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Last Updated: December 03, 2023

Duolingo English Test

The Duolingo English Test was created by the Duolingo App creators who focused on the study of foreign languages. It is a language proficiency test that is similar to both TOEFL and IELTS in its format and is being readily included by universities and colleges as a credible form of testing language skills. The test is gaining popularity among students and universities alike due to the difficulty levels it performs in and also due to its cost-efficient nature.

Though the proficiency test has been available for a while, its online format has been downgraded due to the offline format of TOEFL and IELTS. But ever since both TOEFL and IELTS have started offering their tests online, Duolingo English Tests have started gaining prominence in universities.

Though most universities are yet to accept this online form of testing, the future of Duolingo tests seems promising with over 3000 institutions already accepting the test results and also more feasible to students considering how it is the cheapest form of English proficiency test and how it can be taken online within the comforts of one’s home.

Test-Requirements for the Duolingo English Test

Students who want to take the Duolingo English test will require the following items to apply for the test. This is a requirement based on the online format of the test and it is always advisable to double-check the functioning of electronic gadgets before the test to ensure smooth sailing of the test.

Applying for the Duolingo English Test

There are no specific criteria of application for the Duolingo Test. Candidates will have to create an account in the Duolingo App which can be done by providing their age, and email address, and creating a password. The candidate will also have the option of signing up with their Google account. Appointments needn’t be booked for taking the Duolingo English test.

Once the candidate has created their account in the app, they will have a “Buy Now” option which lets the student pay through their credit cards or PayPal account. The cost of the exam is $49 and upon payment, students will be able to take the test during the next 90 days.

Test-Format for the Duolingo English Test

Candidates will be given the option of taking the practice tests available on the App before payment. Duolingo encourages students to take the practice tests for as long as they want before committing to the test.

The format of the test in a nutshell is as follows-
Setting up5 minutes
Graded Section45 minutes
Ungraded Section10 minutes
The test starts with an explanation of the test process which takes a total of 5 minutes in all. Candidates are required to submit their identification and go through the test rules within the 5 minutes allotted after which they will be able to start writing the examination. The test follows an adaptive method where the questions for the different sections are all clubbed together instead of being split into different sections explicitly. The Duolingo English Test has 2 different sections where the first part is graded and the second is ungraded. The first section contains exercises in the fields of: The second part of the test has 2 parts to it both of which assess the speaking skills of the candidate. These are:

Question Types in the Duolingo English Test

The sections in the graded part of the test have been integrated into one section containing questions from all the sections. The question formats for the section are as follows: The Listen and Select item type was eliminated from the test on May 1, 2023, to create space for the new Interactive Listening item type. The test consists of two Interactive Listening scenarios, each with two parts. There will be peer-to-peer and student-to-professor interactions in two of the passages. The first part of both interactions will involve the candidates listening to their interviewer and responding in the role of a student.

Scoring in the Duolingo English Test

The test score for DET is reported on a scale of 160 with each question adding a 5-point increment. The report can be understood by following the table below.
10-55understands basic English to process straightforward information.
60-85understands speech and writing in work and school contexts.
90-115understands main ideas, communicates even on unfamiliar topics.
120-160understands implicit, figurative, pragmatic language and can use language professionally and effectively

The score report contains the overall score attained by the candidate and at the same time, it will have different sections for Literacy, Comprehension, Conversation, and Production as the sub-scores. Score reports can be sent to as many universities as the candidates want without having to pay an additional fee. The registration fee of $59 is the cost of taking one test and $98 for both tests.

Preparing for the Duolingo English Test

Preparing for the Duolingo Test can seem challenging due to the lack of materials available relating to it when compared to tests like TOEFL or IELTS. It is also considered tricky due to the shorter time frame and no real section divisions according to which the candidate can prepare for the test. They test the candidate’s proficiency in the language through the way they write and even the intonation they use while speaking to assess the language skills the candidate has.

Under such circumstances, it is only advisable to build on one’s overall language skills using the best materials available. Reading newspaper editorials, watching Hollywood shows and even podcasts will ultimately come to one’s aid during the listening and speaking sections.

It is also advisable for candidates to take the free practice tests offered by Duolingo to get a better idea and understanding of what the test is going to be about. The practice sessions provided can be accessed only from a computer/laptop and not from a mobile phone. The practice tests are also only for 15 minutes while the actual test takes 45 minutes depending on the student. Familiarizing oneself with the question types after they are prepared with the language can also benefit in taking away the element of surprise and making the student perform decently in the limited time they have.

Reasons to Take the Duolingo English Test

The Duolingo English Test has been created in a format similar to the TOEFL and IELTS tests with all three tests dealing with Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening skills. The test has been provided with an adaptive mechanism that decides upon the difficulty level of the questions provided. This adaptive nature works in such a manner that if the student can crack one question, the next question will be relatively more difficult than the one they could crack. If the student has been unable to crack the question, the next question will be easier in comparison.

The exam, unlike both TOEFL and IELTS, can be completed within an hour and is cost-efficient with the test costing just $59 including the score reports that have to be sent to different colleges. Duolingo does not charge an additional fee for the additional number of colleges or universities the student applies to which stands in contrast to both TOEFL and IELTS where students have to pay an additional fee of $20 and $25 respectively per report after the 4 or 5 free reports they can send.

Students will find the test easier in comparison to other proficiency tests due to the difference in the overall format and the test duration which is just an hour in comparison to the three hours for other exams. They will also be able to avail the results within 2 days of taking the test. The test has become popular in only the Undergraduate courses in the US as of now but it is also increasingly being accepted by job platforms as a form of identifying language skills the candidate has.

Retaking the Duolingo English Test

If the student does not find their results satisfactory, they have the option of retaking the test as many times as they want and attempting another practice session to acquaint themselves better with the test. For retaking the exam, the student will have to pay the $59 again register themselves, and then take the test within the next 21 days as was previously done.

Duolingo Test