IELTS vs. TOEFL: Which is better?


If English is not your first language and you are applying to a university in an English speaking country like USA, the institution may require you to take a standardised English test. The two most widely taken standardised tests around the world are IELTS and TOEFL.

IELTS vs. TOEFL: Which is better?

The decision to take the TOEFL vs. IELTS will ultimately depend on a number of factors. Read on to decide which test is best for you.

Your Destination: IELTS vs TOEFL

IELTS scores are mostly considered for university entry in UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Thousands of universities in US now accept the test scores for admissions; but most US universities require you to take TOEFL for admission. Many universities in other English-speaking countries accept TOEFL too.

Exam structure : IELTS vs TOEFL

Both TOEFL and IELTS comprise of four sections – reading, listening, speaking, and writing.

TOEFL usually takes around 4 hours, and can be completed in one sitting with a ten minute break after the first two sections. Your scores will range from 0-30 for each section with a possible total of 120 points. Most universities require you to get a minimum score of 79.

IELTS is shorter and can be completed within 2 hours 45 minutes. The test is scored on a scale of 1-9 with 9 being the highest proficiency. The IELTS score minimums are 6 for overall and 6 for speaking.

Major Differences : IELTS vs TOEFL

The IELTS has a one-on-one component where the speaking session is conducted by a live examiner. A speech component was absent in TOEFL until recent. With the recently added recorded-speech portion, TOEFL has overcome this issue to an extent. Many universities and academicians yet believe that the face-to-face speech component to an English proficiency exam is crucial.

Also, TOEFL exam mostly comprises multiple choice questions, whereas IELTS requires you to respond to question types including short answer, filling the gaps and short essays. IELTS is a varied test that examines your practical skills in everyday situations if you are studying at a university abroad. However, whether IELTS is a better exam really seems to be a matter of opinion.

While the paper-based IELTS test centres are located in over 130 countries worldwide, the computer-based tests are available in limited locations. The speaking test cannot be taken electronically yet. Its absence of a complete online testing system is considered a disadvantage when compared to the completely online format of TOEFL.

Which Is Easier : IELTS vs TOEFL

Both exams test all four areas of your English language skills and are accepted in universities around the world, so it is hard to say which is batter. It is important for you to find out which one is accepted at the US institutions to which you will be applying, even before you look at the individual tests. This will help you determine which one you should take.

Related Articles:

IELTS Exam Pattern
TOEFL Test Pattern & Structure
Minimum TOEFL & IELTS Score Requirement

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