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10 Duolingo Tips Most Users Don’t Know About

These Duolingo tips will help you stay motivated and use Duolingo more than ever!

After becoming seriously obsessed with Duolingo in 2018, I learned a lot of things about the app that I think most users aren’t even aware of.

I have 3 Golden Owls, over 40,000 XP, and am a level 18 in Italian! If you did not understand that last sentence, then this blog post is definitely for you!

As a side note, I use Duolingo alongside italki to learn languages from anywhere! Check out why you should use Italki here.

1. Change your daily goal

The first thing you should do if you want to use Duolingo more seriously to learn a language is to edit your daily goal. You can do this on the mobile app by clicking on the fire emoji that represents your streak.

You should see a place to edit your goal that looks like this:

Duolingo Daily Goal

From there you should change it to the highest XP possible. This should push you to use Duolingo more often!

Daily Goal Settings on Duolingo

For a more in-depth guide on how to change your daily goal, check out this post.

2. Duolingo trees, Crowns & Golden owls

When you choose a course on Duolingo, your goal is to complete the “tree.” A tree is basically all of the lessons that are available for the language course that you chose.

Each lesson is divided into 5 “crowns”, which represents how well you know that specific topic.

When you first start a tree, you will only be able to do one lesson at a time. Once you earn your first “crown” then other lessons will become available.

Duolingo App

With each topic, you have the ability to earn 5 “crowns” and that will turn the topic gold. After a while, if you don’t go back to practice, the topic will break like the picture below.

All you need is to practice the topic and it will go back to being golden.

Golden Topics on Duolingo

This is very important for understanding the end goal of Duolingo (besides practicing your language) which is to earn a Golden Owl. This happens when every topic in your tree has at least 1 crown.

It pops up at the bottom of the tree as a reminder of all your hard work!

Golden Owl on Duolingo

I seriously would not be able to learn languages without italki (I’m taking 3 classes per week right now) try out a class and you’ll thank me later. They’re usually $9 or less!

3. Leveling up

Once you have gotten your “Golden Owl”, your work is not done yet! The ultimate goal for serious users on Duolingo is to hit level 25 in your language.

This is the highest level possible and takes a LOT of work to get there.

Duolingo language levels
My levels from English, find out your level by reading this post!

The level is determined by the amount of XP that you have in that language. Duolingo used to show your levels on your profile, but now only shows the amount of XP you have.

“Leveling Up” in Duolingo is a huge motivating factor for me (and many learners) so that is why the next section is one of my favorites!

Head to this post for a more in-depth look at levels and what you can use them for!

4. the Duome

I’m pretty sure I learned about the Duome from Duolingo forums (where people talk about their progress and ask questions etc.)

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This website is SUPER cool and really helps if you are serious about using Duolingo to learn a language.

Basically, this website can see all of your progress on Duolingo, including your Golden Owls, how many XP you need to get to the next level, and how many words you’ve learned.

However, because this is an unofficial site, I’m not completely sure that everyone is on it.

I believe that you have to have completed a certain amount of XP to get onto this site, although since it’s not an official site it can be a little unclear what that number is.

The best way to know if you’re on it is to try!

All you need to do is type duome.eu/YOURUSERNAME and see what it says! This is what pops up when I do that:

Duome website for duolingo

When you scroll down, you can see all of the languages that you are currently learning, which level you are on and how many XP you need to get to the next level. It also shows the Golden Owls that you have earned!

Levels and golden owls on duome for duolingo

If you’re also learning languages FROM other languages besides your native language (we’ll talk more about that later), then all you need to do to check your progress there is to go into your Duolingo app and change your course.

For example, for the pictures above, I was using my native language, English, to learn French.

However, I have done quite a bit from Spanish as well, so in order to see my progress there, I just switch to any course from the Spanish language.

I switched to my Spanish to Italian course and then refreshed the Duome website and it changed to showing all the courses and progress I’ve made in courses from the Spanish language:

Duome for duolingo

If you were able to find your profile on Duome, make sure to bookmark it so that you can check it regularly to motivate yourself to work harder!

