Duolingo English Test: Eligibility, Format, Rules, Score, Registration, Results

Updated on: Nov 23, 2022
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The Duolingo English Test is an English language proficiency test that you can take on your own.

Introduced in 2016, it’s something of a newcomer on the English Language Assessment scene. But with its growing acceptance from top universities all over the English-speaking world, it’s becoming a popular (and less expensive) choice for prospective international students.

If you’re wondering which universities might accept Duolingo as an alternative to the likes of TOEFL,  IELTS and PTE, check out our rundown of 6 top UK universities which accept Duolingo.

Something that sets the Duolingo English Test  apart is that candidates can take it from the comfort of their own homes and on their computers. All four core language skills (reading, listening, speaking and writing) are tested just like the more traditional TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE exams.

The other distinguishing factor of the Duolingo test is that no test’s questions are set in stone — instead, they are adaptive. This means that the difficulty of the next question always depends on the quality of your last answer. For example, a correct response will bring about a more difficult question next. On the flip side, if you answer incorrectly, the following question will become easier.

The reason it does this is that it helps to gauge your “level” better. Thus, the exam only takes an hour to complete, unlike the +3 hour ordeals of the TOEFL, PTE or IELTS!

OK, now that you’ve got a good overview of the Duolingo English Test , let’s explore the test in more detail. In this comprehensive walk-through, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about the exam.

At a glance: The Duolingo English Test

Duolingo English Test  Full FormDuolingo English Test
Conducting body Duolingo
Duration of the test1 Hour
Score Range 10 - 160
Test feeUSD 49 (approx. GBP 35 or INR 3,600) 
Exam StructureAdaptive test (45 minutes) and video interview (10 minutes)

Duolingo English Test Eligibility: Who can take the test?

The Duolingo English Test is open to everybody. However, those under 13 years require permission from a parent or guardian.

Test-takers don’t need to submit academic records or proof of qualifications to take the Duolingo English Test.

Participants should be aware that if they are taking the Duolingo English Test as part of an admissions application, they must ensure that the test is accepted by their chosen college abroad.

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Duolingo English Test format

The Duolingo English Test syllabus and exam pattern consists of four sections:

  • Reading
  • Listening
  • Writing
  • Speaking

The Duolingo test can be retaken twice a month by students. It evaluates a student's performance by using both human adjudicators and automatic scoring methods.

In terms of the test format, the fact that the first section of the test is adaptive makes it hard to predict the exact structure. However, among the style of questions and tasks in Duolingo's English test format are the following:

  • Listening to spoken words & passages to determine true or false answers.
  • Checking over written words and selecting the “real” words.
  • Filling in the missing letters in a text.
  • A verbal description of an image.
  • Self-recorded sentences.
  • Answering questions verbally.
  • Responding to a written question (writing samples have a maximum of 500 words).
  • Writing down what you hear.
  • Video interview, in which you talk with an adjudicator for 1-3 minutes on one of two given topics (the choice of which one is yours).

Duolingo English Test scores explained (and compared to IELTS)

Soon after completing your exam, you receive a score on a scale of 10 - 160.  This is an overall score rather than a section-by-section.

The Duolingo score contains sub scores for

  • Conversation - Tests the candidate's ability to listen and speak.
  • Comprehension - Here, the candidates' reading and listening skills are assessed.
  • Production - The candidate's writing and speaking skills are evaluated here.
  • Literacy - It measures how well the candidate can read and write.

For reference, it’s worth noting that a score in the range of 95-100 is equivalent to IELTS band 6, 105-110 is around IELTS band 6.5, while 115 and above is approximately equal to IELTS band 7.

Related article: Duolingo Test Results

Most (but not all) top universities will require a Duolingo English Test score of 105 or above.

Here’s a deeper look at what Duolingo English Test scores mean:

Duolingo ScoresCEFRCompetence
10 - 55A1/A2Can grasp essential English words and phrases.
60 - 85B1Ability to comprehend and explain experiences, objectives, ideas, and plans, but with some difficulty.
90 - 115B2

Can understand the basic themes of both concrete and abstract writing.

A wide range of challenging written and spoken languages can be understood.

120 - 160C1/C2Can decipher and understand implicit and metaphorical language, as well as pragmatic and idiomatic expressions.

Duolingo's scores are connected with the Common European Framework of Reference, an international benchmark of language ability.

A1 and A2

The candidate has a rudimentary understanding of English words and phrases, according to the CEFR A1/A2 level.

The candidate can understand and express oneself in similar situations.

B1

As a result of the B1 level, candidates can understand the most important aspects of concrete writing or speech on regular topics.

B2

Holders of the B2 rating can communicate on various topics, whether they are familiar or unfamiliar.

The candidate is familiar with the fundamentals of both concrete and abstract writing. This group of candidates can communicate with experts.

C1 and C2

C1/C2-level candidates are capable of understanding a wide range of critical spoken and written languages, including some specialist English language usage scenarios.

These applicants have a firm grasp of figurative, idiomatic, pragmatic, and implicit language. They can communicate effectively and efficiently in various settings such as academic, social, and professional.

Where do I take the test?

