Duolingo English Test Preparation (DET) : Tips you should follow

11 mins

Duolingo English Test (DET)

Duolingo English Test (DET) was first offered in 2016. It is a platform for students to get certified in their English language proficiency. Despite being the newest test among all the other English Assessment tests, it is gaining popularity day by day. 

Apart from the quality of this test and the fact that you can face it from the comfort of your home, the reason for its popularity could also be its inexpensive nature. This test costs way less than IELTS, TOEFL, or PTE.

If you want to apply for higher education in English-speaking countries then this test can help you. This test focuses on all 4 strands of the language, i.e., listening, speaking, writing, reading. 

Table of Contents


->Perks of  DET

->How to prepare for the Duolingo English Test (DET)

  • Take a dry run on the test
  • Practice Sample Test Papers
  • Understand Computer Adaptive Testing (CAT)
  • Go through Duolingo question types
  • Duolingo Speaking exercises
  • Download Duolingo test official guide
  • Take practice test
  • #DoNot procrastinate
  • Learn the real-world English- slangs, phrases, etc
  • Know the test day rules

->Let’s talk about Doulingo English Test (DET) pattern

  • Take Duolingo English Test whenever, wherever
  • Short Exam
  • Quick Result
  • Duolingo Test has answer-adaptive or situational questions.
  • Type of questions asked in Duolingo test are quite different
  • The format of the Duolingo English Test (DET) 
  • Question Types of the Duolingo English Test (DET)

 ->Top Universities that accept Duolingo English Test

The number of universities that accept DET is growing day by day. Many universities accept this exam as your English proficiency test. As a result, most students are taking this exam in place of IELTS, TOEFL, or PTE.

Perks of DET

  • This test is not lengthy. It is quite shorter as compared to other English proficiency exams.
  • This test is taken online. You get to this test from the comfort of your home.
  • Costs less than the traditional English Proficiency tests like- IELTS or TOEFL.

How to prepare for the Duolingo English Test (DET)

As This exam is different from the other language tests like TOEFL and IELTS, its preparation is also astray from the norms.

  1. Take a dry run on the test
  2. Practice Sample Test Papers
  3. Understand Computer Adaptive Testing (CAT)
  4. Go through Duolingo question types
  5. Duolingo Speaking exercises
  6. Download Duolingo test official guide
  7. Take practice test
  8. Do not procrastinate
  9. Learn the real-world English- slang, phrases, etc
  10. Know the test day rules

Take a dry run on the test

Before you even start studying, take a dry run on the test. Go through the exam pattern. Understand how the test works. Learn how to register yourself for the exam.

This can be done by watching the video tutorial/introduction on the Duolingo website This is a three-minute video that focuses on some key information about the workings of the test, the kind of questions you would be facing, the pattern of the exam, how to register yourself, etc.

Practise Sample Test Papers

There are plenty of test papers on the website of Duolingo. One test paper almost takes eight minutes to complete. This not only makes you familiar with the know-how of the test but also, provides you with a performance measure. 

Each exam of Duolingo is unique, so without working on plenty of sample questions, it would be difficult to prepare for it.

Understand Computer Adaptive Testing (CAT)

In a nutshell, here’s how Computer Adaptive Testing (CAT) works:

While taking the tests on Duolingo, as you go forward the test could become a little more difficult. This is not something to be worried about. It happens because you have answered most of the previous questions correctly. 

So to sum up, the more questions you answer correctly the more difficult it becomes, and vice versa.

Go through Duolingo question types

Going through sample test papers would automatically make you familiar with the overall test type/ questions.

How to get quickly familiar with the test pattern/ question types?

Here are hacks to try-

  • Play word games- Thanks to Smartphones most things are just a click away. You can download a word game on your smartphone and play the missing letters game. This will enhance your vocabulary and strengthen your spelling.
  • You can play real English vs. fake English games on the website of Duolingo. In this game, you would see 2 words on your screen - one real, and another fake. You are expected to choose the real one.
  • Listen to native speakers and complex sentences and repeat them to practice elocution.
  • Read sentences out loud, record yourself, listen to them, and rectify the errors.
  • Practice visionary learning- Whenever you see an object wonder what it is called in English, if you do not know, find out!
  • Dedicate 5-10 minutes to writing about a topic every day.

