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Duolingo English Test Overview

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Duolingo English Test Overview

A Brief Duolingo English Test Overview

The Duolingo English Test is a 100% online standardized English language proficiency exam. It tests your listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills. The test is widely accepted across 4000+ educational institutions globally.

What is the Duolingo English Test?

The Duolingo English Test (DET) is one of the more recently introduced English language proficiency tests. It was launched in 2016 and has become a widely popular alternative to other exams like the IELTS, TOEFL, PTE Academic, etc.

The leading reasons behind this exam’s popularity are – 


Compared to the IELTS and the TOEFL, the DET is more pocket-friendly at only $59 (approx. INR 5,300). Meanwhile, the fee for the computer-delivered IELTS is approx. INR 16,250, while that of the TOEFL is $195 (approx. INR 17,000). Therefore, most students prefer the more affordable DET instead of the IELTS and the TOEFL. 


The exam is home-based. So, you can appear for it without going out of your house. During the COVID-19 pandemic, most offline English language proficiency tests like the TOEFL and the IELTS had to stop conducting exams due to government restrictions. 

That’s why the DET was the only alternative. Just meet the software and hardware requirements, and you can save your travel costs. This is also convenient for students with disabilities and health concerns.

Quick results

You can obtain your DET scores within 48 hours of the exam. As soon as the results are published, you get a notification on your registered email ID and contact number. Log in to your official Duolingo account to access the scores. You can send these scores to multiple universities free of cost.

The DET is just an hour long. This is a huge convenience when you compare it to the TOEFL, which is almost 3 hours (though the time is supposed to be reduced to just under two hours from July 26, 2023). The exam is also adaptive. The AI technology assesses the correctness of your answers and adjusts the difficulty level of the exam.

For example

For every correct answer, the exam notched up the difficulty level of the next question. However, if you answer incorrectly, the AI will lower the difficulty of the next question. Thus, there is no set number of questions that you might encounter in the DET. 

The questions don't appear one after the other, following the same pattern. You can’t predict whether you’ll get the same question again, even if you take the test multiple times. The Duolingo English Test is continually improving in terms of security and efficiency.

From May 1, 2023, the DET has removed the Listen and Select questions and launched 'Interactive Listening', which engages candidates in a simulated conversation to test their proficiency. This section comprises two components – 

  • 1st component – Participate in a conversation (usually in an academic scenario)
  • 2nd component – Summarize the conversation in the first component

Additionally, the DET has started including speaking sample questions in the scored section. All these new changes prove that the exam is still in the process of fine-tuning itself.  

The Duolingo English Test has gained significant popularity in different fields, despite being introduced quite recently. Although it has yet to reach the popularity of the IELTS, TOEFL, and PTE Academic, the DET is a great alternative. 

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What Is The Importance Of The Duolingo English Test?

The Duolingo English Test is an essential standardized test for all candidates (students and professionals alike) to test their English skills. The exam is important for three main reasons –

For educational purposes

The Duolingo English Test is primarily relevant for non-English speaking students who wish to study in countries where English is the first language. These students must prove that their knowledge of the language meets the relevant standards. 

Therefore, the DET covers questions that test whether you can tackle academic and everyday situations. These cover a wide range of topics. Thus, a good DET score means you have a firm grasp of the English language. 

Currently, 4000+ institutions across the world accept the DET to admit international students to their educational programs. Some of these include – 

  • Australian National College, Monash College, etc. (Australia)
  • British Columbia Institute of Technology, Concordia University, etc. (Canada)
  • Victoria University of Wellington, Massey University, etc. (New Zealand)
  • Imperial College London, University of Leicester, etc. (The United Kingdom)
  • American College of Education, American College of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine (The USA)

For professional purposes

The DET isn’t designed only for students. If you’re a professional working in any field, you can attach your Duolingo scores to your LinkedIn profile. This allows potential employers dealing with foreign clients to assess your English skills and consider you for a role.

Eligibility For Taking The Duolingo English Test

There are no strict eligibility criteria for taking the Duolingo English Test. This test is open to – 

  • Any person who wishes to test their English skills
  • Students who must prove their proficiency for admission to foreign institutes
  • Professionals looking for opportunities in the international market

Age Criteria for Taking the DET:

The Duolingo English Test guidelines do not specify any age criteria for appearing for the exam. However, if you're below 13 years old, you must provide a consent form signed by your parents or legal guardian. This form is available for download on the official Duolingo website. 

Educational Qualification for Taking the DET:

There is no minimum educational qualification for taking the Duolingo English Test. Candidates can be in middle school, high school, or university or might have even completed their Ph.D. Anyone can take the DET after registering for the exam. 

While there is no minimum age or educational qualification to appear for the DET, you must ensure that you meet the following software hardware, and surroundings requirements for the test. 

  • Be in a well-lit room.
  • Have 60 minutes of uninterrupted, free time.
  • Remain in the room alone during the exam.
  • Have a Windows or MacOS-compatible computer.
  • The computer must have a working mic and speaker.
  • The computer should have a front-facing camera.
  • Have your government-registered ID close by.
  • Ensure an uninterrupted internet connection.

