Why You Should Choose the Duolingo English Test Over IELTS/TOEFL

Last Updated on July 4, 2022 by David Shaw

Should You Choose Duolingo English Test Over IELTS/TOEFL

Are you in the process of preparing for your college application? As a student who wishes to study abroad, you might need to fulfill an English Proficiency Test and happen to wonder about the Duolingo English Test. As more universities begin to accept Duolingo English Test scores, you might wonder should you choose it over IELTS or TOEFL?

While IELTS and TOEFL are well-recognized English standard exams, the Duolingo English Test is a good and cheaper alternative given its convenience. Duolingo English Test is the cheapest of all English tests, recognized globally, and can be taken online with results provided within 48 hours.

In this article, we will discuss what the Duolingo English Test is, and exactly why you should be taking them instead of IELTS, TOEFL, or CEFR.

What Is the Duolingo English Exam?

duolingo english test intro

The Duolingo English Test is a standardized English Proficiency Test recognized by many academic institutions worldwide. Unlike IELTS or TOEFL, it is conducted fully online with a computer and offers electronic certifications as well.

According to Duolingo, their English Test system is highly backed by research and shares a high correlation in its test materials with other major assessments such as the TOEFL and the IELTS. Duolingo English Test measures examinees’ literacy, comprehension, conversation, and production by testing their ability to read, write, listen and speak in the English language.

Duolingo English Test Is Cheaper and Easy To Take

What I like most about Duolingo’s English Test is that you have the freedom to choose whenever time you wish to take the exam, unlike other English exams which only allow you to take it on specific dates. All you need is a computer with working webcams, a valid identification, a working microphone, speakers, and strictly be in a room by yourself, then you’re all set to take the exam on their website. If you ever faced issues or have questions about your exam, their very responsive support team will be there to work closely with you.

Type of TestPrice Test Date Score report fees to other universities
IELTS$245 – $255Booking-basedFree for first 5
TOEFL$180 – $325Booking-based$20 Each
Duolingo English Test$49AnytimeFree

When it comes to the price you pay for the exam, Duolingo English Test’s one-time payment makes things easy and straight to the point without any surprise payments. Unlike TOEFL and IELTS, you won’t have to pay additional fees for things like rescheduling, or request for the speaking or writing section score review.

Duolingo Is Widely Accepted and Growing in Popularity

Despite Duolingo’s English Test service only starting in 2016, it has gained over 3000+ recognition by institutions all over the world, predominantly in the US and Europe.

Duolingo’s English Test recognition is recognized worldwide even by elite institutions like Stanford University, MIT, Yale, and there is no doubt that its popularity and recognition is growing fast. By taking Duolingo’s English Test, you won’t likely have to worry about certification recognition issues for most well-known universities in your country. To view and search the lists of schools accepting this test, check here.

In terms of test scores, Duolingo even has comparison charts with exam scores like TOEFL, IELTS, and CEFR to calibrate your English level skills. Back then, people were skeptical about the legitimacy and recognition of Duolingo’s English Test, but we’re here to back that claim since I have personally, including friends around me have already used this method before and it works very like a charm.

Duolingo English Test and Results Are Quick

When it comes to the structure of the exams and the time it takes to get your result, Duolingo English Tests outranks IELTS and TOEFL again in terms of the shortest amount of time taken. Especially if you’re in urgent need of an English proficiency test result for a university, Duolingo’s English Test pre-exam setup should only take you 5 minutes and you’re ready to go. Once you’re done with the exam within 55 minutes, you’ll receive your results in less than 48 hours.

Types of Test Test Duration Time Needed to Grade
Duolingo English Test 55 minuteswithin 48 hours
IELTS165 minutes within 6 days
TOEFL180 minuteswithin 3-13 days

Did we also mention that Duolingo’s practice tests are 100% free on their website? Start practicing whenever, wherever and however many times you need before you’re ready for the exam. And again, sending Duolingo’s English Test results is free to an unlimited number of schools or institutions.

