Duolingo English Test: An Alternative to English Test for Higher Education

Do you want to go abroad for higher studies? Well in today’s world, having international degree comes up with great opportunities. Be it for career prospects, eager for being independent, or explore diverse culture, studying abroad has always allured students. If you want to go abroad you may need to know various stages involved for its preparation. The first thing that might have come into your mind is English Proficiency Test. When it comes to the prerequisites of the universities or academic institutes in native English-speaking countries, language proficiency plays a vital role.

So, if you’re thinking of taking English Test for, you may find number of such test that analyze your English skills like IELTS, TOEFL, PTE. These English Proficiency Test have longer test time and costly. Further, you might not be able to take test if any pandemic like Covid-19 occurs. Do you want an easier and affordable way to test your English skills? Well in this case, we’ve one recommendation that is equally consistent and cost effective, i.e., Duolingo English Test. It is better and easier option for students applying for abroad. It is taken online from your home just with your computer, webcam, and you don’t have to worry about the pandemic also. The test duration is only 1 hour comprising of all speaking, writing, listening, reading, with video interview. But important question here is does universities accept it? Yes, over 3000 institutions around the world accepts Duolingo English Test.

Now, let’s explore the important things about Duolingo English Test.

What is Duolingo English Test?

Duolingo English Test is a modern language proficiency tool mainly designed for international students and institutions. It is one of the alternatives to the English test for higher education. This test presents an entirely different approach as it is taken online from your home just with your computer and webcam so, you don’t have to visit test center. The test is taken using computer adaptive technology, which means the difficulty level of question increases with every correct answer and decreases if your answer is wrong, making the next question little easier. This technology lets Duolingo to estimate your English proficiency level in a short time.

Duolingo English Test
Duolingo English Test

Duolingo English test integrates a video interview and writing sample, which are sent to an institution along with your proficiency score when you send your results. Likewise, the entire test takes 1 hour to complete and the test result comes within 48 hours or 2 days. The cost for Duolingo English Test is $49 USD, which you can take anytime.

How is it better and easier option for international students?

Duolingo English Test can be better and easier option for international students. If you’re going abroad for studies, English Proficiency test is compulsory. In this case, you may take TOEFL, IELTS, PTE tests, where you have to take appointments and go to test centers. On contrary, Duolingo English Test offers students a better and easier solution by taking online test of only one hour. Also, you can learn English from the Duolingo app or website without wasting your time going to language classes.

Duolingo English Test (DET) is more convenient, accessible, cost-effective, and accepted as a substitute for TOEFL, IELTS, and PTE at many universities around the globe. Further, you don’t have to wait for months to see your result, with DET you can get your test result within 2 days. Traditional English proficiency exams are often difficult to schedule, require travel to a test center, have long and stressful testing experiences, and cost over $200 USD. The Duolingo English Test can be taken online, on demand from your computer for only $49 USD.

What kind of institutions accept it?

So, what type of institution accepts Duolingo English Test? You may have the same question and stress about its acceptance. Well, the good thing is that DET is accepted by over 3000 institutions around the world. Duolingo partners with institutions around the globe, including thousands of universities and secondary schools who accept the Duolingo English Test as part of their admissions process like Monas College in Australia, California State University, Brandon University in Canada, Schiller International University in Germany, and so on. To see the list of accepting institutions and how they use the Duolingo English Test, please visit here.

Duolingo English Test is accepted by many countries like USA, Canada, UK, Australia. With saying this, you should thoroughly research about the universities accepting Duolingo English Test before taking exam. Further, you should know that some schools like the University of California, Los Angeles and the University of Richmond only accept the Duolingo Test as an optional supplement to the TOEFL and IELTS.

How hard is Duolingo English Test?

You may think Duolingo English Test will be easier than other tests, but it may not be like that. Because this test is taken using computer adaptive technology, that means it rapidly learns your ability level and provides appropriately challenging content depending on your English abilities. It analyzes your English skills and also adjust material equally challenging for you. As per some users, Duolingo English Test is not as hard as IELTS and TOEFL, but it might not be true for all test takers, right?

However, test complexity might not be a problem if you’ve studied enough, while this may seem hard for non-native speakers. The test will cover various facets of English language that includes correct pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary, sentence structure, and others. So, Duolingo English Test may be challenging as IELTS, TOEFL, and PTE. Because it has difficult questions ranging from easy to moderate, with each question becoming more difficult as you answer correctly. Several types of questions are asked in each subject, such as listening, reading, writing, and speaking.

