Duolingo English Test vs PTE: What are the Differences?

Are you planning to take an English language proficiency exam to help your admission to universities and colleges? Or are you applying for a job, and you need to present a certification of your English language proficiency? 

Moreover, do you still have thoughts on choosing between the different available English language exams in the market? In addition, do you want a short but reliable and accurate language proficiency exam? 

There are many English language proficiency exams to choose from, and the Duolingo English Test and Pearson Test of English (PTE) are among them. 

We will help you choose which of these two well-known exams suits you best and your needs. And if these two language exams fit your purpose and demands. 

This article will tackle the differences between the Duolingo English Test and the PTE, their exam fees, structure, scoring, and other significant similarities. And also, this article aims to help you decide which of these language proficiency exams you should take. 


What is the Duolingo English Test?

The Duolingo English Test was created by a language app developer called Duolingo. It is an online language proficiency test that assesses the four English skills: writing, listening, reading, and speaking. 

More and more non-native English speakers and native speakers are eyeing this language proficiency exam because of its modern and dynamic test format. In addition, test-takers of the Duolingo exam find it fun and comprehensive. 

This language proficiency exam is entirely computer-based, which means one can take the exam at the comfort of one’s home or any place conducive to taking a test. And also, there is no need to take the Duolingo English Test in test centers since you can easily access it online. 

In addition, the language exam duration is only 45 to 60 minutes that is why many find it very convenient and practical. The test result is also ready 48 hours after taking the test. 

What is PTE?

The Pearson Test of English Academic is one of the trusted and highly recognized computer-based English language proficiency tests in the market. And also, it is widely used for academic admission, work requirements, and visa application purposes. 

In addition, over 3,000 plus universities and colleges in various countries worldwide accept this language proficiency exam. And it includes Oxford University, Harvard Business School, Yale University, London Business School, and other prominent educational institutions. 

The PTE’s primary goal is to accurately assess an individual’s English language abilities in listening, reading, speaking, and writing. And because of its convenience and credibility in delivering accurate test results, many test-takers prefer the PTE, among others. 

Moreover, this language exam focuses on the individual’s communication skills while using the English language, unlike other available language proficiency exams that center on the test taker’s ability to answer the test. 

The Pearson Test of English offers three types of tests to its test-takers, including:

  • PTE Academic
  • PTE General
  • PTE Young Learners Test

And also, this language proficiency exam does not have any age requirement, so it is suitable for any age group. 

In addition, these different types of PTE exams have different purposes and test formats; however, it still measures the four primary English skills. And also, you can choose to take any of depending on your purpose. 


Exam Fees: Duolingo English Test vs. PTE

The Duolingo English Test standard cost around USD 49, and the price remains the same across different countries worldwide. On the other hand, the PTE exam fee varies per location. 

For example, it costs AUD 375 in Australia and additional taxes under some circumstances. And also, the PTE has additional charges in rescheduling for the test, which costs USD 85. In addition, the PTE also offers a full refund for those canceled test schedules that are made 14 days before the scheduled test date. 

While in the Duolingo exam, all fees made are non-refundable, which means that if you intentionally cancel your test schedule, you will not receive a refund for the exam fee. It is also applicable if you failed or missed your test schedule. 

Moreover, the PTE examination cost is higher than the Duolingo English Test fee. And while Duolingo has a standard fee for its language exam. Check out below for a more comprehensive detail for each language proficiency exam.  

Here is a table showing the Duolingo exam fees vs. the PTE exam fees. 

Duolingo English Test
Exam Fees
Pearson Test of English
Exam Fees
Exam Fees
  • USD 49


  • For Australia: AUD 375 (including taxes) And an additional AUD 82.50 for bookings done 48 hours within the test schedule. 
  • For the USA: USD 180 to USD 210 with an additional 15% tax
  • For China: USD 275
  • For India:INR 13,700 (including taxes)
  • For the Philippines: USD 210
Additional Fees
  • None
  • Rescheduling Fee — USD 85
Refunds
  • Non-refundable Payments
  • Will process refunds under certain circumstances

Exam Format and Pattern: Duolingo English Test vs. PTE

The Duolingo English Test and the Pearson Test of English significantly differ in terms of their exam structures. However, these language proficiency exams are designed to assess primary English skills, including reading, writing, listening, and speaking. 

