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Is Duolingo Too Easy? 16 Hacks to Make Duolingo Harder

Is Duolingo Too Easy? 16 Hacks to Make Duolingo Harder

Is Duolingo too easy for you? Wondering how to make Duolingo harder? There are tons of super-creative hacks that will up the difficulty level of the Duolingo lessons that you’re taking.

If you’re feeling like the normal Duolingo lessons aren’t enough of a challenge for you or if you have some previous experience with the language you are learning, then these tips are exactly what you need. Here are 16 ways to keep using Duolingo, even if you think it’s getting too easy for you!

1. Earn More Crowns in a Subject to Make Duolingo Lessons More Difficult

The easiest way to make Duolingo more difficult is by simply earning more crowns in a topic. Duolingo has organized the lessons so that with each crown you earn, the lessons get more difficult.

I usually aim to earn more crowns in the subjects that I struggle with, like verb conjugations.

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Duolingo lessons

2. Always Accept Challenges to Make Lessons Harder

You may notice after completing a few lessons on Duolingo that sometimes the owl pops up and offers you an opportunity to make the next question in your lesson slightly more difficult.

Make sure to always accept those!

3. Use the Desktop Version

If you have never used Duolingo on Desktop, you’re missing out on a ton of opportunities to earn more XP, get the same benefits of Duolingo plus for free, AND make Duolingo more difficult.

On the Desktop version of Duolingo, instead of choosing the autofill words, you can choose to type the answers yourself. You’ll quickly realize how much you were relying on those answers!

You can also do this on the app, but it’s not available for every question.

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4. Try to Translate Without Looking

Another way to make Duolingo more difficult is by only reading the sentence that you’re supposed to translate and then either covering up the answer or looking away quickly so that you can try translating without any help.

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5. Start a Reverse Tree

If you have already completed your Duolingo tree, try starting a tree in reverse!

This means if you were learning Spanish from English, head to the lessons made for Spanish speakers and take their English course.

Duolingo lessons for Spanish speakers

This will definitely challenge what you’ve learned since you’ll be reverse translating and they may also teach you different ways to say things!

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6. Listen to Duolingo Stories Without Looking

If your language course has Duolingo Stories, try listening without reading along with the conversation.

You’ll still have to look to answer the questions when prompted, but it will definitely test your listening skills more than just reading along!

7. Complete More Duolingo Stories to Unlock Harder Ones

As you complete more Duolingo Stories, the conversations will get faster and use more complex vocabulary. You’ll also earn more XP in less amount of time!

8. Try Only Completing Lessons Towards the Bottom of Your Tree

You may be tempted to continue earning crowns at the top of your tree to make your subject bubbles golden.

However, if you move towards the bottom of the tree, the lesson topics get progressively more difficult.

For example, at the top of the Spanish tree, you’ll find basic vocabulary and present tense verbs.

But towards the end, you’ll find lessons on the subjunctive tense and the difference between imperfect and the preterite past tense verbs.

9. Test out of Easier Levels to Get to Harder Lessons

If you have already learned the basics in the language that you’re learning, you can quickly make Duolingo more difficult by testing out of the easier levels.

Since the harder lessons have to be unlocked, this is the only way to reach them without completing the easier lessons.

You can test out of the levels by clicking on the checkpoint that you haven’t passed yet.

checkpoints to test out of Duolingo lessons

10. Listen to the Duolingo Podcasts

For certain languages, Duolingo has made free podcasts to help with listening comprehension. Right now, they have Spanish and French for English speakers and English for Spanish speakers.

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If you’re learning one of those languages, I highly recommend the podcast!

Duolingo podcasts

I have listened to a few from French to English and the stories were really interesting and kept my attention even as a beginner/intermediate learner.

11. Stop Clicking on the Hints

When you are taking a lesson, you may notice that some of the words have dots underneath them. This means that if you click on that word, it will show you the translation.

If you have been clicking on those often, avoid using them for a few lessons and I bet you will find Duolingo much harder than before!

Duolingo hints in a lesson

12. Set a Goal to Reach a Certain Amount of XP Per Day

Another way to get more out of Duolingo is to set a goal for the amount of XP that you want to learn or the language level that you want to reach.

If you want to see how much XP you have in just ONE course, you will need to use the Duome website. To do that, you will need to type in Duolingo. 

Duome stats

For example, mine is From there, you can see all the stats of the course that you are currently on in Duolingo.

You can use this number to set a goal for yourself and complete more lessons than you would normally.

13. Write Down the Words that You Get Wrong the Most Often and Try to Use Them at Home

If you notice that you are frequently forgetting the same words, start writing them down.

Keep a notebook and pen close by while completing your lessons, then try to find a way to use those words in sentences outside of Duolingo.

You can do this by writing out sentences, talking to a friend (even if they don’t speak the language!) or even teaching the words to someone else.

My favorite app to practice chatting online with native speakers is HelloTalk.

HelloTalk language learning app

It’s free to use but only for one language. If you want to practice more than one language, you’ll have to upgrade to the paid version.

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14. Make Duolingo Flashcards

You can also take those words and phrases that you struggle with and turn them into flashcards or post-it notes that you can put around your house items.

Sometimes I find that just writing it down on a flashcard helps me even without studying it after!

15. After Using Duolingo, Take an iTalki Class with a Language Tutor

Even though Duolingo is an awesome and free way to learn a language, at a certain point you definitely should be using other resources.

I detail my exact language learning plan here and also my strategy for using Duolingo more efficiently here.

My absolute favorite resource for learning a language (besides Duolingo) is iTalki.

You can find native speakers who will give you conversation lessons one-on-one for around $8-$10 per hour (sometimes lower depending on the language!)

Here are all the reasons you should try iTalki!

16. Or Try Using Memrise Decks

If you are wanting to focus on vocabulary, Memrise is definitely the place to go! After signing up, you can search the courses for ones that are specifically for Duolingo.

These decks include all the vocabulary used on Duolingo.

Duolingo decks on Memrise

Although Memrise has an app, I don’t recommend using it. I don’t consider it very user-friendly, so definitely stick to the desktop version.

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16 hacks to make Duolingo more difficult


Thursday 13th of May 2021

Nice article!


Saturday 17th of April 2021

Thanks :) I didn't realize many of these. I took spanish a few decades ago and wanted to re-learn it...