What to Expect and How to Prepare for the Duolingo English Test

Other than the fact that Duolingo’s English Test is cheaper and way more convenient to take than other English exams, let’s talk about what you should expect and prepare for the exams with perfect examples.

The hour-long Duolingo English exam tests examinees on their English proficiency skills in speaking, reading, writing, listening, and dictation with interesting styles of questions.

Diagram of a Question

How Often the Questions Appear

Question TypesFrequency
Read and Complete
Read and Select
Listen and Select
Listen and Type
Read Aloud
4-6 times each
Write About the Photo3
Speak About the Photo1
Read, Then Write1
Read, Then Speak1
Listen, Then Speak2
Writing Sample1
Speaking Sample1
Interactive Reading2 sets of 6 questions
Table from Duolingo’s website

Examples of What Some of the Questions Types Look Like

For a complete lists and guide to taking the Duolingo English Test, check out their official documentation of their guides.

Who Is Duolingo English Test For?

The Duolingo English Test is designed for students who wish to obtain a recognized English exam certificate and apply to partnering universities and colleges in the cheapest and shortest time possible. For some others, taking IELTS or TOEFL is not an option in their local area or anywhere nearby. Plus, if they have difficulty setting a time schedule to take exams like IELTS or TOEFL, the Duolingo English Test is exactly made to solve this issue, all you need is a working computer and internet access and you’re ready to take the exam.

If you’ve learned the English language for more than 5 years and are comfortable using it around public, you should not have difficulty sitting for the test with proper self-study and practice.

On the other hand, IELTS and TOEFL do offer a more immersive experience as they require examinees to physically attend a hall where live examiners are present to conduct the exams, hence the higher fee. In my honest opinion, I definitely felt IELTS and TOEFL are marketed and structured in a way to make feel it difficult, thus making people spend external tuition dollars on preparing for this exam.

I was even surprised when I found out academic institutions even have specialized IELTS and TOEFL preparation courses that students have to pay additional fees to enroll in. The truth is, IELTS/TOEFL and many other standardized English exams really aren’t as difficult as you think it is, and they have definitely been marketed to present professional credibility.

Final Thoughts

As I previously said, as someone who took IELTS before Duolingo’s English Test for my college application in the US, I regretted not taking the Duolingo English Test first to save money and time. I felt the level of difficulty and quality of both tests are similar, making the Duolingo English Test definitely more worth the value for your money.

I was somewhat tricked into taking private tuition preparation for IELTS that costs as much as the examination fee because scoring well on IELTS was so much easier than I thought. Regardless, I am sharing my experience as someone who took both IELTS and Duolingo’s English Test to help people decide better.

The next time you’re thinking about whether should you take Duolingo’s English Exam if a university accepts it, don’t hesitate to give it a try. In my opinion, l feel that Duolingo is the perfect English Exam certification system for its price out of any other well-recognized English exam, and I would recommend it to everyone who has the option to take it.

Related Questions

Is the Duolingo English Test difficult? The difficulty of Duolingo’s English Test material is considered on par with other well-known English Tests, but the overall experience of Duolingo’s English Test should be easier due to its shorter test duration.

Is the Duolingo English Test easier compared to IELTS or TOEFL? The difficulty of any test is subjective, however, the Duolingo English Test can be easier due to the absence of peer pressure and monitoring of physical examiners since it is conducted fully online with a computer.

How is Duolingo English Test monitored through the internet? In order to take the tests, you must have a computer with a working microphone, speaker, and webcam to pass the pre-exam checklist. Once you start the test, you will not be allowed to look away from your screen or have anyone in the same room as you. After the test, the recorded test will be further reviewed by the Duolingo team to make sure you’re not cheating.

David Shaw

I graduated college with a Computer Science degree and enjoy blogging about the college experience as a hobby. I like spending time learning about the latest happenings in the tech and entrepreneurship world. With my prior experiences and knowledge, I hope my college lifestyle brings help to people

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