As for the test versions, the Duolingo English Test does not offer any test versions to its test-takers, while the PTE has three test versions: the PTE Academic, PTE General, and the PTE Young Learners. 

Moreover, these language exams significantly differ in their exam duration. For example, the Duolingo English Test lasts only for 45 to 60 minutes, while the PTE is much longer, with two hours and 15 minutes.

Both of these exams are computer-based language proficiency exams. However, they have a big difference in the exam structure. For example, the Duolingo English Test has four test sections that correspond and assess the primary English language skills. 

On the other hand, the PTE varies in test sections and structure in its three versions. For example, the PTE Academic has four test sections, while it contains only two test sections in the PTE General Test. 

Nonetheless, these different test structures of the PTE do not affect its reliability and accuracy in assessing the English language abilities of its test-takers. 

In addition, these different exam structures are still designed to measure and give an individual a reasonable language proficiency level. 

Note that there is also a difference in the validity of test scores of these language exams. For example, the Duolingo test scores are valid for two years, while the different test versions of the PTE exam differ in their test scores validity. 

Here is a table showing the comparison between the Duolingo English Test vs. PTE Exam structures. 

Exam StructureDuolingo English TestPTE
Test Duration
  • 45 to 60 minutes
  • 2 hours and 15 minutes
Test Version 
  • None
  • PTE Academic
  • PTE General
  • PTE Young Learners
Test Delivery Mode
  • Computer-Based Test
  • Computer-Based Test
English Skills that are assessed /
Test Structure
Four Test Sections/Structure: 

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Listening 
  • Speaking
PTE Academic Test Sections/Structure:
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Speaking
  • Listening
PTE General Test Sections/Structure:
  • Written Paper
  • Spoken Test (Interview)
PTE Young Learners Test Sections/Structure:
  • Story Writing
  • Picture Matching
  • Group Speaking Section
  • Board Game 
Test Scores Validity 
  • Two years 
  • PTE Academic Test Validity: Two years
  • PTE General Test Validity: Lifetime
  • PTE Young Learners Test Validity: Lifetime

Exam Frequency: Duolingo English Test vs. PTE

These two language proficiency exams are widely used and accepted by educational institutions and other organizations worldwide. For example, the PTE exam is recognized by prominent and top universities such as Harvard Business School, Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, and more. 

Aside from that, it is also recognized by government agencies, migration offices, and other private organizations. On the other hand, Duolingo is accepted in Yale University, NYU Stern School of Business, and other organizations also recognize it. 

Due to the high demand for these online language proficiency exams, they have also adapted their exam schedule to answer the needs of their test-takers. In addition, the Duolingo English Test is available every day, and you can take this language exam as many times as you want. 

However, you cannot take the Duolingo English Test more than twice a month. While the PTE Academic also offers daily test schedules.  And also, you can take this language exam as many times as you can. 

Although, you need to follow the five-day gap rule before taking another PTE exam, which means you can take another exam at a five-day interval. Moreover, the PTE General is only offered three times a year. 

And they also have the PTE Home, which can be taken from the comfort of your home. However, it only assesses speaking and listening skills. 

And one of the major differences between these two language proficiency exams is that the Duolingo English Test is accessible and available online 24/7. In contrast, the PTE exam should be taken at their official testing centers. 

Here is a table showing a comprehensive detail of the Duolingo English Test and PTE exam frequency. 

Exam Frequency Duolingo English Test PTE
Scheduled Test Days Per Year
  • With available daily test schedules
  • PTE Academic with daily test schedules
  • PTE General with only three prescheduled test dates
Availability of Testing Centers Worldwide
  • No Test Centers
  • Accessible and Available online 24/7
  • With over 400+ Testing Centers Worldwide 
  • Offers PTE Home Edition, where it can be taken at home online.  
Number of Countries that accept the Exam
  • Accepted in over 65 Countries Worldwide
  • Accepted in 116 Countries Worldwide 

Scoring: Duolingo English Test vs. PTE

The Duolingo English Test and PTE both use a computerized scoring system. Thus, both of these language proficiency exams deliver faster test results. And that is why most test-takers prefer these two because one can quickly get their language assessment results. 

