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Can int’l students use Duolingo for English language requirements to study in Australia?

duolingo english test
The Duolingo English test is cheaper than TOEFL and IELTS, while it can also be taken anywhere, with no appointment needed. Source: Alain Jocard/AFP

Can prospective international students use the Duolingo English test for entry into Australia? That’s still a work in progress. 

While countries such as Ireland accept the Duolingo English test for its English language requirements for study visas, a spokesperson for Duolingo told news.com.au that the company is focusing on expanding the acceptance of its test for international student visas and left open the possibility of the test being applied to other visa subclasses, such as skilled migrant visas.

Australia’s Department of Home Affairs currently does not accept results from the Duolingo English test from prospective international students. Instead, accepted English tests include the IELTS and TOEFL.

Duolingo has many attractions. The popular language-learning app has some 40 million monthly active users. The Duolingo English test contains a series of speaking, reading, writing and listening exercises; at 49 US dollars, the test is considerably cheaper than TOEFL or IELTS, which costs above US$100. It can be taken online, anywhere, with no appointment needed. 

Duolingo notes that over 3,000 institutions accept its test. Students can send their score reports to as many universities as they want for free.

Duolingo English test

Students can send their Duolingo English test score reports to as many universities as they want for free. Source: Alain Jocard/AFP

Some Australian unis accept Duolingo English test

Policy documents from the Department of Home Affairs say that the Department is generally confident about the English proficiency of a prospective international student if their education provider confirms their enrolment and they are deemed to be low-risk, said the portal.

This would mean prospective international students in Australia can be granted a student visa by meeting required marks on the Duolingo test if their respective universities accept the test for admission, even if it is not recognised by the Department of Home Affairs.

Some Australian universities accept the Duolingo English test for certain programmes or make exceptions for its use due to the pandemic. These include Griffith UniversityAustralian National University and Edith Cowan College.

Macquarie University notes on its website that due to disruptions to regular IELTS and TOEFL testing in mainland China, the university will accept the Duolingo English test as an alternative means of meeting their Academic English requirements.

Immigration agents have reportedly found that students found it easier to meet university requirements on Duolingo’s test than on the IELTS or TOEFL, but Duolingo says its test results are reliably correlated to those of competitors.