• IELTS • duolingo

Duolingo vs IELTS: Format, Score Comparison, Difference, Universities Accepting Both Exams

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  • By:CANAM Group
  • Updated On:Aug 12,2023 04:01 PM IST

IELTS vs Duolingo. How do they differ based on format, score chart, eligibility criteria and many more? Read the blog to know more about the differences between them.

Duolingo vs IELTS Format, Score Comparison, Difference, Universities Accepting Both Exams .webp
IELTS and Duolingo are the two most common exams given by students who want to study abroad. But many of them don’t know the difference between them. In this blog, let’s learn about how they are different and which one is better.

What is IELTS?

International English Language Testing System or IELTS is an English Language Proficiency Test that students need to give to study abroad. The students can give the test both offline or in computer mode.
The exam is divided into four types of sections:

  • Listening
  • Reading
  • Speaking
  • Writing

What is Duolingo?

Duolingo English Test or DET is the latest English language proficiency test which started in 2016. The exam is accepted by more than 4000 universities all over the world. It can be taken in computer format and is accepted for study purposes only. Duolingo test can be given through Duolingo App.

Conducting Bodies
Another point of comparison in IELTS vs Duolingo is the conducting authorities of both.

IELTS is owned and conducted jointly by Cambridge English, IDP and British Council.

On the other hand, Duolingo conducts Duolingo English Test.

Eligibility Criteria

For IELTS, candidates above the age of 16 can appear for the test.
The same goes for Duolingo. Students above the age of 13 can appear for the test. The student is not required to show any certificates or transcripts for qualification.

Exam Pattern

There are four sections in IELTS Exam

SectionsTotal QuestionsTime Period
Listening4030 minutes
Reading4060 minutes
Speaking260 minutes
Writing311-14 minutes

Duolingo is divided into two parts:

SectionsTime Period
Adaptive Examination (Reading, Listening, Writing, and Speaking45 minutes
Video Interview10 minutes

Frequency of conducting

IELTS is conducted 48 times a year, four times a month. There is no limit on the number of attempts a student can give.

Students can give Duolingo tests as many times as they want. But the test can be given only two times in 30 days. Also, the candidate can only apply for a new attempt once the result of the last attempt comes out.

IELTS vs Duolingo: Score Comparison

The next point of comparison in IELTS vs Duolingo is the score calculation.
The Score in IELTS is known as Bands. The IELTS band ranges from 0-9. One can also get a score of 0.5, like 6.5 or 7.5 bands. The bands for each section are combined, and then the average is taken to get the band score.

On the other hand, the Duolingo English test score ranges from 10-160.

IELTS vs Duolingo: Accepted Countries

IELTS is accepted at more than 10,000 institutions, universities, immigration and school in 140 countries, while Duolingo is accepted in five countries: the UK, USA, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

Exam Syllabus: IELTS vs Duolingo

The IELTS Listening Section includes questions like completing sentences, MCQs, maps, table questions etc.

In Duolingo, students will listen to some specific words with the wrong ones in English, and their task will be to choose the right ones.

The IELTS Writing Section has the questions like bar charts, tables, pie charts, formal letters, informal letters etc.

In Duolingo, the candidate will be given a list of pseudo words from which they have to choose the right ones and fill out the missing text. They need to type the statement after hearing the response.

The questions that come in the IELTS Reading Section are MCQs, Sentence Completion, table, note short answer questions etc. In Duolingo, the candidate needs to fill up the words by reading all sentences.

The IELTS Speaking Section contains three types of questions. The first one is about your family, interests etc. In the second question, the student will be given a topic on a card on which they need to speak. The third question contains a discussion.

In Duolingo, the candidate needs to speak from the two topics and speak for about 1-3 minutes.

The duration of IELTS is 2 hours and 45 minutes, and Duolingo is 45 minutes + 10 minutes of interview.

Documents required
To take an IELTS exam, one must carry a government ID or Passport.

For Duolingo also, the candidate must show a government ID, Passport or driving license.

Application Process


  • Visit www.ieltsedpindia.com
  • Click on “Register for IELTS”
  • Select the testing city and date.
  • Complete the application form.
  • Pay the fees
  • You will get the confirmation on screen and email as well.
  • The last step is to courier observation pages (if any) and passport photocopies to the IDP Head Office.
  • One can also register by physically going to the IDP branch.

Duolingo English Test

  • Go to the official site and create the account by filling in the details such as age, email id and password etc.
  • There will be a list containing options like school, middle or high school, graduate, and undergraduate university admissions.
  • Click on Create an account.
  • Choose from the options like take the test, try the test or purchase the test. The student can click on try the test option, which will be a 15-minute test. The candidate has to select purchasing the test if he wants to take it at home within 90 days. If the student wants to give the test on the spot, he can click the ‘take the test’ option.
  • Go back to the page for checkout and pay the fees. Both credit cards and PayPal are accepted.

Preparation Tips

  • Use Paraphrasing and synonyms.
  • Improve Listening Skills.
  • Work on grammar and vocabulary.
  • Try to have English conversations regularly with different people.
  • Read English books and magazines and watch English films and TV shows.


  • Take speaking exercises on Duolingo.
  • Get familiar with Computer Adaptive Test.
  • The candidates must give as many practice tests as possible.
  • Be aware of the test rules.
  • Don’t leave the test till the last minute.

In this blog, we learned the differences between Duolingo English Test vs IELTS on various parameters. Both exams have their own merit and demerits. After going through all the differences, one can choose which exam they want to give. If you still have any questions connect with Canam Prep and know which option is better for you.


IELTS is accepted in the UK, Canada and Australia, while Duolingo is accepted in the US.
No, Duolingo is often easier than IELTS.
As Duolingo is not accepted by Canada Visas, hence IELTS exam is the better choice for Canada.
The highest score of Duolingo is 160.
The IELTS has four sections, namely reading, speaking, listening and writing, while Duolingo only has two sections: adaptive examination and video interview.

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