Duolingo vs TOEFL: Difference and Comparison

Studying abroad is a dream of every student. The process of moving abroad is cumbersome.

One of the most important and common requirements that must be satisfied is an English proficiency test. Duolingo and TOEFL are English proficiency tests to measure English proficiency and skills. 

Key Takeaways

  1. Duolingo is a free language learning app, while TOEFL is a standardized test for English language proficiency.
  2. Duolingo offers gamified learning for multiple languages, while TOEFL focuses solely on English.
  3. Educational institutions widely accept TOEFL scores, while Duolingo scores have limited recognition.

Duolingo vs TOEFL

Duolingo is a language learning platform that uses gamification and artificial intelligence to personalize the learning experience for each user. TOEFL is an English language test which assesses the test-taker’s abilities in reading, writing, listening, and speaking in an academic setting.

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Language Quiz

Language quiz helps us to increase our language skills

1 / 10

What is the term used to describe words that add meaning to sentences, but are not necessary to form a complete sentence?

2 / 10

Choose the word that means the opposite of "approve":

3 / 10

What is the term used to describe words that substitute for nouns?

4 / 10

Which language has the largest number of speakers?

5 / 10

What is the term for the set of rules for pronunciation in a language?

6 / 10

Choose the word that means the opposite of "intense":

7 / 10

What is the study of words and their meanings called?

8 / 10

Ahmed is 65 kg, and Ali is 50 kg, so Ahmed is _ _ _ _ _ _ Ali.

9 / 10

What is the term for a word or phrase that has multiple meanings?

10 / 10

Who is the person in charge at a high school?

Your score is


Duolingo is an exam undertaken by the candidates to measure the English proficiency of the candidates who are planning to migrate to abroad. It is an online exam and can be accessed from anywhere.

It also covers other aspects such as reading, writing, speaking, and listening abilities. It is an adaptative test. 

TOEFL stands for Test of English as a foreign language. It is a standardized test that is widely accepted in various countries. It is an assessment test for native as well as non-native English speakers.

It is a test with minimal requirements to certify if a person is eligible for higher studies which consist of English as a requirement.

Comparison Table

Parameters of Comparison Duolingo TOEFL 
Duration of test 45-60 minutes 3-4 hours 
Available Modes Online Online and Offline 
Testing Centers Availability No exam centers Around 4500 exam centers 
Age requirement 13 years No age requirement 
Declaration of Results After 48 hours of attempt Approximately 10 days 

What is Duolingo?

Duolingo is an English proficiency test that is designed for international students. It is considered a convenient test as it can be accessed online with the help of a laptop and a webcam.

It doesn’t require any prior appointment, and it saves the time of traveling to an exam center. 

Duolingo exam has expanded its reach in a very shorter duration of time. It is widely accepted in many countries.

It is beneficial in securing admission to various international schools all over the world. It is acceptable in many countries like Canada, the USA, the UK, Germany. 

Duolingo test examines the reading, writing, speaking, and listening abilities of a person. The test is highly adaptative, which means every correct answer leads to a rise in the difficulty level of the test.

The test also provides you with an option to opt for the upgraded version of the test where you are provided with a ten-minute interview, and it’s allowed to record answers for all the open-ended questions. 

Duolingo test is affordable, and it is a short duration test. The test is designed on the demand of the students to enroll at various universities located abroad.

The test is designed using Data Forensics Technology which makes the test more secure and transparent for the students. 

Duolingo tests have various benefits, such as it’s quite easy to register for the test. It doesn’t require a bunch of things to register.

It is an affordable test in comparison to other tests that are available like ILETS. There are a certain set of requirements for the test, such as a laptop, a stable internet connection, a valid government-approved id, microphone, speaker, webcam, and a well-supported browser.


What is TOEFL?

Test of English as a foreign language is a standardized assessment exam to compute the English abilities of the person who desires to get enrolled in English-speaking universities.

The administrator of the TOEFL exam is Educational Testing Service.

Educational Testing Service independently issues official scores to the institutions. Its score is valid for two years. 

TOEFL is widely acceptable in around 9000 universities in 130 countries of the world. It is administered more than 50 times a year by the Educational Testing Service, which is a US-based organization. 

TOEFL has further two versions. One is the online test known as TOEFL IBT (internet-based test), and the other is the offline test known as TOEFL PBT (paper-based test). Both the tests are acceptable in the universities. 

There are certain differences between the internet and paper-based test. TOEFL IBT is an exam of the duration of 4 hours, whereas TOEFL PBT is an exam of 3-hour duration.

TOEFL IBT comprises four sections- Reading, Writing, Speaking, listening, whereas TOEFL PBT neglects the speaking section. 

TOEFL must be taken by the candidates whose primary language was not English for the past 5 years. Some universities waive the need for the TOEFL exam if one has earned a diploma in English or

has scored a certain percentile in the sections of the ACT exam. 

One should take the TOEFL exam even if you have accomplished the criteria of admission through any other exam because the academic language is very dense and formal in higher universities abroad.

It might make you struggle in the English academic environment.


Main Differences Between Duolingo and TOEFL 

  1. Duolingo test is an online-based exam, whereas TOEFL confers students with both the options of the internet-based test as well as a paper-based test. 
  2. Duolingo does not have an option of a refund of the exam fee, whereas TOEFL has an option of refunding the exam fee in certain cases. 
  3. The minimum age requirement to be eligible for the Duolingo test is 13 years, whereas there is no strict age limit for the TOEFL test, but generally, candidates above 18 apply for the test. 
  4. Duolingo is an online test and does not have a necessity of a test center, whereas the TOEFL exam has around 4500 test centers. 
  5. Duolingo test results are declared within 48 hours of the attempt, whereas TOEFL exam results are communicated after an approximate gap of 10 days after the attempt. 
  1. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13670050.2019.1691498

Last Updated : 24 November, 2023

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