Duolingo English Test
Duolingo English Test vs. TOEFL The difference

So, you have decided to study abroad as an international student at a prestigious university. The most important requirement for getting started is a certificate of language proficiency. Furthermore, it is one of the primary requirements for visa applications if you want to move to an English-speaking country. There are several options for language competency tests that you can consider. TOEFL is one of the most widely accepted language proficiency tests; however, the Duolingo English Test (DET) is emerging as a popular and reliable alternative. 

Is the Duolingo English Test easier than TOEFL? Which of these two is best for you?  

The TOEFL and DET tests are both highly regarded, and choosing between the two can be overwhelming. 

Don’t fret! We at Chhundu Training Institute are here to help! We’ve outlined the differences between TOEFL and DET to help you decide which of these two language proficiency tests is right for you.


What Is the Duolingo English Test? 

Duolingo English Test
Duolingo English Test

If you haven’t heard already, the Duolingo English Test is the new English proficiency test launched in 2016 and is growing in popularity due to its accessibility and dynamic test format. 

Furthermore, unlike other tests like IELTS and TOEFL that are taking the market by storm, most test-takers prefer the Duolingo English Test because it is comprehensive, convenient, and fast. 

DET takes a little less than an hour to complete, and they also provide accurate test results in less than 48 hours after you take it. 


What is the TOEFL Test?  

Duolingo English Test
Test Of English As A Foreign Language (TOEFL)

The TOEFL is a widely used standardized language evaluation tool that assesses native and non-native English speaker’s proficiency in English.

The exam also evaluates a student’s reading, listening, speaking, and writing abilities in English. The TOEFL exam is difficult for many test-takers because it uses academic language and advanced vocabulary.

Additionally, it is preferred by most academic institutions because the test focuses on academic English. 

This language test is frequently used for visa applications, international corporations’ employment requirements, and educational institutions’ admissions. 

The TOEFL test was developed by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), which also specifies that test takers must be at least 17 years old or in the eleventh grade because it uses advanced lexicon and grammar.


Exam Fees: Duolingo English Test vs. TOEFL 

Duolingo English Test
Fee structure for Duolingo English Test and TOEFL

The exam fees for these two language competency evaluation varies significantly. Additionally, there is a set fee of Nu. 4000 for the Duolingo English Test, which is valid wherever you are in the world. 

The TOEFL exam cost varies depending on the test version. 

For instance, the TOEFL iBT exam fee is approximately USD 185, whereas the TOEFL PBT exam fee is approximately Nu. 14,700.

If you follow their guidelines for refund requests, the Duolingo English Test will reimburse your test fees if you can’t finish the exam or need to modify your test date.

The TOEFL test offers up to 50% refunds as long as you complete the requirement for refund applications. 

Additionally, the TOEFL includes extra fees in various circumstances. For instance, if you wish to change the test date, you’re liable to pay an additional charge.

Exam Structures: Duolingo English Test vs. TOEFL 

Duolingo English Test
Test structure for Duolingo English Test and TOEFL

The DET and the TOEFL both assess a candidate’s English proficiency in various areas, including reading, listening, speaking, and writing. They do, however, differ significantly in terms of the test format, duration, and deliverance. 

Compared to the TOEFL, which takes around four hours to complete, the Duolingo English test lasts only 45 minutes to an hour. 

Regarding their delivery modes, the TOEFL offers paper-based and computer-based exams, while the DET is conducted through a computer or internet platform.  

The accessibility of test results is another key difference. 

DET provides a quick and accurate test result within 48 hours. Whereas the TOEFL takes about ten days to deliver your exam results.

Additionally, the validity of these language exam test results is two years. For a thorough comparison of the Duolingo and TOEFL exams, see the chart below.

Exam StructureDuolingo English TestTOEFL Exam
Test DurationLess than an hour 3 to 4 Hours with additional 30 minutes check-in period
Test Delivery ModeComputer-based TestTOEFL PBT (Paper-based Test)TOEFL iBT (Internet-based Test)
English Skills that are assessed / Test StructureFour Test Sections/Structure: 
ReadingWritingListening Speaking
TOEFL PBT Test Sections: Listening Structure and Written ExpressionReadingWriting
TOEFL iBT Test Sections: ReadingListeningSpeakingWriting
Test Scores Availability48 hours Approximately ten days
Test Scores Validity Two years Two years
Duolingo English Test vs. Toefl test structure

 Grading Difference: Duolingo English Test vs. TOEFL 

Duolingo English Test
Scoring criteria for Duolingo and TOEFL

One of the essential aspects of the Duolingo English Test is its computerized grading system. Moreover, DET test results can also be assessed using the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).  

