"Interactive Writing" - Duolingo English Test (2024)

"Interactive Writing" - Duolingo English Test (2024)
Banff National Park, Canada. Photo by Kowshik Roy sagor / Unsplash

The "Interactive Writing" question was added to the Duolingo English Test on 2 April, 2024. Like the other writing questions, it counts toward your Production and Literacy subscores.

Let's take a closer look at this new question.

Table of Contents

What is the "Interactive Writing" question type?"

There is just one "Interactive Writing" question on the test. It consists of two parts.

First, you will be a given a prompt and you will have 5 minutes to respond to it. Then, you will be a given a second prompt, and you will have 3 minutes to respond to this one. The second prompt will be related to the first.

Example of an "Interactive Writing" question on the Duolingo English Test
Example of an "Interactive Writing" question on the Duolingo English Test

☝️ After you respond to the first prompt, you will not be able to edit your response. However, you can read your first response while you are writing your second response.

Tips to do well on the "Interactive Writing" question

Read the prompts carefully

When we are nervous or stressed, it is easy to misunderstand a prompt or miss important details. Slow down and read the prompts multiple times to make sure you understand all of their parts.

Use all of the time you are given

As explained in the official guide to the DET, you do not get points for answering questions faster. However, you will score higher if you write more. In short, there is no reason to not use all of the time you are given for this question.

Excerpt from the official guide to the Duolingo English Test
Excerpt from the official guide to the Duolingo English Test

Save time to proofread your answer

If your response has typos, missing words, or other easy-to-fix mistakes, it will be impossible to get a high score. That’s why it is crucial that you save time to proofread your response.

A good rule of thumb is for every minute of writing, you should write for 50 seconds and then proofread your response for 10 seconds.

This means that for the first part of the "Interactive Writing" question, which lasts 5 minutes, you should write for about 4 minutes and proofread your response for about 1 minute.

For the second part, which lasts 3 minutes, you should write for 2 minutes and 30 seconds and edit for 30 seconds.

When you are proofreading, focus on the easy-to-fix mistakes since these will lose you the greatest number of points.

Plan your response

We recommend spending 30 seconds thinking through your response before you start to write. You will find it much easier to write once you know what you want to say.

Stay on topic

One common mistake on open-ended response questions on the DET is that test takers will ramble. Ramble means to go from one another to another idea randomly. Test takers do this because they want to keep writing or speaking and get a higher score. However, if you ramble you will lose points!

Having a good strategy for writing and speaking questions will really help you stay on topic and come up with things to write or speak about.

Let's look at the best strategy for the "Interactive Writing" question.

How to use the I LAST strategy to get a great score

The I LAST strategy is:

  1. Identify: Identify the topic
  2. List: List out the tasks Duolingo wants you to perform
  3. Answer: Answer the question or state your viewpoint directly
  4. Support: Support your answer
  5. Three: Provide two or three examples

Let’s use I LAST on an example. Here is a prompt:

Online shopping and traditional shopping both have their merits. Compare the advantages and disadvantages of each. Which do you prefer and why? Provide examples to support your opinion.

Identify the topic ⇒ the advantages and disadvantages of online shopping and traditional shopping

List out the tasks Duolingo wants me to perform ⇒ Duolingo wants me to:

  1. Compare the advantages of each one
  2. Answer the question, “Which do you prefer?"
  3. Explain why I prefer that one
  4. Provide examples to support my opinion
  • Answer the question or state your viewpoint directly ⇒ When Duolingo asks you a specific question in the prompt, answer it directly. I will start my response with, “I prefer online shopping.”
  • Support your answer & Provide two or three examples ⇒ Now, I need to defend my answer. This is best done by providing examples. Three examples is the perfect amount, but two is also fine. I can follow my first sentence with something like, “First, online shopping is more convenient. I don't have to travel to the store to get what I need. If I buy it online, it will be brought right to my home.”

Here would be the full, high-scoring response:

I prefer online shopping. First, online shopping is more convenient. I don't have to travel to the store to get what I need. If I buy it online, it will be brought right to my home.

Second, I believe that in general you can get better prices online. When we shop in a store, we have to purchase the item at the price that the store sets. Otherwise, we have to go to an entirely different store which could be far away. In contrast, online there are usually so many different sites selling the same product, which enables us to get the best price.

Third, online shopping provides a better selection of items. A physical store is limited by how much inventory it can hold in the store, whereas an online store, like Amazon, can stock a vastly larger number of items because they can store everything in warehouses outside of cities and towns where it is much cheaper to have large buildings. This means that online I have many more options than I would in a physical store.

For all of these reasons, I almost always opt for online shopping over traditional shopping.

How to practice "Interactive Writing" questions

Now you are familiar with the "Interactive Writing" question and you have a strategy to help you get a great score!

To get ready for the DET, you should check out Arno! We have unlimited practice questions for every question type for free – including the Interactive Writing question type! You can even view other people's answers.

With credits, you can also get an instant estimated score and feedback on your grammar and vocabulary. Arno can even rewrite your answer to make it sound like a native speaker wrote it!

Screenshot showing how Arno gives you an estimated score and breakdown of your vocabulary.
Arno gives you an estimated score and breakdown of your vocabulary.
Arno provides feedback on your grammar and vocabulary.

When you sign up, you will access get to a full, free mock test with scores and feedback on every one of your responses. So, just click below to get started!

Arno gives is the fastest way to raise your score on the DET. Click here to try it.