To see more on Duome, you can type in duome.eu/YOURUSERNAME/progress as well to see specific progress in the language course that you are currently on.

Progress on Duome for duolingo
language levels and golden owls for duolingo

5. Learn languages FROM other languages

One of my favorite ways to use Duolingo is to do “reverse trees.” This means that instead of doing English to Spanish, you could do Spanish to English. Even better, once you know Spanish, then you can use Spanish to get to your next language!

To do that, just click on the flag that represents the course you are currently on and then scroll until you see the “Add Course” button.

adding courses on duolingo

After that, scroll down the “More” button to see courses that aren’t in your native language.

courses from English on Duolingo

Then you can scroll through all of the courses that Duolingo has available. Not every language is available from every language, but this is a cool way to get even more practice in the language!

Courses for Spanish speakers on Duolingo

If you want to learn a language faster than ever, I also highly recommend reading Benny Lewis’s book on how to learn a language in JUST 3 months.

6. Don’t buy plus, just practice or switch to an easier language

If you’ve used Duolingo, you know that the free version can only get you so far. Once you make 5 mistakes, you either have to watch an ad or practice to get your “health” back so that you can keep learning.

Also, if you’ve saved up enough gems, you can buy health back for 450-500 gems.

One thing you could do to get around this is to buy “Plus” which is about $7 per month and it allows you to do as many lessons as you want and even use it offline.

duolingo for free or duolingo plus

However, I don’t recommend doing that (read more about why I don’t recommend upgrading to Plus here!) It’s so easy to use Duolingo for free that it’s never seemed worth it to me!

Here’s how I get around it:

  • Every time there is an opportunity to watch an ad, I do it
  • When I run out of health, I switch to an easier language to get my health back
  • I only spend my gems on buying back health (not freezing my streak)

Most of that is straight-forward, but I want to go over the second bullet point a bit more. So say for example that you are learning Spanish from English.

You’ve been working your way through the Duolingo tree and the lessons are starting to get harder and harder and pretty soon you are losing health much faster than before.

Instead of giving up, switch courses to a different language for a few minutes! Not only does this help you get a bit of a break by doing something easier for a second, but it also reminds you of how much you have already learned!

switch languages on duolingo
Switch languages by clicking on the flag in the top right corner.

If you are currently only learning one language, then just add your course but backward. So instead of Spanish from English, add the course of English from Spanish.

Duolingo courses for Spanish speakers
Try a reverse tree! English for Spanish speakers, for example!

You’ll be back to doing some of the basic things that you learned at the beginning that should be easier for you, and you’ll be able to build back your health before heading back to your original course.

If you’re super into language learning like me, or maybe just want to get into it, you should definitely check out this book on Amazon about how to stay fluent in a language over time without losing fluency!

7. Using the desktop website

When I first started using Duolingo more seriously (in 2018 when I was learning Italian) I actually had no idea that Duolingo even had a website. But this has been such an awesome discovery since!

Duolingo desktop version

The two best things about the desktop website: you don’t lose health and you can type your answers!

This means that you are getting much more practice that is more challenging, and you can go faster since you don’t have to worry about making mistakes! When I’m studying during the day, I only use the desktop website.

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When I’m watching TV or have already finished studying for the day and just want to spend more time on Duolingo, I will use the mobile app.

The rewards are also slightly different between the two, but the XP (points earned when completing a lesson) is the same so you aren’t losing anything by using the website.

8. Duolingo Podcasts

I have only listened to a few of these in French, but that’s because I’m not really a podcast person! Currently, Duolingo only has podcasts in Spanish and French which you can find on the Apple Podcast App for free!

Duolingo podcasts

9. duolingo Stories

Some Duolingo courses (usually only the most popular ones) have an extra tab called “Duolingo Stories.” You earn XP by listening to a conversation and answering questions as it goes along.

