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Duolingo vs PTE- Which one’s your best choice?

Updated on 31 October, 2023

Shivangi Mishra

Shivangi Mishra

Sr. Content Editor

The Duolingo vs  PTE debate is natural for students seeking admission abroad and working on meeting the language requirements.

The PTE (Pearson Test of English) is an accepted English proficiency examination for non-native speakers who wish to apply to courses in English-speaking countries. Meanwhile, the Duolingo English Test (DET) is steadily finding acceptance across institutions and is a computer-adaptive examination that serves a similar purpose. So who wins the PTE vs Duolingo battle? Read on to find out!

Duolingo vs PTE

Here is a brief snapshot of the Duolingo English test vs PTE comparison for your perusal: 

ParameterDuolingo English TestPTE (Pearson Test of English)
Conducting Body Duolingo Inc. is the name behind this online platform for learning languages. It manages the same. The PTE is conducted by the British multinational education and publishing conglomerate, Pearson. 
Mode of ExaminationThe Duolingo examination takes place online with a mobile device or computer. It is an adaptive examination which evaluates reading, listening, writing, and speaking abilities in a single test with questions tailored as per the proficiency level of the candidate. The PTE is an offline examination held at Pearson authorized centers worldwide. The assessment contains short-answer and essay questions, along with multiple-choice questions. 
PurposeDuolingo helps aspirants enhance their proficiency levels in a more accessible and engaging manner. The platform offers several courses along with interactive exercises and more. Candidates can do them at their own pace. PTE has the primary purpose of evaluating the English language proficiency levels of non-native speakers within the academic context. This is done through testing vocabulary, grammar, reading, writing and pronunciation. 
FormatThe DET is an online assessment tool that measures candidates’ vocabulary, grammar, reading comprehension and pronunciation through MCQs. The PTE Academic is a test that is computer-based and evaluates the writing, listening, speaking, and reading skills of aspirants, based on fluency and accuracy. 
StructureThe Duolingo examination comprises the following:  
a. Adaptive Section- MCQs that adjust level of difficulty based on the candidate’s abilities. Topics like reading comprehension, grammar, and vocabulary are covered.  
b. Video Interview- This has candidates recording a short response to prompt questions on video.
The PTE has two sections:  
a. Academic- This evaluates the English language skills of aspirants for university/college programs.  
b. General- This is used to assess aspirants for purposes like immigration, visas, and jobs.  
The test has three sections:  
1. Listening- This evaluates the ability to understand spoken English with questions on audio recordings, lectures, and conversations.  
2. Reading- This section evaluates the ability of the candidate to understand written English with questions on short texts, passages, and summaries.  
3. Speaking & Writing- This section assesses the ability to speak and also write English, with questions on writing an essay, summarizing spoken text, and speaking aloud.  
DurationThe test requires just 30-45 minutes for completion The PTE requires 3 hours for completion (approx.)
Scoring PatternDuolingo scores are given between 0-160 points, with higher scores indicating higher proficiency. The scores have four categories, namely Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, and ExpertThe PTE scores are from 10 to 90. The score is based on the fluency and accuracy of language usage and abilities to apply the same in real-world scenarios. 
FeesDuolingo has a free version of the test, although the official DET Pro costs $49. The PTE Academic and PTE General tests cost approximately $198 and $228, respectively. 
Eligibility RequirementsDuolingo does not have any particular eligibility criteria PTE requires candidates to adhere to specific eligibility criteria. They should have valid passports and be 18 years of age at least. 
Difficulty LevelsDuolingo is perceived to be easier with its MCQ format and emphasis on grammar and vocabularyPTE is perceived to be more difficult with its broader scope of testing. 
Result DeclarationDuolingo results are declared within 24 hours of taking the test. The results are provided online and may be printed tooPTE results are declared within 5 business days of the examination and should be downloaded from the Pearson site. 



Which is Better and for Whom

PTE vs. Duolingo- Which is easy?

 If difficulty levels are what you are concerned about, then the Duolingo English Test is a good way to start before you build up for the PTE with extensive preparation. However, the examination that you choose should be influenced by your specific objectives/needs. Duolingo is good for improving your proficiency levels in an engaging way while tracking progress with the DET. 

The PTE is a more comprehensive evaluation of your writing, reading, listening, and speaking abilities and is usually a better option with regard to applying for courses at leading universities abroad, or even for visa applications and employment purposes. 


If you wish to learn and improve your English skills as part of a personal passion project or endeavor, then Duolingo is a great choice for your requirements. However, if you wish to demonstrate your proficiency for higher education or professional purposes, the PTE is a better option. Both these examinations come with their own advantages and you should decide based on your specific circumstances and future goals. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Which test is difficult, Duolingo or PTE?

The PTE is usually considered to be more difficult, since it comprehensively tests writing, speaking, reading, and listening skills of applicants with varying question types and formats. Duolingo is regarded as easier, with its smaller focus areas and MCQ format.

When is the result of PTE declared?

The results of the PTE are usually declared within 5 business days of the examination. You should download your results from the Pearson website.

Which test should I choose, Duolingo or PTE?

If you are thinking of studying or working in an English-speaking nation, or even applying for a visa, then you should choose the PTE. If you are looking at learning English for leisure/travel, then Duolingo is a good choice.

Is Duolingo easier than PTE?

Many feel Duolingo is easier to crack, with its comparatively simpler format and emphasis on grammar and vocabulary. The PTE is more extensive and tests four key skills of candidates.

Shivangi Mishra

Sr. Content Editor

She is an experienced writer and journalist who has extensively covered the education sector in India and Abroad. Now helping Indian aspirants realise their foreign education dream by providing them with relevant content and information through upGrad Abroad. Amateur traveller, loves to read Architectural Digest!

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