If you plan on studying in prominent universities and colleges abroad, one of the requirements for admission is a language proficiency certification.
Moreover, you also need to present an English language proficiency certificate if you apply to multinational companies. It is also one of the main requirements for visa applications if you wish to migrate to an English-speaking country.
Many test takers have different options for the language proficiency exam they will take. And the commonly used language proficiency exam is the TOEFL; however, the Duolingo English Test is now gaining popularity in providing a reliable assessment of English language skills.
Which language exams should you take? Is the TOEFL easier than the Duolingo English Test? Or which exam is widely accepted by educational institutions? You might also consider your budget for these exams.
In this article, we will differentiate these two language proficiency exams — Duolingo English Test and TOEFL. We will help you decide which of these two language exams is the best choice for you.
- What is the Duolingo English Test?
- What is the TOEFL Test?
- Exam Fees: Duolingo English Test vs. TOEFL
- Exam Structures: Duolingo English Test vs. TOEFL
- Exam Frequency: Duolingo English Test vs. TOEFL Exam
- Scoring Difference: Duolingo English Test vs. TOEFL
- Test Requirements: Duolingo English Test vs. TOEFL Exam
- Test Recognition: Duolingo English Test vs. TOEFL
- Which is Easier: Duolingo English Test or TOEFL?
- Comparison Table: Summary of Exam Features between Duolingo English Test vs. TOEFL Exam
- Additional FAQs: Duolingo English Test vs. TOEFL Exam
What is the Duolingo English Test?
The Duolingo English Test is an on-demand language proficiency exam gaining more popularity because of its accessibility and dynamic approach to its test format.
And also, the test is designed to measure the English language abilities of an individual. The Duolingo exam is only a short exam that only takes about 45 minutes to an hour for you to finish, and they also deliver fast and accurate test results in just 48 hours after you have taken the test.
In addition, this exam is also preferred by most test-takers because they find the exam content comprehensive, convenient, and fun, unlike the traditional language proficiency exams that are already available in the market.
Aside from the dynamic test format, the developer of the Duolingo exam also made it accessible online. It means that you can take the exam from the comfort of your home or whenever you can access it, in contrast to other language exams, where you need to go to the testing centers to take the exam.
The Duolingo English Test is also very affordable compared to other language proficiency exams such as the TOEFL. Other than that, it is also widely recognized and accepted by different educational institutions here and abroad.
What is the TOEFL Test?
The TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) is a highly accepted and widely recognized language proficiency exam. It is a standardized language assessment test that measures the English abilities of native and non-native English speakers.
In addition, the TOEFL exam has two test formats, including TOEFL iBT and TOEFL PBT. These two test formats differ in exam structure and contents; however, they still assess language communication skills.
Moreover, the TOEFL exam measures the English skills of an individual in reading, reading, listening, speaking, and writing. Many test-takers find the TOEFL exam quite challenging because it uses formal, academic language and high-level vocabulary rather than casual or conversational English.
Most educational institutions also prefer it because the test is more inclined to use academic English in its contents. This language exam is also widely used for admissions in universities and colleges, visa applications, and work requirements for multinational companies.
The ETS (Educational Testing Service), which developed the TOEFL exam, also recommends that the test-takers be at least 17 years old or 11th graders. It is because this language proficiency exam uses a high-level English vocabulary and passages.
Exam Fees: Duolingo English Test vs. TOEFL
These two language proficiency exams have a significant difference in their exam fees. In addition, the Duolingo English Test only has a standard rate of USD 49, which applies to all locations in various countries where you are located.
However, the TOEFL exam fee differs per test version. For example, the TOEFL iBT exam fee is around USD 185, and the TOEFL PBT costs around USD 180. Moreover, these TOEFL exam fees vary per location across different countries worldwide.
Regarding exam fee refunds, the Duolingo exam does offer refunds for its test fees, such as if you have failed to finish the exam or canceled the test schedule. And for the TOEFL exam, it gives refunds up to 50% of the original test fee that you paid so long as you follow their conditions for refund applications.
