Timed challenges are awesome for cranking up your Duolingo XP and improving your comprehension speed.
The Lightning Round has long been my go-to challenge for this.
But now there’s a new kid on the block:
What is this fancy new timed challenge? How do you get it? And what’s the best way to beat the clock?
Let’s take a look!
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What is Match Madness?
Match Madness is one of Duolingo’s timed challenges.
Match Madness takes one of Duolingo’s classic exercises — Match the Pairs — and turns it into one of its toughest timed challenges.
The goal is to match a total of 90 word pairings in under 1 minute and 45 seconds.
If you manage to do this, you’ll earn 40 XP!
new match madness format
As of July 2022, some users have been getting a slightly different format for Match Madness.
The new format takes on the tiered approach of XP Ramp Up.
According to this Reddit post, the new format has 9 levels, starting at 20 XP and working up in 5 XP increments. The max amount of XP you can now earn is 60 XP.
It also appears that each level adds more words to match. So instead of the traditional 90, you’ll need to match as many as 120 words in the final level.
I’m still rocking the original Match Madness at the moment, so I can’t comment on how difficult this is. But if the Reddit comments are anything to go by, the last level is near impossible.
Let me know in the comments if you’ve got the new format and what you think about it!
Which platforms have Match Madness?
As of June 2022, it looks like Match Madness is only available on iPhone.
Other users should still have access to timed challenges in the league section, but it will probably be a different challenge, such as Lightning Round or XP Ramp Up.
Duolingo usually releases new and experimental features on iPhone first, so don’t worry if you’re an iPad, Android or desktop user — you’ll probably get to try it out at some point in the future!
Which language courses have Match Madness?
For some reason, Match Madness is only available on a few of Duolingo’s language courses.
As of June 2022, Match Madness is definitely available for the following courses:
However, in other courses, such as Russian, it’s nowhere to be seen.
The list above isn’t exhaustive, so you might find that Match Madness is available in other courses as well. The guys at Duolingo will probably roll it out to more courses going forward, so I’ll update it when I can!
How does Match Madness work?
Match Madness is a really simple challenge to get your head around.
However, successfully completing it is far from simple!
As you’d expect from a timed challenge, you have to answer the questions correctly while also racing against the clock.
This puts you under more pressure than the normal lessons as you’re forced to trust your instincts.
Note that the below relates to the original Match Madness format!
Basically, you’re presented with two columns: one with English words, and one with their translations in your target language.
Each time you match the English word with its translation, the words will disappear and a new set of words will take their place.
The challenge is split into the same three tiers as the other timed challenges, and gets harder the further you progress.
If you manage to complete the first tier, you’ll guarantee yourself 5 XP. To do this, you need to get 20 correct matches.
Completing the second tier will bag you a guaranteed 10 XP, and for this you need to get a further 30 correct matches.
If you manage to complete the third and final section, you’ll earn a solid 40 XP — but to do this you need to get a whopping 40 correct matches before the time runs out.
In total then, to get the full 40 XP, you need to get 90 correct matches.
As with the other timed challenges, you don’t get penalised for making a mistake. So if you get a pairing wrong, you won’t be docked any time or lose any hearts.
Match Madness Row Blaster
If you’re struggling with Match Madness, Duolingo now gives you the option to remove a row to make it easier.
Using a Row Blaster, the time limit remains the same; but, instead of the usual 5 rows, you’ll only have to contend with 4.
This can make all the difference. Having one less row to deal with makes things so much easier.
However, it’s not cheap… coming in at a cool 150 gems.
So, unless you’re sitting on a mountain of gems, this is a power-up you’ll probably want to use sparingly.
how to get the row blaster
To activate the Row Blaster, simply head over to Match Madness and boot up a round.
If you’ve never used it before, you should get the option to try it out for free.
After your free go, you’ll need to tap ‘Buy Row Blaster’ before each round and pay the 150 gem fee.
Match Madness tips
Matched Madness is definitely one of the tougher timed challenges, even if you’re a pro in your target language.
It forces you to think and act really quickly. Sometimes it can even make your head spin!
However, fear not — there are some things you can do to make it easier on yourself.
don’t get flustered
Match Madness preys on panic.
Don’t give it what it wants! If you panic, you’re more likely to make mistakes. Make too many mistakes, and you’ll get frustrated. Get frustrated, and you’ll panic more. And so the cycle continues.
Focus on staying calm, so that you can fully comprehend every word that pops up on screen.
That way you give yourself a much better chance of going the distance.
find your rhythm
Rhythm is everything with Match Madness.
You can call it getting into the zone, finding a flow, or whatever.
Once you let go and start to calmly trust your instincts, you’ll find the challenge a hell of a lot easier.
Seriously. Slowwwwwww down.
This probably sounds counter-productive. I mean, there’s a clock after all — and there’s hardly any time!
But if you let your thumbs get ahead of your brain you’re more likely to make mistakes. And that’s when you start to get flustered.
You don’t want that. You want to stay composed.
Focus first on finding your rhythm, then gradually increase your speed from there. You’re way more likely to succeed!
focus on the left column
To the left, to the left!
The words from your native language will always be down the left-hand side. So in most cases, it makes sense to focus first on the left column.
Look for the words that you know you know in your target language — then you’ll actually know what you’re looking for in the right-hand column, rather than having to figure it out by a process of elimination.
take breaks between tiers
Don’t forget — the clock stops between tiers.
So when you complete the first tier, don’t feel as though you have to rush straight into the second tier. This is a great opportunity to take a second and catch your breath.