Duolingo IELTS Score Conversion in 2023: Latest Guide

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Students willing to pursue a degree course abroad can now appear for an English language proficiency test online right from the convenience of their homes. Duolingo English Test enables candidates to take a language proficiency test who are otherwise unable to visit test centres due to COVID-19 restrictions. 

There are numerous educational institutions in the U.S. that have started to accept Duolingo test scores for admission to undergraduate courses. Notably, aspiring candidates can also opt for a Duolingo IELTS score conversion to find out where they stand corresponding to prominent language proficiency tests. The following sections provide a detailed rundown on the Duolingo test along with the Duolingo IELTS score conversion. Let’s find out.

duolingo IELTS score
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A Brief Insight into Duolingo English Test

With a Duolingo test, candidates seeking to study abroad can appear for a language proficiency test anytime, anywhere. This test is entirely online, and students can take it from their personal computers. Similar to popular English language proficiency tests, Duolingo assesses the communication abilities of a student on 4 parameters: reading, writing, speaking and listening. Notably, the test is adaptive in nature, signifying the difficulty level goes up with each correct answer. Conversely, with every wrong answer, the following questions become easier. The test duration is usually 1 hour, and the test results can be obtained within 48 hours. One can send the score report to as many institutions as they want without having to pay an extra charge. Moreover, candidates can also take a 10-minutes video interview wherein they can record their responses conveniently. It is, however, crucial to have the following set up ready to take this test:

  • A computer system
  • Stable internet connection
  • Supporting browsers like Opera or Chrome
  • Front-facing camera, microphones and speakers 

How is a Duolingo Test Scored?

As mentioned earlier, the Duolingo test assesses the reading, writing, speaking and listening skills of candidates. The English language proficiency is scored holistically on a scale ranging between 10 and 160. There are also section-wise scores for parameters like Literacy, Comprehension, Production and Conversation. Students seeking to enter into top international programs usually need to score a minimum of 120 or above. 

Duolingo also provides a Fluency score which signifies the candidate’s fluency in a language. One can score as much as 50-60% in terms of fluency with Duolingo. However, one can increase the score by strengthening their fluency skills.The score obtained in the Duolingo test is valid for a period of 2 years. It can be sent directly to the desired institutions from the result page. 

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Duolingo IELTS Score Conversion in 2023: Latest Guide

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Duolingo IELTS Score Conversion in 2023: Latest Guide

Duolingo Test Score Interpretation

The score received in Duolingo enables students to have a clear idea about the level of their English language proficiency and fluency. Here’s a tabular representation showing what each of the score range says about the language proficiency of a student:                  

Scores AchievedDescription  
120- 160This is the highest score range wherein students are able to use the language quite flexibly for different contexts or situations. They can use the language for specialised and demanding situations and can comprehend idiomatic, figurative, pragmatic or implicit language.
90-115The test-takers in this range can comfortably communicate with unfamiliar topics or contexts and can easily comprehend ideas for abstract as well as concrete writing. Moreover, they can communicate with fluent speakers with convenience and ease.
60-85Candidates can understand the major points related to speech or writing of school, work or similar such familiar contexts. In addition, they are able to discuss opinions, plans, ambitions, experiences and much more, albeit with some hesitation.
10-55Students in this score range are able to understand the basic words and phrases in English. They can also comprehend straightforward pieces of information and can express themselves with ease.

About Duolingo IELTS Score Conversion

Duolingo is now accepted in several foreign educational institutions. Although this test is quite different from other popular language proficiency tests like IELTS, it would be useful for candidates to know what they have scored in comparison to IELTS.The following sections show the Duolingo test score levels corresponding to IELTS score bands. 

IELTS Score BandDuolingo Score  

Duolingo: How to Take the Test?

To help students take language proficiency tests more conveniently in the midst of the pandemic, Duolingo has introduced an online proficiency test. However, as students have to take the test from their homes, they need to follow a set of strict regulations and guidelines while appearing for it.Candidates have to take the test alone in a separate room, and no one else should be communicating with them in any way. Moreover, test takers are not allowed to use the internet during the proficiency test. The Duolingo test usually lasts for around 1 hour and consists of 2 sections: 

  • Adaptive test: This section determines and evaluates one’s reading, speaking, listening and speaking abilities in English. This section is wrapped up within 45 minutes. 
  • Video interview: This is an ungraded section of the test where a candidate has to record and upload a 10-minutes video answering various open-ended questions.  

Duolingo is a comparatively affordable English language proficiency test that requires students to pay a registration fee of $49.

Acceptance of Duolingo Score for Higher Education

As per Duolingo, thousands of educational institutions and international programs around the globe have already started to accept Duolingo English Test. Numerous U.S. universities, including top names like Columbia University, Duke University, Yale University, University of Chicago and more, have recognised it as a valid language proficiency test. As its authenticity and acceptance grows, Duolingo has the potential to be an affordable, hassle-free and fast language test. 

