duolingo, IELTS

Nowadays, the majority of Indian students want to migrate abroad to an English-speaking nation for better education and career opportunities.

To fulfill their dream of studying abroad, they must prove their language proficiency by taking a language proficiency test. 

Here are some of the most chosen English language tests:

  • PTE 
  • Duolingo
  • CANTest

Now the question arises out of these tests which one you should choose? In today’s blog, I will talk about IELTS and Duolingo exams and answer the question, “Duolingo vs IELTS which is better.”

First, you must understand both exams to get a proper answer to this question.

What is IELTS?

IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is an English language test taken by students to prove their English language proficiency for both study and immigration purposes. This test is available in both pen-paper and computer format.

It checks language proficiency in four modules,

  • Reading
  • Listening
  • Writing
  • Speaking

This exam is conducted by IDP and is accepted in 140 countries and more than 11,000 institutes worldwide.

What is Duolingo?

Duolingo is the latest addition to the list of English-language proficiency tests. It was started in 2016 and gained popularity during the corona pandemic.

This test is only useful for study purposes and is accepted by some top universities worldwide. This test is available in only one format: the computer.

This test measures students’ English language proficiency through 10 different types of questions. This test is accepted by more than 4000 universities worldwide.

After learning about both exams, let’s get the answer to the question IELTS vs Duolingo, which is better.

Now let’s move to the main focus of this blog, “Duolingo vs IELTS which is better” without wasting any more time.

Duolingo VS IELTS Which Is Better?

To get the answer to this question, you must understand the pattern or format of both exams. 

The most vital aspect of every English proficiency exam is the pattern of the exam. Let’s get information about both exams in detail.

IELTS Exam Pattern

There are two types of IELTS exams that you can give, one type is IELTS GT (General Training), and the other type is Academic Training. 

The reading section and the writing task 1 part for both type of tests is different, and the listening and speaking section is the same.

SectionTimeNumber Of QuestionsType Of Questions
Listening40 minutes (30 minutes for listening recording and 10 minutes to transfer answers to an answer sheet)40Multiple choice
Matching information
Plan, map, diagram labeling
Form, note, table, flow-chart, summary completion
Sentence completion
Short-answer questions
Reading1 hour40Multiple choice
Identifying information
Identifying writer’s views/claims
Matching headings
Matching features
Matching sentence endings
Sentence completion
Summary, note, table, flow-chart completion
Diagram label completion
Short-answer questions
Writing1 hour 2IELTS Academic Task 1
Bar Chart
Multiple Graphs
Pie Chart
Process Diagram
Line Graph
Task 2
IELTS General Task 1
Formal letter
Informal letter
Semi-formal letter
IELTS Academic & General Task 2
Agree or disagree
Advantages and disadvantages
Direct essay
Cause/solution essay
Positive/negative essay
Discussion essay
Speaking11 – 14 minutes8 – 10Part 1 – Introductive question
Part 2 – Cue card
Part 3 – Follow-up

Duolingo Exam pattern

The Duolingo test is to be given online from the Duolingo app. The Duolingo app was first introduced to help people learn languages like English, German, Spanish, etc. 

The Duolingo test’s most vital aspect is its adaptive form of testing. An adaptive form of testing is when, with every right or wrong answer, the next question changes. 

For example, if you answer a question correctly, the other question will be more difficult, and if you answer a question wrongly, the next will be easier. This adaptive form of Duolingo maintains the accuracy of the Duolingo test.

The total time duration of the Duolingo test is just 1 hour, which is comparatively much less than other English proficiency tests.

Questions in the Duolingo exam,

Question TypeFrequency
Read and Complete4 – 6
Read and Select4 – 6
Listen and Select4 – 6
Listen and Type 4 – 6
Read Aloud4 – 6
Write About the Photo3
Speak About the Photo1
Read, Then Write1
Read, Then Speak1
Listen, Then Speak 2
Writing Sample1
Speaking Sample1
Interactive Reading 2 sets of 6 questions

Let’s discuss each section of both exams one by one for a better understanding of the question “Duolingo vs IELTS which is better.”

Writing section

The first point of difference between the IELTS and the Duolingo English proficiency test is the Writing section. 

Both tests have a writing section, but the format of both writing sections differs majorly. The Writing section of the IELTS exam consists of two different tasks. You have to attend to both tasks mandatorily. 

The first task of the IELTS test requires you to summarise or describe a diagram, a graph, or a table. You must explain these diagrams in your own words; the description should be formal. They can also give you a data set to explain or summarise. This task is often very easy for the candidates. 

The other task presents an argument to you on which you must write an essay. The essay should reflect your point of view or your opinion on the argument.

The writing section of the Duolingo test requires you to identify the correct English words from the given false words. You may also be asked to fill out the blank for a sentence or write a short essay on a given question. 

The answer should be a minimum of 500 words. Then, at last, you would be asked to hear audio and then type a statement or an answer based on the audio you heard.

