08 Jul 2022 | IELTS vs Duolingo
Those of you who wish to pursue education in foreign countries and do not have English as your native language need to go through one of the English proficiency tests. Most of the major universities abroad need a valid English proficiency score as a mandatory criterion for those seeking admissions.
While all these tests serve the same purpose which is the evaluation of the English reading, writing, and speaking skills of candidates, they are not very similar in terms of mode of examination, content, syllabus, fee structure, scoring, etc.
IELTS vs Duolingo tests are two of the popular English tests that are accepted worldwide and in this article, we will explore the format, fees, and other details of these two tests.
IELTS vs Duolingo: Which One Should You Choose?
Choosing between IELTS and Duolingo depends on your goals and preferences. If you're aiming for formal recognition, such as university admission or immigration, IELTS is the go-to option. Its credibility and comprehensive evaluation make it a trusted choice for official purposes. On the other hand, if you're looking for a more relaxed and interactive learning experience, Duolingo can be an excellent companion. Its gamified approach is particularly appealing for beginners and casual learners. Ultimately, both IELTS and Duolingo have their place in the language learning landscape. The decision boils down to your priorities and the level of proficiency you wish to achieve.
What is IELTS
IELTS or International English Language Testing System is an international test of English language skills established in 1989. IELTS is jointly managed by Cambridge Assessment English and IELTS Australia.
- If you are more familiar with British or Australian English accents and spellings, then IELTS is the test for you.
- IELTS has two types as described below:
- IELTS Academic: If you want to study abroad in an English-speaking environment then IELTS academic is suitable for you. IELTS academic also serves well for professional registration purposes. The test features vocabulary that is used in academic settings.
- IELTS General Training: If you are applying to study below degree level in an English-speaking college or school then IELTS general training test is more apt. You can also use an IELTS score for work experience and other employment training. If you wish to migrate to Canada, Australia, the UK, or New Zealand then the IELTS general training test is a mandatory requirement. The test features vocabulary used in everyday English which is needed for social or workplace environments.
What is Duolingo
During the COVID-19 pandemic, it became harder to take the standardized English proficiency tests and that is when the Duolingo test gained immense popularity among students who aspire to study abroad. More than 2000 universities across the world accept the Duolingo test as proof of English proficiency.
- Duolingo is an online English proficiency test that tests the skills of students in four sections; reading, writing, speaking and listening.
- The way Duolingo works is different from other English tests like TOEFL or IELTS. If the test-taker answers a question correctly, the next question gets tougher to answer. But if your answer is wrong, the next question is easier.
- The exam is only one hour long.
- For taking the Duolingo test you require the following:
- A PC with a stable internet connection.
- A front-facing camera.
- Speakers and microphones
- ID proof like Aadhar, driver’s license, or passport.
Application Fee of IELTS
In India, the registration fee for IELTS is INR 15,500. There are a few additional costs you might have to incur in case of the following:
- Canceling IELTS five weeks ahead of the test: You will get a 75% refund and 25% is deducted as administrative fees.
- Canceling IELTS less than five weeks ahead of test: No refund is issued.
- Fail to appear for the test: Same as cancellation and no refund is issued.
- Reschedule test date five weeks before the test: The new test date needs to be within three months of the previous test date and you incur an expense of INR 3,300 for transferring the test date.
Application Fee of Duolingo
Students prefer Duolingo over other tests like TOEFL and IELTS because of its low application fees of just USD 49 (around 3800 INR.)
IELTS is a paper-based exam but now it is being offered in a computer-delivered format as well. The test is of about 2 hours 45 minutes and the speaking section is a face-to-face test. The test is divided into two days where reading, listening, and writing are in a single sitting and speaking is held separately.
- IELTS has two formats; academic and general training and various sections in both of these tests are as follows:
- Listening: It has 40 questions to be answered within 30 minutes. You will listen to four recordings of native English speakers and you are asked a series of questions based on these recordings.
- Reading: It is a 60-minute section with 40 questions where a wide range of reading skills are evaluated such as reading for main ideas, reading for gist, reading for understanding logical arguments, etc. The text of this section is taken from materials you encounter in an English-speaking environment on a daily basis like magazines, books, newspapers, ads, notices, guidelines, and company handbooks.
- Writing: This is a 60-minute section with two tasks which are based on graphs, charts, diagrams, problems, points of view, etc.
- Speaking: There are three parts in this section and the total duration is between 11 to 14 minutes.
It is a 60-minute test which has broadly two sections:
- Adaptive test: It is a 45 minutes graded test that tests the English reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills of a candidate.
