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What You Need to Know About the Duolingo English Test

If you’re an international student applying for an English-taught Masters or PhD, you may be required to prove your English language proficiency.

This will usually mean taking one of several recognised language tests. You’ve probably heard of the IELTS and TOEFL , but there’s another option on the market that you may not have considered: the Duolingo English Test (DET).

You can take the Duolingo English test online and get your results in just two days. Over 3,500 institutions worldwide currently accept the test as proof of English proficiency.

In this blog post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the test, including what’s involved, how to prepare and whether it’s the right test for you!

What is the Duolingo English Test?

The Duolingo English Test is an online English proficiency assessment. It takes one hour to complete, and tests the four language skills – reading, writing, listening and speaking. Once you’ve received your results, you can send them to as many institutions (who accept them!) as you like. Your results will be valid for two years.

Who accepts the Duolingo English Test?

The Duolingo test is not (yet) as widely accepted as more mainstream assessments such as the TOEFL, but it is still recognised by over 3,500 institutions across the globe! The USA is the most well-represented country, but results are also accepted by universities in many others including the UK, Canada, Australia and several European countries.

It’s worth noting that even when a university says they accept the test, there might be conditions attached. Some universities, for example, will only accept Duolingo scores for undergraduate programmes. It’s important to thoroughly research entry requirements before committing to the Duolingo English Test. Don’t be afraid to contact a university for clarification!

You can view a full list of institutions that accept the test and filter by location on the official Duolingo English test website.

How much does the test cost?

The Duolingo test is cheaper than many others at just $49 (£44). You can send your results to an unlimited number of institutions for no extra cost.

What does the test involve?

The test is divided into two parts:

  • Adaptive test (45 minutes): This section contains a series of randomly administered questions, which increase or decrease in difficulty depending on your performance. You’ll have to complete various tasks, such as reading a written statement aloud, differentiating between real and fake English words, and choosing the best word to complete a sentence.
  • Writing and speaking sample (10 minutes): In this section, you’ll be given a series of prompts to write or speak about.

What do I need to take the test?

A big advantage of the Duolingo test is that you can complete it from the comfort of your own home – without having to travel to a test centre! However, since the test includes video and audio elements, you will need a reliable internet connection, computer, webcam, microphone and speakers. You will also be asked for proof of identification such as a passport of driving license.

How can I prepare for the test?

There aren’t any specific preparations required to take the Duolingo test – obvious as it may sound, the better your English language skills when you take it, the higher your score will be!

There are lots of things you can do ahead of your test to hone your skills, such as practicing your speaking skills with a friend or reading articles in English (you could take to getting your daily news updates from English sources, for example).

You can also take a free practice test on the Duolingo website, and download a full test guide including sample questions.

How is the test scored?

The Duolingo English Test is scored on a 160-point scale. The exact score required will vary between universities – if the listing for your chosen course doesn’t include a Duolingo score, it’s a good idea to check with the admissions department.

As a rough guide, the minimum Duolingo score required for postgraduate courses is usually between 95 and 120.

Some universities may require you to achieve minimum scores for each section, as well as a certain overall score.

Should I take the Duolingo English language test?

There are quite a few perks to choosing the Duolingo English Test. It’s one of the cheapest English language assessments on the market, priced at just $49 (you can expect to pay closer to $200 or £180 for most others).

It’s also quick and convenient to take. You don’t have to travel to a test centre, and the test takes just one hour, compared to two and a half hours for IELTS, and three for TOEFL.

The catch, of course, is that many universities do not accept Duolingo. You may also find that some universities accept a Duolingo score for undergraduate programmes but will require a more widely recognised exam such as IELTS for Masters and PhD courses.

You can check whether your chosen university will accept Duolingo test results for postgraduate programmes on the Duolingo English Test website.

If you’re still not sure which test would be best for you, it’s a good idea to try a few sample papers and see which style you’re most comfortable with. You could also have a chat with the universities you’re interested in about which test would best suit your future plans!




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Last Updated: 12 October 2022