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Why is the Duolingo English Test Required?

The Duolingo English Test offers a quick evaluation of your English skills. As a non-native English speaker, it can be challenging to keep up with native speakers. That’s why the DET assesses four vital sections of your English – 

  • Speaking
  • Listening
  • Reading
  • Writing

The questions are such that candidates of any academic discipline can answer them easily. Since the exam does not have any age or educational criteria, any person can register for the exam and review their English skills. 

Since other English language proficiency tests like the IELTS, TOEFL, and PTE Academic also exist, questions like “Is the Duolingo English Test required?” come up frequently. In short, the answer is YES.

The Duolingo English Test is a more pocket-friendly alternative.

Price Chart for Different English Language Proficiency Tests

Test Name

Test Fee (approx.)


INR 16,250


$195 (INR 17,000)

PTE Academic

INR 15,900


$59 (INR 5,300)

Compared to the other English language proficiency tests, the fee for the DET is almost one-third. This makes it easier to appear for this exam multiple times compared to the others. So, even if you don't score well on your first try, you won't have to think twice before registering for the exam again.

Furthermore, the convenience of giving the exam from your home at a moment’s notice is hard to miss. For the IELTS or the TOEFL, you must choose an exam date at least 7 days earlier. But if you can’t appear for the exam on that day due to unforeseen circumstances, you must reschedule or cancel your exam. 

This issue doesn't arise for the DET. You can take the exam as soon as you complete the registration process or within 21 days from the date of purchase.

How To Register For The Duolingo English Test?

The registration process for the Duolingo Test is pretty quick and simple. There is no specific Duolingo test date or slot booking needed to register for the exam. All you need is your passport or government-issued ID card (or any valid identification proof), and you can register for the exam.

The step-by-step registration process is as follows – 

Step 1: Create your official Duolingo account

Visit the official Duolingo English Test website and create an account if you don’t have one already.

Step 2: Fill in your details

After creating an account, provide your details, contact information, etc., and complete your profile. 

Step 3: Choose one of the three options

Once you complete your profile and set up your account, you will be redirected to another page where you have three options:

  • Try the Test – Take the 15-minute practice test to prepare for the main exam.
  • Purchase the Test – Buy the test and take it any time within 21 days.
  • Take the Test – Choose this option if you want to take the exam immediately after registration. 

Step 4: Complete the payment

If you choose to purchase or take the test, you will be redirected to the payment page. You can pay the registration fee of $59 via a credit/debit card or PayPal.

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Test Format and Sections

The Duolingo English Test format is designed to adapt to the online nature perfectly. If you look at the test formats for IELTS or TOEFL, you’ll notice that the questions are divided into four sections – Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking.

The DET also tests these English skills. However, the exam doesn’t divide the questions into those four categories. 

Duolingo English Test Format:

Test Sections

Time Allotted for the Section


5 minutes

Adaptive Test

45 minutes

Writing & Speaking Sample

10 minutes

Section 1: Introduction 

Duration – 5 minutes

The first 5 minutes of the 60-minute test is spent on onboarding. The Duolingo English Test takes you through the various rules and regulations that you must adhere to when taking the exam. Here’s what you can expect from this section:

  • Environment check – Well-lit room
  • Computer requirements – Working speakers and microphone, stable internet connection, front-facing camera
  • ID check – Identity confirmation with government-issued ID or Passport

If you don’t meet any of these requirements, your test will be canceled, or you might be banned from taking the test.

Section 2: Adaptive Test

Duration – 45 minutes

The adaptive test is the graded portion of the exam, where you are required to answer various types of questions. For 45 minutes, you must answer short questions that test your English reading, speaking, writing, and listening skills. Since the exam is adaptive, it adjusts the question difficulty based on your answer accuracy. 

The number of questions you might encounter is not fixed. The test ends when the AI has gathered enough information to accurately assess your English skills. 

Overview of different types of DET questions:

  • Read and complete
  • Read and write
  • Read and select
  • Read aloud
  • Interactive listening
  • Listen and types
  • Listen and speak
  • Speak about a photo
  • Write about a photo

Section 3: Writing & Speaking Sample

Duration – 10 minutes

You’ll be provided with two open-ended prompts. You must choose your preferred option within 30 seconds, or the exam will select the first one for you. 

Speaking sample – You have 1-3 minutes to record the video sample.
Writing sample – You have 3-5 minutes to write down your response.

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Scoring and Assessment

Duolingo English Test scores fall within the range of 10 to 160. The report is divided into two sections – 

  • Overall Score
  • Subscores

1. Overall Score

When you receive your DET report, the score of the overall section falls between 10 and 160. This section provides you with an overall assessment of your English skills. Keep in mind that your overall score IS NOT THE AVERAGE of the subscores. 

