Is the Duolingo practice test score accurate?

No, Duolingo's mock test is not 100% accurate, but it has gotten more accurate over time.

Duolingo provides a short mock test. It's a useful way to get experience with the questions you will see on the real test. You can also take it as many times as you would like.

One issue with the mock test has been that its scores were not accurate. Students would often score significantly higher or lower on the real test compared to the mock test. Moreover, the mock test used to give very large ranges for your estimated scores.

Screenshot of the estimated scores provided after someone took the Duolingo English Test mock test. The range is 90 to 135.
Students would often get large score ranges for estimated scores.

In the example above, this person's estimated score was between 90 and 135. That's a huge range! 90 is not a high enough score to get into most universities, while 135 is higher than the minimum score required at almost any university!

However, Duolingo has been improving the mock test (as well as the test itself). They claim to be making the mock test more accurate, and so far that seems to be the case. What is more clear is that the estimated score ranges are not as big as they use to be. Now, many estimated scores are within a 10 point range.  This means that the mock test is now more helpful in deciding if you are ready to take the real test.

Screenshot of the estimated scores from a Duolingo mock test: 110 to 120.
Recently, estimated score ranges have gotten smaller.

Why your scores on the real Duolingo English Test can be different from your mock test scores

Many test takers will still get a very different score – higher or lower – on the real DET compared to the scores they were getting on the mock test.

The main reason for this is that so much of your performance on the test depends upon the specific questions you get. If you are given a prompt for the Interactive Writing question, for example, that is about a topic you have written or spoken about before, then you will do well. But if you are asked about a topic you don't have much vocabulary for – or worse, you are given a prompt that you don't even understand! – then your score is going to be much lower. Because the DET is so short, doing poorly on just 1 or 2 questions can impact your overall score a lot.

This is why it is important to not only practice each question type, but also to prepare for all the different kinds of prompts you can see. In Arno's Production Score Course, we go over all the different prompt types in detail so that you won't have any surprises on test day.

In Arno, we also have massively expanded our Vocabulary Builder. We studied thousands of real DET questions and identified 16 topics that Duolingo could ask you about. We then put together 100+ of the most useful words for each topic, with definitions, examples, synonyms, and interactive exercises to help you learn each one.

To check all this out, just click below to create your free account and get started. Happy studying!

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