Consequently, the PTE uses AI technology, an automated scoring algorithm that will accurately and consistently interpret and analyze your test scores accurately and consistently. 

While Duolingo English Test also uses a computer-based scoring system that can be converted using the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages)

However, these two language proficiency exam differs in their scoring scale. For example, the Duolingo English Test’s highest possible score is 160 points, and the lowest possible score is 55 points. 

And as for the PTE exam, the highest possible score is 90 points, and the lowest possible score is around 30 to 0 points. 

But, the Duolingo English Test and PTE share the same proficiency level when compared. You can check below to compare the Duolingo English Test and PTE scoring scales and their corresponding proficiency level. 

Here is a comparison table showing the scoring scale between Duolingo English Test and PTE

Duolingo English Test
Scores
PTE Test
Scores
Proficiency
Level
160 to 15590 to 89Expert
150 to 14585 to 83Very Good
140 to 13584 to 74Very Good
130 to 12577 to 73Good
120 to 11572 to 64Good
110 to 10563 to 58Competent
100 to 9557 to 50Competent
90 to 8549 to 42Modest
80 to 7541 to 35Modest
70 to 6534 to 30Limited
60 to 5530 to 0Extremely Limited

We have also presented the Duolingo English Test and the PTE overall scores with the corresponding CEFR proficiency levels. 

In addition, the Duolingo English Test score of 10 to 20 points is equivalent to the CEFR A1 proficiency level, which is interpreted as a beginner level of using the English language. 

And as for the PTE score of 10 to 29 points, it is equivalent to the CEFR A1 proficiency level, which means that you have a proficiency level of a beginner. 

Moreover, the Duolingo English Test score of 115 to 90 points corresponds to the CEFR B2 proficiency level, which signifies an Upper-Intermediate level of proficiency. And also, the PTE score of 75 to 59 falls in the CEFR B2 proficiency level. 

The Duolingo English Test score of 160 to 145 falls under the CEFR C2 proficiency level, and also it is the same CEFR equivalent for the PTE score of 84 to 76 points. You can check the table below for a more comprehensive detail for each CEFR score interpretation. 

Here is a table showing the Duolingo English Test and PTE Overall Test Scores with their respective CEFR level of proficiency equivalents. 

Duolingo English Test ScorePTE Test ScoresCEFR Proficiency Level Language Proficiency
Levels
Description
10 to 2010 to 29 A1Beginner Proficiency Level
  • Has the ability to understand simple conversations. 
  • Can introduce oneself and others using the language in the simple form.
  • Has the ability to ask, interact and answer questions about personal details
25 to 5530 to 42
    A2
Elementary Proficiency Level
  • Has the ability to comprehend sentences presented with familiar ideas. 
  • Can establish communication using the language in simple and routine tasks. 
  • Can identify and describe using simple terms. 
60 to 8543 to 58B1Intermediate Proficiency Level
  • Has the ability to pinpoint main ideas in everyday situations or happenings. 
  • Can produce simple contexts about familiar topics or related to personal interests. 
  • Can give simple and short discussions about experiences, events, dreams, and ambitions. 
90 to 11559 to 75B2Upper-Intermediate Proficiency Level
  • Has the ability to understand the main ideas of texts with concrete and abstract topics. 
  • Can interact with native speakers fluently.
  • Can present clear and detailed information regarding different topics. 
120 to 140 76 to 84C1Advanced Proficiency Level
  • Has the ability to understand the language in a wide range of contexts.
  •  Shows spontaneity and fluency.
  • Can use the language effectively in various settings.
145 to 16085 to 90C2Proficient
  • Mastery Level of the English Language.
  • Can understand the language with ease.
  • Establish fluency, precision, and spontaneity when using the language. 
  • Can construct effective arguments of various contexts with coherence.

