The Duolingo English test is one of the newest English language assessments for international students.
It makes a good alternative to the likes of TOEFL or IELTS, as its popularity is growing with an increasing number of top universities now accepting Duolingo.
As well as this, it’s a great deal less expensive than the traditional exams (TOEFL, IELTS etc), and it can be done from the comfort of your own home, at any time that suits you.
However, your Duolingo exam preparation may have to change a little from the norm, as the test itself is really quite different from other English language assessments.
While the core skills of listening, reading, writing and speaking are all tested, the actual exam experience is very different. To address these differences, this article takes us through the key things you can expect in the Duolingo English Test.
The fact that you can do the Duolingo English test from your own bedroom or living room is one of the things that make it so appealing to students.
All IELTS and most TOEFL exams must be done at an official testing centre, and you have to book a test weeks or months in advance.
That’s a bit of a hassle for some, but Duolingo allows you to make an account on their website, purchase the test and sit it from your home, anytime you like within the next 90 days!
...and this is a short paragraph! The Duolingo Test only takes one hour to complete. That’s way shorter than most English language assessments which take around 3 hours from start to finish!
Just as the test is short, the results come super quickly. About 48 hours after finishing your exam, you’ll get an email with your score out of 160 (120 and above is a great score), and a breakdown of how you’ve done in each skill.
So what does this mean? Basically, the questions on the Duolingo test change depending on the strength or accuracy of your last answer. So, if you answer a question incorrectly, the computer will generate an easier question next. Answer a question correctly, and the next one will be a little more difficult.
Duolingo does this as their research suggests that it’s a better way of gauging an accurate understanding of your ability.
So… if you come away from the test thinking “Wow those questions were tough!”, perhaps that means you’ve done well!
As we mentioned above, the aim of the Duolingo test is the same as with any English language assessment, but it goes about it in a different way.
First let’s look at the exam pattern (or format).
Unlike most other exams which have separate sections for reading, writing, listening and speaking, the Duolingo exam tests all of these during the adaptive test.
Usually, each question tests two skills at once e.g. listening and writing
After the adaptive test, there’s a 10 minute interview section where you can speak for up to 3 minutes about a topic (you can choose between two prompts).
Next, let’s talk about the question types in the Duolingo English Test.
The adaptive nature of the exam makes it difficult to predict exactly what type of question you can expect, but these are some question and task styles that we’ve seen time and again on the test:
One of the best Duolingo tips for preparation is to take the official sample test on their website. Because the adaptive questions are very hard to predict, the best way to get comfortable with the exam is simply by practicing it as many times as you need.
Better yet, the sample test is free!
Since you take the Duolingo test at home and on your own computer, there are some very strict rules you have to be aware of. These help ensure that you do not cheat (not that we think you’d consider doing that!)!
First off, you have to prepare your test environment. Make sure to have these things arranged before starting your test:
Be aware that once you finish your test, an examiner will watch it to make sure that you’ve adhered to all the rules!
It’s imperative that you follow these so that your test doesn’t become invalid:
Now that you know about what to expect in the Duolingo test, perhaps it’s time you started planning where you’ll study abroad? That’s what we do here at Edvoy!
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