Duolingo Speaking exercises

In this test, you would be expected to speak in English for about 1-3 minutes on a given topic. This is not as easy as it sounds, even for the native speakers themselves. Please do not be over-confident in this regard.

However, do not get demotivated as well. As they say, ”Practice makes a man perfect.” To attain perfection in speaking English, you just need to be comfortable in hearing your own voice. Practice speaking and record yourself, hear your voice, see if you are making any mistakes, and correct them. 

Apart from getting comfortable with speaking the language, you also need to know ‘what you are going to say in advance. To prepare yourself in terms of the content you can try the following-

  • Choose a topic - You can choose any topic which interests you. It could be your favorite food item, movie, TV Show, etc. You can also choose environmental or social issues if that’s your domain/ subject of interest.
  • What you should say- Quickly/ roughly, list out the things, you should say about the chosen topic. What challenges you might face. Then, record yourself. Speak out loud, and then hear yourself. Know what you sound like and verify the content.

Trying the above-mentioned hacks might seem bunglesome initially, but if you would manage to get through, you’ll notice the improvement in yourself.

Download Duolingo test official guide

Downloading the Duolingo test official guide is great when it comes to preparation for DET. This guide is made by the people who have customized the tests. So conspicuously, these are the best people to lead your way in the right direction. In this guide, you’ll encounter some of the best tips/notes to ace your preparation.

You can get this guide on the official website of the Duolingo English Test.

Take practice test

So far in almost every point, we have discussed, practice tests. This is because it is extremely important. In this particular point, we would emphasize the constant practice of the Sample Test Papers. Just practicing them once or twice doesn’t work, you need to practice them constantly. Make a proper schedule and practice the test daily, it would gradually improve your language skills. 

Leaving the practice for the last minute would not work here. It would only overwhelm you and will not fetch any good results. Staying persistent is the key here.

#DoNot procrastinate

Start preparing as early as possible. It is recommended to start your preparation at least 4 weeks i.e. 2 months before the test. It would give you plenty of time to practice and improve.

It would also save you from the last hour rush. Also, you would have a thorough understanding of the language. By the time you would face the exam, you would be completely comfortable with the language. Persistence can do wonders.

Learn the real-world English- slang, phrases, etc

There are many English proficiency tests. However, DET could be argued the best among them. Here’s the reason why- the questions that are asked in this exam are not academic in nature, most questions are answer-adaptive or situation-based. This means that every question is unique, which makes it the least predictable exam.

The unpredictable nature of this exam makes it even more interesting to practice.

In other words, practice these questions by relating your real life.

Here are some tips for the same-

  • Like every other person, do you also like to scroll down on Instagram or Facebook? Well, you can prepare for the test while scrolling on social media as well. Do you see pictures on social media? Take a minute a describe that picture in detail, both verbally and in writing.
  • Like reading? Well if yes, you have an added advantage. Whenever you read anything- article, book, magazine, Read it Out Loud.
  • Through YouTube videos, podcasts, etc. you can practice your listening skills. When you hear a new word try pronouncing it to get better at articulating.
  • Explore different writing and speaking tests online and practice them constantly.
Know the test day rules

You do not have to visit any test center to take DET. For this reason, there are some rules/ protocols to follow while facing the test. Knowing the rules beforehand would help you prepare better and save your time on the day of the test.

Here are the rules-

  • There should not be a second person in the room in which you are facing the test.
  • Do not cover your ears. They must be visible. If you have long hair that covers your ears, please tie them beforehand.
  • You are not allowed to use any headphones or earphones.
  • Other than the laptop you are using to face the test, you are not allowed any other electronic devices, books, or notes.
  • During the test, you are not allowed to communicate with anyone.
  • No pen or paper is allowed.
  • Do not look away from the screen for a noticeable period of time.
  • Do not leave your test window or open any other browser. It is strictly prohibited.
Let’s talk about Duolingo English Test (DET) pattern

Although the core skills like- listening, reading, writing, and speaking remain the same the pattern of this test is quite different from the other tests. Here is what you expect from this test-

  1. Take the Duolingo English Test whenever, wherever
  2. Short Exam
  3. Quick Result
  4. Duolingo Test has answer-adaptive or situational questions.
  5. The types of questions asked in the Duolingo test are quite different as compared to other tests.
Take the Duolingo English Test whenever, wherever

You can take this test from anywhere- your living room, or bedroom, wherever you like. This is something that attracts more students to it. 

