My Name is Duolingo? Can I Help You?
“Yes, you can help some students to reach their goals!” I guess. That was my thought when I heard about the Duolingo English Test (DET) from my colleague. A few of her students had taken this test in order to apply to colleges and universities in the USA. That fact sparked my curiosity, so I reviewed Duolingo’s site (https://englishtest.duolingo.com/) as well as other related resources. Today, I want to introduce you briefly to what I have learned about DET.

Duolingo and Duolingo English Test (DET)
My acquaintance with the Duolingo “family” began with learning about the eponymous test. When I started reading materials, I learned that Duolingo is not just a test. Doulingo (https://www.duolingo.com/) is a free language learning platform that includes a language-learning website and an application. It is becoming more and more popular among people. The Wikipedia says that “as of October 2018 it offered 81 different language courses in 37 languages. The application has about 300 million registered users across the world”. The Duolingo English Test is separate from the Duolingo learning website and app. It is a comparatively new English language proficiency tool designed for international students and institutions.

Where did the idea come from?
Duolingo saga started 10 years ago when a professor from Carnegie Mellon University and his graduate student had an idea to create a new effective way to master languages. The project was subsequently supported by many investors and gained wide popularity among millions of subscribers. At a later stage, Duolingo English Test (DET) was added to the platform. Currently, its popularity is growing among students as well as receiving the recognition of more and more universities.  

DET: structure, length, and results
The Duolingo English Test lasts for 45 minutes, and test results are available within 48 hours. The test is administered using computer adaptive technology, meaning that the question difficulty adapts to each test taker. The test also integrates a writing sample and video interview portions that ask the test taker to respond to different prompts in 30 or 90 seconds. The records are sent to all designated institutions along with student’s proficiency score. The DET score range is between 0 and 100. The score interpretation section for test takers to compare DET, IELTS, and TOEFL is available here: https://englishtest.duolingo.com/scores

DET: difference from TOEFL and IELTS
DET, like TOEFL and IELTS, measures all four language skills: reading, writing, speaking, and listening. There are several significant features distinguishing it from other entrance exams, like TOEFL and IELTS. DET has advantages in accessibility since it is four times cheaper than the other two exams ($45 compared to $260). Moreover, the test takers can share their results with an unlimited number of institutions meaning students are able to save hundreds of dollars on ordering additional score reports if they apply to multiple schools. Students and their parents will also save a lot of time and money by not traveling to test centers. DET is offered online and on demand.  To take it you just need a computer with the most up-to-date versions of Opera or Chrome downloaded, and which is equipped with a functioning mic, speakers, and a webcam.

DET: preparing and taking the test
DET requires preparation like any other test. Practice your speaking, writing, listening and reading skills to succeed during the test. Work hard on your vocabulary, listen to the radio, read newspapers, and books, speak with other people in English. Create an account on Duolingo and take a free practice test to learn about its format and sample questions.

Useful links:
Duolingo Compete with TOEFL – https://prepadviser.com/duolingo-compete-toefl
Can a $49 English Test Pass Muster? https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2018/07/23/new-49-adaptive-exam-seeks-seat-english-testing-table
New English Tests Beyond TOEFL, IELTS – https://learningenglish.voanews.com/a/new-english-tests-beyond-toefl-ielts/4551379.html
Can Duolingo Crush the TOEFL? – https://slate.com/technology/2016/04/duolingo-made-language-learning-fun-can-it-do-the-same-for-language-testing.html
Deconstructing the Duolingo English Test (DET) – https://eltjam.com/deconstructing-the-duolingo-english-test-det/
Read more about the history of creation and development of the Duolingo at the wikipedia at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duolingo
Check the full list of schools accepting the scores of DET at its site (https://englishtest.duolingo.com).
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