IELTS vs Duolingo

IELTS (International English Language Testing System) and Duolingo are different form each other. Their differences can be seen in the test formats, cost and score comparison, place where the test will be conducted, and many more. Let’s see what are the main differences between IELTS and Duolingo in points.

  • IELTS has same listening and reading sections for all candidates, whereas writing and reading section vary upon each candidate. The Listening, Reading, and Writing tests have to be completed on the same day with no breaks between the tests. In case of speaking test, candidate have to finish it one week before or after the completion of other tests.

Duolingo English Test is an adaptive test i.e., the exam is designed to check the accurate level of your language proficiency. The difficulty level will increase if your answers is correct and vice versa if the question is answered wrongly.

  • Likewise, the time duration for IELTS is 2 hours and 45 minutes, whereas it only takes 1 hour to complete Duolingo test. The IELTS fee ranges between $245-$255 USD and Duolingo fee is $49 USD.
  • In IELTS, you’ll have to listen four recordings and answer series of questions. They can be either conversational or monologue.

In case of Duolingo, you’ll need to listen a list of spoken words that contains both real and pseudo-English words and you’ll have to identify the right English words. You’ll be given audio recordings which have to be transcribed properly.

  • For writing in IELTS, you’ll have to summarize a diagram, graph, table, describe and explain the data, describe the stages of a process. And next is formal essay writing in response to an argument, view point, or problem.

On contrary in Duolingo, you’ll need to select real English words amongst the pseudo words, fill out the missing text from a given sentence, write a minimum of 500 words response to a given question, and type the statement after hearing the audio recording.

  • The reading section in IELTS tests a variety of skills such as reading for the main idea, reading for the gist, and understanding logical arguments and viewpoints. And in the speaking section, there will be general questions (about you, your family life, interest), card with a topic, which you’ll have to talk about, and finally discussing the topic in depth with examiner.

In Duolingo English Test, you’ll have to explain the given image, read out the given sentences, and answer verbal questions. Further, there is video interview section where you’ll have to select and speak for at least 1 to 3 minutes.

  • IELTS is conducted only on Saturdays and Thursdays, which is scheduled for 48 days a year for paper-based exam and 5 days a week for computer-based exam.

In case of Duolingo, you don’t need appointments and test can be given online from anywhere.

  • All IELTS scores are between 0 and 9. However, the score range for Duolingo is from 10 to 160 with 5-point increments.

TOEFL vs Duolingo

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and Duolingo English Test may be different in case of fee, score scale, test structure, acceptance, test mode, and many more. So, lets look at those differences between them.

  • TOEFL offers Internet-Based Test (iBT) and Paper-Based Test (PBT). iBT tests your hearing, speaking, reading, and writing skills within three hours, and PBT assesses your listening, reading, and writing skills for two hours and twelve minutes. The result takes 6 to 10 days to be published.

Duolingo English Test is conducted online and divided into Quick Set-up, Adaptive Test, and Video Interview. The test will take 1 hour to finish and result will be announced within 2 days.

  • TOEFL scores are accepted by more than 11,000 universities in 150 countries for admissions.

As per Duolingo, almost 3000 universities around the world recognize the Duolingo English Test scores.

  • TOEFL testing costs between $160 to $300, depending on the country, whereas Duolingo English Test cost only $49 USD.


PTE vs Duolingo

Pearson Test of English or PTE is the computer-based English test taken by the candidates who wish to study abroad. It may seem similar with the Duolingo English test because both are computer-based, but both are quite different in case of score comparison, cost, test format, and many more. The given comparison points explain their main difference.

  • PTE uses artificial intelligence to provide an unbiased assessment of your English proficiency that is taken at approved Pearson test centers and COVID secured. The test consists of 3 sections i.e., speaking and writing combined, listening, and reading.

Likewise, Duolingo English test is taken using computer adaptive technology i.e., difficulty level of question increases with every correct answer and decreases if your answer is wrong. It can be taken from anywhere. It consists of 4 sections, reading, speaking, listening, and writing.

  • PTE exam cost $185-$275 USD that may varies as per the country and Duolingo English Test cost around $49 USD.
  • The reading section of PTE consists of 15 to 20 questions that includes MCQs, fill-in-the-blanks, reordering paragraphs. This tries to assess your independent and integrated abilities.

In DET, the reading section consists of reading the sentences carefully and filling in the missing letters and words for the statement to make sense.

  • PTE’s listening part has 8 types of questions, each having 2 to 3 questions. This part has subsections that contain text summary, MCQs, dictation and fill in blanks.

