What is the Duolingo English Test?

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The Duolingo English Test was in 2016 but became much more popular in 2020 because of the restrictions imposed due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Many traditional tests such as IELTS or FCE require students to attend official testing centres and have direct face-to-face interviews with assessors, while the Duolingo English Test can be done from the comfort of your own home.

Most English tests require students to do a variety of exercises to evaluate how their written English, spoken English and reading comprehension and in this respect, the Duolingo English Test is no different. What is different is how these aspects of language are tested.

In the Duolingo English Test, participants have just under one hour to complete a battery of very short questions, with some being as short as 20 seconds long!

The Question Types.

In total, there are 10 different types of questions in the Duolingo English test.

Question TypeDescriptionTimeFrequency of Appearance
Read & CompleteComplete missing words in a text, only the first letter or letters are given.3 minutes3-7 times, 6 times on average
Read & SelectSelect from a list which words are real English words.1 minute3-7 times, 6 times on average
Listen & SelectSelect from a list of audio examples which words are real English words.1 minute 30 seconds3-7 times, 6 times on average
Listen & TypeListen to a short sentence and type it into a box.1 minute3-7 times, 6 times on average
Read AloudRecord yourself reading a sentence.20 seconds3-7 times, 6 times on average
Write about the PhotoDescribe in writing what is happening in a photograph.1 minute3 times
Speak about the PhotoRecord and oral description of what is happening in a photograph.30 seconds minimum, 1 minute 30 seconds maximum1 (just appears once)
Read, the WriteWrite a long answer about one of two provided topics.5 minutes1 (just appears once)
Read, then SpeakRecord an oral monologue about a given topic.30 seconds minimum, 1 minute 30 seconds maximum2 times
Listen, then SpeakRecord an oral monologue about a topic which is given as a recording of a spoken sentence..30 seconds minimum, 1 minute 30 seconds maximum1 (just appears once)
Duolingo English Test Question Types.

How do Students Take the Duolingo English Test?

Students can take the test using any computer with a microphone and camera which is connected to the internet. The student must be visible on camera during the whole test. Students are required to speak and record some of their answers.

How is the Duolingo English Test Evaluated?

The Duolingo English Test is 100% evaluated by artificial intelligence (AI). No humans are directly involved in evaluating or marking questions. Many students do not like the idea, but Duolingo have produced some convincing data that shows that the results of their tests are comparable with those of much more established, lengthy and expensive assessments based on human interaction.

Check What You Know.

Check that you know how the Duolingo English Test works with this quick quiz. You can find all the answers in the material above.