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Duolingo English Test Preparation

Updated on 15 July, 2024

The Duolingo English Test (DET) serves as your gateway to demonstrating English proficiency on a global scale. Accepted by over 5000 universities in 50 countries, this computer-based exam is ideal for those looking to migrate to English-speaking nations. 

A plethora of DET preparation material is available online. The DET assesses speaking, reading, writing, and listening skills in professional English, providing a comprehensive evaluation in about an hour.  Unlock with us its Duolingo exam pattern to ace the exam. 

Duolingo English Test Preparation - Exam Pattern & Eligibility

Aspirants can prepare for the Duolingo English test with various sources available online. Understand the DET eligibility criteria and DET exam pattern below before starting the preparation.

Eligibility Criteria

The Duolingo English Test has no specific eligibility requirements. People of all ages can prepare for the Duolingo English Test. However, candidates under 13 years old need their parents' or legal guardians' approval. Parents or guardians must confirm by signing an online form during registration.

Exam Pattern

Candidates must dedicate about one hour of uninterrupted time to the test. This computer-based test has varying difficulty levels. Also, Duolingo provides free practice tests to know the difficulty level of questions and how to prepare for the Duolingo English test. The test setup is divided into three sections: Introduction, Adaptive test, and Writing sample and Speaking sample. To better understand the test setup, refer to the table below:




Adaptive test

- Measures English skills with a series of questions.

- Difficulty level varies based on performance.

45 minutes

Writing sample and speaking sample

- Speaking sample: 1 to 3 minutes of response.

- Writing sample: 3 to 5 minutes of response.

10 minutes

Source: Duolingo Official Website 

Preparation Tips for Duolingo English Test

Duolingo official social media handles are flooded with free videos to help you prepare for the test. In fact, plenty of study material for Duolingo English tests is available online. Wondering how to invest your time prudently with these abundant resources? Follow some of the tips given below to achieve the desired score:

Reading: 5 Techniques for Improving Reading Comprehension

  1. Read blogs, essays, or short stories available on the internet.
  2. Follow social media accounts that post English-language content.
  3. Read ebooks or books in English.
  4. Follow the news in English.
  5. Understand the main ideas, details, and vocabulary.

Writing: 5 Tips for Structuring and Writing Essays

  1. Practice writing essays, journal entries, and summaries.
  2. Join online communities and write quick responses in English.
  3. Focus on grammar, coherence, and vocabulary.
  4. Convey the main idea by adding supporting points.
  5. Use linking words to improve the flow of text.

Speaking: 5 Strategies for Fluency and Coherence

  1. Practice speaking English with a partner.
  2. Record speaking in English on various topics.
  3. Check out Duolingo preparation materials online for different pronunciations.
  4. Collect a few phrases from movies and start including them in daily conversations.
  5. Pay attention to pronunciation, fluency, and coherence.

Listening: 5 Techniques for Improving Listening Skills

  1. Watch English series or movies.
  2. Listen to podcasts and music as they have repeated content. 
  3. Look at sports, news, fashion, or any of your favorite topics in English.
  4. Watch a movie in your language by turning on the subtitles.
  5. Try to understand different accents and contexts.

Pre-Test-Day Tips:

Keep your pre-test jitters away with these tips.

  • Ensure the testing area is quiet, comfortable, well-lit, and private.
  • Have an internet-connected computer and your passport ready.
  • Use a computer for ease of navigation of DET.
  • Choose a time for the test when you can concentrate fully, such as early morning or late at night.
  • Candidates must revise their topics before the test day. 

Test Day Tips

Candidates must be well-prepared for the Duolingo test day. When taking their test, candidates should follow the tips below:

  • Allocate one uninterrupted hour for the test when no one should disturb you.
  • Avoid wearing headphones, as they are not allowed and may invalidate your test.
  • Familiarize yourself with all Duolingo English test rules for security and validity.
  • Manage your time effectively during the test, particularly for writing and speaking sections.

Duolingo English Test Preparation: Dos & Don'ts

Here are certain Dos & Don’ts list for your DET.



  • Take off the headphones.
  • Getting external assistance such as dictionaries or help from other people.
  • Charge or plugin the computer device before starting the test.
  • Look away from the screen while taking the test.


