The Duolingo English Test is not just cheaper and more convenient than other English proficiency tests like TOEFL and IETLS. The DET is also easy to prepare for.
In this post, we will go through 4 simple steps that will enable you to prepare well so that you can get the highest score.
👉 If you’re new to the Duolingo English Test, I recommend your first check out our article: Duolingo English Test Ultimate Guide (2023).
Table of Contents
- Understand how the Duolingo English Test is scored
- Determine what you need to focus on
- Become familiar with the question types
- Practice the questions that count toward the subscore you want to improve
1) Understand how the Duolingo English Test is scored
Before you spend time trying to raise your score, it’s important that you understand how the scores are calculated.
When you take the DET, you will receive 5 scores: 1 overall score that is the average of 4 subscores. The 4 subscores are:
Each of these 4 subscores is a combination of 2 of the traditional 4 components of proficiency:
- Literacy = Reading and Writing
- Comprehension = Reading and Listening
- Conversation = Speaking and Listening
- Production = Writing and Speaking
So, don’t be confused: the Duolingo English Test assesses your ability to read, listen, write, and speak – just like other English tests.
The DET is adaptive. This means that Duolingo adjusts the difficulty of questions to match your level. If you get questions correct, the next questions will be harder. This is why the DET lasts just 1 hour; you don't have to waste time answering questions that are too hard or too easy for you.
👉 To learn more about how the DET is scored, check out our article: Explained: Duolingo English Test Scores
2) Determine what you need to focus on
You should identify your lowest subscore and focus on that. The lower your score, the easier it is to raise it. In other words, going from 90 to 110 is a lot easier than going from 110 to 130.
If you have already taken the DET, you can just look at your score certificate and see your lowest subscore.
But if you haven’t taken the DET yet, you should focus on improving your Production subscore because, on average, the Production subscore is the lowest:
Average scores for the Duolingo English Test in 2023
- Production = 86.32
- Comprehension = 115.86
- Conversation = 98.68
- Literacy = 108.79
- Overall = 108
Production is the lowest average subscore because it consists of speaking and writing, which are harder than reading or listening for most people.
3) Become familiar with the question types
There are 15 or so question types on the DET. Each one counts toward 2 or more subscores.
The questions that count toward Production are:
- Write About the Photo
- Speak About the Photo
- Read, Then Write
- Read, Then Speak
- Listen, Then Speak
- Summarize the Conversation
- Writing Sample
- Speaking Sample
(You can click on any of the question types to learn more about it.)
If 8 question types seems like a lot, don’t worry! Most of them are simple and similar to one another. For example, Write About the Photo and Speak About the Photo both require you to discuss a photograph. The difference is that in one you write about the photo and for the other one you speak about it!
In addition, as you improve your ability to speak and write, you will do better on all the Production questions.
If you need to focus on a different subscore, just read through the list of question types and identify the ones that count toward that subscore.
You can use Arno to do this as well. You will see how in the next section.
4) Practice the questions that count toward the subscore you want to improve
Duolingo offers an official practice test. However, it doesn’t allow you to focus on specific question types. Also, it does not provide you with helpful feedback, just a single, inaccurate estimated overall score.
A better way to practice is to use Arno. Here is how you can get started practicing in less than a minute.
1) Go to duolingo.goarno.io and create an account.
2) On the home screen, you will see all the question types listed out. Find the ones relevant to you.
3) Click the “study” button to get tips for that question type.
The tips look like this:
3) Click the “play” button to start doing practice questions for that question type. Once you submit your response, you will get feedback instantly.
You will see an estimated score. You can click into any of the score ranges to see which words you used that fall into that category.
You can also get grammar and vocabulary feedback as well as a rewritten, high-scoring version of your response by clicking the buttons at the bottom.
Once you go through Arno’s feedback, you’re then ready to go to the next practice question.
Arno has unlimited practice questions for every question type, so you can use it no matter which subscores and questions you’re focusing on!
If you do practice questions in Arno and study the feedback you get on your responses, you will notice improvements very quickly! Arno is the fastest way to raise your score on the Duolingo English Test.
Just click below to start practicing in less than 30 seconds 🙂