English proficiency tests are one of the important application materials for studying in a global business school. But with time, the students have the option to choose from multiple tests now TOEFL, IELTS, PTE, and Duolingo. While they all serve the same purpose, i.e. to evaluate the English language skill level of test-takers, they are different in terms of structure, fee, syllabus, mode of examination, scoring, etc.

Duolingo English Test (DET) is the newest addition to the list of English proficiency tests that universities and colleges worldwide accept. It is scored on a scale of 10 to 160. It is an app-based platform and can be taken anywhere and anytime with a stable internet connection. This test became popular when institutes could not conduct IELTS and TOEFL tests during the global lockdown. Since then, the test has been preferred by students and instructors globally for its convenience, and affordability, and can be completed in just 1 hour.

DET scoring methodology:

Score Range Description
10-55 Basic
60-85 Intermediate
90-115 Upper-Intermediate
125-160 Advanced

It has sub-scores to understand students’ command over the language- literacy, Comprehension, Conversion, and production.

Duolingo English Test consists of 3 parts:

  1. Test Setup– Here, the platform will help the candidate to set up the laptop (or computer) for the test. Once the candidate purchases the test, the platform will instruct on how to install the app, log in, and check if the camera and microphone are working properly. Then it instructs to take a picture for identification and agreement on terms and conditions.
  2. Adaptive Test– The next part of the exam is an adaptive test where the candidate will be tested for speaking, writing, listening, and reading skills. The duration for this section is 45 minutes. Here are some examples of types of questions.
  • Taking out a statement after hearing its recording.
  • Selecting correct English words.
  • Reading out a sentence of raise aloud.
  • Answering short essay-type questions.
  • Describe an image in one or two sentences.
  • Filling in the missing letters to complete a sentence.
  • Say a statement and record it.
  • Talk for 30 seconds about an image.

Once the test is completed the candidate will receive a score between 10 and 160.

  1. Writing and Speaking Test- The final part of the DET will test speaking and writing skills. The duration of this part is 10 minutes. In the writing part, the questions can be like- writing on a topic for 3 to 5 minutes, describing a specific person or event that has left an impression on your life, etc.

In the speaking part, one has to answer a particular question in detail.

Duolingo English Test can be taken as many times as the test taker wants. However, one can’t take the test more than 2 times within 30 days.

There are 1300+ universities in the USA that accepts Duolingo Test. Some of the top schools are:

Here is a table with a comparative analysis of all 4 tests:

Parameter Duolingo TOEFL IELTS PTE
Mode of Examination Computer and mobile based Computer-based and


Computer-based and


Exam Fee (USD) $49 $180-325 (fee varies by location) $245–255 (fee varies by location) $185
Duration 60 minutes 180 minutes 165 minutes 120 minutes
Results Declaration 48 hours 8 days Computer-based (3-5 days)
Paper-based (13 days)
5 days
Number of Sections 2 4 4 3
Sections 1. Adaptive section (reading, writing, listening, speaking)

2. Video Interview

1. Reading

2. Speaking

3. Listening

4. Writing

1. Reading

2. Listening

3. Speaking

4. Writing

1. Speaking and Writing

2. Reading

3. Listening

Scoring Range Score (10-60) Score (0-120) Band (0-9) Score (10-90)
Validity 2 years 2 years 2-3 years 2-3 years
Website Duolingo TOEFL IELTS PTE

ARINGO’s tip – before taking any of the above tests, check carefully the schools’ requirements. Not all schools require English proficiency tests, even for international candidates, and not all schools accept the 4 different test types.

Applying to a top MBA program and feeling confused, reach out to ARINGO MBA Admissions Consulting experts for more info!