Test Eligiblity Requirements: Duolingo English Test vs. PTE

The Duolingo English Test and PTE differ in their exam requirements. In addition, these language proficiency exams also differ in terms of their age requirement, valid IDs requirement, and other documents needed upon registration. 

For example, the Duolingo English Test has a minimum age requirement of 13 years old, and on the other hand, the PTE minimum age requirement is 16 years old. And also, these exams require parental consent if the test-takers do not meet the minimum age requirement. 

Since the Duolingo English Test is an online language exam that you can take in the comfort of your home, one of the requirements is to have a reliable and fast internet connection in your home. 

In addition, they also require you to have a computer with a front-facing camera, microphone, and speakers that are working properly. However, if you choose the PTE exam, you can take it in their official testing centers in your country. 

Here is a comparison table of the Duolingo English Test and PTE Test Requirements. 

Eligibility RequirementsDuolingo English TestPTE
Minimum Age
  • Minimum age requirement of 13 years old.
  • If you are below the minimum age, you need to present parental consent with the signature of parents or guardians.  
  • Minimum age requirement of 16 years old. 
  • If you are below the minimum age, you need to present parental consent with the signature of parents or guardians.  
Profession
  • Any Profession 
  • Any Profession
Documents Required
  • A valid passport, driver’s license, or any government-issued ID.
  • All valid IDs or proof of Identity should not be expired upon registration.
  • Reliable and fast internet connection.A computer with a front-facing camera, microphone, and speakers.
  • Any form of ID is accepted but needs to be valid, not expired, and is not issued more than ten years ago. 
  • A valid passport or admit card. 
How to Register
  • You can register for the Duolingo English Test through their official website and create an account. 
  • You can also use your Google Account to sign up for the exam. 
For PTE General Test Registration:
  • There is no official website that caters to this test.
  • You can directly contact Pearson Education Ltd. for your registration.

For PTE Academic Test Registration:

Test Recognition: Duolingo English Test vs. PTE

Many educational institutions such as prominent universities and colleges worldwide are now recognizing the Duolingo English Test as a reliable and valid language proficiency exam. 

In addition, the PTE is also highly accepted and acknowledged in more than 70 countries and trusted by over 3,000 plus educational institutions located in various countries worldwide. 

Moreover, these two computer-based language proficiency exams are also used and accepted by multinational industrial companies, government agencies such as migration offices, and other private sectors to provide a reliable and accurate English language proficiency certification. 


Which Is Easier: Duolingo English Test or PTE? 

The Duolingo English Test and PTE are English language proficiency exams that assess primary English language skills, including reading, listening, speaking, and writing. 

And also, these two exams are computer-based tests which means that you will take the test online using a computer and not the traditional mode of delivery. 

However, the Duolingo English Test is offered online, and you can take it in the comfort of your home using your own computer. But for the PTE, though it is also a computerized exam, you need to take it in their respective testing centers. 

Although these two language proficiency exams have some differences in their exam structure, duration, test versions, and other features, both still deliver the same accuracy and reliability in measuring one’s English proficiency level. 

Most test-takers find the Duolingo English Test accessible compared to the PTE because you can just take the exam at home, plus the registration process is hassle-free. While others prefer the PTE because they find it more reliable and deliver accurate assessment results. 

You can choose between the Duolingo English Test or the PTE, whichever you feel most comfortable with, or whichever fits your needs. You just need to prepare beforehand to achieve your desired test results.  


Comparison Table: Summary of Differences — PTE vs. Duolingo English Test  

Here is a comprehensive comparison table for the Duolingo English Test and PTE Overall Exam Features.