- Video interview: This is a 10 minutes ungraded test where you answer open-ended questions and your responses get recorded.
IELTS vs Duolingo Content
Duolingo test is only an hour test whereas IELTS spans two days at a testing center.
- In the Duolingo test, you do not have long contextual texts but it tests a candidate's language capabilities through a wide range of questions. On the other hand, IELTS has text-heavy questions that involve short answers, MCQs, and essays.
- The adaptive format of Duolingo allows test-takers to evaluate their English skills quicker than with IELTS.
- For the speaking section of IELTS, one has to attend a face-to-face interview which is not the case with Duolingo.
IELTS vs Duolingo Reading Section
The two types of IELTS have the following reading section format:
|Candidates need to read sentences that have gaps and then fill the gaps with letters or words to make them meaningful.
IELTS Vs Duolingo Listening Section
|Candidates listen to four recordings and answer a series of questions based on them. The recordings could be a conversation or a monologue. The type of questions asked includes MCQs, matching, and completing sentences.
|Candidates listen to a list of words that have both real and pseudo-English words. The candidate has to identify the correct English words. They also listen to audio recordings and transcribe them properly.
IELTS vs Duolingo Writing Section
There are two tasks in this section:
Candidates have to complete the following activities in this section:
IELTS Vs Duolingo Speaking Section
This section has three tasks:
The tasks in this section are:
Who Accepts IELTS Score?
Educational institutions around the world as well as multinational companies accept IELTS scores as proof of English proficiency. More than 11,000 organizations across 140 countries accept IELTS scores. IELTS score is also accepted by immigration authorities of the USA, UK, Australia, and Canada.
Who Accepts Duolingo Score?
Duolingo score is accepted in more than 2000 schools across 15 countries. Some of the major countries that accept Duolingo are the USA, UK, Canada, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, China, Thailand, and Mexico.
When do IELTS Results Come Out?
The time taken to get your IELTS results are based on the type of IELTS test you take:
- Paper-based - You get your results after thirteen days of taking the test.
- Computer-delivered - You get your results after three to five days of taking the test.
- IELTS for UKVI - You get your results after thirteen days of taking the test.
- IELTS for life skills - You get your results after seven days of taking the test.
When do Duolingo Results Come Out?
You will get your results via an email notification within 48 hours of completing the test.
Benefits of IELTS
IELTS is a well-established examination that is accepted universally in thousands of institutions, professional bodies, companies, and government agencies.
- IELTS gives you a choice in how you want to take the test, whether on paper or computer, academic or general writing test, and location (1400 test centers in 56 countries.)
- IELTS enhances your English language skills in all areas and reflects communication in real life.
Benefits of Duolingo
Apart from being extremely affordable (only 49 USD as an application fee), the other advantages of Duolingo include:
- You can take the test from the comfort of your home.
- You get the results faster than any other test (within 48 hours.)
- You can send your Duolingo score to an unlimited number of colleges without paying any extra charge.
- The exam duration is very small (only one hour)
- It is accepted in all the prestigious universities like MIT, Yale, Harvard, University of Toronto, Imperial College London, UCL, The Australian National University etc.
- The test allows students to take many mock tests.
IELTS and Duolingo are both well-accepted tests to showcase your English language proficiency. Both tests have their own pros and cons ,and which one you should take depends on what is the purpose of the test (academic, professional, general) and which country you want to apply for.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Is IELTS harder than Duolingo?
Both IELTS and Duolingo have unique challenges. IELTS involves a standardized test format and requires focused preparation, while Duolingo offers an engaging learning experience at your own pace.
Can I solely rely on Duolingo for IELTS preparation?
While Duolingo can help build your language skills, it might not fully prepare you for the specific format and requirements of the IELTS test. Supplement Duolingo with IELTS-specific study materials for better results.
Are Duolingo certificates recognized by institutions?
Some institutions might accept Duolingo certificates as proof of language proficiency, but the recognition varies. It's advisable to check with the institution you're applying to.
Can I use both IELTS and Duolingo scores on my application?
Yes, many institutions accept both IELTS and Duolingo scores. However, always check the specific requirements of the institutions you're applying to.
Is Duolingo suitable for advanced language learners?
While Duolingo is beginner-friendly, it might not provide the depth of study required for advanced language learners seeking comprehensive fluency.
Can I retake the IELTS test if I'm not satisfied with my score?
Yes, you can retake the IELTS test to improve your score. Keep in mind that there might be a waiting period between test attempts.