Is the Duolingo English Test Free?

Is the Duolingo English Test Free?
Photo by Derek Hammond / Unsplash

Students often have big dreams 😊, but small budgets 😔. Thus, one of the most frequently asked questions by international students is whether the Duolingo English Test is free to take.

In this article, we will explain if taking or retaking the Duolingo English Test for free is possible for you and how to do it. For students unable to take the DET for free, we will also cover different methods to save money on the test.

So, get comfy and get ready to learn some helpful tips and tricks! Your wallet will thank you.

Table of Contents:

The short answer to the question "Is the Duolingo English Test Free" is: it depends. In some situations, you can take the Duolingo English Test for free by applying for the Duolingo English Test fee waiver. You can also retake the Duolingo English Test for free if your original test meets certain conditions.  

The Duolingo English Test Fee Waiver

The good news is that low-income students may be able to take their Duolingo English Test for free. This is because Duolingo offers "fee waivers" to approximately 10,000+ low-income students, across the world, each year!  

While students cannot directly apply for the fee waiver, they can reach out to the universities they are applying for to ask about the fee waiver if it is not stated on their admissions pages.

👉  See how to apply the Duolingo English Test fee waiver at checkout and get an email template that can be used to ask universities about their fee waiver.

If the university you are applying to does not have a fee waiver, students can ask their current teacher, school counselor, or school administrator to request one on their behalf.  As long as your school supports low-income students, a staff member will simply need to email Duolingo ([email protected]) or fill in their information here: https://englishtest.duolingo.com/institutions/access. Make sure they use their school email!

Again, you must be a low-income student to get the fee waiver and will likely need to provide evidence for this using official documents like tax returns. Make sure you collect this information as soon as possible to avoid delays!

⭐ Please note - if you're using a Duolingo English Test fee waiver, you cannot purchase the "Faster Results" upgrade to get your test in 12 hours. You will need to wait two full days after your test date to get your score certificate.

Finally, if you are an older student and/or working student, you might ask your place of employment if they provide fee waivers or discount coupons for the Duolingo English Test. Many businesses can purchase coupons and tests on behalf of their employees which can be applied at checkout the same way as any discount or fee waiver.

Retaking the Duolingo English Test for Free

If you have already taken the Duolingo English Test and need to retake the test, you may be able to do so without paying!

Here is a list of situations in which you CAN retake the Duolingo English Test for free:

  1. You experienced a technical error during the test
  2. Your test was uncertified for a "minor" broken rule, such as looking away from the screen too often, AND you still have attempts remaining on that credit.  
While many students are upset when they receive the Duolingo English Test email saying: "unfortunately your Duolingo English Test could not be certified for the following reason", this doesn't always mean you will need to pay full price to take the test again.

Here is a list of situations in which you CAN NOT retake the Duolingo English Test for free:

  1. Your results were certified. Unfortunately, if your results were certified, you will need to purchase a new test.
  2. You are being accused of a more serious rule violation. If Duolingo believes you were breaking a serious test rule like seeking help during the test you will need to purchase a new test or appeal your result. Appeals must be made within 72 hours of receiving your result.
  3. If you have two tests with rule violations on the same credit. Again, a new test must be purchased no matter how many "attempts" you have remaining on your credit.
  4. Two years have passed since your test date and your original Duolingo English Test expired. You will need to purchase a new test if your original score card expires.
  5. If your tests were uncertified for "minor" broken rules such as looking away from the screen too often AND you no longer have attempts remaining on that credit. In this case, an appeal must be made or a new test purchased. Please note that appeals can only be made once and Duolingo's appeal specialists' decisions are final.
  6. You received an email stating that your Duolingo English Test account was blocked. This is usually for extreme broken rules such as having someone else take the test for you. An appeal will need to be submitted. If your appeal is denied you cannot retake the test.

🦉 Be sure to check out our blog for more information about when to retake the test, how often you can retake the test, and more.

A note on credits: when you purchase a Duolingo English Test, you receive one credit per test purchased. Each credit can be used to "pay" for one certified scorecard and comes with three attempts to use the credit. Usually, your credit will only expire once you complete and upload the test.
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Retaking the Duolingo English Test? Improve your scores with Arno today.

How Much Does the Duolingo English Test Usually Cost?

