Which is better - IELTS or TOEFL?

21Aug,2020
By Editorial

For those students who are willing to go abroad for pursuing higher studies in a country of English speaking people, you either need to take the IELTS or TOEFL exam. Both the tests help in understanding the level of English that an individual knows. The exams are taken to test the person’s ability to read, write, listen, and speak in English. The two tests are different in format, in scoring patterns, and so on. In this article, the differences between the two tests will be analyzed and which is better suited for you will be highlighted.

IELTS

International English Language Testing System is also known as IELTS. This test is in two types. One is IELTS Academic and this is for those students who are planning to go abroad for higher studies. IELTS General Training is for the workplace and social skills of an individual. 
IELTS test focuses on British English and is made up of four important parts namely listening, reading, speaking, and writing. The entire test is of the duration of two hours and forty-five minutes. Every institution has its own criterion for the IELTS scores. After you have taken the test, you can send the scores to five institutions free of cost.

TOEFL

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is an English test developed by an American company ETS. The test is needed to understand the reading, writing, speaking and listening skills of an individual in American English. TOEFL scores are accepted by more than 900 universities in 130 nations worldwide. 

There are two ways of taking the test- internet-based and paper-based tests. The internet-based test is more popular and one can register for the test at the designated test centres. The exam takes four hours to complete. This exam is favoured more by the American educational institutions over IELTS.

IELTS vs TOEFL: The Comparison

 

IELTS

TOEFL

Countries that accept the test

UK, USA, Canada

US and Canada

Sections

4 (Reading, writing, speaking, and listening)

4 (Reading, writing, speaking, and listening)

Question type

Essay and short answer questions

MCQs

Exam duration

2 h 45 mins. IELTS may take more than a day to complete as the speaking section is separate from the other parts.

4 hours

Speaking

The speaking test takes about fourteen minutes to complete and is organized as if it was a normal chat between two people. The examiner will first ask general questions about you and your family and your academics. Then you will be given a topic and you will get two minutes to prepare. Then you will have a discussion with the examiner.

The TOEFL speaking test is for twenty minutes and has six parts. Two sections will be to speak on day to day topics. The other four parts will require one to listen or read a topic and then state their response about it.

Listening

You will have to answer ten questions while listening to the audio in IELTS. The format of the questions will be filled in the blanks, answer true or false or complete the sentence.

In TOEFL, the student will have to listen to four to six audio recordings and then answer the questions. The student will have to listen to lecture and conversation recordings for this test.

Writing

In IELTS, there will be a graph and you will have to write a short essay within twenty minutes. In the second part, you will be presented with an argument and you will need to write a response in forty minutes.

For TOEFL, the student needs to read a short text and then listen to a two-minute-long lecture. Then the student has to write a response to what he heard. In the second part, they need to write another small essay.

Reading

In IELTS, the reading section contains forty questions that are divided into three sections. 

In TOEFL, there will be multiple choice questions and divided into three to five sections. One will have to read the text and then answer 12 to 14 questions relating to the text.

 

Band scores: IELTS and TOEFL

 

IELTS  

  TOEFL

Listening

Less than 4  

 0

 

4.5 

3

 

5

4 to 6

 

5.5

7 to 11

 

6

12 to 19

 

6.5 

20 to 23

 

7

24 to 26

 

7.5

27

 

8

28

 

8.5

29

 

9

30

Speaking  

Less than 4  

 0 to 11

 

4.5

12 to 13

 

5

14 to 15

 

5.5

16 to 17

 

6

18 to 19

 

6.5

20 to 22

 

7

23

 

7.5

24 to 25

 

8

26 to 27

 

8.5

28 to 29

 

9

30

Reading

Less than 4

0 to 2

 

4.5

3

 

5

4 to 7

 

5.5

8 to 12

 

6

13 to 18

 

6.5

19 to 23

 

7

24 to 26

 

7.5

27 to 28

 

8

29

 

8.5

29

 

9

30

Writing    

Less than 4  

0 to 11

 

4.5

12 to 13

 

5

14 to 17

 

5.5

18 to 20

 

6

21 to 23

 

6.5

24 to 26

 

7

27 to 28

 

7.5

29

 

8

30

 

8.5

30

 

9

30

It is ultimately your destination of study which will decide which test will suit your needs.

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