Duolingo Units & Checkpoints - The ESSENTIAL Guide - duoplanet (2023)

Units and checkpoints on Duolingo have long been some of the most important references of where you’re at in your target language.

For a long time, Duolingo used fancy castles and bolted doors to represent its units and checkpoints. And for many, this will still be the case.

However, as you may be aware, Duolingo is changing — and so too are its units and checkpoints.

The ‘tree’ is out and the new learning path is in. As of September 2022, Duolingo is still rolling out the new format, so you may or may not have it yet. If you’ve got it, then you’ll notice that units are still a thing, but they’re a bit different to how they used to be.

As such, this article goes over the two different versions of units and checkpoints. The first part covers the original and the second part covers the new.

Shall we get into it?

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What are Duolingo Units?

Let’s start with the original version of Duolingo units.

On the tree, Duolingo represents its units with some rather fancy-looking castles.

Some courses have 2, others have as many as 10!

A unit on the Duolingo tree is just a block of content. Each course is broken down into logical chunks, each one cranking up the difficulty as you progress through the course.

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As the units go up, so too do the number of towers in the castles. Unit 1 of a Duolingo course will have one tower in the castle, whereas Unit 10 will have — you guessed it — 10 towers!

If you tap on a unit, you’ll get a little pop-up that tells you how many crowns you’ve earned.

Basically, to fully complete a unit, you need to unlock every crown level.

However, you can progress to the next unit once you’ve earned at least one crown in each skill.

Confused? Don’t worry — there’s layers to this stuff! Check out my article on Duolingo crowns for more info on crowns and why they matter.

duolingo new learning path units

Duolingo’s new learning path takes a slightly different approach to units.

Units on the new learning path are much smaller than on the tree. They usually only contain a handful of levels. Depending on the course, these will usually be grouped thematically and contain a nice mix of exercises (including stories).

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Also, depending on the course, each unit comes with its own guidebook. This gives you the lowdown on all the juicy grammar and vocabulary explanations you’ll need to ace the unit.

What are Duolingo Checkpoints?

Now for the checkpoints.

On the tree, a checkpoint is basically an end-of-unit exam, which you need to pass in order to move on to the next unit.

You simply tap the wooden doors with the big fat lock and you’ll be thrust into your checkpoint challenge.

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duolingo new learning path checkpoints

As with the units, Duolingo’s new learning path takes a different approach to checkpoints.

The main difference is that it doesn’t really have any. Each unit ends with a challenge containing up to 8 levels. However, you only have to complete the first level to move on to the next unit.

Alternatively, you can jump ahead to a unit further along the path by tapping JUMP HERE at the start of the unit.

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How to unlock a checkpoint on Duolingo

To unlock a checkpoint on the Duolingo tree, you need to complete the end-of-unit challenge.

To do so, just tap the checkpoint, then tap START to get stuck into the challenge.

In my experience, the checkpoint challenges are about 30 questions long, so they’re pretty grueling. Don’t expect to whizz through it like the normal lessons.

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Checkpoint challenges don’t come with the usual hints and tips of the standard lessons, so you won’t be able to tap a word if you don’t know what it means.

Although the challenge contains 30 questions, you’ll be relieved to know that you don’t have to get all 30 right.

You get 4 hearts (regardless of whether you’re a Plus/Super member or not) so 4 opportunities to slip up.

Unlike the standard lessons, if you get a question wrong, you won’t encounter it again at the end of the challenge.

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If you lose all 4 hearts before the end of the challenge, then, unfortunately, you’ll have to try again.

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I remember getting to the final question recently with one heart remaining — and I got it wrong!

I swear it took me a good 10 minutes to get there as well, so be warned — it can be pretty frustrating!

What happens when you complete a checkpoint

Once you complete a checkpoint on the Duolingo tree, the main thing that will happen is you will unlock the next unit, and therefore pass through to the next big chunk of the course.

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You’ll also earn a solid 50 XP!

However, depending on where you were in your course when you attempted the checkpoint challenge, a few other things might happen as well.

For instance…

If you skipped a bunch of skill levels to take the checkpoint challenge, then you’ll unlock the first crown in each of the skills you skipped.