IELTS, TOEFL, or PTE are conducted in the exam centers. Students have to visit these exams centers for these tests to take these tests and register themselves months before the exam date. 

On the other hand, you can take Duolingo English Test (DET), whenever you feel like you are perfectly prepared, at your own comfort. All you have to do is make an account on Duolingo’s website, buy the test, and face it anytime you want within the next 90 days.


As compared to the other tests, the duration of this test is quite short. While most English Proficiency tests take hours to complete, Duolingo English Test only takes one hour. 

Quick Result

Not only the duration of this test is short, but its results are also quick. You will get the result of your test within 48 hours of its completion. You will receive your results via email. Your score would be out of 160. 120 out of 160 is considered a great score. The universities that accept Duolingo English Test (DET) would consider the application if your score is 120 or above.

Duolingo Test has answer-adaptive or situational questions

The questions asked in Duolingo English Test (DET) are based on situations. For this reason, there is no uniform way to approach/ answer the questions. Duolingo has opted for this unique approach because it measures your ability accurately and gives you a chance to reason and apply your soft skills to answer the questions. This further brushes up your soft skills.

However, with the right amount of practice and by following the tips mentioned above, you would definitely ace the exam.

The types of questions asked in the Duolingo test are quite different as compared to other tests.

Although the aim of the Duolingo test is the same as the other English tests, it is still different from them. Let us discuss these distinctions-

  • The format of the Duolingo English Test (DET) 

In most other exams there are 4 sections each dedicated to a particular strand of the Language - listening, reading, writing, and speaking. However, each question of the Duolingo test is designed to integrate 2 strands of the language. One question would test two skills at a time, i.e. Speaking and Reading.

After completing the adaptive test, you would face a 10-minute interview, where you would have to choose a topic among the two and speak about the chosen topic for about 3 minutes.

  • Question Types of the Duolingo English Test (DET)

While it is true that due to the adaptive nature of this test it is not easy to foresee the kind of questions that you might encounter, but the question styles and tasks of the sample papers and previous questions can help in the preparation of DET.

Here are the Top Universities that accept Duolingo English Test as English Proficiency test-

Adelphi UniversityAscenda School of ManagementAbertay UniversityThe Australian National University
Alliant International UniversityAlexander CollegeBangor UniversityBond University
Arizona State UniversityAlgoma UniversityBrunel UniversityCentral Queenland University
Baylor UniversityAlgonquin CollegeCranfield UniversityCharles Sturt University
California State UniversityBishop’s UniversityDe Montfort UniversityCharles Darwin University
Chemeketa Community CollegeBow Valley CollegeKingston UniversityEdith Cowan University
College of San MateoBrescia University CollegeLeeds Beckett UniversityFederation University
Colorado Mesa UniversityBrock UniversityLoughborough UniversityJames Cook University
Colorado State UniversityCambrian UniversityMiddlesex UniversityJMC Academy
Concordia UniversityCape Breton UniversityNottingham Trent UniversityKaplan Business School
Drew UniversityConcordia UniversityQueen’s University BelfastMurdoch University
Florida Atlantic UniversityConfederation CollegeRavensbourne University LondonPerth College of Business & Technology
Florida Institute of TechnologyConquitlam CollegeRoyal Halloway, University of LondonSwineburne University of Technology
Full Sail UniversityCrandall UniversityUniversity of StirlingUniversity of Canberra
Kent State UniversityDouglas CollegeUniversity of York

University of Tasmania


So to sum up, Duolingo English Test is gradually becoming a go-to test for all the study abroad aspirants. Its unique qualities make it more interesting and engaging. Try the aforementioned tips to prepare for this test and make your dream to study abroad come true. 

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