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Duolingo English Test Tips 4

Hello everyone, welcome to DET Practice. In this article, I will explain why some Duolingo English Test scores are not certified and how to avoid this problem. I will identify and discuss the common causes of non-certification. First, let’s understand how the Duolingo test differs from other exams: for other tests, you get a score no matter what. But for the Duolingo test, which is computer-based and has some secret scoring and reviewing criteria, your score may not be certified for various reasons. Let’s see what the official reasons are and how to deal with them! The reasons can be grouped into three types:

  1. Environment-related 
  2. Speaking-related 
  3. Account-related
  1. Environment-related:
  • Microphone or Camera Issues

During the test, both the camera and microphone must be on at all times in order to transmit audio and video, which requires a lot of bandwidth. If the internet speed drops to a level where the devices can’t be monitored properly, it could lead to non-certification. It’s advisable to check the computer’s camera and microphone before starting the test to make sure they are functioning properly.

To mitigate potential issues, ensure the internet connection is fast and stable, either through a strong Wi-Fi signal or wired ethernet. Make sure any antivirus firewalls are disabled, and the router is not limiting bandwidth. If the test video fails to upload at the end, if there is a blackout during the test, or if the progress bar doesn’t move after finishing, the same troubleshooting steps should be followed. Also, check for desynchronization between audio and video in the recorded test video.

Input Method Issues

Some students use input methods with predictive text capabilities, like the Google Input Method or Microsoft Input Method, which can automatically complete words after typing a few letters. Accidentally allowing the input method to autocomplete one or two words during the test won’t necessarily cause failure but may lead to an uncertified result. However, if three or more words are autocompleted, it could potentially lead to account suspension.

To avoid this, if the predictive text input method is accidentally enabled, exit the test immediately and restart it. Do not continue the test and allow multiple autocompleted words.

  • Seating Posture Issues
  1. The proctors will be looking for these posture issues during the test:
  2. Head moving outside the top right corner frame
  3. Ears moving outside the frame
  4. Ears not visible which may indicate wearing forbidden headphones
  5. Chin is not visible in the frame

To mitigate this, sit very steadily, keeping your entire head within view of the camera at all times. Sit upright so your ears remain visible. Those with long hair covering the ears can use cotton or tape to keep the ears exposed. When typing, look only at the keyboard without moving your head side to side excessively.

  • Test Environment and Security Issues

Duolingo prohibits anyone else from being in the test room. However, some students allow family or friends to be present, which is not permitted.

Additionally, forgetting to close dictionary programs, communication software, or using mobile phones, tablets, wearable technology, or other electronic devices during the test is prohibited.

The proctors also listen for typing sounds or keyboard tapping during speaking tasks, which could indicate cheating assistance.

To avoid these issues, follow the rules to remain alone in a quiet room during the test. Make sure to close any extra software or apps, only keeping the test browser open. Turn off and stow mobile devices out of view of the camera. Do not tap or type on the keyboard excessively during speaking tasks.

  • Lighting Issues

Proctors look for proper lighting during the test. Rooms that are too dark or dimly lit are not allowed. There must be adequate lighting on the test taker’s face and no glare from light reflections on glasses.

To remedy this, add additional light sources as needed such as overhead lights or desk lamps. Adjust seating position to avoid glare on glasses or switch to contact lenses if possible.

2. Speaking or Writing-related:

  • Answer Issues

Speaking responses may seem pre-prepared or read aloud instead of natural speech. The proctors also listen for variations in speech patterns.

To improve at this, spend significant time practicing speaking responses aloud while looking in a mirror until the speech becomes smooth and natural. Seek guidance from an English teacher if possible. Avoid sounding robotic and focus on proper voice intonation. Do not reuse identical introductions, conclusions, or large sections of similar content across different speaking and writing tasks. Each response should be unique.

  • Eye Contact Issues

Proctors look for suspicious eye movements that may indicate looking at cheating aids instead of the camera. Test takers should maintain eye contact with the camera when speaking. Those with large monitors may unconsciously glance at the screen edges.

Keep hands away from any cheating aids and maintain eye contact with the camera continuously. When forgetting a question, briefly glance at the center of the screen for a reminder but avoid looking elsewhere. For large monitors, focus only on the central question area. Using a mirror as a background can also help maintain proper eye contact.

  • Response Duration Issues

Speaking responses that are too short and do not meet the minimum requirements for a task will face scrutiny.

Practice hitting the minimum speaking time with a timer for each task. Prepare common examples and templates in advance to use as needed to extend responses. Do not rush and speak too quickly just to finish faster. Take time to provide a complete response.

  • Answer Relevance Issues

Proctors listen for speaking responses that are off-topic or show a misunderstanding of the questions. Lack of emphasis on keywords and sentences is also an issue.

Pay close attention to the keywords and main points in each prompt to guide an accurate and focused response. If the question is completely misunderstood, it is advisable to exit the test and retake it later. Emphasize important keywords, names, dates, etc. by speaking louder when saying those parts.

3. Account-related:

  • Proxy Test Issues

Having someone impersonate the actual test taker is prohibited and considered cheating. Proctors also listen closely for typing sounds during speaking tasks, which may indicate outside assistance.

Do not have someone else take the test on your behalf. Also, avoid habitually tapping on the keyboard or touchpad during speaking tasks when not typing. Keep hands away from the devices during speaking.

  • Other Issues

Consistently using a predictive text input method to autocomplete multiple words during the test is prohibited. Forgetting to close dictionary apps, communication software, or accessing a mobile phone during the test is also prohibited. Only one person is allowed in the test room, no outside visitors. Finally, using pen and paper or allowing it to be visible on camera is not permitted.

To summarize:

  1. Disable and close any input tools that autocomplete text before the test.
  2. Close all non-test apps and software before starting and turn off mobile devices.
  3. Follow the rules to test alone in a secure environment.
  4. Do not use pen and paper to take notes or have it visible on camera.

I hope this very thorough overview of potential Duolingo English Test issues and mitigation strategies helps prepare you to pass the test successfully! See you in the next post.

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