As a result of this, not only will your crown total increase, but you’ll probably unlock a bunch of new stories (depending on the language course) as well.

You might even find yourself completing a daily quest if one of the challenges was to unlock a crown.

You can also feel super confident in the knowledge that you’re absolutely bossing the course!

How many checkpoints/units are there in a Duolingo course?

This depends on a couple of things.

The main thing is which version of Duolingo you’re running. If you’ve got the old tree, then you’ll have significantly fewer units than if you’re running the new learning path.

It also depends on the course you take. As you’ve probably guessed by now, some courses have more content than others. So, as a general rule of thumb: the more content, the more units there are likely to be.

The French course, for instance, which is easily one of Duolingo’s most popular and feature-rich, has a whopping 10 units to work through on the old tree.

Navajo, on the other hand, only has the one unit on the old tree.

When to do a checkpoint

In most cases, the best time to tackle a checkpoint on the old tree will be when you’ve reached the first crown level in all of the skills before it.

That way you’ll be in the best position to know the sort of material that’s going to pop up.

However, there aren’t any hard and fast rules on this. You can tackle a checkpoint whenever you fancy it — whether you’re deep into your unit or at the very beginning of it.

This ‘test-out’ feature is pretty much the same as what you get within the skills individually. If you’re familiar with how the crown levels work, then you’ll know you can do a test to unlock a crown early without having to go through the rigmarole of all the usual lessons.

This is pretty useful if you’re already familiar with your target language and you want to reach a more challenging level in the course.

How hard are checkpoints to complete?

The guys at Duolingo made the checkpoints on the old tree pretty grueling.

If you’re super comfortable with the language, then you’ll probably be fine in most cases.

But 30 questions without hints is a lot, especially with only 4 hearts.

The challenge is an assortment of questions from throughout the previous unit, so expect to see examples from every skill you’ve worked through.

In which case: the better you know the unit, the easier you’ll find the challenge.

pin for later!

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What happens when you complete all checkpoints in Duolingo? ›

What happens when you complete a checkpoint. Once you complete a checkpoint on the Duolingo tree, the main thing that will happen is you will unlock the next unit, and therefore pass through to the next big chunk of the course. You'll also earn a solid 50 XP!

How long does it take to complete a Duolingo unit? ›

Each module is made of up 6 levels, and within each level, there are 3 to 4 lessons. That may sound like a lot, and it is, but know that each lesson is very short, taking only about 5 to 10 minutes to complete.

What happens when you complete a unit in Duolingo? ›

Once you complete all the levels in a unit, you'll complete a challenge to earn your unit trophy. You'll also have the option to earn the Legendary trophy for each unit.

Can you fail a Duolingo checkpoint? ›

It is not possible to fail a checkpoint. But all sentences used in the checkpoint have to be translated correctly before proceeding.

What happens when you reach 365 days on Duolingo? ›

Creating a “Broken Streak Society”

One of the coolest things I discovered was Duolingo's exclusive Streak Society! You get automatically inducted into the club once you get 365 days logged.

How fluent will I be after Duolingo? ›

When it comes to listening and reading, they found that 5 units of Duolingo is comparable to 4 university semesters. As for speaking, they found that at least 50% of learners that had completed 5 units of the French and Spanish courses reached at least an A2 level of speaking.

What percentage of people finish a Duolingo course? ›

Unfortunately, there is a wealth of difference between installing an app, and learning a new language. An informal study estimates that course completion rates fall as low as 0.01% for Spanish learners (second most popular language on Duolingo), and peak at 0.24% for Ukrainian learners.

How many minutes a day should I practice Duolingo? ›

You don't need to spend hours on Duolingo each day. However, you must put a reasonable amount of time into learning. If you log in to complete one lesson and sign out as soon as you've reached 10XP, you won't get very far. To optimize your learning, aim to spend between 15 and 30 minutes on the app each day.

What is the hardest course on Duolingo? ›

Anyway, based on this linear regression, French is definitely the hardest language, insofar as it takes more instances of seeing a certain word before reaching the same number of correct productions as one of the other languages.

