Duolingo English Writing Test 2023 - Check sample questions & How to answer

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Samarpita Goswami
Updated on Feb 03, 2023 11:38 AM IST

The Duolingo Writing test questions are one of the more important sections of the test that test-takers will have to attempt to the best of their ability if they want to ace their DET. Before attempting the test, it is crucial to have a clear understanding of the Duoling Writing test. On this page, we shall learn everything you need to know about the Duolingo Writing sections and the best methods to enhance your chances of scoring high.

Duolingo Writing Test

The Duolingo English Test (DET) is one of the more unique language proficiency tests that are accepted by universities and institutions worldwide, allowing aspiring students to apply to their dream universities by satisfying the language requirements at those institutions.

To meet those requirements, Duolingo English Test uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) and expert human raters to evaluate a test-taker as the test continues in the different language parameters, i.e. Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening. Among the more important sections in Duolingo is the Writing questions that test-takers will have to attempt to the best of their ability to ace the tests this year.

Get Expert Tips to Ace Duolingo English Tests Here!

Types of Duolingo Writing Test Questions

As stated above, the Duolingo English Test has been structured and designed unlike any other language proficiency test and assesses a candidate’s language proficiency, constantly changing the difficulty level of the questions as and when the test-taker completes one question.

To accommodate this feature, test-takers will not see defined sections in Duolingo English Test, but rather a mix of Reading, Writing, Listening and Writing questions. Moreover, candidates will be asked to attempt 2 DET writing question types, as outlined below:

  • Write About the Photo

  • Read, Then Write

In addition to this, candidates will also be required to answer a “Writing Sample” question, where they will be required to write on any one of the given topics. Here, candidates will be given 30 seconds to choose between the given topics and give their responses within 3-5 minutes.

Tips to Answer DET Write About the Photo

The ‘Write about the Photo’ questions in DET are some of the simple questions, wherein you will be required to present your idea, thought or opinion on the action or information being presented in a given photograph.

Let us first understand the question:

  • Each ‘Write about the Photo’ question in Duolingo will come with directions to attempt the question in a specific manner.

  • Be sure to understand what the prompt is asking you to do when answering the question.

  • Candidates will be given around 1 minute to respond to the question, therefore, be quick on your feet and give the best response you can think of.

  • Here, candidates are expected to provide a response of 50 words, however, it is advisable to extend the word limit slightly and provide additional interpretations of the given photograph to highlight your production and literacy skills.

Now that you have a brief idea of what the question requires you to do, let us now focus on how you can answer the Duolingo write about the photo questions.

  • Sentence Starters: As the response is supposed to be short and simple, candidates must present a good sentence starter, such as:

    • This picture depicts…

    • The photo shows…

    • In this photograph,...; etc

  • Concise and Descriptive: The short duration of the question will force you to be descriptive and concise with your response. Use verbs, adverbs and adjectives to structure your sentences, while describing the photo.

  • Interpretations: In most cases, the photo provided in the question will be vague and left for the reader to interpret. Therefore, use the opportunity to interpret the picture and provide your thoughts, opinions and ideas along with the description of the photograph.

Last but not the least, set aside some time to review your answer to ensure that your response is as grammatically and structurally sound. As stated above, the question prompt will ask the test-taker to provide their answer in one sentence. However, it is advisable to present your answer in more than one. Additionally, it is important to keep track of the time limit for the ‘write about the photo’ question in Duolingo English Test.

Tips to Answer DET Read, Then Write Questions

In the Duolingo Read and Then Write question types, candidates will be given a prompt on a specific theme or topic. Here, candidates will be asked to present their thoughts, ideas or opinions, substantiating them with examples and evidence. Here are some tips to answer the DET Read, then Write questions.

Let us first understand what we are expected to do out of Read, Then Write questions in Duolingo English Tests.

  • Candidates will be given a prompt, wherein, they will have to structure their responses and present them within 3-5 minutes.

  • They will be required to write their response in at least 50 words, however, more would lead to a positive result.

Depending on what you have been asked to do with regard to the task/question, i.e., describe, argue or recount a given topic, you should structure your response accordingly. Check out these tips to answer the Read then Write questions in Duolingo English Test.

  • Recognise the type of response expected, as this will dictate your response to the question posed in the prompt.

  • Structure your response: It is crucial to structure your response in a manner that highlights and combines the issue and your thoughts regarding the same. Popularly, study abroad experts suggest discussing your thoughts regarding the given topic concisely, then providing examples and evidence to back your claims and finishing it off with a concluding sentence.

  • Keep your tenses in check: Some questions may require you to maintain a past tense while others may require a continuous present tense and others, future tense.

Register and connect with our team of experienced study abroad counsellors to build a DET preparation strategy that works for you!

How to Improve Your Writing Skills for Duolingo English Test?

Being a fast-paced standardised test, a good preparation strategy and techniques will help immensely in acing the tests. However, to improve your English language skills, one of the best techniques you can adopt is to practise communicating in English more and more, in both social and formal situations.

