After 5 timed practice sessions in a row each ending with zero correct answers I'm left feeling quite defeated this morning. Something tells me I should be much better off after 9 months of continuous study. I'm still left struggling for word order, gender agreement, conjugations, etc... This is really, really hard stuff, no doubt.

October 11, 2013


Well, you can't be getting any worse. So you've got that going for you.

Ha, I like your perspective!

Hi Chrisfay! I'm interested in knowing what language and what skill+lesson you're having difficulty in. We'll be able to take a look and see why that might be happening. Appreciate the extra info!

Hi Kristine,

I am learning Spanish. Specifically, I was doing the general timed 'Lesson Practice' and just hit a consecutive series of items towards the 'advanced' side of the skill tree, failing each of them without a single right answer before the time expired. Generally, I find that I may hit a run or two where I'll fail out miserably on a timed lesson, then do really well on a spree of them – almost like it recognizes that I'm failing miserably and funnels easier stuff my way. lol. Probably totally random, but whatever.

Doing well on those timed practices is somewhat of an art, I think. You can either linger on something you don't know too long and end up wasting all your time, failing out, or you can intentionally fail a question early to move onto something else and keep things moving. I think today I was too dedicated to answering correctly :)


Hey chrisfay- good to know! I do understand what you're describing. I have had that happen a few times. I tend to go back to the lessons where I saw that material to review. Keep at it :)

Skip the 'timed' part. It is not a race, and no one in Mexico, Spain, Cuba, etc. will think less of you if you ask them to slow down or if you speak slowly.

Are you using other sources, or just Duo? Sometimes hearing the same thing in a different way will help things 'click.' For many, getting a better foundation in the 'rules' of grammar (not a Duo strength) is better than 'learning from your mistakes.' And sometimes it just helps to take a break and learn from a fresh face, so to speak, just as some teachers explain algebra/chemistry/geology, etc. better than others; it is still algebra, but some folks make it 'easier.'

Yes, I've been rotating through quite a few other resources throughout my studies thus far. See Good advice, thanks.

It is just an off day, it happens. Besides that, it takes about 2 or more years for a toddler to speak a language and be understood. So your 9 months is still way off. Age is a factor, but motivation is more important. Keep trying.

you might want to not use the timed practice, it just adds pressure on youre thought process because there's a "tick tock" going on in the background of your mind, stealing precious "cpu cycles". I have been learning for a few months, and never once bothered with timer because I know speed will come with time and practice. I am way more concerned with the what and why then with being fast at this point

I personally [generally] really enjoy the timed tests for that very reason. It forces me to think quickly, kind of like the short pauses for recall in Pimsleur. It feels like a different type of practice than drilling without the pressure. Normally I do pretty well, today however I fared horribly, which was not fun. I just need to try and not be so hard on myself I suppose, trying to learn a new language in your 30's with little previous foreign language experience is beyond difficult.

We all have bad days sometimes. Don't be angry with yourself, maybe you just need a little rest or have some untimed practice of the areas you are not really fluent in. Don't give up, I'm sure you can do it!

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