Which one to Choose: IELTS vs Duolingo

IELTS is one of the most popular English proficiency tests worldwide. However, Duolingo is fast proving to be a suitable and preferred alternative among candidates. If you are wondering which test to appear for, you can refer to the following comparative analysis between IELTS and Duolingo English Test. [table id=342 /] The IELTS and Duolingo test also varies significantly in the manner in which the primary skills are assessed. Here’s how they differ:

CriteriaIELTSDuolingo English Test 
Nature of the testComputer-delivered and paper-basedOnly computer-delivered internet-based test
Registration FeeRs. 14,700$49, which is equivalent to around Rs. 4,000.
Test LocationBoth computer-delivered and paper-based tests are conducted in designated IDP IELTS test centres across the globeIt can be taken anytime at home.
Test StructureThere are 4 sections: Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking.
The Speaking test is conducted 7 days before or after the allotted test date.
This test is made of 2 sections: Adaptive test and Video Interview.
The adaptive test assesses reading, writing, listening and speaking abilities.
In Video interview one has to record and upload a verbal response to open-ended questions.
DurationThe total test time is 2 hours 45 minutes along with a 10 minutes transfer.
The Reading and Writing sections are 60 minutes each, while the Listening section is 30 minutes long and the Speaking section is for 11-14 minutes.
Duolingo tests usually last for 1 hour.
The Adaptive test duration is 45 minutes while the Video interview is for 10 minutes.
Test ScoreThe score band ranges between 0-9.
The overall score received is an aggregate of the score band received in each of the sections.
Computer-based test results are available within 5 days while pen and paper-based test results are published in 13 days.
IELTS score is valid for 2 years from the date of the exam.
Duolingo Test provides the result comparatively faster. Scores are available within 48 hours.
Similar to IELTS, test scores are available for 2 years from the date of examination.
Test reportsOne can send IELTS TRFs to a maximum of 5 institutions.
Candidates have to pay an additional charge to get more TRFs.
There are no limits to the number of institutions one can send their test reports to.
No extra charge is levied.
Skill SectionsIELTSDuolingo Test 
ReadingIt contains long passages based on which one has to answer multiple-choice based questions, complete the sentence, match headings, fill in the blanks and other types of questionsThe questions are intended to assess vocabulary skills. One can expect questions like complete words of a passage, identify the correct words, etc.
ListeningCandidates have to answer questions based on 4 pre-recorded conversations on academic and general contexts.For the assessment of listening skills, one has to answer 2 types of questions: transcribe a recorded passage or sentence and identify the correct words.
WritingThis section comes with 2 tasks. For task 1, candidates have to either compose a letter (for General Training) or draft an essay from a series of graphically presented information. For task 2, they have to compose an essay of 250 words.One has to explain an image along with a short passage with not more than 50 words each.
SpeakingIt is a face-to-face interview with an examiner where candidates have to introduce themselves, deliver a short speech and answer follow-up questions.Test takers have to answer various questions like labelling an object, speaking on a short topic or reading a sentence aloud.

Preparation for Duolingo English Test

English language proficiency tests can be quite challenging and competitive. Hence, nailing such language tests require systematic preparation. Here are some crucial tips to let students prepare themselves for the Duolingo test efficiently.

Develop your Vocabulary

One of the most effective ways to ace a language proficiency test is to enrich the vocabulary and sharpen the necessary writing skills. Make it a habit to read English journals, books, magazines or newspapers on a daily basis. You can also watch programs and movies in English and interact with people having English as the native language. Try to apply the newly-learned words in sentences to develop your writing skills.

Opt for a Sample Test

To familiarise yourself with the actual test, one can take a sample test from the official Duolingo website. The sample test is only 8 minutes in duration, and the scoring system is comparatively less accurate. However, it will give you crucial insight into how the actual test is. Interestingly, sample Duolingo tests are free and can be attempted as many times as required.

Be Aware of the Regulations

Since the exam is conducted, entirely online one has to follow a series of regulations. The entire test is recorded by the examiners. Candidates have to sit alone in a separate room while appearing for the test. They cannot use a mobile device, earphones or browse the internet during the test. Students have to adhere to the guidelines set by Duolingo strictly.

Make Sure to Have a Suitable Environment 

It is important to have all necessary instruments ready so that you can appear for the exam without any hassle. Try to check your system and internet connection before you start the test.

duolingo IELTS score


With the growing acceptance and popularity of the Duolingo English test, it would be essential for candidates to compare their Duolingo score with other tests like IELTS. The sections above provide a detailed Duolingo IELTS score conversion and interpretation to help students compare Duolingo score with IELTS score easily.


1. How reliable is Duolingo?

Ans: Duolingo is increasingly accepted in various educational institutions over the world. However, a Duolingo IELTS score comparison is conducted to interpret the Duolingo score alongside that of IELTS. This score comparison helps in establishing the authenticity and reliability of Duolingo.

2. What is considered a good score in Duolingo?

Ans: A score of 120 or above is usually considered to be a good score for Duolingo. In terms of Duolingo IELTS score interpretation, 120 score corresponds to grade 7 of IELTS. 

3. Can IELTS be replaced by Duolingo?

Ans: The pandemic-related restrictions made it difficult for test-takers to appear for the IELTS tests at the designated test centres. Duolingo offers an option to take a language proficiency test from the convenience of home. However, with time, IELTS has also rolled out an online version of the language test called IELTS Indicator. In case the acceptability rate of Duolingo increases, it can potentially replace or at least reduce the dominance of IELTS.

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Manisha Angre

Experienced IELTS prep trainer and education management industry veteran. Specializes in public speaking, international education, market research, mentoring, and management.

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