Key FeaturesDuolingo English TestPearson Test of English (PTE)
Test Fee
  • Standard Exam Fee: USD 49
  • Standard Exam Fee: USD 180 to USD 210 (Varies per Country Worldwide)
Age Requirement for Test Takers
  • 13 years old
  • 6 years old
Test Registration Requirements
  • A valid passport, driver’s license, or any government-issued ID.
  • All valid IDs or proof of Identity should not be expired upon registration.
  • Reliable and fast internet connection.
  • A computer with a front-facing camera, microphone, and speakers.
  • Any form of ID is accepted but needs to be valid, not expired, and is not issued more than ten years ago. 
  • A valid passport or admit card. 
Exam Frequency
  • With available daily test schedules
  • PTE Academic with daily test schedules 
  • PTE General with only three prescheduled test dates
Number of Testing Centers Worldwide
  • No Test Centers
  • Accessible and Available online 24/7
  • With over 400+ Testing Centers Worldwide 
  • Offers PTE Home Edition, where it can be taken at home online.  
Number of Countries Where Both Exams are Available 
  • Accepted in over 65 Countries Worldwide
  • Accepted in 116 Countries Worldwide 
Test Scores Validity 
  • Two years 
  • PTE Academic Test Validity: Two years
  • PTE General Test Validity:Lifetime
  • PTE Young Learners Test Validity: Lifetime
Overall Scoring Scale Points
  • Scoring Scale of 160 to 20 points
  • Scoring Scale of 90 to 29 points
Scoring System
  • Computerized Scoring System
  • Computerized Scoring System
CEFR Scale Equivalent
  • Yes
  • Yes
Test Results Availability
  • 48 hours after taking the test
  • 48 hours after taking the test
English Skills that are assessed / Test StructureFour Test Sections/Structure: 

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Listening 
  • Speaking
PTE Academic Test Sections/Structure:
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Speaking
  • Listening
PTE General Test Sections/Structure:
  • Written Paper
  • Spoken Test (Interview)
PTE Young Learners Test Sections/Structure:
  • Story Writing
  • Picture Matching
  • Group Speaking Section
  • Board Game 
Test Duration
  • 45 to 60 minutes
  • 2 hours and 15 minutes
Test Version 
  • None
  • PTE Academic
  • PTE General
  • PTE Young Learners
Test Delivery Mode
  • Computer-Based Test only
  • Computer-Based Test only
Accepted By Educational Institutions
  • Yes
  • Yes
Accepted By Government Offices/Migration
  • Yes
  • Yes
Accepted By Multinational Companies
  • Yes
  • Yes

Additional FAQs – Duolingo English Test vs. PTE

Is the Duolingo English Test Harder than IELTS?

The Duolingo English Test and the IELTS are language proficiency exams that aim to assess an individual’s language abilities in reading, listening, speaking, and writing. However, some claim that the IELTS is more challenging than the Duolingo, while others say otherwise. 

These language exams differ in their level of difficulty and test formats. So you cannot declare that the other is harder than the other. Specifically, the difficulty of these exams depends on the test-takers ability. 

Is 125 a Good Score in the Duolingo English Test?

The Duolingo English Test score of 125 is considered a good score. In addition, this score is equivalent to the CEFR C1, which indicates an advanced level of English language proficiency. If we also compare this score to the IELTS level, it is also equivalent to a 7.5 band score. 

Moreover, the individual can effectively communicate using the English language with ease and precision and express one’s ideas without difficulty. And also, one can comprehend and understand complex subjects and deliver concise statements. 

Is the Duolingo English Test Accepted?

Yes, many educational institutions worldwide highly recognize and accept the Duolingo English test. In addition, many prominent universities like Yale University, Stanford University, and more accept Duolingo test results for their admissions. 

In addition, the Duolingo English Test is also preferred by most test-takers because of its convenience and dynamic test format. And also, this language proficiency exam delivers accurate and reliable test scores, and it also uses the CEFR proficiency levels as a benchmark for its score interpretations. 

How Hard is the Duolingo English Test?

The Duolingo English Test measures the primary language skills, including writing, listening, reading, and speaking. As for its difficulty level has a feature that uses a computer-adaptive test format wherein it adapts to the test taker’s ability and knowledge for the test. 

Moreover, the difficulty level increases depending on the test taker’s performance, and it does not push the difficulty level beyond the individual’s capacity. In addition, many people find Duolingo flexible and adaptable when it comes to its test difficulty. 

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