If you’ve received Duolingo’s brand new learning path update, then one of the main features you’ll have come across is the new-style levels.
Back in the day, levels on Duolingo related to how much XP you’d earned in a language course.
Now, they’ve taken on a brand new meaning. Understanding them is super important if you want to master Duolingo’s new approach to learning languages!
In this article, I’ll give you the lowdown on everything you need to know about Duolingo’s new levels, as well as how they differ to the old ones.
Let’s get into it!
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What are Duolingo levels?
In the days before Duolingo’s new learning path, levels could relate to a couple of different things.
The first was what I mentioned in the introduction — levels used to relate to how much XP you had earned in a language. These levels ranged from 1 to 25. The more XP you earned, the higher your level.
Then came the crowns. These represented levels within a skill, with a maximum of 6 to earn.
But with the new learning path, levels have once again taken on a brand new meaning. Now, a level on Duolingo is a step along the path, represented by a circle.
Each circle contains a different type of exercise. These can include:
Every time you complete a level, you move further along the learning path.
How do Duolingo levels work?
Duolingo levels work differently on the new learning path to how they worked before.
Originally, levels were basically a way of grading you. Again, this either depended on how much XP you had earned in your target language, or how many crowns you had earned.
Now, a level on Duolingo is simply a stepping stone. There’s no grading involved.
The goal of each level is to complete the prescribed number of tasks. Once you’ve done that, you can move on to the next level, until you eventually complete the unit.
Each unit contains roughly 8 levels (depending on your course) and you’ll get a nice mix of content as you work your way through.
How many levels are there in Duolingo?
The old Duolingo levels ranged from 1 to 25 — with 1 being the lowest, and 25 being the highest.
However, the new style levels depend entirely on the course you’re taking. As a general rule of thumb: the more content your course has, the more levels it will have to work through.
A course like Navajo, however, which only has 7 units of content, has significantly fewer levels to work through.
Levels vs Crown levels
The new-style levels are very similar to the old crown levels. In fact, they’re basically the same.
The main difference (aside from there not being any crowns anymore) is how they’re organised.
Before the learning path, levels were organised into skills. Each skill had up to 6 levels and you could do all 6 as soon as you wanted.
But with the new learning path, Duolingo have taken these levels and spread them out. This means you can’t just binge all 6 levels in a single sitting. Instead, you complete one level in a skill, then move on to something else.
Eventually, you’ll reach the next level in the skill. And once you’ve completed that, you’ll move on to something else. And so on, and on, and on.
How to skip levels on Duolingo
Skipping levels on Duolingo’s new learning path is really easy.
Well, so long as you know enough of your target language!
If you’re finding the levels and units too easy, then you can easily jump forward to a position further along the path. To do this, simply scroll down to your desired unit, then tap the first level. It should have a big bubble above it saying JUMP HERE.
You’ll then be thrust into a little test that will challenge you with some of the content you’re looking to skip. You won’t get any hints or tips, and you’ll only get 5 lives. This is the same for free and Super members alike.
Can you start Duolingo at a higher level?
Yes, you can start your Duolingo language course at a higher level!
To start at a higher level, you’ll need to take Duolingo’s placement test when you start a new language course.
This should pop up automatically when you first boot up your course. If you already know some of the language you want to learn, then simply tap ‘Already know some…’ and you’ll be taken into the placement test.
Not happy with where you’ve been placed on the path? No problem. You can just jump forward to a unit you’d feel more comfortable with. Pass the test and you’ll be good to go!
Duolingo levels equivalent
If you’re still using the old Duolingo levels as a point of reference, then you might be wondering what their equivalent is on things like the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference).
If you’re a Duolingo veteran or you use sites like duome.eu to track your progress, then you’ll be familiar with the old-style levels.
Notice how in the image below all of my language courses have a level next to them?
As you can see, the levels are determined by how much XP you have in each language course. You’ll notice my Italian course is completely maxed out. No matter how much more XP I earn, I’ll remain at level 25.
However, I currently need 831 XP to move up to the top level in French, and 2556 XP to move up in Russian.
Crystal clear, right? Well, not really. There’s actually a big problem.
Not only is XP a poor measure of progress, the old levels also had a limit. You’d think that my Italian, French and Russian are all at similar levels — but they’re really not. My Italian is by far my best language and the only one (aside from English) I feel comfortable speaking.
My French is absolutely nowhere near as good as my Italian.
Case in point: I spent a bit of time in Nice recently and, while I could understand a lot, I could only speak using basic sentences.
In fact, I’d say my Spanish is better than my French — yet the old Duolingo levels only have me at level 16!
It’s for these reasons that we can’t really find any parallels with the more accepted frames of reference. The old Duolingo levels simply don’t correspond with things like the CEFR.
This is probably why Duolingo stopped using them.
Nowadays, the best way to measure your Duolingo progress is using the path. In theory, the more units (and levels) you’ve completed, the more advanced you’ll be. Forget your XP, it doesn’t matter.
If you’re still on the old tree, then the best measure of progress is your crown total. The more crowns you have, the stronger you’ll be in your target language. (In theory, at least!).
Have your say
What do you think of the new Duolingo levels?
Do you miss the crowns and the original grading approach?
Let me know in the comments!