If you are planning to study or work abroad, then you might be aware that all the students and working professionals from non-native English countries are required to submit an English proficiency test score to prove their knowledge of English to the universities. 

All the universities in English-speaking countries have this requirement. There are a lot of different English language testing exams, and students are often confused about which one to give. 

Some of the most popular English testing exams are IETLS, TOEFL, PTE, and the Duolingo test of English. These exams are all popular and are accepted in almost every major university abroad. 

You first need to check which exam scores are accepted by the university you are applying to and then give that exam. Your choice of the exam does not affect the chances of your acceptance. 

In this blog, I will discuss Duolingo Vs TOEFL, Which is better? 

What is TOEFL?

The first step towards getting clarity on Duolingo vs TOEFL is to understand each of the tests separately. 

The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is a well-recognized test for English. 

Students have been giving this test for decades now, and it has been in the market for a long time and is trusted by many universities as an authorized test. 

TOEFL is administered by the ETS, which is the same organization that handles GRE. 

What is the Duolingo test of English?

Now that you have an idea about what TOEFL is let us discuss what is the Duolingo test of English

The Duolingo test English is the latest exam. All the other exams like IELTS, TOEFL, and PTE have been in the market for years, but the Duolingo test is giving them major competition with its features. 

The Duolingo test is still not as popular as the IELTS or TOEFL, but it is gaining more popularity and is being accepted by major universities. 

Now that you have an idea about what both of these tests are, let us move to the next step in Duolingo Vs TOEFL and compare both of these tests on various parameters. 

Duolingo Vs TOEFL: Which is more recognized?

Which is more recognized

One of the most important things to compare between the two tests is that which test is more accepted by universities. 

TOEFL is one of the oldest English language testing tests and is thus accepted by major universities. More than 11,000 universities in around 150 counties accept this test. 

Your preferred university should also accept this test as it is so popular. If you are applying to more than one university, then check the exam which is the most accepted and then plan your exam of choice accordingly. 

As mentioned above, Duolingo is a fairly new English test and is thus less accepted among universities. 

The Duolingo test scores are accepted by only 3000 universities across the world, which is far less compared to the 11,000 universities that accept TOEFL test scores. 

This is not a problem unless your referred university accepts Duolingo test scores. So, the effect of this parameter varies. 

Check the official website of the university of your choice to get clarity regarding the test scores that are accepted.

Duolingo Vs TOEFL: Which one has an easier format?

Which one has an easier format

The format is a major parameter in Duolingo Vs TOEFL, as both of them have different formats. 

The TOEFL can be given in two forms: the Internet-based test (iBT) and the Paper-based test (PBT). In both formats, your reading, listening, writing, and speaking abilities will be tested. 

The format of the exam does not affect the difficulty, it is just a matter of feasibility. You can choose Whichever format is easier for you. 

The time duration of the iBT is 3 hours, and for PBT is 2 hours and 12 minutes. The results are announced within 6-7 working days. You may get your result faster in the iBT.

The Duolingo test has taken the feasibility to give the test at a whole other level. The best advantage of the Duolingo test is that it is of only a 1-hour duration, and you get the results within 2 days. 

This is the only test that delivers the score this fast. The Duolingo English test format is quite simple, first, an introductory section of 5 minutes allows you to check your camera and microphone and guides you through the rules of the test. 

The Adaptive test section, which is of 45 minutes, is the main test. The adaptive type of test ensures that the difficulty of the test changes according to your choice of answers. 

The last section is an ungraded video interview that analyses your writing and speaking skills. 

Duolingo Vs TOEFL: Comparison of test fees 

Comparison of test fees 

All the English tests are quite expensive, which makes it harder for the students to reappear if they do not get the required score. Thus, a fee comparison is a major part of Duolingo vs TOEFL. 

The cost of the TOEFL depends on the country you are giving the exam. It varies from $160-300 in different countries. In India, the cost of TOEFL is $180 (INR 13,256). 

The Duolingo test has gained popularity because of its low test fees. The cost of taking the Duolingo test is just $49( INR 3,608), which is very less compared to the TOEFL. 

Duolingo Vs TOEFL: Scoring system

Scoring system

The test scores of all the English exams are different, and you need to have a clear understanding of the scoring system. The score points of TOEFL are on a scale of 0-120, and that of the Duolingo test is on a scale of 10-160. 

