Student Advice

What is the Duolingo English Test?

Ben Maples  · Dec 22nd 2023  · 6 min

Most people mainly know Duolingo as the language-learning app that simply won’t leave you alone. While most students may know it as the app that will remind you daily to take your language less, there is now a new string to their bow.


Universities are beginning to diversify their admissions criteria. While English proficiency tests like the TOEFL, TOEIC and IELTS previously reigned supreme, Duolingo have released a test of their own that could change the way universities handle their admissions criteria for international students.

The Duolingo English Test is an excellent way for students to prove their English proficiency. As the test becomes more widely accepted by universities, it is important to see just how the test can help you with your application.

Duolingo practice test

What is the Duolingo English Test?

The Duolingo English Test (DET) is an internet-based standardised English language test. The test was, as the name suggests, developed by the American educational technology company Duolingo, who are best known for their language-learning app. The test is designed to demonstrate a user’s proficiency in the English language and is sat online rather than as a physical paper.

The test is similar to that of the IELTS, TOEFL and the TOEIC. Although it is a recent creation and is offered by a well-known company, it has since picked up steam and has become widely accepted by many universities throughout the world as a university admissions test. It is now an option for international students applying to certain universities in the UK to show their results as a sign of their English language proficiency.

How is the Duolingo English Test scored?

The Duolingo Test is scored between 10 and 160. Scores above 120 are considered to be proficient in English. Below is a table comparing the score on the Duolingo English Test alongside the TOEFL, IELTs and Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

The scores are:

Duolingo English Test (10-160) IELTS band TOEFL iBT score (0-100) CEFR rank
160 8.5-9 120 C2
155 8 119
150 117-118 C1
145 7.5 113-116
140 109-112
135 7 104-108
130 98-103
125 6.5 93-97 B2
120 87-92
115 6 82-86
110 76-81
105 70-75
100 5.5 65-69
95 59-64 B1
90 5 53-58
85 47-52
80 41-46
75 4.5 35-40
70 30-34
65 24-29
10-60 0-4 0-23 A2-A1

Source: Duolingo official score page

Users should be aware that the Duolingo English Test is an adaptive test. This means that the difficulty of the test scales in-line with the taker’s ability. Students typically receive their results within 48 hours of sitting the test and are available online.

What universities accept the Duolingo English Test?

The Duolingo English Test is becoming more widely accepted in the UK. Just under 70 universities in the UK formally accept the test as a means of admission. Despite this, the university entry requirements will change every year, meaning that a university may accept the test one year, and then decide against it the next. Not all universities will necessarily make their entry requirements available so early, so you may not know until some time after your application has been lodged.

The universities known to be accepting the Duolingo English Test in 2024 are:

The Duolingo English Test is also becoming more widely accepted across the globe. The test is accepted in Australia, Austria, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Qatar, Spain, Thailand, the UK and the USA.

Duolingo English test practice

Who can take the test?

Anyone can take the test! You don’t need to be going to university to take the Duolingo English Test but anyone under the age of 13 will require the permission of a parent or guardian before they can take it.

We would recommend that students who are looking to take the test check to see if it is accepted first. While more and more university are accepting the test as part of their admission’s procedure, do make sure to double-check it is accepted before you pay.

How much does the Duolingo Test cost?

The Duolingo English Test costs $49, or £38.64, plus tax. You won’t have to pay to receive your results.

The test is actually one of the cheapest on the market. For comparison, the TOEFL costs around $200 (£157.85), while the IELTS can cost anywhere between £170 and £200, depending on where you sit.

Why is the Duolingo exam used?

The Duolingo English Test exam is used for more than just university admissions. It’s also useful when applying for jobs too and a great addition to your student CV.

Standardised English proficiency testing

As we’ve mentioned, the test is an excellent way for universities to test students in their English proficiency. The test is gaining popularity slowly but surely and is an incredibly cost-effective way for students to show their abilities, particularly as it costs less than the IELTS or TOEFL.


More and more savvy professionals have begun to add their Duolingo English Test score to their LinkedIn profiles. This is a fantastic way for employers to see your Englishproficiency. This is also a very good way of gaining a competitive advantage over other potential job applicants.

English test Duolingo

How is the test taken?

The test is taken online, so you can take it in the comfort of your own home! ! All you need is an internet connection (make sure it is reliable) and a front-facing camera (for that reason, we don’t suggest taking the test in bed).

The test is broken into three segments. These segments are:

  • The introduction and set-up (5 mins)
  • The adaptive test (45 mins)
  • Video interview (10 mins)

You will also need to follow a specific set of rules, which include:

  • Keep ears and face uncovered and visible at all times.
  • Look at the device screen at all times during the test.
  • Mobile devices, notes, and textbooks are not allowed.
  • Predictive text input tools and web camera software must be disabled or otherwise turned off.
  • Stay inside the test window.

A proctor oversees your test. A proctor is someone who will watch you take the test to ensure that you do not cheat. It’s also for this reason that you will need to be in a well-lit room with your camera, microphone, and speakers all turned on.

How to prepare for the test

It is difficult to completely prepare for the test, as it is adaptive. An adaptive test moulds the questions around the ability of the user, so you are unlikely to be able to predict what questions will be coming up.

That being said, it is still possible to prepare. We advise against cramming, as this is seldom a good revision choice, but general revision can still be helpful.

Practice makes perfect

Revising using practice tests is an excellent way to prepare. As we said before, it is difficult to know what specific questions will be asked for an adaptive test, but you will be able to see what kind of structure the test follows.

You can see how the questions are worded, what sort of answers they are expecting, and help you to get into the zone. Collegedunia has some past papers available which should give you an insight into how the test works.

Duolingo test score

A guiding hand

Duolingo has some resources to help you! The company offers a readiness guide which details how the adaptive testing model works, a place for Duolingo test practice, and has an official score guide.

Online courses

You may not need this, but can help if you need the extra study. These courses tend to look at refining your English proficiency and hone your general translation skills. When you have booked your test, a short and intensive course on areas you are struggling with could be the edge you need when it comes to test day!

When is the test sat?

The test does not have a specified time and date for you to sit it. Students will have within 90 days to appear for the test after they have booked it.

You will need to register for the test through the Duolingo website and await a review. Once the Duolingo team have reviewed your application, you will then be given your dashboard login details.

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