How to prepare for Duolingo English test | Sample questions included!

9 things to know about Duolingo English Test | Sample questions included!

Last Updated on September 23, 2021 by iSchoolConnect

Accepted by 1500+ institutions from around the world, the Duolingo English Test is designed to test your readiness to study at a university abroad. Read this blog to know all about the test and practice from the Duolingo English Test sample questions shared below!

The Duolingo English Test is a unique English proficiency exam that tests your  Literacy, Conversation, Comprehension, and Production skills in English. Accepted by more than 1500 schools from the US, UK, Canada, Australia, etc., this test lasts only for 1 hour and costs very little as compared to other English proficiency exams like IELTS & TOEFL. Read this blog to find out everything there is to know about this test – pattern, scoring, fee, and more – and practice from the Duolingo English Test sample questions below!

What is the Duolingo English Test?

Just like IELTS and TOEFL, the Duolingo English Test is an exam that measures the English proficiency of non-native speakers.

Its main objective is to assess your English language skills and measure your readiness to study at a university abroad.

Serious student working at laptop preparing for exams
You can take the Duolingo English Test online from the comfort of your home at any time of your choosing.

But unlike IELTS and TOEFL, this test just lasts for 1 hour. And your results are announced within the next 2 days of you taking the test.

The best part? You can share your Duolingo English Test scores with an unlimited number of institutions abroad!

Why should I take the test?

Even though the Duolingo English Test is not as popular as other English proficiency exams, it comes with its own perks.

The test is more convenient, accessible, and cost-effective-

  1. You can take the test online without going through the hassle of booking an appointment and going to a testing center.
  2. The cost of booking a Duolingo English Test is only $49, as compared to the $180-190 for other exams.
  3. Through Duolingo, you can integrate a video interview and a writing sample alongside your test scores and showcase your personality to institutes.
  4. The test allows you to send your Duolingo English Test scores to any number of universities you want for free!
  5. This test lasts for less than 1 hour, as compared to the 3-hour long TOEFL & IELTS exams.

As a result, the pattern for the Duolingo English Test is also very different. Let’s check it out below…

What is the Duolingo English Test pattern?

The Duolingo English Test is an hour-long exam that tests your expertise in Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing English.

Woman telling us about the importance of english in a workplace
The test draws questions from real-life situations where you will have to communicate in English

Unlike IELTS & TOEFL, it does not have 4 separate sections for each of these skills. Instead, you will be asked a series of questions designed to measure 2 or more of these skills at the same time.

Here’s a list of all the Duolingo English Test question types-

  1. Type the statement that you hear
  2. Select the real English words you read from a list
  3. Speak the English word for each image you see
  4. Write one or more sentences that describe an image
  5. Select the real English words you hear from a list
  6. Type missing letters to complete a given statement
  7. Record yourself speaking a sentence given to you
  8. Write your opinion on a given topic
  9. Record yourself answering a question
  10. Speak about a given image
  11. Give your opinion on a given topic verbally

As we’ve already said, the Duolingo English test allows you to integrate a video interview and a writing sample alongside your test scores.

This is why you will find an unscored section in the test where you can-

  1. Choose one subject from 2 given topics and talk about it for 1-3 minutes
  2. Select a subject from 2 given options and write about it for 3-5 minutes

All of this may sound very easy to you right now. But it’s important to remember that the Duolingo English Test is adaptive.

This means that the more correct answers you give, the tougher the questions get.

How is the scoring done?

The Duolingo English Test is a computer-scored exam that scores you between 10 and 160 in 5 point increments.

It also gives you scores on 4 individual fronts – Literacy, Conversation, Comprehension, and Production –  in the same range.

While 120 is considered a good score, it’s important to look at the exact score requirements of the institution you’re planning to apply to.

Two happy students have received excellent result of final test, look at each other and can`t believe their eyes that they have got the highest A grade
Your Duolingo English Test scores will be valid for 2 years

Note: When you get your results, you will also be able to see how your Duolingo English test scores compare to the IELTS & TOEFL scores.

How is it different from IELTS & TOEFL?

There are a vast number of differences between the Duolingo English Test and other English proficiency exams.

Let’s look at them one by one-

  1. You don’t have to register and go to a test center to take the Duolingo English Test
  2. The Duolingo English Test costs only $49 to take and is much cheaper than the other exams
  3. The duration of the Duolingo English Test is 1 hour, while TOEFL takes 3 hours and IELTS is taken on 2 separate days
  4. The Duolingo English Test is question-adaptive
  5. IELTS & TOEFL are divided into 4 sections – Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing. Duolingo is not, which is why you have to be more adaptive while taking it.
  6. If you usually perform well on traditional tests and are more comfortable with question formats like MCQs, short answers, and essay questions, then you should go for IELTS or TOEFL.
  7. The results of your Duolingo English test appear within 48 hours of you taking the test.
  8. One key difference between Duolingo and other English proficiency tests is that, with the Duolingo English Test, you can send your scores to an unlimited number of universities for free.

While there are quite a few differences to consider, the most important thing to do before taking the Duolingo English Test is to check if the university program you are applying for will accept it.

Who accepts the Duolingo English Test scores?

Over 1,500 institutions worldwide accept the Duolingo English Test as part of their admissions process. 

The list includes top universities like-

Columbia University offers programs for students without GRE scores
Columbia University
  1. Yale University
  2. Imperial College London
  3. McGill University
  4. University of Arizona
  5. California State University
  6. Columbia University
  7. Cornell University
  8. McMaster University
  9. Australian National University
  10. Johns Hopkins University, and more

You will find several other institutions from USA, UK, Canada, Australia, and more on the official test website.