Moreover, the TOEFL has additional charges under certain circumstances. For example, they have an additional fee if you have registered late for the exam.
In addition, you also need to pay an additional fee if you wish to reschedule your test date and if you want to avail yourself of their other services.
Here is a table showing the Duolingo exam fees vs. the TOEFL exam fees.
|Exam Fees||Duolingo English Test||TOEFL|
|Standard Exam Fee|
|Additional Fee s|
Exam Structures: Duolingo English Test vs. TOEFL
The Duolingo English Test and TOEFL measure than individual’s primary English language skills: reading, listening, speaking, and writing. However, these two exams significantly differ in their structures, duration, and other exam features.
In terms of exam duration, the Duolingo exam is shorter, which only runs for 45 to 60 minutes, compared to the TOEFL, which takes about three to four hours. There is also an additional 30 minutes check-in period in the testing center.
And let’s compare these two language exams delivery modes. The Duolingo exam is delivered via a computer or online-based test, while the TOEFL offers its exam in paper-based and computer-based tests.
Moreover, the Duolingo English Test and TOEFL differ in their test sections. For example, the Duolingo exam has four sections, while the TOEFL test sections vary for their TOEFL PBT and TOEFL iBT editions.
Another key feature of the Duolingo exam is the availability of test results. They deliver it fast and accurately within 48 hours after taking the test. On the other hand, the TOEFL will take approximately ten days to release your test scores.
And also, these language exam test scores’ validity is good for two years. You can check the table below for a comprehensive comparison between Duolingo and TOEFL exams.
Here is a table showing the comparison between the Duolingo English Test vs. TOEFL Exam structures.
|Exam Structure||Duolingo English Test||TOEFL Exam|
|Test Delivery Mode|
|English Skills that are assessed / Test Structure||Four Test Sections/Structure: ||TOEFL PBT Test Sections:|
TOEFL iBT Test Sections:
|Test Scores Availability|
|Test Scores Validity|
Exam Frequency: Duolingo English Test vs. TOEFL Exam
One of the test-takers concerns in taking a language exam is the test schedule offered by the different exam providers. In addition, most language proficiency tests have selected test dates annually, while others have weekly test schedules.
Moreover, due to the rising demands of language proficiency exams, Duolingo has made its test very accessible to its test-takers, thus offering a daily online test schedule. However, you are only allowed to take the Duolingo exam twice a month.
While the TOEFL also provides a four days a week test schedule that is accessible via its TOEFL Home Edition test version. Aside from this, the TOEFL exam frequency differs depending on what test version you are going to take.
For example, if you opt to take the TOEFL iBT, it has more than 60 prescheduled test dates annually, and for its TOEFL PBT, it is only offered four times a year.
If we compare these two language proficiency exams in terms of exam frequency, both are very convenient and accessible, providing the test-taker with more options to choose from.
The Duolingo exam can be taken daily, and the TOEFL Home Edition using your computers at home. If you prefer the TOEFL iBT and PBT, they have 4500 testing centers worldwide.
In addition, the TOEFL exam is also accepted in 190 countries, reaching more individuals in different areas globally. In contrast, the Duolingo exam is only accepted in 65 countries.
Here is a table showing a comprehensive detail of the Duolingo English Test and TOEFL exam frequency.
|Exam Frequency||Duolingo English Test||TOEFL|
|Scheduled Test Days Per Year|
|Availability of Testing Centers Worldwide|
|Number of Countries that accept the Exam|
Scoring Difference: Duolingo English Test vs. TOEFL
One of the key features of the Duolingo English Test is its computerized scoring system, and it is also known to deliver fast results within 48 hours. In addition, the Duolingo test scores can also be interpreted using the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).
On the other hand, the TOEFL exam is also scored using a centralized scoring network that is never done at the testing centers to avoid misinterpretations of human raters and ensure consistency and reliability.
