Best Duolingo English Test Tips and Tricks

If you’ve decided to take the Duolingo English Test, the following best tips and tactics might help you improve your score on your first attempt. Of course, you may retake the test, if necessary, but it is preferable to be as prepared as possible the first time to save time and money.

What is the Duolingo English Test (DET)?

First offered in 2016, the Duolingo English Test is a digital English language proficiency test that helps students certify their English level while applying for various purposes such as higher studies. Like its counterparts, the Duolingo English Test focuses on four areas of a language: Reading, Listening, Writing, and Speaking. 

Over 3,000 educational institutions presently accept the Duolingo English Test in over 50 countries. 

The two main sections are the Adaptive Test and Video Interview & Writing Section of the Duolingo English Test. In the Adaptive Test section, expect a combination of varied questions. 

The degree of difficulty of the questions changes each test taker since the algorithm creates progressively difficult questions based on the candidate’s performance. The candidate’s speaking and writing abilities are assessed in the Video Interview & Writing exam portion. 

Preparation Tips for Each Section

Here’s how you prepare for each section of the Duolingo English Test:

Adaptive Questions 

1. Read And Select (Select The Actual English Words In This List)

You must trust your instincts, comprehension, and familiarity with the English language in this situation. There may be more English words in specific questions than in others; in other words, there may be any number of actual English words.

Some words may even appear to be real, although they may be missing one or two letters. You have an option to pick and deselect words if you change your mind.

Duolingo English Test Exam Pattern Adaptive Questions Read and Select
How to Prepare for this Section? 
  • Building vocabulary collection.
  • Having a reading habit.
  • Watching English movies or YouTube videos.
  • Having English conversations with English-speaking peers.
Bonus Tips
  • Read carefully. Some words look real but have slight differences from actual words.
  • There could be many real words in the list, so don’t worry if one question has more than another.

2. Listen And Select (Select The Real English Words From An Audio List)

Trust your instincts, comprehension, and grasp of the English language, just like you did before. 

Pay attention to the syllables of each word since certain words may change slightly from the genuine ones. It’s a good idea to double-check the wording before moving forward.

Duolingo English Test Exam Pattern Adaptive Questions Listen and Select
How to Prepare for this Section?
  • Watch English movies or YouTube videos
  • Listen to English podcasts
Bonus Tips
  • Listen carefully. Some fake words may have slight differences from real ones.
  • Click on the speaker icon to replay each word as many times as you want.

3. Read And Complete (Type The Missing Letters To Complete The Paragraph)

You must complete the missing letters in selected words in a provided text for this job. But, instead of focusing on the missing letters or words, read the paragraph. 

Make sure you grasp the context of the passage since this will aid you in filling in the blanks.

Duolingo English Test Exam Pattern Adaptive Questions Read and Complete
How to Prepare for this Section?
  • Read non-fiction such as newspapers, novels, or any advanced English articles.
Bonus Tips
  • Read the passage before focusing on each word.
  • Use context clues to help you complete the words.

4. Listen And Type (Type The Statement That You Hear)

Because this question type enables you to listen to the statement 2-3 times, it’s a good idea to write it down after the first time you hear it.

After hearing the statement, a second and third time, make the proper corrections.

Duolingo English Test Exam Pattern Adaptive Questions Listen and Type
How to Prepare for this Section?
  • Listen to American podcasts.
  • Pay close attention to any idioms or unfamiliar turns of phrases.
Bonus Tips
  • Type out what you hear first, then check your response by replaying the statement.
  • You can replay the statement up to two times (three plays total) by clicking on the speaker icon.

5. Read Aloud (Record Yourself Saying A Given Statement)

This is likely one of the few sorts of questions for which you may prepare on your own by reading books, articles, and other written material aloud. 

Before moving on to the following question, students should check for each punctuation mark in each phrase, pause, and pronounce accurately.

Duolingo English Test Exam Pattern Adaptive Questions Read Aloud
How to Prepare for this Section?
  • Practice reading aloud.
  • Record and listen to yourself and assess any mistakes afterward.
Bonus Tips
  • Exercise speaking the statement once out loud before recording your answer.
  • It will only take 20 seconds, and you only have one chance to record, so do the best you can.

6. Speak About The Photo (Speak The English Word For Each Image)

After the prompt, you have 20 seconds to organize your response and speak at a regular tempo while enunciating appropriately since the recording for your answer. 

According to Duolingo, you should describe the snapshot as if you were describing it to a blind person. It’s also a good idea not to panic if you slip while speaking; recover and resume your response.

