How long does it take to finish Duolingo?

Quick Answers

It typically takes between 150-300 hours to fully complete a language course on Duolingo. This equates to studying for 30 minutes per day for 1-2 years. The time investment depends on the language being studied and the learner’s existing proficiency.

With over 300 million registered users, Duolingo has become one of the most popular language learning apps worldwide. Using bite-sized lessons and gamification techniques, Duolingo aims to make picking up a new language fun and convenient.

However, one common question lingers – just how long does it actually take to completely finish a course on Duolingo? The answer largely depends on several factors:

  • The target language itself
  • The learner’s existing proficiency level
  • The intensity of study (minutes per day)
  • Use of additional resources beyond Duolingo

This article will provide an in-depth analysis into the expected time investment needed to fully complete a language course on Duolingo. We’ll also explore tips on how to optimize your learning for faster proficiency gains.

Duolingo’s Language Courses

Duolingo currently offers courses in over 30 languages. The courses vary significantly in length and scope:

  • Shorter courses for related languages like Spanish, French, Italian and Portuguese.
  • Longer courses for distant languages like Chinese, Japanese, Korean.
  • Courses for widely-used languages like German, Russian and Arabic.
  • Niche courses for languages like Hawaiian, Navajo and Welsh.

Duolingo organizes its content into skills, which each contain multiple bite-sized lessons. Skills cover topics such as food, animals, travel, family, etc. The number of skills needed to complete a course ranges from 60 to over 300.

Shorter Courses (60-100 Skills)

These include the Romance languages (Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese) which share similar Latin roots. Also German which is linguistically close to English. With shared vocabulary and grammar structures, these are relatively easier for English speakers to pick up. Duolingo advertises them as taking around 30 hours to complete.

Medium Courses (100-150 Skills)

Includes courses for Russian, Arabic, Dutch, Greek, Hebrew and Swedish. Despite more skills, there is still quite a bit of overlap with English. Duolingo estimates around 50 hours for completion.

Longer Courses (150-300+ Skills)

East Asian languages like Chinese, Japanese and Korean pose a bigger challenge for native English speakers due to the completely different writing systems and language constructs. Irish and Turkish also have considerably more content. These courses can take around 100 hours on Duolingo.

Factors that Affect Completion Time

While the number of skills gives a rough gauge of a course’s length, how long it takes to actually complete can vary significantly. Here are some key factors that affect individual completion times:

Existing Language Proficiency

If you already have some proficiency, you can test out of the beginner material and progress faster. For example, someone with a bit of high school Spanish can blaze through the first 30 skills in just a few hours. Beginners will need to spend more time getting up to speed.

Intensity of Study

Duolingo recommends studying for at least 5 minutes daily to make consistent progress. Beyond that, intensity of study vastly affects pace. Spending 10 minutes daily will take significantly longer vs. 30 minutes daily. Periodic intense study sessions can also help you plow through new material faster.

Supplementing with Other Resources

Relying solely on Duolingo means slower progress compared to combining it with other resources like textbooks, audio courses, video lessons, etc. Mixing different learning formats enhances retention and skills application.

Language Learning Aptitude

Some people have an inherent aptitude for picking up languages quickly. Factors like musical ability, math/logic skills, mimicry skills, memory, patience, etc. can all affect learning speed and proficiency gains.

Expected Timeline for Completion

Given the above factors that impact completion time, here is a general timeline for finishing an entire Duolingo language course:

5 Minutes per day

At just 5 minutes daily, even short courses can take years to complete. Expect timelines like:

  • Spanish/French/German: 2-3 years
  • Russian/Arabic: 3-4 years
  • Chinese/Japanese: 5+ years

While 5 minutes daily allows you to retain some basics, it is not enough time to actively study and advance. Progress will feel extremely slow.

10 Minutes per day

Doubling session length to 10 minutes daily yields significantly faster completion:

  • Spanish/French/German: 1-2 years
  • Russian/Arabic: 2-3 years
  • Chinese/Japanese: 3-4 years

You can get through a lesson or two each day. Retention improves but advancement is still gradual.

