Prepare For Duolingo English Test

Duolingo English Test: Everything you need to know

Duolingo English Test Explained

The new Duolingo English Test is made specifically for those that need to get an official English score, usually to study at a university or college. It’s similar to the IELTS and TOFEL test—even though this is a new test, it’s accepted by thousands of universities all around the world. You can go to the Duolingo English Test website and type in the university or college that you want to attend to check if they accept it. It’s more than likely that they will because thousands accept it. The Duolingo English Test (DET) is similar to the IELTS and TOEFL test, but it does differ in some really important and positive ways for English students like you.

So, let’s look at those differences:

The first difference is that you can do this test from anywhere you want. It can be at your home, in your bedroom, in your living room; wherever you want. You don’t have to go to an official test centre to take this exam. This is a big difference than the IELTS or TOEFL exam where you must go to a test centre for the whole day to take the exam. I know a lot of my students find taking the exams in a test centre very nerve-wracking, which can end up hurting their score. So being able to take the Duolingo English Test from a place that you feel comfortable is a huge positive. Be aware, there are some requirements you need to have,

· Reliable internet

· Front facing camera

· A microphone and speakers

The second difference is that the Duolingo English Test only takes one hour to complete. That’s right just one hour! Compare that to the IELTS test which takes all day! You simply log in answer all the questions and log out all in one hour.

The third difference is that The Duolingo English Test test is much cheaper and so much faster compared to the ILETS and TOFEL exams. The Duolingo English Test only cost $49 dollars, whereas the IELTS and TOEFL exams cost anywhere from $200-300. On top of that, you get your results within two days!

The fourth is to do with the speaking part of the test. In the Duolingo English Test you are talking to your computer, you do not talk to a human examiner. In my opinion this makes this test a little easier as I know a lot of students, even though their English is great, feel nervous having a one-to-one conversation with a person that they don’t know. Speaking directly to your computer is a huge benefit of the Duolingo English Test for some students.

All the question types on the Duolingo English Test

Now, let’s take a look at the 10 question types on the Duolingo English Test.

Read & Complete (C-Test)

The Read and Complete question type is a measure of your reading ability. In this task, the first and last sentences are fully intact but the sentences in between are damaged because the second half of some of the words are missing. You respond to the question by filling the empty letters in the paragraph. To do this well, you need to rely on context and discourse information to reconstruct the damaged words. The words can be any type of word type so a noun, adjective, adverb, etc.

Choose the Real Words (Reading & Listening)

In the vocabulary questions, you are presented with a selection of different words, some of which are real words and some are pseudo words. Pseudo words are words that look like English words but are meaningless. Your job is to select the real English words. Simple right? Not exactly! This task tests vocabulary knowledge so make sure you study up on your vocabulary. This task takes two forms: 1) read and choose and 2) listen and choose.

Listen & Type (Dictation)

In the dictation task, you listen to a spoken sentence or a short passage and then type what you hear using your keyboard. You must type it word for word exactly. This tests your listening and writing skills. For this task, you have one minute to complete the dictation and you can replay the audio up to three times. This part might sound easy, but it can be very challenging.


The reading aloud task is a test of your reading and speaking skills. They require you to read, understand, and say aloud a sentence as naturally as possible. When you do these tasks make sure you read each word carefully, paying close attention to the pronunciation and intonation.

Describe a photo (speaking and writing)

During the Duolingo English Test, you will have to describe 4 photos: 3 in writing, 1 through speaking. For the 3 writing photos, you have 1 minute to write at least one sentence describing the photo (but write more if you can). For the spoken description, you have 90 seconds to describe the photo aloud, and you must speak for at least 30 seconds.

Speaking (reading & listening)

Probably the most difficult tasks for students is the speaking tasks. There are two speaking tasks in this test. The first is to describe a picture; for this one, you have 90 seconds and you will get this once in the test. The second is to speak about a topic. This one comes in two forms: 1) read a prompt and respond, 2) listen to a prompt and respond. The Read and Respond task appears twice on the test and the Listen and Respond appears once.

These tasks require you to speak for an extended time and they test all of your speaking skills, such as pronunciation, fluency, grammar, and vocabulary range. So be sure to practice many of these different questions before you take the Duolingo English Test.


Similar to the extended speaking the Duolingo English Test includes extended writing tasks. Here you are required to respond to four different prompts, three of which are describing a picture and one is an independent writing task where you’ll be given a prompt which you have to respond to. These tasks are designed to give you the opportunity to demonstrate and show off all of your English writing skills. You are required to describe something, recount, or make an argument; all of which are essential writing skills. Again, be sure you practice writing in all of those different styles.

📚 Do you want to study more with me?

Here’s how:

1 – Practice

Sign up for free! Practice all the 10 question types on the Duolingo Test and see the correct answers immediately. Works great on your computer and phone!

2 – Writing courses:

Writing about the topic (50+ words) course:
Writing about the photo course:

3- Speaking courses: Coming soon 

Keep on learning!

Teacher Luke

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