Duolingo Stories

10. Buy extra lessons when possible with gems

Although you may be tempted to buy Duolingo a new tracksuit with your sweet gems, the first thing you should do is go through all your courses and check if it’s possible to buy extra lessons.

They usually only exist in more popular courses, like the Duolingo stories. For example, I found them in my English to French course. There were spaces for bonus lessons like this:

Buy Bonus Skills on Duolingo

You can click on the bonus button and it will take you to the shop which shows you the extra lessons you can buy. I already bought all the “bonus skills” that were available so it says that they are “equipped.”

Bonus Skills on Duolingo

I hope this list helped you know more about Duolingo than you probably ever wanted to know! lol Let me know if there is something you’ve learned about Duolingo that I haven’t mentioned! (:

Now you can head to this post to learn the best way to use Duolingo and how I used it to learn Italian & French!

Language Learning Must-Haves

More about language learning:

10 Duolingo Tips Most Users Don't Know About

Angry D

Tuesday 5th of October 2021

Like Duolingo, this article is useless paff. These aren’t tips; this is simply how Duolingo works.

2027 days on Duolingo and I’m about done. I’m sick of their heart system. I’m not learning anything new because the only way I can keep my streak is to end any lesson where they’ve ,asked me wrong three times and to do an earlier lesson over agin. That isn’t learning and it’s what Duolingo encourages with their shitty membership and payment model. God forbid you point out in their discussions that they are wrong because duo will just remove your posting ability and never make any corrections.

They’ve added a new Spanish speaker who sounds like he’s trying to audition for a Spanish porno. Seriously. Run a few lessons and you’ll know EXACTLY who I mean.

I recommend everyone use Duolingo until you’re no longer comfortable with the level of obnoxious advertising and irritating hearts, and then go find something that works better for you. Once you hit about tier three you’ll be able to read first and second grade Spanish books. Check them out at the library and use google translate (which usually shows where duo is wrong, anyway) to read them at home. Duo doesn’t do crap to make you a better speaker of any language, so all you’re getting is the ability to read it at a grade school level, anyway. You’ll get more out of some kids books.

Ewelina

Monday 27th of September 2021

Nice post! I really enjoy learning on Duolingo. I'm just a week away from 365 days streak! It's the first time I stuck to it for that long, so I'm kinda proud of myself, haha!

admin

Tuesday 28th of September 2021

Holy crap! That's amazing! I'm seriously the WORST at streaks lol but that is such an accomplishment! You definitely need to celebrate that, good job!

Melissa

Monday 28th of June 2021

Hello... I've been looking everywhere for info on what the symbols (sunglasses...etc) beside a person's username....the page that shows what level you are at (emerald...saphire...etc). I didn't see this on your page. If you can find this info or direct me to a webpage that explains these symbols,..that would be great. Thanks...MRS

admin

Monday 28th of June 2021

Hey Melissa! So if you go to your Leagues tab and scroll to where you see your username, you should see a smiley face and a plus sign. You can click on that and basically update your "status" like on Facebook. You can choose from a bunch of different emojis and it will show up next to your profile picture in the League tab. I hope that helps! (:

Joseph

Saturday 19th of June 2021

I think it would be a lot better if Duolingo worked at actually teaching stuff, in stead of playing around with all this points and levels and all that stuff. I could totally do without the cartoon characters and their comments while you are trying to do a lesson.

Andy

Saturday 2nd of January 2021

Good article. The duome site didn’t work for me however or the information was very old (more than 3 years). There are features about Plus that were overlooked- you can go camping for days on end and not lose your ‘streak’ when you have Plus, because you’ll be able to practice on your phone, etc.. Additionally, you don’t have to fiddle with switching to “easier” languages to maintain health. If you’re trying to learn Spanish, as I am, I don’t want to interrupt the leaning with something that isn’t germane to Spanish. This is counterintuitive. Plus goes on sale several times a year. I just bought another year for $60 ($5/month). Enjoy Duolingo, listen to the Podcasts if applicable, and stretch your goals! Don’t get caught up in the league races- there is no satisfaction at the end and who are you going to tell anyway?