easy to implement and would make Timed Practice nicer: allow the user to answer the last question when the timer runs out.

This means that you can always finish your last question and you can see what you did wrong if you made a mistake in the last question, which you often can't now because it all happens in the last few seconds.

May be a relatively easy fix so I hope you can implement it! :)


The point is to be quick.


Yeah, but at the present state you can't even see what you did wrong (or report a mistake), because there's no time!


I think the way countdown time is currently structured doesn't affect my answer reviewing. If I want to review a wrong answer, I just do it and let the timer go off. I acknowledge enjoy betting the clock and square a 20 words practice, but that's not the objective. Whenever I get a wrong answer I need to pay attention and decide in a fraction of second weather this was a typo, I didn't read carefully, or I don't know the exact translation. In any case, If I keep running, sooner or later I'll get the same question! and this time, I'll probably pay more attention.


The pause after pressing "Check" would allow the learner to have a breather between questions. I just stopped using the Timed Practice, because I don't want to hurry up pressing Continue and the limits are too small. I would also like to suggest to add a Student Timed Practice mode, where the limits would be greater, e. g. 60 sec on beginning, and 20 sec for every right answer. For example, I'm a Primary student, and I run out of time within first 4 questions, because I can't work with the keyboard very fast yet. I would like to return to the Timed Practice soon because it's a great feature, but I don't want to be frustrated that I can't fit in the TINY time limits.


Good points. But I believe timed practice also has its place. I believe it helps me to respond faster which is also important in language acqusition I think. I know your point doesn't contradict with this, I'm just pointing that out...

[deactivated user]

    Pausing the timer would also be very helpful to join/read discussions.

    Not that I stress it much. I'll just abandon the timed practice if I want join a discussion on a sentence.


    I think that they at least should give you five seconds to look over it then at the end let you see all your mistakes


    On audio translations, the clock starts before you hear the Spanish to be translated!

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