DET's Interactive Listening Questions: Here’s How to Prep For It


5 mins read
Updated on Jun 22, 2023 17:22 IST

English proficiency tests are commonly required for studying abroad to ensure that students have the necessary language skills to succeed academically and fully engage with the educational and cultural experiences in the host country. The Duolingo English Test (DET) is one such digital-first, high-stakes English proficiency test popularly used to evaluate an applicant's language skills objectively. This test evaluates various language competencies, encompassing reading, writing, listening, and speaking, providing a comprehensive assessment of your English proficiency. As a computer adaptive test, it adapts to the test-takers performance level, tailoring the questions to accurately measure their language skills.

Each year, the DET makes certain updates that prioritise offering a faster, more innovative test, at a much more affordable price point—making it possible for more students across the world to certify their English (spoken and written) and pursue their academic aspirations. As the test continues to evolve, the DET remains committed to ensuring it is accessible to all students, regardless of their location or financial circumstances. Read: Duolingo English Test Registration

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A new Interactive Listening Question Type

Recently the DET introduced the latest breakthrough in English testing where test takers participate in simulated conversations with AI characters, this is a new question type called ‘Interactive Listening’. These conversations measure the proficiency skills that will be used at a university—simulating a student-to-student interaction as well as a student-and-professor interaction, preparing students for success.

The inclusion of Interactive Listening in the test introduces fresh and creative methods of evaluating proficiency skills beyond traditional academic contexts. You may have already seen this question type on the Duolingo practice test. Interactive Listening is a multi-step question type that will contribute to the overall score as well as all four subscores.

The Duolingo English Test includes two Interactive Listening scenarios, each comprising two parts. Below are the question types that you can expect for Interactive Listening and tips on how to handle this section.

Listen and Respond

The Listen and Respond activity involves choosing the most suitable option to begin a conversation. In this question type, test takers are presented with an animated conversation partner portrayed by one of the Duolingo characters. The aspirant will be provided with a concise description of a typical scenario that a university student may encounter. Subsequently, the test taker engages in a multi-turn conversation to accomplish specific communication objectives, such as seeking additional information from a professor about a class topic or requesting a friend to review a paper. Each Interactive Listening scenario will include around 5-6 Listen and Respond questions and this component allows 4 minutes for completion. Follow these simple directions for a smooth experience:

  • Read about the situation.
  • Pick the best option to start the conversation.
  • Select the best response each time it’s your turn.

Summarise the Conversation

For this question type, you will be tasked with providing a summary of the conversation you have just had within a time limit of 75 seconds. This question will appear once for each Interactive Listening scenario, requiring you to write a concise summary of the Listen and Respond conversation. 

Tips to Ace the Interactive Listening Section

It's natural to feel apprehensive about this unfamiliar test format. However, there's no need to worry. Here are some helpful tips to alleviate your stress:

Listen and Respond

  • Interacting with the question
    • Pay close attention! The audio clips can only be played once, so listen carefully.
    • If needed, you can refer back to the earlier parts of the conversation to assist you.
  • Responding to the question
    • Take note of the relationship between the speakers. How would two students engage in conversation? How would a teacher and a student interact?
    • Don’t worry if you don't select the best response —the test will provide feedback, allowing you to improve your subsequent answers. Pay attention to the correct response to follow the conversation accurately.
    • Try to retain the key points of the conversation for the subsequent summary task.

Summarise the Conversation

  • Interacting with the question
    • If you didn't select the most optimal answers in the preceding section, there's no need to worry. Rather, concentrate on summarising the conversation.
    • Write a complete paragraph instead of providing separate bullet points.
    • Keep in mind that you have limited time for writing, so begin by including essential details about the conversation. Who were the speakers? What was the topic of the conversation? What was the result or outcome?
    • Utilise the entire time available to provide a detailed summary. If time permits, review your response for spelling and grammar accuracy.

The overall length of the DET is one hour. These question types contribute to the overall Duolingo English Test score as this measures multiple language skills at once—which is how an aspirant uses them in real life! By listening and responding to a conversation partner, test takers demonstrate comprehension and conversation skills, and writing a summary of the conversation afterwards demonstrates literacy and production. Specifically, the listening component influences the conversation and comprehension subscores, while the summarization component impacts the production and literacy subscores. 

About the Author

The Duolingo English Test is a modern English proficiency assessment for today’s international students and institutions. The test is available online, on demand. You don’t have to make an appointment or travel to a test centre—you can take the test from your home via a computer and webcam.  The test is administered using computer adaptive technology, meaning that the question difficulty adapts to each test taker. The test also integrates a video interview and writing sample, which are sent to an institution along with your proficiency score when you send your results. The entire test experience takes just under an hour. Test results are certified within two days, and they can be shared with an unlimited number of institutions.

About the Author

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