Duolingo Vs SAT: Differences, Exam Format, and Proficiency Level

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Duolingo Vs SAT:  With so many English proficiency tests and standardised exams on the market, deciding which one is right for you can be confusing. Two common options are the Duolingo English Test (DET) and the SAT. 


This can leave students unsure of which test to take. However, if you’re considering one of these two exams, don’t fret! In this blog, we’ve outlined all the key differences between the SAT and the DET. We hope this blog helps you gain clarity on which test is best for you in 2024.

Duolingo Vs SAT: Key Differences and Factors to Keep in Mind

Choosing the right test can be tough! Deciding between Duolingo and the SAT depends on your goals. The Duolingo English Test (DET) focuses on everyday English for universities, while the SAT assesses college readiness in reading, writing, and math. The table given below will help you pick the perfect test for your 2024 journey.

CriterionDET (Duolingo English Test) SAT 
Purpose Measures English proficiencyMeasures college readiness in reading, writing, and math.
Target Audience  Students applying to universities with medium English language requirements.USD 49
Test Format
Adaptive online testPen-and-paper based test, Online
Test Duration45 Minutes3 Hours
Cost USD 64.50 – USD 97.50USD 64.50 – USD 97.50
Scoring 130-160200-800
Validity2 Years2 Years
EvaluatesEveryday English skills.
Academic reading, writing, and math skills.
Repeat AttemptsUnlimited with a 16-day wait.
Limited attempts (restrictions vary)

Duolingo Vs SAT: Exam Format in 2024

Duolingo vs SAT Exam Format: Duolingo and IELTS assess English skills but in vastly different formats. Duolingo’s online test adapts difficulty based on your performance, taking 45 minutes. It focuses on reading, writing, listening, and speaking through short tasks. Conversely, the IELTS is a 2-hour 45-minute test offered at centres. It has separate sections for reading, writing, listening, and speaking, with a more traditional pen-and-paper (or digital) format. Refer to the tables below to go through the exam formats of both exams to understand the differences between the two. 

Duolingo 2024 Exam Format 

The Duolingo test consists of two sections, namely an Adaptive Section & a Video Interview Section. 

  • The exam comprises an Adaptive Section, which features multiple-choice questions that adapt based on the user’s ability level, covering grammar, vocabulary, and reading comprehension. 
  • Additionally, there is a Video Interview Section, where candidates must record brief video responses to prompt questions in the target language.
SectionDescriptionTime Scored
Introduction The test taker completes a system check and receives a brief overview of the exam format. 5 Minutes No
Adaptive TestThis section assesses reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. Questions are chosen based on your performance and difficulty increases as you answer correctly. 45 Minutes Yes
Writing and Speaking This section is not scored but provides universities with a glimpse of your speaking and writing fluency. 10 Minutes No

SAT 2024 Exam Pattern 

The digital SAT evaluates your ‘Reading & Writing’ and ‘Math’ skills separately, each scored on a 200-800 scale. You’ll get 64 minutes for Reading & Writing (multiple choice and short answer) and 70 minutes for Math (multiple choice and some fill-in).

Here’s a table for a more detailed breakdown:

Reading5265 minutesReading comprehension and analysis
Writing & Language4435 minutesGrammar, usage, and sentence structure
Math (no calculator)2025 minutesProblem-solving and foundational math skills
Math (with calculator)3855 minutesMore advanced math concepts requiring a calculator

Duolingo Vs SAT: Proficiency Level

Duolingo vs SAT Proficiency Level: The Duolingo English Test (DET) and the SAT assess English proficiency for distinct purposes. The DET gauges everyday English skills at a beginner to intermediate level, suitable for universities with medium English language requirements. In contrast, the SAT measures college readiness, encompassing a broader range of skills beyond basic communication. It targets high school students aiming for advanced academic programs and requires a higher level of proficiency, typically in the upper-intermediate to advanced range.

Duolingo Score: Proficiency Level

Refer to the table below to go through the DET scores and their proficiency levels. 

Proficiency ExplanationDET Score
BasicStudents have a rudimentary understanding of the English language. They can express themselves in a familiar context. 10-55
IntermediateStudents can accomplish routine tasks at work and institutions in the English language. 60-85
Upper-intermediateStudents can speak about unfamiliar topics in English and understand abstract ideas. 90-115
Advanced Students have an excellent hold and command over the English language. 125-160

SAT Score: Proficiency Level

Refer to the table below to go through the SAT scores and their proficiency levels. 

SAT Score Range College Readiness InterpretationPercentile
1400-1600Highly Competitive 94th Percentile and above 
1200-1390Competitive 84th-93rd Percentile
1000-1190Moderately Competitive 63rd-83rd Percentile
800-990Meets Expectations 41st-62nd Percentile
600-790Needs Improvement 16th-40th Percentile
Below 600Significant Improvement NeededBelow 16th Percentile

Duolingo Vs SAT: Score Comparison

Due to fundamentally different purposes, a direct score comparison between Duolingo and the SAT is not applicable. The Duolingo English Test (DET) offers a scaled score (160-130) that reflects general English proficiency for everyday use. 

Universities may provide their own score interpretations for the DET. Conversely, the SAT uses a section-based scoring system (200-800 per section) that gauges college readiness in reading, writing, and math. Each institution sets its own SAT score requirements.

Duolingo Vs SAT: Best Universities and Score Requirement 2024

Navigating the world of standardized tests can be tricky, especially when faced with choices like the Duolingo English Test (DET) and the SAT. These exams cater to entirely different goals. The DET assesses English proficiency for universities, while the SAT gauges college readiness. 

The following table will help you choose our preferred university that accepts each test and explore their respective score requirements. By the end, you’ll be equipped to choose the exam that aligns perfectly with your academic aspirations.

Name of University Ranking (QS 2024)DET Score Requirement SAT Score Requirement 
Harvard University#41251520
Stanford University #51101580
University of Oxford #31201470 or above 
University of Cambridge #21201460 or above 
Massachusetts Institute of Technology #11201520
University of California 1151540
University of Toronto #211101330-1500
University of Sydney#191106.5
University of Edinburgh #221106.5

So that was all about Duolingo Vs SAT. Hope the blog has answered your queries regarding the topic. 

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Q1. Which test is better for me, Duolingo or SAT?

Ans. The best test depends on your goals. If you need to demonstrate English proficiency for universities, the Duolingo English Test (DET) might be suitable. If you’re aiming for undergraduate programs in the US, the SAT is the standard test.

Q2. Do universities accept Duolingo scores?

Ans. Many universities with medium English language requirements accept the DET. They may not have specific score benchmarks but consider the DET score along with your academic background and other tests.

Q3. How do the scoring systems differ?

Ans. The DET has a single-scaled score (160-130). The SAT has a section-based scoring system (200-800 per section) for Reading, Writing & Language, and Math.

Visit the Leverage Live page of Leverage edu or contact our study abroad experts at 1800-57-2000 to strengthen your scores and application to secure your spot in your dream college. 

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