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Understanding the Duolingo English Test

Sunday | September 16, 2018 | by Jennifer Dewar

English assessment test

If you are applying to a university in the United States or Canada, you will likely be required to take a test that assesses your English ability. You may be familiar with common tests of English skill, like the TOEFL and IELTS. The Duolingo English Test is a new option, and this blog post explains what it is, why it is different, and how you can try it out for free.

Why Do We Need a New English Test?

For many students, the process of taking English proficiency tests can be challenging. Traditionally, you need to schedule tests weeks or months in advance, you may need to travel long distances to a test center, the test experience itself can be stressful, and then you need to wait weeks to receive your results. In the end, these tests can cost hundreds of dollars and take many weeks.

At Duolingo, our mission is to use technology to make education accessible to everyone. With modern technology, there is no reason why it should be so difficult and expensive to certify your English skills. That is one of the reasons why Duolingo created an innovative testing experience—one that is convenient, affordable, and fast.

What Is the Duolingo English Test?

The Duolingo English Test presents an entirely different approach to testing because you can take it at home from your own computer. There are no test centers and no appointments. The cost is $49 USD and you can take the test online, anytime. It takes under an hour, and you receive results within two days. You can then send your results to an unlimited number of schools at no extra charge.

In addition, the Duolingo English Test includes both a video interview—yes, you will be on camera when you take the test—and a writing sample that are shared with universities. During the test, a proctor will ask you to respond to questions in English. The video provides a more complete picture of an applicant’s English ability than does a score alone. You may also appreciate knowing that the Duolingo English Test is as secure and reliable as the other tests, because it uses cutting-edge data forensic and biometric technologies. And there is a real person who proctors the test remotely.

Should I Take the Duolingo English Test?

Over the past two years, more than 500 schools have started using the Duolingo English Test as part of their admissions process. This includes many top universities like Duke, UCLA, Columbia, NYU, Yale, and hundreds more. If one of the schools to which you are applying accepts the Duolingo English Test, you might want to consider taking it. This will allow you to showcase your English skills.

To get started, try a free practice test to estimate your English level before signing up for the certified test.

For more information, visit the Duolingo site.

Related Reading on English Proficiency Tests

How to Prepare for the IELTS Test

Best Practices for Taking the TOEFL Exam

English Proficiency: Mastering the CELPIP Test

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

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of World Education Services (WES).