For example, the computer is the one that processes and scores the TOEFL reading and listening test sections. At the same time, the writing and speaking test sections are scored by both highly trained TOEFL exam raters and an automated AI scoring system.
In addition, the TOEFL has different raw scores per test section, and it is then computed to get the scaled score. Unlike Duolingo, it only has an overall score directly converted to its corresponding CEFR proficiency levels.
Moreover, these language proficiency exams use the CEFR scale as their benchmark for an accurate assessment. However, they differ in terms of their overall scoring scale. For example, Duolingo’s highest test score is 160 points, and its lowest is 30.
And as for the TOEFL, the highest possible score is 120 points, and the lowest score is around 8 to 1 point. So if we compare the highest score of the Duolingo and TOEFL, it is equivalent to the CEFR C2 proficiency level.
A comparison table shows the scoring scale between Duolingo English Test and TOEFL.
|Duolingo English Test|
|TOEFL iBT Test |
|CEFR Proficiency |
|160 to 155||120||C2 Proficient Level|
|150 to 145||119 to 117||C2 Proficient Level|
|140 to 135||116 to 113||C1 Advanced Proficiency Level|
|130 to 125||112 to 103||C1 Advanced Proficiency Level|
|120 to 115||102 to 92||C1 Advanced Proficiency Level|
|110 to 105||91 to 80||B2 Upper-Intermediate Proficiency Level|
|100 to 95||79 to 68||B2 Upper-Intermediate Proficiency Level|
|90 to 85||67 to 56||B2 Upper-Intermediate Proficiency Level|
|80 to 75||55 to 44||B1 Intermediate Proficiency Level|
|70 to 65||43 to 32||B1 Intermediate Proficiency Level|
|60 to 55||31 to 20||A2 to A1 Elementary to Beginner Proficiency Level|
|50 to 45||19 to 9||A2 to A1 Elementary to Beginner Proficiency Level|
|40 to 30||8 to 1||A2 to A1 Elementary to Beginner Proficiency Level|
Test Requirements: Duolingo English Test vs. TOEFL Exam
These two language proficiency exams have different test requirements. If we look into the age requirement of the Duolingo exam, they have imposed a minimum age requirement of 13 years old.
However, they still accept test-takers below that age level, but parental consent should be presented. In contrast, the TOEFL exam does not have an age requirement, but they highly recommend that the test-takers be at least 17 years old or in the 11th grade.
The TOEFL exam is quite challenging and uses complex English terms that are usually encountered in the 11th grade. In addition, they also require parental consent for those who are under 15 years old.
One of the test requirements of Duolingo is for you to have a computer with a front-facing camera, microphone, and speakers that are working efficiently. Which is a big difference compared to the TOEFL exam, wherein you take it in their official testing centers.
Here is a comparison table of the Duolingo English Test and TOEFL Test Requirements.
|Test Eligibility Requirements||Duolingo English Test||TOEFL Test|
|Minimum Age Requirement|
|Which Professions take the test?|
|How/Where to Register?|
Test Recognition: Duolingo English Test vs. TOEFL
The Duolingo English Test and TOEFL are among the many language proficiency exams that the test-takers can choose from.
Since the Duolingo exam is relatively new in the field compared to the TOEFL exam, which has been around in the market since 1964. Moreover, educational institutions such as universities and colleges usually prefer the TOEFL since the test contents are academically inclined.
However, the Duolingo exam is also gaining recognition from universities and colleges here and abroad. And also, the language exam delivers a reliable and accurate assessment of one’s English language skills, which is also comparable to other traditional language proficiency exams.
On the other hand, all the universities and colleges in the United States accept the TOEFL exam. And it is also recognized and widely accepted in Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and other English-speaking countries worldwide. Consequently, it is also recognized by the top 100 universities across the world.
In comparison, the TOEFL exam has a high reputation compared to the Duolingo English Test, which universities in the US and Canada only recently recognized. And also, 65 countries accept the Duolingo English Test, while the TOEFL is accepted in 190 countries worldwide.