Overall Score


Assessment Conclusion



Basic understanding of English, ability to navigate familiar situations



Good understanding of routine English in the academic context



Good grasp of unfamiliar topics, able to communicate with fluent speakers, a proper understanding of abstract ideas



Excellent grasp of English in specialized contexts, pragmatic and idiomatic English, and good language flexibility

2. Subscores

The DET subscores provide you with a basic assessment of your performance in different English skills. The subscores are divided into 4 categories:

  • Literacy – Offers you a view of your reading and writing ability
  • Comprehension – Offers you a view of your reading and listening ability
  • Conversation – Offers you a view of your speaking and listening ability
  • Production – Offers you a view of your speaking and writing ability

Each category is scored between 10 and 160. Once you review these scores, you’ll have a better idea of your proficiency in those categories.

Importance Of Your DET Scores – 

A good score, ranging from 100 to 160, is guaranteed to help you seek admission to some of the most reputable educational institutes that accept the DET. Any score within this range proves that you have sufficient mastery of the language. You can handle conversations with native speakers, navigate unfamiliar contexts with ease, and comprehend complex sentences.

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Important Tips Related To The Duolingo English Test 

The Duolingo English Test is unlike most tests that you will encounter in your daily life. The adaptive nature of the exam throws most students off. But there's no need to fret. Review these preparatory tips, and the chances of you scoring well will surely increase!

1. Start preparing early

Since the DET assesses your English based on international standards, getting good English grades in your school doesn't mean you can ace the DET without putting in much effort. So, ideally, you should start your preparations at least 3-6 months before the exam.

2. Solve practice tests regularly

There’s no set pattern to the DET. Since the test is adaptive, the questions are chosen randomly based on your answers. So, when you solve practice tests regularly, you can get used to this testing method. Duolingo offers you an option to take a 15-minute practice test when you register for the exam.   

3. Improve your English speaking & listening

As a non-native English speaker, your listening and speaking skills need work since you’re not accustomed to hearing conversations in English or speaking in English with your friends or colleagues. You can improve these areas by listening to English podcasts and Ted Talks.

4. Sign up for online courses

If you need professional guidance to improve your English, sign up for short or long-term English courses online. is a great option to consider if you’re looking for a reliable website to improve your English skills.

AbroAdvice: Committed to Your Journey - Providing Guidance at Every Step is one of the best education consultancy services online. We are committed to providing you with top-quality assistance through every step of your journey to study abroad. From preparing you for English language proficiency tests to assisting you with admission applications, we’re always there by your side. Check out the amazing benefits we have to offer for our Duolingo English Test online course:

  • 100+ practice tests
  • Regular conversation classes
  • Access to listening guides
  • Doubt-clearing sessions
  • One-on-one personalized guidance

The Duolingo Engish Test doesn’t feel like a challenge with by your side. So, for excellent guidance at affordable prices, get in touch with our experts.

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Frequently Asked Questions

The overall Duolingo English Test score is between 10-160. Any score above 110 is considered good enough to seek admission to some of the most reputable universities worldwide. Scores above 120 mean you have a firm grasp of the English language and can handle complex conversations.

There is no limit to the number of times you can appear for the Duolingo English Test. If you’re not satisfied with your performance, you must wait till you receive your results to register for the test again. However, you can only buy three tests in a 30-day period.

The Duolingo English Test certificate is released within 48 hours after completing the test. Log in to your official Duolingo account and access your scores and certificate from the account. You can print out a copy of your certificate for future reference. 

The Duolingo English Test is often considered easier than the IELTS since the test duration is much shorter. The duration for the DET is only 60 minutes, while the IELTS is 2 hours 45 minutes. However, the DET is adaptive in nature, which makes it harder to predict the questions you might encounter in the test.

The Duolingo English Test score is valid in multiple countries worldwide, such as the following – 

  • The USA
  • The UK
  • Japan
  • The Republic of Korea
  • Switzerland
  • Ireland
  • Thailand
  • Australia
  • Canada 
  • Germany

Click here to access the full list of educational institutions across different countries accepting the DET.

130 is a very good Duolingo English Test score. It proves that you have sufficient knowledge of the English language to carry on fluent conversations with native speakers. Any score above 125 means you are flexible in using English in different contexts. 

The Duolingo English Test is not as hard as most students believe, though opinions regarding this are subjective. Since the test is adaptive, you might face some challenges along the way. But if you begin your preparations early, you can ace the DET without breaking a sweat.

Student Admission Service Reviews

  • Efficient and Cost-effective

    As an international student, the Duolingo English Test was a game-changer. Its affordability and adaptability made the exam process stress-free.'s prep resources were invaluable.

    DIya, Delhi
  • DET Preparation with AbroAdvice's support was invaluable in my DET preparation. The abundance of practice tests and personalized guidance tailored to my needs ensured I was well-prepared on exam day.

    Kashi, Delhi
  • Mastering English Proficiency

    Thanks to's tailored curriculum and continuous support, I surpassed my goals in the Duolingo English Test. Their commitment to excellence truly enhanced my English proficiency.

    Nupur, Delhi
  • Exceeding Expectations's tailored guidance and rigorous practice regimen exceeded my expectations. Their unwavering support and expert instruction propelled me towards exceptional results in the DET.

    Parth, Gujrat
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