IELTS VS TOEFL: What are the differences and what to choose?

By Soumyaranjan Sahoo

When your native language is not English and you need to go abroad for higher studies, you will have to submit a language test in English. The two tests that have been acknowledged internationally are Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) & International English Language Test System (IELTS).



Both of the tests will determine your language skills via assessing your reading, writing, speaking and listening skills. However, the two tests have a different way of testing skills. In order to know the difference between the two of the entrance exam, let's know the details about the exams.


What is IELTS?

The IELTS is an entrance test conducted to test the skills of the candidates in the English language. It has been approved by more than 10,000 institutions across 140 countries. It is mostly used in case of educational, immigration and occupational purposes. IELTS is an international language test Jointly owned by the British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia, and Cambridge Assessment English.


Know in details for IELTS Exam


What is TOEFL?

The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is also an entrance exam which testifies the skills of the candidates in English as a Foreign Language. The exam is accepted by the 8,500 institutions across 130 countries, including the UK, USA and Australia. Along with the institutions, the world’s top 100 universities have also approved of the exam. The TOEFL exam is conducted by US-based organisation the Education Testing Service and also is being conducted in American English.


Know the details for TOEFL Exam


Difference Between IELTS & TOEFL :

Cost - Varies by country
- In the U.S., the test costs $215-$245
Varies by country between $165-$300, with most countries under $200
Length 2 hours and 45 minutes 4 hours
Test sections (in order) - Listening: 30 minutes
- Reading: 60 minutes
- Writing: 60 minutes
- Speaking: 11-14 minutes (section can also be taken before the other three sections)
- Reading: 60-80 minutes
- Listening: 60-90 minutes
- Speaking: 20 minutes
- Writing: 50 minutes
Where is the test offered? More than 1,100 locations in some 140 countries worldwide Offered around the world
How frequently is the test offered? 48 test dates per year More than 50 test dates per year
Scoring scale Zero to 9 Zero to 120
Average minimum score required by ranked US universities (fall 2015) 6.3 78


How to choose the right exam for your purpose?

As we’ve already discussed the differences between the TOEFL & IELTS exams, you must have got the basic idea of the two exams. However, before taking up one exam, you must be confident about the outcomes of the exam. The exam you choose should help you in every way possible. No doubt, the two exams will testify your English skills. However, their procedure and formalities will make a difference in the outcome. Identifying your purpose clearly is the first and foremost step you can take. You need to understand the requirement and synchronise them with the facilities available in each of the exam. The more synchronised exam will be the right choice for you.

TOEFL & IELTS are the two most popular exam taken for the cause of higher education in foreign countries. Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing will be the 4 parameters to test your skills in both the exams. So, identify your purpose, select the right exam & be prepared for the tests.


Read also : Planning for MBA in abroad? Top Locations and Streams to Choose


Best of Luck…!!!


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