In this way, both the writing sections have equal difficulty. The Duolingo writing section may seem easier to you, but task one in the IELTS Writing section is quite easier too. So let’s discuss other three modules one by one to get the answer to the question, “Duolingo vs IELTS which is better.”

Reading section

The second point of comparison is the Reading section of both tests. The Reading section of the IELTS exam varies with the type of IELTS you are giving. 

In the Academic IELTS, you must read three long paragraphs, which might be taken from books, journals, magazines, and newspapers. 

The IELTS reading section tests a variety of your skills. In the IELTS General training reading section, you must read texts taken from ads, guidelines, handbooks, notices, etc. All these texts are descriptive and factual and can be discursive and analytical too. 

In comparison to the IELTS Reading section, in the Duolingo reading section, you would be required to read some sentences and see if they make sense, and if they don’t, then you will have to correct them to make them sound sensible. 

Hence, in Duolingo VS IELTS which is better: Reading section, the Duolingo reading section may be easier for you.

Speaking section

The Speaking section difference is the third point in comparison in Duolingo vs IELTS Which is better. The IELTS Speaking section is divided into three sections. In the first task, you must answer general introductory questions about yourself, your family, and your interests. 

In the second task, you are required to pick up a random card and speak on the topic given on that card, the topics are based on education and other current affairs. 

The examiner will assess how you speak about the topics and then ask you some counter-questions about the topic. 

The third task is a discussion round where you will need to discuss the topic in-depth with the examiner, the examiner will assess your ability for critical thinking and analysis.

On the other hand, the Duolingo Speaking section requires you to describe an image that would be presented to you. The speaking section would also require you to read out some sentences that will be given to you aloud. 

Lastly, the interview section of the Duolingo test will require you to speak on one topic that would be given to you at the moment for at least 1-3 minutes. You will be given a choice to choose between two options. 

Listening section

The last point of difference in the paper pattern of Duolingo vs IELTS which is better, is the Listening section of both the tests. 

In the Listening section of the IELTS exam, you will be required to listen to four to five recordings. 

Then you will be asked some questions which are based on those recordings. These recordings can either be in the form of a monologue or a conversation. The questions may be in the form of MCQs, sentence completion, or matching type. 

On the other side, in the Listening section of the Duolingo test, you will be required to listen to some spoken words containing true English words and some pseudo-English words. Then you will have to identify and differentiate between the two types of words.

How often are both tests conducted?

Both tests are conducted for different frequencies and on different dates. The pen-paper version of the IELTS exam is conducted around 48 times in a year, that is approximately 4 times in a month. While the computer version of the IELTS exam can be taken any day of the month.

The Duolingo English test does not require you to take an appointment to take the test. The Duolingo test can be taken anywhere, at any time, even from home.

After knowing about the modules of both exams and before reaching a conclusion for the question Duolingo vs IELTS which is better, let’s discuss the score comparison of both exams.

Duolingo Vs IELTS: Score Comparison

The scores of the IELTS exam are referred to as bands. The IELTS exam offers bands from 0-9. The scores you obtain can also be in 0.5; for example, you may get 6.5,8.5 bands. 

A good score in IELTS which can get you into many universities, is often 7.5 bands. 

If you score above 8.5, then you can get many scholarships too. You will be given bands for each section which will then be combined and averaged to form a final score.

The score of the Duolingo English Test ranges from 10-160.

The below table gives a scores comparison between IELTS vs DUOLINGO-

155-160          9EXPERT
145-150          8.5VERY GOOD
135-140          8VERY GOOD
125-130          7.5GOOD
115-120          7GOOD
105-110          6.5COMPETENT
95-100          6COMPETENT
85-90          5.5MODEST
75-80          5MODEST
65-70          4.5LIMITED
0-60          0-4EXTREMELY LIMITED

Fees Structure

The fee for the IELTS exam is INR 15,500. The fee for the Duolingo exam is 49 USD. In this way, the Duolingo exam is cheaper.


In this blog, we have answered the most asked question, “Duolingo vs IELTS which is better.” From the above discussion, we have found that the Duolingo exam is much cheaper than the IELTS and provides you the facility to take the exam from anywhere, anytime. 

The result of the Duolingo exam is also declared fast than the IELTS. The test duration of Duolingo is also very low than the IELTS.

But, the IELTS exam is accepted by more than 11,000 institutes or organizations worldwide, while Duolingo is accepted by only around 4,000 institutes.

So, in conclusion, both exams have their own benefits, and you can choose any of them according to your convenience.

If you still have any queries or questions about Duolingo vs IELTS which is better you can contact our experts. For more interesting and informative content like this, keep visiting CourseMentor™.


Is Canada accept Duolingo?

Yes, now students can apply for Canada based on their Duolingo score. There are many reputed institutes in Canada that accept the Duolingo exam.

Do all colleges accept Duolingo?

No, not all colleges worldwide accept Duolingo but many top institutes in countries like, the USA, the UK, Canada, Australia, and Europe accept the Duolingo exam.