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4th French Tree, Some thoughts...

So, I've spent the better part of the last year completing the French Tree and I've learned a lot. Below are a few key things I've learned and experienced.

The 1st Attempt: The first attempt was rough to say the least, with only a background in French in high school and a fluency in Spanish and a completion of the German tree I was ready to tackle the beast. It took me about 5-6 months to finish, I was very reliant on google translate and each new word was logged into my computer note pad for reference. I did not listen to radio or watch videos. My confidence in the use and understanding was very low. But overall I was very motivated because of the ease of the language and rules were pretty easy. my average test score on duo is about a 1.98. Time spent per day on duo (8 hours, 5 days a week)

The 2nd Attempt: Confidence is at 80% and i'm breezing through the first few courses. The words are easier to remember and i'm now listening to radio and watching videos. I no longer use the notepad or google translate. I can pick out various words in a conversation and get the jist of what is going on. I have implemented Michel Thomas French into my training and all is well. my average test score on duo is about 2.90-3.00. Time spent per day on duo (4 hours, 7 days a week)

The Third Attempt: I blasted through many courses, opting to test out of a lot of the courses. I watch videos on youtube to perfect my pronounciation of the words. I can join in on a conversation online and get my message across successfully. My third attempt is consisting of picking up on the words that are easy for me to forget or are similar in spelling to others. I have no problems with genders or plurals, they are pretty much second nature to me now. I think in French while speaking in English and my confidence is at an all time high. I am watching movies with English subtitles to get used to spoken French and its speed. My average score on Duo is about 3.80-3.90. (time spent per day on duo (2 hours, 5 days a week)

on my fourth attempt: I hope to finish the course in about 2 months. ive placed successfully into level 7 and skipped much of the initial courses. I plan on focusing more on the past tense classes and pick up on words that keep falling out of memory. Goal for duo test: 4.5-5.0, Time spent will be (1 hour, 5 days a week).

I do plan on making more attempts after I am done, I find that just restarting the tree is more effective for me than going back to courses that no longer gold. it's a mental thing for me to see a class I just finished become incomplete after two days. As my reading and writing becomes more fluent my listening and speaking gets better with conversations and audio resources that are available. I have also learned that the most useful tool for me is a fluent native speaker that is willing and able to help you along the way. If I had this at attempt 2 I honestly believe I would be 10 times better by attempt 3. Mais, that's life. I am sorry if this made no sense, or my grammar is off, but when you work with several languages you tend to lose your native tongue quite easily.

June 23, 2015



Whoa! That's so impressive. Congrats on your "trees"! Or should I say "forest"? Did you start a new account each time you completed the tree or did you learn French via different languages (English, German etc.)? It's unclear to me how you started each time from scratch.

Also what type of youtube videos have you been watching? I've started following Cyprien, but only his newer videos seem to have French subs. My understanding is probably below 50% without French subs and that demotivates the life out of me.


Thanks!, there's an option in your settings that lets you see all your language course and there is a button that asks you to reset your progress. I just do that every time I finish a tree. So no need to create a new account. your progress will reset but not your lingots. As far as youtube videos I use "Easy French", there are about 28 episodes and they are aimed at learners. It series of videos that covers different topics with people from France and Montreal. Also, I will listen to music videos in French by searching for "French music avec paroles" (with lyrics). the youtube videos help me improve listening and speaking. the English/French subtitles help me pair the written and spoken French and are almost synced up for me now. Michel Thomas French (available online free if you are saavy) is an awesome tool I used to boost my confidence in the language and helped build on the large vocabulary I had attained through duo. Lastly, I know it can be a little difficult letting go of your progress, but if it is knowledge of the language that you are after and eventually fluency then it shouldn't even matter. I stopped caring about lingots on my third attempt, you will get that tree back again in a shorter period time the second time around.


I had no idea that was possible! [I saw the option now] Simply keeping my tree golden doesn't give me that sense of progress anymore, so I guess I'll follow your path and re-do the whole thing. Thanks for your input!


Thanks for sharing; I never thought to redo the tree, but I can't wait to do so! Great job, and keep going!


Thanks! the first time i finished the tree i stepped away from Duo because i felt done... but i wasn't. I didn't have any idea what people were saying... some of the words sounded familiar from Duo but i couldn't remember, and i didn't want to go back to my current progress and re-do partial classes. So i just re-did the whole course and liked the fact that i was progressing faster each time. that was motivation enough for me.


This is a most interesting and helpful post, thank you. Je ne savais pas qu je pouvais réinitialiser et recommencer. Je vais faire l'arbre encore aussi.


this is an awesome idea and I have started it too as i was beginning to feel the same way about duo, just a question for you: do you take the placement test when you restart the tree? and do you test out of lessons? I think I'm going to start from basics again.


I take the placement test at the middle and end of the course. and I avoided testing out of lessons in the second attempt just because testing out simply skips many crucial words that can easily be forgotten unless it is an initial lesson that I feel very comfortable with. On the third attempt I opted to test out of the majority of the courses at the beginning since on the second attempt I had no problem passing each class on the first try with rarely any mistakes. I've found that I start slowing down towards the middle so emphasize my study in that area. once I reach the last 10-15 courses I start breezing through individual courses quite quickly.


My apologies, i take a quiz in the middle and end of the course for a progress average. The placement test i saved for the third attempt, although i felt that i skipped way too many classes and simply reset and started from basics. the fourth attempt i definitely placed out onto level 7.


Very impressive! I was just thinking what to do as it seems I will finish my tree in the coming days. This seem like a good idea to solidify the language in working memory. Thanks for the idea.


I definitely want to finish the tree for Spanish for English Speakers prior to returning to the Tree English for French Speakers. But I plan to occasionally review the other tree so I don't forget everything I learn. I definitely plan to continue the strengthening lessons, both in the chapters as well as the right side. And I want to increase my speed. I feel somewhat intimidated by the immersion section. If I attempt this, I will ask for some help from others in respect to feedback, more than just a percentage number or up and down votes.


Oh my, is that normal to spend so much time when doing the 1st tree? Or is it much harder when you know so many (4?) languages? (This is only my first try at a different language). You're saying 22ish weeks x 5 days x 8 hours = 880 hours to make it golden or was that to get to level 25?

Just got my first gold tree today after about 85 hours.

I opened another account, I think my second tree will be French -> English instead to get more of a balance of the types of questions.

Anyone else have any tips, or does anyone do conversationexchange.com or similar to get experience?

Heh, don't worry about your English, it's parfait! :p


1st question lol: I spent about 8 hours per day, most of the time was spent writing down the new words on a piece of paper or on Microsoft word. I spent a lot of time in each course, and when I made the 1st attempt DUO used the 3 hearts format so there was a lot of repetition. 2nd: the difficulty is hit or miss with different languages... Spanish helped me because if I couldn't associate a French word with an English word I had Spanish to help me out, also, the words in French are similar to English yet the sentences are structured just like Spanish, so knowing those two languages beforehand really helped. 3rd: yes it took that long to make it golden, ive never reached level 25, as soon as the tree goes gold I hit restart. Merci pour votre question!


Thanks so much for the details.

Ya I didn't get why that is, I still have an app on my tablet that uses the three hearts, yet the phone and desktop don't. I probably didn't learn and retain anywhere near as well as you going through it more like a game. Though I am still planning on getting some epic hours logged perfecting it like you.

Keep up the awesome dedication!


Wow, I am impressed. Such a good idea, redo to get the words you forgot the first time. Have a couple lingots.

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