Duolingo Vs TOEFL: Pros of TOEFL

Pros of TOEFL
  1. Recognized: The main advantage of the TOEFL is that it is more recognized. Many times students have to apply to various universities to increase their chances of getting selected. As we saw, Duolingo is less accepted, and some of the universities you are applying to may not recognize the Duolingo test scores, so you will have to analyze and shortlist the universities which are accepting both scores and then think if the universities that do not accept both are important to you.
  2. Reference books: As the TOEFL is an old exam and is recognized all around the world, so there are numerous preparation materials available in the market for this exam. Students can easily get in touch with the online and offline preparation material, such as youtube and the official TOEFL website.
  3. Classes and courses: If you are looking to prepare for the English test through any online course or an offline class, then you will find it easier to take courses and classes that provide coaching for TOEFL as it is more popular.

Duolingo Vs TOEFL: Cons of TOEFL

Cons of TOEFL
  1. Slots unavailable: The TOEFL is one of the most popular exams, and thus, it requires you to book a slot prior. The slot should be booked several weeks earlier if you have to get the perfect time and date, if you are booking at the last time, you will have to wait for the slots. 
  2. Delayed result: The TOEFL takes 6 days to announce the results. If your university requires you to submit the test score on a certain date, then you will have to book your slot accordingly. 
  3. Expensive: The cost of the TOEFL is quite high for an Indian student. If you do not get the required score and if you have to retake the test for some reason, then you will have to spend a lot higher. If you think that you might have to retake the test, do not go for TOEFL.

Duolingo Vs TOEFL: Pros of Duolingo

Pros of Duolingo
  1. Feasibility: The Duolingo test can be taken anywhere and at any time. You do not require prior booking or appointment. TOEFL requires an appointment, and sometimes you have to wait because of the rush, but with Duolingo, you can give it anywhere. 
  2. Time: The time duration of the Duolingo test is just 1 hour which is very less compared to TOEFL. The result also comes out in just 2 days compared to 6 days in TOEFL. So, if time is a concern for you or you want the score faster than gp for Duolingo. 
  3. Cost-effective: It is the cheapest English test available. It comes at a price around 4 times lesser than the TOEFL. If the Duolingo test is accepted by the university of your choice, then this can prove to be a pocket-friendly option for you.

Duolingo Vs TOEFL: Cons of Duolingo

Cons of Duolingo
  1. Less recognized: The biggest issue with the Duolingo test is always its popularity. It is quite new, and thus not many universities accept it. 
  2. Less material: The test is less popular, so the materials available to prepare for the exam are also less. You will find only a few books to prepare you for the Duolingo test specifically, and if you are looking for classes online or offline, you will find fewer of them teaching the Duolingo test. 
  3. Less time: While for some candidates, the time allotted might be sufficient, for some, 1 hour is a lot less to complete the test, and thus they cannot get the high score that they could. 

Which One is Best TOEFL or Duolingo?

Both the TOEFL and Duolingo are recognized by universities and colleges worldwide as valid measures of English competence. The two tests do differ in several significant ways, though.


  • It takes roughly 3 hours to finish the lengthier TOEFL exam.
  • The four sections of the TOEFL are speaking, listening, reading, and writing.
  • The TOEFL is a more conventional test with questions comparable to those on other standardized tests.
  • Universities and colleges are more likely to accept the TOEFL than Duolingo.


  • The Duolingo test is shorter and takes only 30 minutes to finish.
  • Reading and Listening make up the sole portion of Duolingo.
  • With questions that change in difficulty based on how well you perform, the Duolingo test is more adaptive.
  • Although universities and colleges more commonly accept TOEFL, Duolingo is starting to catch up.

Your particular requirements and preferences will determine which exam is ideal for you. The TOEFL is a good option if you’re looking for a more conventional exam generally accepted by universities and institutions. Duolingo is a good option if you’re searching for a quicker, more flexible test that some institutions and schools nonetheless recognize.


The comparison of Duolingo Vs TOEFL requires you to check both of them on various parameters. 

Both tests have equal difficulty levels, and the pros and cons of both tests might have different effects on different candidates. 

Thus, you should first check which test is accepted by your university and then think about which one is better for you. 

So this totally depends on you; if your chosen university accepts the Duolingo exam, you can go for it; otherwise, you must go for TOEFL.

I hope this blog has cleared all your queries about the TOEFL vs Duolingo, and if you still have any questions, please contact our experts.

Keep visiting CourseMentor™ for more informative and interesting content like this.


Is Duolingo harder than TOEFL?

Yes, many students consider the TOEFL exam more difficult compared to the Duolingo English language test. Preparation for the TOEFL exam requires more consistency as compared to the Duolingo English language test.

Is Duolingo accepted in Europe?

As the Duolingo English test (DET) is a new language test, and because of this DET is not accepted by all the universities in Europe. But there are some universities that accept the Duolingo English test.