In addition, both of these language exams are widely used and trusted by government agencies, multinational companies, and other private sectors. And also, the Duolingo exam and TOEFL consistently deliver reliable, precise, and valid English language proficiency certification for its test-takers.
Which is Easier: Duolingo English Test or TOEFL?
The Duolingo English Test and the TOEFL exam are designed to assess one’s English language proficiency. It is also trusted and commonly used by academic institutions and organizations in measuring an individual’s language abilities in terms of reading, listening, speaking, and writing.
Moreover, these two language exams have different test structures and content approaches. Many find the Duolingo exam fun and easy because of its comprehensive and dynamic test structure compared to the TOEFL exam, which contains high-level English vocabulary and other terms in its contents.
However, the Duolingo and the TOEFL exams are equally challenging. Even with the differences, they have one goal: to provide a reliable and accurate assessment of your English language proficiency.
In addition, you might have a second thought on which of these two language proficiency exams you should take. Keep in mind that the level of difficulty of these tests is subjective, which means that it depends on the individual’s capabilities in answering the language exam.
And also, we cannot fully declare that this specific language exam is much easier than the other. You must also take into consideration the different factors that might affect the difficulty of the exams. So it is advisable that you do extensive preparation be
Comparison Table: Summary of Exam Features between Duolingo English Test vs. TOEFL Exam
These two language proficiency exams differ significantly in pricing, structure, frequency, test requirements, scoring, and other exam features.
For example, the TOEFL exam will release the test scores and assessment ten days after taking the exam. It is pretty slow compared to Duolingo, wherein you can know your test scores within 48 hours.
However, they share some similarities in test score validity, using the CEFR scale for score interpretation, and more. You can check the summary table below for more details of the comparison of the two language proficiency exams.
Here is a comprehensive comparison table for the Duolingo English Test and TOEFL Overall Exam Features.
|Exam Key Features||Duolingo English Test||Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)|
|Age Requirement for Test Takers|
|Test Registration Requirements|
|Number of Testing Centers Worldwide|
|Number of Countries Where Both Exams are Available|
|Test Scores Validity|
|Overall Scoring Scale Points|
|CEFR Scale Equivalent|
|Test Results Availability|
|English Skills that are assessed / Test Structure||Four Test Sections/Structure: ||TOEFL PBT Test Sections:|
TOEFL iBT Test Sections:
|Test Delivery Mode|
|Accepted By Educational Institutions|
|Accepted By Government Offices/Migration|
|Accepted By Multinational Companies|
Additional FAQs: Duolingo English Test vs. TOEFL Exam
Is Duolingo English Test Equivalent to TOEFL?
The Duolingo English Test measures the language abilities of an individual in the reading, listening, speaking, and writing areas, and so does the TOEFL. Both of these language exams assess the primary English language skills.
However, the Duolingo English Test is a newly developed language exam, while the TOEFL is one of the major English-language exams worldwide. So the TOEFL exam’s reputation outweighs the Duolingo exam.
Duolingo still provides reliable and accurate language assessment comparable to the test validity of the TOEFL exam.
Is Duolingo Easier than IELTS and TOEFL?
Yes, based on the test structure, many find test-takers find Duolingo much easier than the IELTS and TOEFL.
Moreover, the TOEFL uses a high level and complex English vocabulary and terms in its contents which people find very challenging. While others also find the IELTS exam difficult because it has a complex test structure.
The Duolingo English Exam offers a dynamic test structure wherein the difficulty level depends on the test-takers abilities in answering the exam. And also, others describe the Duolingo exam as a fun and more comprehensive approach compared to IELTS and TOEFL.
Which is Easy, IELTS TOEFL or Duolingo English Test?
These three language proficiency exams assess the English language skills of an individual. And also, these exams deliver quality and reliable test results and English proficiency certification.
Many prefer Duolingo as an easier and more dynamic English language test among the IELTS and TOEFL exams.
In addition, it is also very convenient and accessible compared to the two language proficiency exams. The Duolingo English Test is also widely recognized and accepted by more universities globally.