Duolingo English Test Scoring

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Are you wondering how the Duolingo test is scored, or how it compares to other exams such as IELTS and TOEFL, or to the CEFR? While it is possible to make some comparisons with other exams and the CEFR, the way the exam is actually scored is largely a mystery to those outside of Duolingo.

Understanding Duolingo Scores

After completing the Duolingo English test successfully, you will be given 5 scores from 10 to 160:

  • An overall score. Note that this is not an average of the other four scores.
  • Literacy – from reading and writing tasks.
  • Conversation – from listening and speaking tasks.
  • Comprehension – from reading and listening tasks.
  • Production – from speaking and writing tasks.

Scores are calculated in multiples of 5 e.g. 100 or 105.

What Score Do I Need?

As with other international exams, the exact score you need will be set by the university you plan to enter and depends on a number of factors, including:

  • the prestige and competitiveness of the university;
  • whether the university is in an English-speaking country;
  • the competitiveness and how demanding the course is (in terms of English);
  • whether it is an undergraduate or postgraduate programme.

Generally, more prestigious and competitive universities will ask for higher results, as will courses where the need to communicate effectively in English is higher (e.g. law, medicine, etc.). Universities in English-speaking countries tend to ask for higher scores than in non-English speaking countries due to the demands of speaking English all of the time.

With Duolingo, a score of 120 is likely to be accepted in most universities. Note that this is higher than the scores usually required in IELTS and TOEFL.

Comparison with other Exams

The below table compares Duolingo scores with the CEFR, IELTS and TOEFL iBT.

CEFR Duolingo English Test IELTS TOEFL
A1
10-55
1.5-3.5
0-25
A2
B1
60-85
4.0-5.0
26-61
B2
90-115
5.5-7.0
62-96
C1
120-160
7.5-9.0
97-120
C2
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