If you are not eligible for the Duolingo English Test fee waiver or are unable to retake the test for free, you will likely need to purchase the test at full price.

The cost of one Duolingo English Test is $65 USD, but you can purchase a two-test package for $110 USD. These prices are the same wherever you take the test.

The cost of the Duolingo English Test is much cheaper than the TOEFL, which costs between $150 USD and $300 USD per test depending on the country you are in. The Duolingo English Test is also much cheaper than the IELTS which costs between $150 USD and $325 USD, again depending on the country you took the test.

After sending your results to five schools for free, the IELTS charges students $3.75 USD for additional recipients and a HUGE $19 USD to mail a hardcopy to a school outside the country where you took the test. Similarly, with TOEFL, you can send your results to the first four schools for free, but... after the first four schools you must pay $20 USD per school! 😱😱😱😱😱 These costs can really add up. Luckily, the Duolingo English Test allows you to send your results to AS MANY SCHOOLS AS YOU LIKE for free.

If you need another reason to choose the Duolingo English Test, you can purchase Duolingo's "Faster Results" upgrade for $40 USD meaning you can get their results within 12 hours. Even without the upgrade, you get your Duolingo English Test results two days after your test date. This is much quicker than TOEFL results, which take 4-8 days, or IELTS results, which take 3-5 days.

We know which test we'd choose 😉

How To Save Money on the Duolingo English Test

Even without the Duolingo English Test fee waiver or the free retake option there are ways to save money on the test.

  1. Purchase the two-test package

You can purchase a single Duolingo English Test for $65 USD. While this is affordable for many students, purchasing the two-test bundle for $110 USD dollars means you can take each test for just $55 USD! This saves you $10 USD per test.

Here's how to purchase the two-test package:

A screenshot from the Duolingo English Test purchasing page
A screenshot from the Duolingo English Test purchasing page
  • Select the right "Add to Cart" option where it says "2 Tests"
A screenshot from the Duolingo English Test purchasing page
A screenshot from the Duolingo English Test purchasing page
  • Duolingo will now ask you if you want to upgrade your test, click ‘UPGRADE +$40’ if you do or "NO THANKS" if you don't.
Duolingo English Test 'Faster Results' Upgrade Button
Duolingo English Test 'Faster Results' Upgrade Button
  • Click 'Checkout', enter your card information, and celebrate the wise choices you made today.

🦉Please note - you cannot purchase the two-test package using the Duolingo English Test fee waiver. Further, if you purchase the two-test package AND the "Faster Results" upgrade, the upgrade will only apply to the first test.

2. Look out for coupons on the Duolingo website and/or business websites

Sometimes, discount codes can be found on the Duolingo promotion page and applied at checkout, so make sure to look out for those. You might also find some coupons provided by certain businesses. These are quite rare, and don't usually cover the full cost of the test, but can still be helpful!

3. Take the Duolingo Free Practice Test

You can take the official Duolingo Practice Test for free here: https://englishtest.duolingo.com/test/practice

Practice tests are a great way to see what the test is like and boost your score. The free test provided by Duolingo can also be taken multiple times. However, this test is only 30 minutes long - far shorter than the real test. The Duolingo English Practice Test also "may include question types and reminders that do not appear on the certified test".  In turn, many students report a) feeling the practice test is far easier than the real test and b) that they need to take multiple practice tests to feel properly prepared.

But the worst thing about the practice test is that the estimated scores are very imprecise. For example, you can receive an estimated score of 75 to 120. If you need a minimum score of 100, this HUGE range won't help you decide if you're ready.

4. Use 😍 Arno 😍 to avoid purchasing expensive test prep (or retakes)

Unlike the Duolingo Practice Test, Arno's practice test questions only include question types that appear on the real test. Arno also includes ALL test question types seen on the Duolingo English Test. We won't let our students be surprised on test day!

Arno is also a great way to save money when preparing for the test. We give you unlimited, free practice questions. We also give you instant scoring and feedback on your grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation. Don't waste your money on a tutor, or expensive study materials – join Arno today by clicking the link below:

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Join for free today!

Just because you have large dreams doesn't mean you have to pay large sums of money to achieve them. We hope these tips allow you to reduce the amount you spend applying to your universities of choice. Just make sure to mention us in your graduation speeches! 🎓