The TOEFL test is also scored using a centralized scoring network which is never done at the test centers to avoid human errors and ensure consistency and reliability.

For instance, the reading and listening segments of the TOEFL test are scored by computers, while speaking and writing sections are scored concurrently by experts and an AI scoring system.

Furthermore, the TOEFL provides a band score for every section, which is then banded together for an overall score. 

These language competency tests also employ the CEFR scale as its standard for a precise evaluation. However, they have different scoring systems overall. 

For instance, the highest score on Duolingo is 160, and the lowest is 30. The TOEFL has the highest value of 120 points and a minimum score of roughly 8 points. 

The table below compares the scoring scale of the Duolingo English Test and TOEFL. 

Duolingo English test scoresTOEFL iBT test scoresCEFR ProficiencyLevels
160 to 155120 C2 Proficient Level
150 to 145119 to 117C2 Proficient Level
140 to 135116 to 113C1 Advanced Proficiency Level
130 to 125112 to 103C1 Advanced Proficiency Level
120 to 115102 to 92C1 Advanced Proficiency Level
110 to 10591 to 80B2 Upper-Intermediate Proficiency Level
100 to 9579 to 68B2 Upper-Intermediate Proficiency Level
90 to 8567 to 56B2 Upper-Intermediate Proficiency Level
80 to 7555 to 44B1 Intermediate Proficiency Level
70 to 6543 to 32B1 Intermediate Proficiency Level
60 to 5531 to 20A2 to A1 Beginner Proficiency Level 
50 to 4519 to 9A2 to A1 Beginner Proficiency Level 
40 to 308 to 1A2 to A1 Beginner Proficiency Level 
Duolingo English Test and TOEFL test results on the CEFR scale

Which is Easier: Duolingo English Test or TOEFL? 

Duolingo English Test
TOEFL vs. Duolingo English Test Which to choose

TOEFL and the Duolingo English Test are widely accepted and adopted by academic institutions across many English-speaking countries to evaluate one’s English language skills.

But there are differences in the test formats and subject approaches between these two language tests. 

Compared to the TOEFL exam, which has a high level of lexicon and grammar, the Duolingo English Test is fairly easy. Students find it easier because of its comprehensive and dynamic examination structure.

The TOEFL and Duolingo tests are both challenging with preparation. Despite many differences, they share the same goal: to provide a credible evaluation of your language proficiency.

You might also second-guess which of these two language proficiency tests you should take. Remember that these tests’ difficulty levels depending on how well a student can respond to questions in a foreign language.

However, we cannot definitively state that one language exam is easier than the other. The various aspects that could affect how challenging the examinations are must also be considered. 

Therefore, we strongly recommend you consider registering for our TOEFL preparation course. Rest assured, our certified tutors will help you ace the test through a comprehensive TOEFL prep course. 

Additional FAQs: Duolingo English Test vs. TOEFL Exam 

Is Duolingo English Test Equivalent to TOEFL?

TOEFL exam has a better reputation than the Duolingo exam, but Duolingo continues to offer trustworthy and accurate language evaluation. The TOEFL is one of the accredited English-language tests given globally, whereas the DET is new.

However, Duolingo continues to offer trustworthy and accurate language evaluation.

TOEFL and the DET test assess students’ language proficiency in reading, listening, speaking, and writing.  

Is Duolingo Easier than IELTS and TOEFL?

Yes, many students find Duolingo to be considerably easier than the TOEFL. Students find the TOEFL’s high-level and complex English vocabulary and phrases more challenging than DET.

Which is Easier, IELTS, TOEFL, or Duolingo English Test?

Many students favor Duolingo as an easier and more engaging English language test than the IELTS and TOEFL tests. 

These three language tests evaluate a person’s English proficiency and deliver quality and reliable results and certification of English ability.

One of the most important aspects of studying abroad is taking an English proficiency test, and there have recently been several accessible alternatives, including TOEFL and Duolingo.

We hope that this comparison of the TOEFL and the DET has helped you make an informed decision for your future. 

Still unsure about which English language test will benefit you most? Perhaps, you can consider familiarizing yourself with and Understanding The IELTS Reading Score Chart With CTI. 


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