But keep in mind – not all departments of these universities are accepting the Duolingo English test scores. So make sure that the department you want to apply to does.

Also, remember to check how these schools are accepting Duolingo scores. Is it something you can take to “meet requirements,” or is it just “supplemental?”

Once you’re sure your institution accepts these scores, you can register for the test.

How to register for the test?

You don’t have to register for the Duolingo English Test!

Once you’re done preparing for the exam and are ready to take the test, all you need to do is-

  1. Head to the official website of the Duolingo English Test
  2. Create an account by entering your email address and password
  3. Purchase the test (the Duolingo English Test price is only $49)
  4. And hit the ‘Take the Test’ button!

After this, you will have to download the Duolingo English Test desktop app, install it on your PC, and open it to take the test!

Before taking the test

Make sure you satisfy the following conditions-

All-White Home Office Interior
Keep your notebooks and pens away and your camera off at all times
  1. Have your passport with you
  2. Be in a well-lit quiet room where no one can disturb you
  3. Have a reliable internet connection
  4. Use a computer with a front-facing camera, a microphone, and speakers
  5. Keep your ears uncovered
  6. Don’t keep any devices or books nearby
  7. Do not use pen/paper to make notes

Can you share a few Duolingo English Test sample questions?

You will find that Duolingo allows you to take a practice test for free as soon as you create an account on their website.

This 15-minute practice test measures your English language skills just like the actual Duolingo English Test does.

Apart from that, you will also find a guide with an entire section dedicated to Duolingo English Test sample questions.

Some of them are-

  1. Read and complete the sentence.
    The Sun is the star at the center of the Solar System. It i_ seen i_ the s_ _ and gi_ _ _ light t_ the Earth. When t_ _ Sun i_ in t_ _ sky, it i_ day. When t_ _ Sun i_ not i_ the s_ _, i_ is ni_ _ _. The planets, including Earth, go around it. 
  2. Read and complete the sentence.
    Humpback whales can live up to 45 years. They mig_ _ _ _ between t_ _ places th_ _ feed i_ the win_ _ _ and t_ _ places th_ _ give bi_ _ _ in t_ _ summer. They usually live alone.
  3. Select the English words in this list.
    givess thesed wait wants tooking watching bookcase waines anss watteen somether answers walks dresson nineteen thirt watel waiting
  4. Select the English words in this list. 
    dismay riticity eliment consection explicit tenderness carculous astronomy frait coherent mediocrity rigulate forial negligible hypocrisy nostalgia detrimental traumatic

More questions

Girl paying the GMAT exam fees and procuring the GMAT exam dates
For more practice questions, contact us at iSchoolConnect
  1. Respond to the question in 50 words.
    Describe a time you were surprised. What happened?
  2. Respond to the question in 50 words.
    People are never satisfied with what they have; they always want something more or different. Do you agree or disagree? Why? Give specific reasons for your answer.
  3. Speak your answer to the question below.
    Talk about a hobby or activity that you enjoy doing.
    What is it?
    How long have you been doing it?
    Who do you do it with?
    Why is it important to you?
  4. Speak your answer to the topic below.
    Describe the geography of the country where you currently live. How does the geography of the country affect its people and its culture? 
  5. Write for 3-5 minutes for the topic below.
    What is one thing you like about your personality? How has this quality helped you succeed or be a good friend to others? Is this a quality that everyone should have? 
  6. Write for 3-5 minutes for the topic below.
    Name a person from history you admire. Why do you admire that person? What do you think we can learn from them?

As you can see, the format of the Duolingo questions is quite different from that of IELTS & TOEFL. This is why you need to practice from as many Duolingo English Test sample questions as you can.

But don’t forget to keep the following prep tips in mind as you study…

Duolingo English test preparation tips

According to Duolingo, the best way to prepare for the test is to “immerse yourself in English as much as you can.”

To help you do this, there are a bunch of Duolingo English test preparation tips you can look at for each section-


  1. Repeat what you hear when watching movies or videos in English.
  2. Record and hear yourself speaking in English. See if you’re saying ‘umm’ or ‘ahh’ a lot and work on eliminating that.


Woman reading book at evening at home close up
The best tip anyone can give you is this – practice, practice, practice!
  1. Read articles and news in English.
  2. Go through blogs, follow social media accounts, and join groups that post in English.


  1. Find online groups and communities online that communicate in English and spend some time typing quick comments and responses every day.
  2. Pick one topic of your own choice per day – laughter, loneliness, shopping, reading, etc. – and practice writing about it for 15 minutes.


  1. Listen to English music. It’s catchy and will help you learn useful phrases in a way that you can remember them.
  2. Find podcasts speaking about various topics – like fashion, sports, history, philosophy, etc.

If you’re looking for more tips to prepare for the Duolingo English Test or need more information about this exam, feel free to drop a comment or reach out to us.

We’d be happy to help!

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6 thoughts on “9 things to know about Duolingo English Test | Sample questions included!”

  1. Hello,
    I am Abdullah from Pakistan. I’m preparing for duolingo test to start the process of my Application. I just want to know that are headphones allowed during the test ?.
    Please clear my confusion by giving some authentic reference.

  2. What will be happened if any reason laptop hangs, restart or need to shut down during Duolingo test time. can I retake the test until complete? is it charge me again for taking the test to complete? pls suggest.


    1. The first thing you’ll need to do is contact Duolingo support
      It’s very likely that you will be allowed to retake the test free of charge
      But the final decision of charging you again or not will be made by them

  3. I just sat for my test yesterday and i messed up a lot especially on the speaking section. Will it affect my grade? The questions got harder as i was doing it.

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