Duolingo English Test Exam Pattern Adaptive Questions Speak About the Photo
How to Prepare for this Section?
  • Don’t stress.
  • Read magazines, picture books.
Bonus Tips
  • You’ll have 20 seconds to look at the image before the recording begins. Take this time to plan.
  • Try to describe the image to someone who can’t see it.
  • Don’t panic if you stumble–just keep going.

7. Write About The Photo (Write One Or More Sentences That Describe The Image)

While it is simpler to describe the picture before moving on to the next question, it is preferable to go the extra mile. All test takers have the option, try writing more than one phrase. 

Before moving on to the next question, double-check your grammar and spelling once you’ve finished writing your response.

Duolingo English Test Exam Pattern Adaptive Questions Write About the Photo
How to Prepare for this Section?
  • Revise adjectives and adverbs.
  • Use vocabulary that you know.
  • Focus on the general idea of the picture.
  • Practice writing.
Bonus Tips
  • Try to go beyond simple labeling and describe the image in detail.
  • The directions ask for one sentence, but try to write more than one if you can.

8. Read, Then Speak (Prepare To Speak For At Least 30 Seconds)

While responding to the prompt, talk confidently, at a consistent tempo, and enunciate clearly, just like you would for any other speaking question in the section. It’s critical to notice that you’ve addressed all of the prompt’s components. 

Before moving on to the recording screen, it’s crucial to plan and prepare your response.

Duolingo English Test Exam Pattern Adaptive Questions Read Then Speak
How to Prepare for this Section?
  • Practice speaking for one minute and record yourself.
  • Assess your pronunciation and cadence.
  • Identify areas of improvement.
Bonus Tips
  • Speak naturally and clearly, and use varied words and sentence structures.
  • Make sure you’ve answered all of the components of the question.

9. Read, Then Write (Respond To The Questions In At Least 50 Words)

Allow yourself plenty of time to plan and arrange your response to the challenge. Candidates are to write as much as possible as long as they use proper English grammar. 

Once the applicant has typed 50 words, the algorithm will select “Next,” although students may also click manually. As a result, double-check your response’s spelling and punctuation before moving on to the next question.

Duolingo English Test Exam Format Adaptive Questions Read Then Write
How to Prepare for this Section?
  • Practice free-writing for short 5-minute periods
  • Revise spelling and grammar
Bonus Tips
  • Write as much as you can, and make sure your response is relevant to the topic and you are using English effectively.
  • Don’t forget to proofread your response before submitting it.

10. Listen, Then Speak (Speak The Answer To The Questions You Hear)

Before recording your response to the question, have a good grasp of the question, similar to the prior kind. However, you can only play the prompt twice after the initial time. You must talk continuously for 30 seconds to answer the question. Once the 30 seconds are up, the “Next” button on the screen will turn orange to signify this.

Duolingo English Test Exam Pattern Adaptive Questions Listen then Speak
How to Prepare for this Section?
  • Practice free-writing for short 5-minute periods
  • Revise spelling and grammar
Bonus Tips
  • Write as much as you can, and make sure your response is relevant to the topic and you are using English effectively.
  • Don’t forget to proofread your response before submitting it.

Video Interview and Writing Sample

Unlike the Duolingo Adaptive Test, the Video and Writing part only assesses the candidate’s speaking and writing abilities.

Here are ways to ace the Duolingo English Test 2021’s Ungraded Video and Writing Sample parts.

1. Speaking Sample (Choose One Topic To Talk About For 1-3 Minutes)

This task provides you with some prompts on the topic they want you to discuss. The Duolingo English Test evaluates and assesses your fluency, correctness, pronunciation, and how effectively you can comprehend.

Duolingo English Test Exam Pattern Video Interview Speaking Sample
How to Prepare for this Section?
  • Practice speaking for one minute and record yourself 
  • Assess your pronunciation and cadence
  • Identify areas of improvement
Bonus Tips
  • Choose the topic that inspires you to say more.
  • Don’t be distracted by the timer.
  • The Duolingo English Test will send your speaking sample as a video recording so recipients see your response and the topic.

2. Writing Sample (Write 3 To 5 Minutes About The Topic Below)

This part of the test will allow you to demonstrate your extraordinary writing abilities on one of the themes provided. The Duolingo English Test will give you hints about what to include. 

So, it will put your ability to follow instructions put to the test. To ensure that you exhibit your writing style and basic English knowledge, try to write for as much as possible (5 minutes and 500 words is the limit).

Duolingo English Test Exam Pattern Video Interview Writing Sample
How to Prepare for this Section?
  • Practice free-writing for short 5-minute periods
  • Revise spelling and grammar
Bonus Tips
  • Write as much as you can, and make sure your response is relevant to the topic and you are using English effectively.
  • Don’t forget to proofread your response before submitting it.