What happens when you reach the end of Duolingo? ›

When you get to the end, you'll get a cute little trophy wearing a flag that represents the language you're learning. Each node in the tree consists of several lessons.

Should I complete all levels in Duolingo before moving on? ›

The way Duolingo teaches requires users to finish a skill or set of skills before moving on to the next set. The skills are displayed in a way that makes them look slightly like a "language tree ". Users must complete all the skills on each row of the tree before moving to the next row.

Is finishing Duolingo worth it? ›

Finishing a Duolingo course might teach you how to process the written language on some basic level, but going through thousands of short and unrelated sentences doesn't really have much in common with actual reading. This is why you should develop your own reading practice.

Is Duolingo monitored? ›

The Duolingo English Test team detects coordinated test taking by monitoring for anomalous test taking patterns, scanning the internet for item repositories, and fielding whistleblower reports.

Can you actually learn a language with Duolingo? ›

Duolingo is not a stand-alone language course, but it's an excellent addition to a language learner's toolbox. It's easy to use, it's fun and it works. Don't forget to do the homework, though. If your aim is to achieve real fluency, remember to read, speak, and truly live the language that you're learning!

What is the longest Duolingo streak ever? ›

The longest streak for a Duolingo employee right now is more than 3,000 days strong! We know our learners have extended their streaks in some wild and funny places – like the club, music festivals, and even on their wedding day!

Who Has Longest Duolingo streak? ›

Congrats to John Arnold, who has the highest-ever Duolingo streak of over 2000 days! He's a horse farmer and chemist who's been studying for 5.5 years straight.

What happens if you miss a day on Duolingo? ›

Get a streak freeze to make sure you don't lose your streak when you forget to practice for a day. A streak freeze must be purchased in advance of a day of a missed lesson to protect the streak. You can equip up to 2 streak freezes at a time. You can purchase a streak freeze via the app and web shop.

How many hours of Duolingo is equal to a college course? ›

We have a team of PhDs dedicated to this. According to an independent study conducted by the City University of New York and the University of South Carolina, an average of 34 hours of Duolingo are equivalent to a full university semester of language education. You can see a full report of the study here.

What is the average Duolingo score? ›

115 is considered a good Duolingo score. A score above 110 is considered good, and that above 120 is considered excellent in Duolingo. Is 120 a good Duolingo score? Yes, 120 is considered to be an excellent Duolingo score.

Which is better babbel or Duolingo? ›

Is Babbel better than Duolingo? After thoroughly testing out and reviewing each language learning program, we feel that Babbel is better than Duolingo for multiple reasons. Based on the strength of their curriculum, teaching style and delivery, we rate Babbel as the superior app over Duolingo.

Is Duolingo good for the brain? ›

Understanding the study

Duolingo learners and BrainHQ learners both demonstrated improved executive functioning and working memory, despite only one of the apps being an explicit “brain trainer”!

What age group uses Duolingo the most? ›

About 60% of U.S. learners are under 30.

What is the easiest language to learn on Duolingo? ›

Overall, it's typically easier to study a language more similar to the one you know best. For English speakers, that means many languages from Europe — like Spanish and German — will be easier to learn on average than languages that aren't related to English at all — like Arabic and Chinese. But even this can be murky!

Can you do too much Duolingo? ›

Our research shows that if people advance too quickly on Duolingo in one day, it can actually negatively impact their learning because they are less likely to remember what they've learned. We know that users learn best when they study every day and take the time to practice and review what they've learned.

How long is too long on Duolingo? ›

You don't need to spend hours on Duolingo each day. However, you must put a reasonable amount of time into learning. If you log in to complete one lesson and sign out as soon as you've reached 10XP, you won't get very far. To optimize your learning, aim to spend between 15 and 30 minutes on the app each day.

How much do Duolingo hosts get paid? ›

How are hosts paid for their classes? Hosts can set their own ticket prices up to $20 per ticket. Hosts receive 80% of ticket sales, and Duolingo applies a 20% service fee. Once invited to participate, hosts must sign up with Stripe to receive payouts and must be in a region supported by Stripe.

