Memrise vs Duolingo

By | January 11, 2017

We have now reviewed both Duolingo and Memrise on They are both great for language learning, and I can recommend to take them a look because probably they can help you to language that you are practicing. Both of them have been at least very beneficial for me. In this “Memrise vs Duolingo, ” I will compare those two apps and what differences they have.

Memrise vs Duolingo

Let’s start what are benefits of Duolingo compared to Memrise.

Benefits of Duolingo

1.Duolingo teaches you full sentences. Most o the time you will be learning words in full sentences. There are exceptions when you are only learning individual words, but mostly Duolingo prefers teaching you complete sentences. It helps the memorization of individual words because you can somehow relate theirs to a real context.

2.Duolingo teaches you vocabulary one category at a time. Some people say that Duolingo is more thorough because it goes through different subjects one by one and explains all relevant words. Sometimes you can also choose specific topics like the vocabulary of religion or politics in Memrise but not always. In Duolingo you can find all categories in 3 seconds on the same page.

3.Duolingo teaches you the essential grammar. When I started studying German from 0, I only used Duolingo. Before that, I didn’t know anything else about German grammar that they are 3 genders (masculine, feminine and neutral). But after using Duolingo, I learned some basics principles of German grammar. Not perfectly, of course, but some most important things that one should know.

As I explained in our Duolingo review under some sections, they have short explanations of that particular grammar subject. They have tables and short text comments how grammar works.

4.You can take language tests in Duolingo. Once you have earned 25 “lingots”, you can take a language test in your target language in Duolingo. The test takes about 20 minutes. You answer the questions and then you get the score between 0-5p (5p is the best). This is a good way to track your language learning progress.

However, this only tests how well you know answers to Duolingo’s question, not necessarily your overall level in that language. Once I had a break of using Duolingo French for a year. I knew that I had made progress in French during that time because I had listened Francais Authentique a lot. But I got lower points in Duolingo test because I didn’t remember exact answers for their questions. So, language test can be a good tool but don’t take answers too literally.

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Benefits of Memrise

1.Memrise is very “fast-tempo” game. In Duolingo, you need to click “next” when you want to move to a next word. In Memrise you don’t need to click anything because the system moves you automatically forward. Or you just push “Enter” and it moves you to the next. It gives you a feeling of flow and progress, and it makes language learning very enjoyable.

I have had the same feeling of flow also with Duolingo, so I think that benefit is in both of them.

2.Memrise’s point system is more versatile than in Duolingo. Once you finish a lesson in Duolingo, you earn 10 points. But in Memrise your points depend on how many words in a row you got right and how fast you answered. In my opinion, Memrise’s point system is a little more motivating than in Duolingo.

3.Memrise’s leaderboard is more diverse. In Memrise you can see the leaderboard of all members while in Duolingo you can only see the points from those that you have followed. It takes the time to search for users in Duolingo and follow them, but in Memrise you don’t need to use the time for that. Of course, you can also follow members on Memrise and see how well you are doing compared to them but that’s not necessary if you don’t want to.

4.There are more courses available in Memrise. Anyone can add classes to Memrise, even I and you. It means that they have an enormous amount of courses (+300k today in 8.1.2017) available and they are adding all the time.

5.There is a memorization tool in Memrise. As you can see in the picture below, you just need to click “Help me remember this” and then it will open you different tricks how you could learn that word or sentence. Memrise members have added those tips themselves, and you can vote “thumbs up” if it’s helpful for you. Then the tip that has got the most thumbs up will appear first when a next person wants to see memorization tips for that word/sentence.

Memrise vs Duolingo

Click “Help me remember this” to see a memorization tip

There are not these advice on every word if none of the members have added it. You can also add these yourself to help other language learners.

Memrise vs Duolingo

An example of a memorization tip

Conclusion – Memrise vs Duolingo

In this article, I have listed 3 benefits of Duolingo and 5 benefits of Memrise. It doesn’t mean that I would prefer Memrise. I have used Duolingo much more myself than Memrise. Once I had a streak of 100 days in Duolingo German, so I used it every day. It was a good habit, and I recognized a significant progress with my language skills.

I would recommend trying both of them because they have different benefits. Then you can see which one you do like more and concentrate using that one. Many times in life there are several ways to reach success. Sometimes it depends on personal preferences which path you want to take to learn languages.

But one thing is for sure. Success leaves clues. One very effective way to learn languages is to make the same things that the best language learners have made. Most likely you will achieve same results like them if you repeat their actions. That is so-called “success formula.” Want to learn what the best language learners do to learn languages faster? Find out here!

Have you used Memrise and Duolingo? Which one do you prefer and why?

Let me know in the comments below! 🙂

8 thoughts on “Memrise vs Duolingo

  1. Funkydunc

    This is an interesting comparison between the two language learning tools. The question I have about them is, What level of conversational language practice do these training platforms give?

    I have taught over 1000 English classes to Chinese students and the key to success was not written English but the spoken word. Conversational practice is an important tool.

    I notice that in this post, there is a lack of fluency in your writing. Since English is not your mother tongue, using the site Grammarly, may make your English writing much easier to read.


    1. Roope Kiuttu Post author

      Hi Duncan,

      you are right that the fastest way to speak a new language fluently comes by speaking it a lot. Memrise and Duolingo will enlarge your vocabulary a lot but you, of course, need to use the language in practice in order to reach fluency.

      However, these tools also help you with a spoken language. I couldn’t really speak a word of German when I started practicing with Duolingo but after 2 months of little daily practice, I was able to have simple conversations. Only by using Duolingo around 15 min/day (some days a bit more).

      I have been using Grammarly free version for over a year but getting a premium version could also be profitable. Thank you for the idea!


  2. Marley Dawkins

    excellent post – They both sound like interesting learning tools for developing language to me. I like the approach you take in this review, by objectively comparing both programs.

    Then you do a good job highlighting that both programs are beneficial, without taking sides based on the amount of pros/cons.

    Do either programs have a better learning ratio for people from certain countries? It would be interesting to see if either program get better results from certain countries.

    1. Roope Kiuttu Post author

      Hi Marley,

      thank you for your encouraging feedback :). I always want to give a very honest and objective opinion for my readers.

      I don’t know exactly about learning ratio for people from certain countries. It would be an interesting statistic but I think that doesn’t exist. I think it depends very much individually depending how much each person puts effort and so on.


  3. Derek Marshall

    Hi there,

    Memrise is something I am using to learn Bahasa Malay. Must say, and thought I have never heard of duolingo, that memrise would and is a product/app that is difficult to beat.

    I would love to know your thought on either of these apps vs Rosetta Stone, which is another fab language learning tool that helped me a lot with my Thai language.

    1. Roope Kiuttu Post author

      Hi Derek,

      it’s so interesting to hear that you have used Memrise to learn Bahasa Malay and Rosetta Stone to learn Thai language. I am also planning to move to Asia in the future so I will probably use these language apps to learn some basics for those languages.

      I need to admit that I haven’t used Rosetta Stone very much. I will be using it more and then I can write a few articles about it on


  4. dhervas

    I agree with the article, in the end, they’re a bit different from one another. Duolingo tries to teach grammar alongside vocabulary and memrise is pure memorization of usual, everyday language. I think it’s best to use both at the same time, but if I had to pick I’d choose memrise. It forces the student to repeat things more often, so in the end it “sticks” more. But as I said, both are great and complimentary!

    1. Roope Kiuttu Post author

      Hi Dhervas,

      yeah, Memrise is probably more comprehensive nowadays than Duolingo. I have personally used more Duolingo because their “course” is very straightforward and teaches you grammar as well.


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