You can take the test online at any time and from any location, on any day.

This test does not require candidates to visit a testing location. With the proper equipment like a computer, internet connection etc., candidates can take the test from the comfort of their own homes.

For this reason, Duolingo ensures that candidates meet the strict restrictions it has established in place.

  • During the test, candidates should be alone in the room, and no one should be talking to them.
  • Candidate's browser navigation is also disabled when they are attempting to take the test online.

Duolingo English Test registration

Registering for the Duolingo English Test is easy. Here’s a quick step-by-step guide:

  • On the Duolingo English test website, create an account by providing your age, email address, and password. Afterwards, click "next".
  • When asked, "What are your interests?".
  • Choose from the options provided on the page that follows.
  • Then, click "Create Account" to continue.
  • After the creation of the account, purchase it and pay for it.

You have 90 days from the date of purchase to take the test.

How to prepare for the Duolingo English Test

Start with a sample test.

Honestly, the very best way to get accustomed to the Duolingo test is to try one of their sample tests. You can do these as many times as you want, and they’re shorter than the real thing at around 8 minutes, but it’s a great way of getting a feel for the real thing. It also gives you an estimated score so you can gauge your progress!

 So how do you find the Duolingo English Test sample tests? Simple — you can access it on the Duolingo site once you’ve created your account (see above).

Outside of doing the sample test, read our article to prepare for the Duolingo English Test!

On test day - Protocols, Rules & Regulations

So as you know by now, you can sit the Duolingo English Test at home anytime you like. No bookings or trips to a testing centre are required!

The Duolingo English Test includes a video interview and a writing section. Two question themes are available for each video interview and writing sample. This is followed by one to three minutes of speaking followed by five minutes of writing.

There is a timer that will keep track of your progress for you. Instead of getting irritated if you are stuck, take a deep breath, relax, and answer each question as best you can. Review your responses before sharing them with institutions, so you can make sure they are accurate. You can retake the test if you're not satisfied with your results.

All pretty straightforward, right?

However, there are some things you should be aware of and have ready before taking the exam:

  • A photo ID issued by the government (passport, driver’s license or government ID)
  • A quiet area with good lighting.
  • An uninterrupted period of more than one hour.
  • A computer with a built-in front-facing webcam, speakers, and microphone (no earphones are allowed to prevent cheating).
  • A strong internet connection and a browser that works with the test.

Duolingo English Test rules & regulations

  • You'll take the test, and then an examiner will watch your test video to make sure you followed these requirements:
  • You must be alone in the room (which must be well lit).
  • Your ears must be visible and uncovered.
  • Your face must be visible and unobscured.
  • No headphones or earphones.
  • No outside materials, including mobile devices, notes, or textbooks.
  • No communication with anyone else is permitted.
  • No writing utensils or paper are permitted.
  • You must not look away from the screen for any significant period.
  • You aren’t permitted to leave the test window on your web browser for any reason.

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Receiving your Duolingo English Test results

Receiving your Duolingo English Test results is quick and easy. Two days after your test, your score will be emailed to you as well as posted on the Duolingo website, from where you can easily share them with your university admissions board (or visa office).

FAQs

1. Why Take the Duolingo English Test? Is it hard?

Duolingo's English Test is a more convenient, accessible, and cost-effective option when assessing your English proficiency.

There are thousands of institutions around the world that accept it. Taking a traditional English proficiency exam can be time-consuming, expensive, and stressful.

The test is also cheap! It costs just US$49, and it can be done at home on your computer. Within 48 hours, you'll have your results, and you can easily share them with whoever needs to see them.

2. How Is the Duolingo English Test Different from the IELTS?

DuolingoIELTS
Entirely computer-based test.Paper-based and computer-based test.
Appear any time. No prior appointments or booking of the slots is needed.A proper schedule has to be followed to take the test.
Take the test at your convenience.Take the test at the designated test centres.
USD 49USD 250

3. Which universities accept the Duolingo English Test?

The list of universities that accept Duolingo English Test is quickly growing across the entire English speaking world, but always make sure to check with the institution you’re applying to first.

Click here to check out which top universities in the UK accept Duolingo as of December 2022 (subject to change). 

4. How to prepare for the Duolingo English Test?

Simple! Know the rules and follow them and take sample tests (scroll up for more info). And check out our guide on the MUSTS to prepare properly for the Duolingo English Test!

5. How many times can I take the Duolingo exam?

You can take the Duolingo English test as many times as you like, but you can only take it twice within 30 days.

6. What Happens After I Take the Duolingo English Test?

Your exam results will be delivered to you within 48 hours after taking the test.            
From the results page, you can send the scores directly to educational institutions. Also, there is no limit on how many institutions you may submit the score reports to.

7. How is Duolingo Test Score calculated?

Reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills are tested in the Duolingo Test.           
On a scale of 160, a test taker's competency is indicated in 5-point increments. A language proficiency standard known as CEFR is used to calculate scores.

8. How long is Duolingo English test valid?

Duolingo's test results are valid for two years.

9. Do all colleges accept the Duolingo English Test?

Duolingo English Test is currently accepted by several universities in the United States and the United Kingdom.

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