The listening part in DET consists of listening to a list of spoken words that have both actual and pseudo-English terms and identify the correct English words. You’ll also be provided audio recordings that must be correctly transcribed.

  • In PET, writing and speaking are combined and consists of 8 subsections. It includes personal introduction to an essay, a read-aloud, a sentence repetition, and a summary of the written content. Your English-speaking ability is tested in the speaking section and your response with proper grammar and spelling is tested in writing part.

In Duolingo, you’ll have to choose real English words from a list of pseudowords, fill in the missing text from a given sentence, write a minimum of 500-word response to a given question, and type the statement after listening to the audio recording.

  • The speaking part in PET has 3 subsections with total of 11-17 questions. The first section focuses on your personal life and interview, whereas other two focus on your speaking about and being questioned on a topic from a task card.

In case of Duolingo English Test, you’ll have to explain given images, read out sentences, verbally respond to any questions. Also, the video interview includes selecting and speaking about a specified topic for at least 1 to 3 minutes.

  • The result for PTE will be out online in 5 business days, whereas DET result be out within 2 days on the DET website.
  • PTE scores are between 10 and 90 with increments of 1 point. However, the score range for Duolingo is from 10 to 160 with 5-point increments.

How to take test, costs, and availability?

It is quite easy to take Duolingo English Test. So, prepare yourself by practicing English, take free practice test, and check out its rules. You should choose a comfortable, quite environment with ample light and privacy. Also make sure that you have all required equipment like government-issued ID, a computer with a front-facing camera, microphone, and speakers, and reliable internet connection. To take test, you’ll have to purchase via your Duolingo English Test account with your credit cards, PayPal, etc. it will cost you around $49 USD. The purchased test will be valid for 21 days, so make sure you buy it at right time. Choose your time as you can give test anytime favorable for you. Now, let’s see some point on what should you do during test.

  1. Make sure you have 1 hour of uninterrupted time with no one around.
  2. Read the rules before taking test carefully so that you won’t make any mistakes during your test.
  3. Don’t wear headphones, as it will prevent your test from being certified. Your face and ears should be clearly visible.
  4. Each test will be supervised so, you need to look at the screen for the entire test. You may look away when you’re thinking, but try to stay focused on the test as best you can.
  5. Duolingo English Test has only one section with an adaptive series of questions across all English skills. These exercises are short and predictive, so you won’t have to complete lengthy reading and writing passages.
  6. Keep your eye on the time limit for each question displayed on the screen, and do your best to write or speak as much as you can before the time expires.
  7. At the end of the graded portion, you’ll complete an ungraded video interview and writing sample. These are shared alongside your scores to universities, so do your best to showcase yourself and your English ability.
  8. After completing your writing sample and video interview, you’ll be asked to submit your test. Before you exit the testing window, be sure that your test has completely finished uploading. You will see a notification once it’s done.

Note: Once you’ve done submitting your test, you’ll receive the result in 48 hours or 2 days.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Duolingo English Test

What should I need to do in order to take the Duolingo English Test?

You’ll need a computer, valid identity document, and internet connection. Computer should have a functioning microphone, speakers, and camera. Your camera should be on the top-middle of your monitor or screen, if possible.

Duolingo English Test requires a government-issued photo ID. You’ll need to have your actual physical ID ready when taking the test. During the setup section of your test, you will have to submit a photo of your ID. You may not use copies or pictures of the ID card or passport. You must be holding up the actual ID. If you’ve any queries regarding this, please refer to the Accepted IDs page or contact the support team.

You’ll need a stable, wired ethernet internet connection rather than Wi-Fi or mobile hotspot services. You will also need a small amount of storage on your computer to download the Duolingo English Test desktop app.

How often can I take the Duolingo English Test?

After you’ve completed and submitted your test, you will need to wait for your results before taking a new test.

You can purchase three tests in a 30-day period. This period starts on the day you purchase your first test.

How long are my Duolingo English Test results valid for?

Results for the Duolingo English Test are valid for two years.

What types of questions are on the Duolingo English Test?

The exam portion of the Duolingo English Test contains a series of speaking, reading, writing, and listening exercises. This portion is scored.

The second portion of the exam consists of a scored writing sample and an unscored speaking sample. In every section, you will be given a prompt and must speak or write about those topics. For more information about the test refer to the readiness page.

Are there sample questions for the Duolingo English Test?

After logging in, you can take a Practice Test to try sample questions in the same format as on the full test. Remember that the Practice Test is much shorter than the Certified Test, so the estimated score range given at the end may not accurately measure your proficiency. Look at the readiness page that contains an overview of all question types found on the test.

About Carina