Why is Duolingo controversial? ›

Up until a couple of days ago, the Duolingo app was famous for terrorising people into doing their daily lessons so they could ask someone where the horse would drink coffee in a different language. Now, the app and its mascot – a green owl – are under fire for making an NSFW comment about Katy Perry.

What is the most learned language on Duolingo? ›

Top 10 languages studied around the world (in order): English, Spanish, French, German, Japanese, Italian, Korean, Chinese, Russian, Hindi.

What happens if Duolingo is too easy? ›

If you have previous experience with a language and feel that lessons are too easy, you can scroll to the next locked unit and tap the circle that says “Jump here?”. If you pass the test, you'll unlock that unit! NOTE: This will complete all levels up to that point.

How many lessons of Duolingo should you do a day? ›

Casual is one lesson per day, Regular is two, Serious is three, and Insane is five lessons in a day. I have my daily goal set to Serious, which requires completing three lessons daily, but I'll often do more lessons if I have the time, typically around five or six.

What is the best way to progress through Duolingo? ›

“Hover” around several skills – spreading your time across a handful of nearby skills – and alternate between gaining crowns and doing new lessons. Hovering across multiple skills helps you maximize learning by practicing what you've already studied while continuing to learn new material.

What are the pros and cons of Duolingo? ›

  • Pros: Comprehensive, clear, and varied lessons that adjust to students. Teach dashboard supports assignments.
  • Cons: Lacks nuances of language, shades of meaning, and colloquial words and expressions.
  • Bottom Line: Duolingo's lessons provide a simple, effective, and engrossing way to learn a language.

Is anything better than Duolingo? ›

We have compiled a list of solutions that reviewers voted as the best overall alternatives and competitors to Duolingo, including Rosetta Stone, Lingvist, Busuu, and Mango Languages.

Why has Duolingo changed 2022? ›

Overall, the changes feel like they'll make learning a language even easier and more accessible. Duolingo told me that's by design. Anton Yu, Duolingo's product manager, said the app's redesign was shaped by feedback: Users wanted more guidance and content with less complexity.

How safe is Duolingo? ›

Duolingo's community guidelines indicate that Duolingo ensures a safe environment for user interaction by removing inappropriate and offensive content, but some personal information may be publicly visible. However, Duolingo warns users not to overshare personal information when interacting with other users.

Is Rosetta Stone better than Duolingo? ›

Yes. After thoroughly testing out and reviewing each language learning app, we found Rosetta Stone to be a superior program to Duolingo. While we like Duolingo's gamification of learning, Rosetta Stone is simply more comprehensive and effective.

What is the easiest language to learn? ›

15 of the easiest languages to learn for English speakers - ranked
  • Frisian. Frisian is thought to be one of the languages most closely related to English, and therefore also the easiest for English-speakers to pick up. ...
  • Dutch. ...
  • Norwegian. ...
  • Spanish. ...
  • Portuguese. ...
  • Italian. ...
  • French. ...
  • Swedish.
Oct 24, 2021

What happens after checkpoint 4 Duolingo? ›

After you test out of a checkpoint, or pass a checkpoint, you then will have access to more lessons that are more difficult. Unless you've already hit the final checkpoint, then you would have finished the tree! Usually, the lessons after a checkpoint are grayed out and you aren't able to complete any of them.

What is the longest active streak on Duolingo? ›

Doing our daily lesson allows us to better understand the learner's experience and identify bugs, brush up on our language skills, and sure, get a little competitive with our streaks. The longest streak for a Duolingo employee right now is more than 3,000 days strong!

Should you complete all lessons in Duolingo? ›

When you start a new skill, work your way through all the lessons to get to Level 1. Those lessons work together as a group to get you familiar with the crucial features of the new material. This will help you start committing the new words and structures to memory right away!

How much Duolingo should I do a day? ›

You don't need to spend hours on Duolingo each day. However, you must put a reasonable amount of time into learning. If you log in to complete one lesson and sign out as soon as you've reached 10XP, you won't get very far. To optimize your learning, aim to spend between 15 and 30 minutes on the app each day.

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