30 Minutes per day

At this intensity, finishing a course within 1-2 years becomes achievable:

  • Spanish/French/German: 6 months to 1 year
  • Russian/Arabic: 1-2 years
  • Chinese/Japanese: 2+ years

Half an hour allows active practice with the language. You can make significant progress while retaining previous lessons.

1-2 Hours per day

Intense daily study of 1-2 hours leads to the fastest completion times:

  • Spanish/French/German: 3-6 months
  • Russian/Arabic: 6 months – 1 year
  • Chinese/Japanese: 1-2 years

At this level you can plow through lessons rapidly. However, burnout becomes more likely without rest days.

Typical Time Range for Completion

Given the above projections, the typical time range to completely finish a Duolingo language course is:

  • Spanish, French, German, Italian: 150-300 hours
  • Russian, Arabic, Turkish, Dutch: 200-400 hours
  • Chinese, Japanese, Korean: 300-500+ hours

This equates to studying 30 minutes daily for 1-2 years depending on the course difficulty. Of course, learners who use Duolingo more as a supplement can finish faster. But for pure Duolingo users, the above hourly ranges representreasonable time investments to complete the full content.

Does Completion Equate to Fluency?

It’s important to note that completing an entire Duolingo course does not guarantee fluency in that language. The courses aim to build a solid baseline proficiency, but true mastery requires much more immersive practice over several years. Some key considerations on fluency:

  • Duolingo focuses mainly on reading/writing – less so on listening/speaking.
  • Vocabulary coverage has gaps compared to real-world usage.
  • It takes exposure to native materials/speakers to master nuance.
  • Applying the language in authentic situations is vital for fluency.

So while Duolingo alone won’t make you fluent, it provides an outstanding structured framework to build proficiency. Combining it with conversation practice and immersion through music/movies/books will enhance language mastery.

Tips for Faster Completion

Here are some tips to help you maximize efficiency and complete Duolingo faster:

Take the placement test

Take Duolingo’s placement test to avoid re-learning basics you already know. It will save you time by letting you skip ahead.

Study consistently

Consistent daily practice, even for short sessions, beats intensive study followed by long gaps. The algorithm tracks this.

Prioritize strengthening skills

Go back often to strengthen rusty skills before your crown level decreases. This boosts retention.

Learn on desktop and mobile

Use both platforms to maximize study time during the day. Syncing is seamless.

Leverage Duolingo Plus

Features like unlimited hearts and no ads remove barriers to practicing longer. Worth the upgrade cost.

Take notes

Writing down vocab lists, grammar rules, etc. aids memory and cuts down review time.

Use supplemental resources

Textbooks, audio courses, immersion tools combined with Duolingo accelerate proficiency.

Find native speakers

Practicing conversations with actual native speakers makes a huge impact on mastery.

The Rewards of Finishing a Course

Completing an entire Duolingo course is a monumental achievement requiring dedication. Here are some of the rewards you can expect:

  • Achieving an A2-B1 CEFR proficiency level
  • Building a useful foundation in the language
  • Gaining ability to have simple conversations
  • Exposure to cultural lessons within courses
  • Unlocking vocabulary of 1,500-3,000+ words
  • Understanding of essential grammar rules
  • Ability to understand simple written content
  • Developing good study habits through consistency
  • Feeling an amazing sense of accomplishment


Completing a language course on Duolingo typically takes between 150-300 hours of study, depending on the complexity. At a pace of 30 minutes daily, this equates to 1-2 years for most learners.

While Duolingo alone won’t make you fluent, it builds an outstanding framework. Combining Duolingo lessons with immersive conversational practice provides the best path towards fluency.

With motivation and consistent practice, conquering an entire Duolingo course is an achievable goal that delivers a priceless reward – the ability to connect with people worldwide in a new language.

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