Specialist Language Courses

Review of the Language Learning App “Duolingo”

Share This Post

Review of Duolingo

In our blog, we presented the advantages and disadvantages of learning a new language via mobile apps and kicked off with a review of Babbel. This time we are taking a look at the incredibly popular Duolingo.

Duolingo has about 120 million users across the world – a large number which made me even more excited to try it and find out what their recipe for success might be.

Their strapline is “Learn a language for free. Forever.” Duolingo and all their courses are free of charge – definitely a huge bonus.

How does Duolingo work?

1.You can choose between 21 different languages:

Besides the common languages like English, French, German, Italian and Spanish you can also learn Portuguese, Dutch, Irish, Danish, Swedish, Turkish, Esperanto, Norwegian, Ukrainian, Russian, Polish, Welsh, Hebrew, Vietnamese and Hungarian.

2.It’s really simple to use:

  1. You choose between “beginner” (starts with basics) and “Not a beginner “(Placement test which evaluates your language level)
  2. Create a profile to save the progress you made
  3. Set your weekly goals: choose between casual, regular, serious, insane à 5/10/15/20 minutes per day
  4. Passing the “Checkpoint”: You can activate more lessons by finishing all the modules of one lesson or taking a test if you are already familiar with the topics.
  5. Shop: You can earn so called “lingos” and with those you can buy “powerups” e.g. Attempt to double your 5 lingots wager by maintaining a seven-day streak


Duolingo doesn’t work with pictures but with a lot of images and symbols which actually have the same effect and help to remember what you have learned.

The operation of Duolingo is very easy and you have a clear overview about the content and different options.

Phrases or vocabulary you learn are always spoken out loudly. There are also recording exercises to improve your speaking skills.

If you are unsure about a word in a translation task you can retrieve their meaning/translation.  Grammar rules are explained in mostly every task.

You are able to redo certain exercises or to strengthen the skills you already learned this helps to reinforce what you have learned.

Whole app is free of charge.

Duolingo is set up like a game (as described above). If you have reached your daily goal trumpets sound. You receive a reminder via email to complete your lessons.


There is no information in the beginning about how the whole course works.

If you want to learn a certain topic, you haven’t got any access to it unless you go through all the previous tasks.

Sometimes the language and the example sentences are unusual and would not be the kind of language you use in reality.


If you are a person who loses motivation very quickly, Duolingo is definitely the right choice for you. This game-like app teaches languages in a very playful and challenging way and is based on many visual as well as audio effects which are helpful to remember what you have learned. Another plus is that Duolingo varies the types of tasks and builds up every lesson in other ways which means more variety for the student. However, Duolingo can`t replace a “real” language school and especially for beginners I would recommend using Duolingo in combination with a teacher-led language course.

About the author

Jule Kirchner is a 19 year-old German high school graduate. She is currently working as an intern at SLC for three months. Jule loves learning languages and likes to test the various ways how to do so.

Are you a student looking for Medical English courses?

SLC’s ground-breaking online Medical English courses gives you the language you need to work, study and collaborate in an English-speaking environment.

Just click on the course and start your Medical English preparation!

FREE Medical English materials for teachers

In Specialist Language Courses we offer free lesson plans to teachers so they can have the best materials to teach their students about Medical English.

You can subscribe to our newsletter where you will receive monthly email with the latest materials that SLC offers for free.

Medical English courses for teaching

We also offer the latest in online medical English resources and materials to transform your teaching programmes and accelerate your students’ learning.

Teachers and institutions use the courses in multiple ways – as digital coursebooks, as supplementary learning, and as part of a flipped classroom approach. We can advise you how to integrate the materials to meet your objectives.

Interested in using our courses? Click here:


Subscribe to our newsletter

Get updates and get the latest materials on Medical English, OET and IELTS

More to explore