  • Hold a valid Government ID.
  • Forget to carry a valid government ID.
  • Keep your eyes on the screen during the test
  • Forget plugging the computer device.

Duolingo Test Preparation Materials - Books for Preparation

 Preparing for the DET involves familiarizing oneself with various aspects of English grammar, which are indirectly assessed throughout the test, especially in sentence completion questions. Practicing with Duolingo test papers can be highly beneficial. Additionally, candidates can supplement their preparation with the following recommended books that provide comprehensive grammar lessons and exercises:

  • Oxford English Grammar: This book was written by British Linguist Sidney Greenbaum in 1996. It has gained recognition and a good reputation in the academic world. There are detailed grammar lessons and many exercises to help one practice. This is considered one of the best Duolingo online test preparation books.

                     Price: $29.95 (INR 2,500)

  • Practical English Usage: Michael Swan authored the book in 1860, and it is currently in the fourth edition. Oxford University Press has published the book, and it is well known to be a fascinating practice book for common English usage that offers a wealth of helpful knowledge.

                    Price: $55 (INR 4,593)

  • Gain Control Over English Writing: Gain Control Over English Writing, which Prof. Shrikant Prasoon wrote, is a workbook containing many exercises that can be used to practice your English grammar skills. Regardless of the purpose, the book can be used as a stand-alone resource or as collateral for a lesson book. 

                     Price: $8.99(750.66)

  • Cobuild English Grammar: Throughout this book, Collin Corpus presents modern English grammar in a simplified way to make it easier to understand. This book provides many examples of differences between American and English grammar. These examples are presented reader-friendly and capture the essential differences between them. One can improve their writing and speaking skills by participating in this course. 

                       Price: $22.62(1,889)

Disclaimer: Prices of the books are subject to change.

7 Common DET Preparation Challenges & Strategies to Overcome Them

Candidates may initially encounter challenges in Duolingo English test preparation. However, with proper strategies and practice, these can be overcome.


  1. Difficulty in questions is unpredictable and can hinder performance.
  2. Managing time to complete the test is challenging.
  3. Speaking clearly under timed conditions is stressful.
  4. Writing a well-structured response within the time limit can be challenging.
  5. Understanding different accents and speech speeds can be difficult.
  6. Dealing with technical problems, such as poor connectivity or unfamiliar test setups.
  7. Analyzing and understanding written texts can be time-consuming.

Strategies to Overcome Challenges

  1. Use practice platforms that offer adaptive tests to get used to the format.
  2. Regularly take timed Duolingo English practice tests to improve pacing.
  3. Speak on a variety of topics daily using language exchange apps or by speaking with friends.
  4. Speak clearly and at a moderate pace to avoid rushing.
  5. Spend a few seconds planning your response before writing.
  6. Practice taking quick notes to capture key points while listening; this would be one of the best time-effective strategies. 
  7. Practice summarizing paragraphs and identifying the main ideas and details.

Ace Your Duolingo English Test 

Practice English grammar worksheets, listen to diverse online audio, and explore specific Duolingo test materials. Embrace the multitude of digital resources available to enhance your English skills and achieve your desired results confidently.

All the best! 


Can I take the Duolingo test multiple times?

The Duolingo test can be taken unlimited times. However, there is a limit of two attempts within 30 days.

Can I contest my certified results?

Certified test results cannot be appealed, re-examined, or rescored.

What is the scoring process?

With the Duolingo English Test, you can earn between 10 and 160 points based on your performance.

If I fail the Duolingo test, what happens?

Within 30 days of taking the test, you can retake it. The test can be taken as many times as you like. 

What is the Validity of Duolingo scores?

The Duolingo test scores are valid for 2 years. Candidates can share their scores with their desired institutions or through job interviews within this period.

Can I retake the Duolingo English Test if I’m not satisfied with my score?

Yes, you can retake the test if you are unsatisfied with your score. You can repurchase the test within 30 days. Duolingo allows up to three trials to secure good results.

Tanya Rai

Tanya is a skilled content writer and marketing strategist with deep expertise in the EdTech industry. She has a proven track record of producing engaging content and developing effective marketing strategies for leading platforms. At upGrad Abroad, Tanya focuses on providing study-abroad aspirants with accurate and relevant information, significantly contributing to the growth of educational technology.

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The above tips are the Author's experiences. upGrad does not guarantee scores or admissions.