What is the Duolingo English Test? Know the DET Test Format and Fees.

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Are you considering studying UG abroad after class 12, but worried about clearing the English proficiency tests? The Duolingo English Test (DET) might be the perfect solution for you. IELTS and TOEFL are undoubtedly the most popular English language tests to study abroad. But, in recent years Duolingo English Test has gained a lot of popularity for very specific reasons. In this blog, let’s understand everything about the DET, from its format and validity to its comparison with other tests and the registration process.

What is the Duolingo English test?

The Duolingo English Test (DET) is a standardized English language proficiency exam designed for the digital age. Unlike traditional paper-based tests like TOEFL and IELTS, the DET is entirely computer-based, offering increased flexibility and accessibility. This online test gained significant popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic and is now accepted by over 5,000 universities worldwide, including prestigious institutions like Harvard, Stanford, and MIT. 

Duolingo English Test format

The DET utilizes an adaptive testing system, which means, the difficulty level adjusts based on your performance. The algorithm behind the test increases or decreases the complexity of questions as you progress, ensuring an accurate assessment of your English abilities. Let’s have a look at the format in detail.

Introduction & Setup

At the start of the test, candidates spend 5 minutes getting familiar with the platform and ensuring all technical settings are correct.

Adaptive Test

The main part of the exam lasts 45 minutes. Questions adjust in difficulty based on the test taker’s performance to provide an accurate assessment.

Video Interview & Writing Sample

The final 10 minutes focus on spoken and written skills. Candidates respond to video prompts and provide written answers to showcase their English abilities.

Duration of the Test

With a total duration of approximately one hour, candidates can complete the test in a single sitting, making it a convenient option for those with busy schedules. This one-hour timeframe encompasses the initial setup, the adaptive test section, and the final video interview and writing sample. It’s structured to provide a comprehensive evaluation of English proficiency in a timely manner, ensuring a seamless experience for test-takers.

Scoring Criteria

The Duolingo English Test employs a scoring system that ranges from 10 to 160. This scoring scale provides a detailed assessment of an individual’s English language proficiency. A score above 120 is typically seen as a strong indication of a high level of English proficiency. The scoring system is designed to reflect various skill levels, allowing universities and institutions to understand a test-taker’s abilities accurately. It’s essential to understand that while a score of 120 or above is commendable, scores across the entire range provide valuable insights into a candidate’s capabilities in the English language.

Validity of Duolingo English Test

Over 5,000 universities worldwide now accept the DET, including many prestigious institutions. This growing acceptance signifies confidence in the test’s ability to measure English language proficiency. The DET shares similarities with established tests, assessing all four key language skills: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. This format ensures a comprehensive evaluation of your English abilities.

Comparison with Other English Proficiency Tests

FeatureDuolingo English Test (DET)TOEFLIELTS
FormatOnline, computer-basedOnline or in-person testIn-person test center
Test Duration60 minutes110 minutes2 hours 45 minutes
Score Range10-1600-1200-9 Band Scores
Results AvailabilityWithin 48 hours6-10 days2-3 weeks

Fees for Duolingo English Test

The fee for the Duolingo English test is $59, significantly lower than TOEFL and IELTS which can range from $180 to $260. This makes it a budget-friendly option for test-takers. Additionally, sending your scores to up to 40 universities is included in the base price. You can also purchase additional test attempts within a 30-day period for $59 each (with a maximum of two attempts) if needed. There’s even an option to get your results faster for an extra $40, allowing you to receive them within 12 hours.

How to Register for the Duolingo Test?

  • Create an Account or Sign In: If you’re new to Duolingo, create a free account using your email address. Existing Duolingo users can simply log in with their credentials.
  • Purchase the Test: Look for the “Purchase the Test” option on the website. This will take you to the registration page.
  • Choose Your Exam Pack: Decide if you want to purchase just one test attempt or if you’d like the flexibility of additional attempts within 30 days.
  • Complete Payment: Securely complete the payment process using a valid credit or debit card.
  • Schedule Your Test: Once your payment is confirmed, you can choose a convenient date and time to take the DET. Duolingo offers scheduling flexibility to fit your needs.


The adaptive testing system of Duolingo English Test underscores its commitment to accuracy and fairness in assessing the English language capabilities of applicants. Along with that, the affordability is another factor which makes Duolingo a perfect alternative to the popular English language proficiency tests to study abroad.


Is Duolingo easier than IELTS?

Both tests have their unique formats and challenges. However, many find the adaptive nature of DET and its shorter duration more user-friendly.

What is the Duolingo English Test fee?

The fee for the DET is $59.

What is the pass mark for the Duolingo test?

While there is no specific benchmark for passing marks as such, scores above 120 are generally considered indicative of English proficiency.

How many times can we attempt Duolingo? Is the Duolingo certificate valid?

Test-takers can attempt DET multiple times. But the only condition is, they shouldn’t attempt it more than three times in a span of three months.

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