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How to Prepare for the Duolingo English Test

Monday | October 8, 2018 | by Jennifer Dewar

English proficiency test online

The Duolingo English Test is an English proficiency test that fulfills admissions requirements for international applicants at many universities in the United States and Canada. Unlike the TOEFL and IELTS, the Duolingo English Test is taken on demand, from your computer.

If you are considering taking the Duolingo English Test, this post will share tips to help you prepare. To learn more, read Understanding the Duolingo English Test.

The Duolingo English Test measures all English language skills, including reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Any way that you normally learn and practice these English language skills helps you prepare for the test. This might include watching movies in English, speaking with your friends, reading newspapers and magazines, and practicing writing. In addition, there are a lot of great free resources online.

Take a Sample Test

A sample test will familiarize you with the types of questions you will encounter on the Duolingo English Test. We recommend that you take a sample test so you will know what to expect on the real test and can focus on doing your best. The sample test is free, and you can take it as many times as you want. When you complete it, the sample test provides an estimated score range.

Keep in mind that the sample test is shorter (only eight minutes), and the score range is unofficial and less accurate. Visit the Duolingo site to try it yourself.

Prepare Your Testing Environment

Because you take the Duolingo English Test online from your computer, you will want to make sure you have everything you need to avoid encountering any difficulties when you take the test. You must have:

  • A government-issued photo ID
  • A quiet, well-lit room
  • 45 uninterrupted minutes
  • A computer equipped with a webcam
  • An internet connection and compatible browser

Understand the Rules

After you complete the test, a proctor will review your test video to ensure that you followed the rules. The rules include not wearing earphones, not interacting with anyone else, not using your phone or other devices, and not looking offscreen. It is important to follow these rules during the test, or you will need to take it again. The test rules are outlined in the Duolingo FAQs, and are included in the instructions at the beginning of the exam.

Prepare to Showcase Yourself

The Duolingo English Test includes a writing portion and video interview. Both are included when you share your results with a university. This is a great opportunity for international admissions staff to learn about you, and for you to showcase yourself and your English language ability. There are four interview questions, and you will be given between 30 and 90 seconds to respond.

Do not worry—there is a timer that will keep track for you. If you get stuck, do not get frustrated—take a deep breath, and answer each question as best you can. If you are not happy with your performance, you can take the test again.

For more information, visit the Duolingo site.

Jennifer Dewar is Head of Strategic Engagement for the Duolingo English Test.