4 General Tips For The A Successful Test Experience

The following tips will ease your anxiety while preparing for it. Remember to organize and prepare as much as possible, so make use of all available resources.

In addition to the tips and tactics listed above, here is some general advice to help you navigate the test-taking process and make it simpler.

1. Watch The Video Walkthrough

To familiarize yourself with the structure, watch a brief overview of the exam experience—it only takes 3 minutes! 

2. Take A Free Practice Test

Taking the practice test allows you to become familiar with the time limits of each question type and guarantees that you can transition swiftly between them. You may take the sample exam as many times as you like for free! When you finish the sample exam, you’ll get an idea of your score range. For a thorough understanding of how the scoring process works, check out The Complete Scoring Guide for the Duolingo English Test

Remember that the sample exam is shorter (just 8 minutes), not proctored, and the score range is unofficial and inaccurate.

3. Prepare The Test Environment

If you opt to take the exam, make sure you have a reliable internet connection and a distraction-free environment. More so, ensure to have your passport, government ID, or a driver’s license on hand. 

Check your computer thoroughly to ensure that the browser supports the Duolingo English Test and has a front-facing camera, microphone, and speakers.

4. Understand The Rules

After finishing it, proctors will examine your test video to make sure you followed the guidelines, including not wearing headphones, engaging with people, not using your phone or other devices, and not looking offscreen. 

If you don’t follow these guidelines during the test, you’ll have to retake it. The DET will give the exam rules in the FAQs and directions at the start of the exam.

7 Practical Study Tips for the DET

After you’ve completed the first DET practice test, score yourself to see which areas of the exam will require the most preparation. Take responsibility for your learning, and study efficiently and effectively.

The following are some study suggestions that may be useful to you:

1. Plan The Day Of The Exam

After deciding which exam you’ll take, scheduling your exam is an excellent place to begin. When you know when your exam is, you may schedule your studying appropriately so that you’re ready when it’s time to take it.

2. Create A Study Plan

As you plan, reflect on what works and what does not for you. Is it more effective to study for long periods once or twice a week, or is it more effective to review for thirty minutes every night? Is there a specific time of day when you’re more productive?

You can organize your study sessions now that you know how much time you need to study and how much time you have available. Make a note of your study sessions on your calendar, just like you would any other obligation. This will help you recall that this time has been set out just for learning.

3. Focus On Your Areas Of Weakness

It’s advisable to spend your time and attention on improving the areas of your exam that require the most work after you’ve recognized them. Try incorporating English practice into your daily routine in addition to standard practice activities. 

If you need to enhance your listening abilities, for example, consider listening to a daily English-speaking podcast to aid understanding.

4. Read, Speak And Write In English

The test’s vocabulary section evaluates your ability to recognize English words. Reading articles, news stories, social media postings, emails, and academic word lists as much as possible is the most excellent method to recall terms.

5. Revise And Practice Writing

Start writing and work on your descriptive language skills.

Try to utilize a new and intriguing descriptive language to write short sentences about objects you notice around you.

6. Revise Grammar Structures

Start reading and pay attention to the grammatical structures.

Read a book, a magazine, a website, or a blog. Examine various grammatical patterns in various forms of writing.

7. Read And Read Aloud

To improve your intonation, record yourself reciting certain sentences. Test your pronunciation with the new terminology you’ve learned by watching YouTube videos with the proper pronunciation.

Believe in the saying “practice makes it perfect!”.

You will get more and more familiar with the test structure and hone your English skills through practice. The Duolingo English test also provides several practice tests for candidates to take before taking the exam properly. This will support you in determining the degree of difficulty of the questions on the test. 

Remember to practice and read as much as you can in English. You should familiarize yourself with the test and be as prepared as possible if you follow these tips and methods.

FAQs About the DET Preparation

1. Is It Possible To Get Full-Length Duolingo English Test Practice Papers For Free?

No. A full-length practice exam is not available for free. Practice papers with a shorter duration and fewer questions are free online through the Duolingo English Test account. A free sample paper might assist you in comprehending the exam format for Duolingo English Test.

2. How Long Should You Prepare For The Duolingo English Test?

First, assess yourself and ask how much time you can commit to studying and preparing. Next, check your English skills.

If you have a good command of the English language, you should pass the Duolingo English Test with just two weeks of study. You can use the Duolingo English Test practice tests and sample questions accessible online during this time.

3. Is The Difficulty Of The Online Duolingo English Test Practice Sheets Comparable To The Real Duolingo English Test?

Yes, the Duolingo English Test practice tests and the actual test have identical exam formats, difficulty levels, question types, and scoring algorithms. 

However, the practice test will only give you an idea of your score range and not accurately assess you.

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