Duolingo English Test Syllabus

Updated on: Sep 12, 2023

The Duolingo English test is an online language fluency assessment for international students and institutions. The test is taken by any individual to measure their level of proficiency in the English language. The Duolingo exam pattern is specifically designed for non-native English speakers to observe and analyse their reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills in the language.

While other language exams like IELTS and TOEFL have a more comprehensive format, the Duolingo English test syllabus is more convenient, without compromising on the difficulty level and scope.

The Duolingo English test is recognised as proof of English proficiency by 4000+ educational institutions across the USA, the UK, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, and so on.

Duolingo English test syllabus

The syllabus of Duolingo English test is convenient and easily understandable and you can ace the exam with the required practice. It is important to note that there is no specific syllabus due to Duolingo’s computer-adaptive technology. 

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The test measures your performance and the difficulty level changes with respect to the answers you record. The AI determines your score based on these subscores:

LiteracyAnalyses your reading and writing skills in the English language
ComprehensionMeasures your reading and listening skills
ConversationEvaluates your ability to listen and speak
ProductionAssesses your skills in writing and speaking

The subscores are important as they reflect your ability to naturally use the language. You can practise questions that focus on the subscores and improve your English language skills.

Duolingo exam syllabus for Introduction and Onboarding

The five-minute introductory section makes you go through the rules and regulations of the exam. The system will also verify if your computer’s camera, microphone, and speakers are functioning properly. You are required to provide any Government-issued ID for verification before the start of the exam.

Duolingo exam syllabus for Adaptive test section

One cannot anticipate any similar syllabus in the graded adaptive test section of the test as the questions appear based on performance. However, you can expect these types of questions under the Duolingo English syllabus.



Time Limit




How often do they appear?


Read and complete3 minutesLiteracy and Comprehension6 times on average
Read and select1 minuteLiteracy and Comprehension6 times on average
Listen and select1½ minutesComprehension and Conversation6 times on average
Listen and type1 minuteComprehension and Conversation6 times on average
Read aloud20 secondsComprehension and Conversation6 times on average
Write about the photo1 minuteProduction and Literacy3 times on average
Speak about the photo30 seconds to 1½ minutesProduction and ConversationOnce on average
Read and write5 minutesProduction and LiteracyOnce on average
Read and speak30 seconds to 1½ minutesConversation and ProductionOnce on average
Listen and speak30 seconds to 1½ minutesConversation and ProductionTwice on average

Adaptive Test: Question types

Here are some of the question types you can expect in the graded section of the Duolingo English test syllabus:

  • Read and complete - Type the missing letters to complete the text below
  • Read and select - Select the English words from the list
  • Listen and select - Select the real English words from the list (you have to listen to the pronunciation and determine the answer)
  • Listen and type - Type the statement you hear
  • Read aloud - Record yourself saying the statement
  • Write about the photo - Write and describe the image
  • Speak about the photo - Speak for at least 30 seconds about the below image
  • Read and write - Respond to the question in at least 50 words (you are required to write your response)
  • Read and speak - Speak for at least 30 seconds about the questions below
  • Listen and speak - Speak the answer to the question you hear
  • Complete the sentences by choosing the best option
  • Complete the passage by choosing the best sentence
  • Highlight the answer by dragging the sentence from the passage
  • Identify the idea expressed in the passage
  • Choose an appropriate title for the passage

Duolingo exam syllabus for Writing and Speaking Sample

This ungraded 10-minute section will assess your writing and speaking skills in the English language. The question will ask you to describe an image, talk about a situation provided, or speak about a topic for a few minutes. You will have three minutes for video-speaking and five minutes for the writing sample.  

Duolingo English test syllabus: How to prepare and pro tips

Despite the difficulty level, you can easily prepare with the help of the Duolingo test syllabus. Now that you are aware of the subscores and their importance, work on improving your skills in English with respect to these subscores.

Reading magazine articles, listening to podcasts, and engaging in conversation with a Native English speaker are some of the ways you can improve your skills in the language. Reading can improve your vocabulary and writing skills, podcasts can enhance your listening skills, and lively conversations can develop your speaking pace and skills. Working on practice tests can also contribute to better performance and helps you evaluate your skills in the English language.

Take a look at these important tips to prepare well and ace the Duolingo English test.

Here are a few tips for each section to help you score well.

Read and complete - you’ll be given sentences with letters missing from words that you need to fill in.
  • Read the passage carefully before focusing on individual words
  • Use clues from the context to help you
Read and select - multiple choice answers where you need to select the real English words from a list.
  • Read the words very carefully as some are close to real words but with little differences.
  • There may be different numbers of real words in each question.
Listen and select - multiple choice audio questions where you need to select the real English words from clips.
  • Listen carefully as some fake words may sound like real ones.
  • You can replay each word as often as you need.
Listen and type - listen to an audio clip and type out what was said.
  • Type it all out at first and then check by replaying the clip and amending if you need.
  • You can play the clip through three times in total.
Read aloud - record yourself reading out a sentence displayed on the screen.
  • If you’ve got time, try saying it all once before recording.
  • You’ve only got one chance to record it.
Write about the photo - you’ll be given a photo and asked to describe what is happening in it in a few sentences.
  • Try and describe it in as much detail as possible.
  • Use more than one sentence.
Speak about the photo - you’ll be given a photo and asked to record yourself describing it verbally.
  • Imagine you’re describing the photo to someone who can’t see it.
  • Use the 20 seconds you have to look at the photo to plan what you will say.
Read and write - you will read a written prompt and be asked to answer it in at least 50 words.
  • Write as much as you can, certainly much more than just 50 words.
  • Proofread before submitting.
Read and speak - you will be given a written prompt and asked to speak your answer for at least 30 seconds.
  • Try to vary your words and sentence lengths but don’t forget you need to sound natural.
  • Answer all of the parts to the question.
Listen and speak - you will be given an audio prompt and asked to speak your answer.
  • You can play the question three times in total.
  • You’ve got 90 seconds to speak.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the syllabus of Duolingo English Test?

There is no specific Duolingo test syllabus for the assessment. The AI records the candidate’s performance and alters the difficulty level, therefore, deciding the flow of the exam. One can note that the responses are assessed based on the reading, listening, writing, and speaking skills of the candidate.

How to prepare for the Duolingo English test?

With the help of the Duolingo test syllabus and the type of questions, one can effectively prepare for the exam. Reading magazines, listening to podcasts, and engaging in conversation with Native English speakers can enhance your skills and help you perform better on the test. Practice tests can also assist in enhancing your proficiency in the English language.

Is Duolingo English Test easy?

The Duolingo English test syllabus is as difficult as IELTS and TOEFL, providing an equal level of challenge to the candidates. However, people prefer Duolingo as the exam is convenient and easy to attend.

What is Duolingo exam pattern?

The Duolingo exam pattern consists of three sections: Introduction and Onboarding (5 minutes), Graded Adaptive test (45 minutes), and Ungraded Writing and Speaking (10 minutes).

How long does Duolingo result take?

Once the candidate has completed the Duolingo English test, they can expect to obtain their results within 48 hours.