Here, we will focus specifically on writing and typing in English for the Duolingo English Test:

  • Consume English Content: Whether you are reading books or consuming online content, make sure you do so in English. This will help you expand your vocabulary, thus, allowing you to improve your scores.

  • Practise Writing/Typing in English: A key skill to instil is to type in English. Being a computer-based test, candidates will be required to type, without making errors. You can do so by;

    • Practising Sample DET Tests: Attempt sample DET tests that can be found online and even on the official website of Duolingo.

    • Practise Writing Essays: Especially for the Write about the Photo, Read then Write and Writing sample questions in Duolingo, where you will receive anywhere between 1-5 minutes to jot down your thoughts in grammatically and structurally correct sentences.

  • Learn How to Edit: Being a fast-paced test, you are bound to make mistakes you would need to rectify. While you can enhance your skills enough to not make those mistakes in the first place, it is important to instil editing skills as well.

  • Learn Time Management: As stated above, Duolingo is a fast-paced test, therefore you will need to ensure your time management skills are on-point. You will need to attempt to read the questions, structure your answers, and type and edit them in the given box within a short time period.

  • Manage Your Vocabulary: While it may be tempting to use fancy complicated words, it is still advisable to use comparatively simple words, terms and phrases and create a meaningful sentence. A jargon-filled sentence may not be as beneficial as one may think.

  • Keep a Keen eye on Your Grammar: Fancy words, terms and phrases will all be useless if your grammar, structure and sentence usage are theoretically and practically incorrect. Be sure to create sentences that abide by the rules of English grammar when formulating your answers.

Register now and connect with highly experienced study abroad professionals who will help you build a unique study plan and preparation strategy to ace the Duolingo English Test this year.

Preparing for DET This Year?

FAQs on Duolingo English Test Writing Test

How many questions are there in Duolingo English Tests?

The number of questions in Duolingo English Tests is undetermined as the automatic grading system used in the test chooses the questions as per the responses given by the test-takers. However, candidates will be attempting several different types of questions assessing their Comprehension, Literacy, Production and Conversation skills, which include MCQs, writing questions, speaking questions and more.

What is the DET writing sample?


The writing sample in DET is an unscored section of the test, where test-takers do not receive any grade for attempting it. However, the DET writing sample is still accepted and displayed to universities and institutions where you will be sending in your DET scores as proof of English proficiency. Many universities use these writing samples to help shortlist students that showcase potential.

How do I practice for Duolingo writing questions?


If you are looking to attempt the test this year, then some of the common suggestions and tips given by study abroad experts for the writing questions in Duolingo English Tests include reading English books, journals and newspapers. You can also connect with our team of study abroad experts to learn everything you need to ace the tests this year.

What are the types of writing questions in Duolingo English Test?


There are two major types of writing questions in Duolingo English Test, namely, the ‘Write About the Photo’ and the “Read, Then Write’ questions. In the write about the photo questions in Duolingo, candidates will have 1 minute to explain and give their interpretation of a given photo, while, in the read, then write photo, candidates will have 3-5 minutes to write on a given topic.

How do you write a writing test on Duolingo English Test?


Depending on the type of writing question in Duolingo you are required to respond to candidates who will have to follow specific directions. For the write about the photo questions in Duolingo, candidates will be given 1 minute to write a response to the given prompt, whereas, in the Read and Then Write questions in Duolingo, candidates will have 3-5 minutes to give their response in at least 50 words.

How do I attempt the write about the photo question in Duolingo English Test?


The write about the photo questions in Duolingo English Test has been designed to assess the literacy and production skills of the candidates. Therefore, focus on describing the photo using verbs, adverbs and adjectives, while keeping the language simple. In addition to this, give your own interpretation to the given photo and describe it in the best possible manner.

How difficult is the Duolingo writing test?

As per the exam pattern of the Duolingo English Test, the difficulty level of the writing tests will be dependent on the responses given by the test-takers. However, most test-takers claim that the writing test is moderately difficult. Additionally, if your grasp of the English language is good enough, you will find it relatively easy to respond to the writing questions in Duolingo.

Is Duolingo English Test easier than IELTS and TOEFL?

Determining the difficulty level of Duolingo compared to IELTS and TOEFL will be subject to the individual preferences and abilities. As Duolingo, IELTS, TOEFL and PTE Academic present their sets of pros and cons, with regard to the types and difficulty levels of the questions, some candidates may find Duolingo easier than others, while others may hold a different opinion.

Do universities abroad accept Duolingo English Tests?

Yes, Duolingo English Test scores are accepted across the globe at many top universities. Duolingo has reported an exponential increase in the number of institutions accepting DET scores for the purpose of admissions. Register and connect with our team of study abroad counsellors to see if your desired university or institution abroad accepts Duolingo scores.

How long will it take to complete the Duolingo writing tests?

With primarily two types of Duolingo writing tests, i.e. Write about the Photo and Read, then Write, candidates will receive specific time periods for both the question types. For Write about the Photo questions in Duolingo, candidates will have 1 minute to describe the photo and give a brief description, while, 3-5 minutes have been allocated for the Read, then Write questions in Duolingo.

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