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IELTS vs. TOEFL: Which one's a better option for you?

If you're looking to study abroad in United States or an English speaking country, one of the fundamental pre requisites would be for you to qualify and pass in one of the popular language speaking tests. IELTS and TOEFL are both popular among students, but you may be confused as to which would be better for you if you're applying in a foreign university for the first time.

Which one should you take?

It is a question that has riddled students for years and choosing between the two examinations is very difficult. People often tend to choose the easier option and here we will compare the difficulty levels for both examinations. There are many teachers and students who have varying views and but there is no clear winner in this regard.

Applicability

One of the first things you need to check is the universities you want to apply to and which examination scores are applicable for the courses you need to apply to. If your dream university accepts TOEFL, then TOEFL is the exam you need to appear for. Another thing you need to consider is if the examinations have exam centers in your area. The examinations are stressful as it is and you will have a hard time traveling to distance places to sit for the examination. You should be clear about why you want to sit for a particular examination, the two examinations do not have a lot in difference and if you simply want to move to another country and want to pursue your higher studies then IELTS is the one for you.

Similarities between IELTS and TOEFL

Both of the examinations focus on some of the core language skills including reading, listening, writing and speaking. Both of these examinations are standardized and your scores will have the same value throughout the world. Both of the examinations are similarly priced as well and the prices vary between $150 and $250 based on your location.

Differences

One of the biggest differences between the two examinations is speaking. While the IELTS examination requires you to talk to a real person for the speaking part of the examination, the TOEFL examination requires you to speak to a computer. TOEFL includes six questions that last approximately 20 minutes. You will be asked two questions on familiar topics and need to be attentive throughout the session as you will also be asked to summarize all of the information that happens during the conversation. The IELTS section is considerably shorter and lasts only fifteen minutes and includes three sections. The test feels a lot more natural as you speak to a real examiner instead of a computer. One of the most difficult parts of this section is the one minute monologue for which you will be given a topic and need to speak on for 1-2 minutes. You will also be asked questions on the topic.

Most students feel that TOEFL feels a bit more challenging because the experience of talking to a computer can feel a bit awkward. The IELTS is a bit more flexible in this regard and you can talk to the examiner if you have any doubts which is not something you will be able to do when appearing for TOEFL.

IELTS is more popular in Australia, Europe, UK, Canada and New Zealand.
TOEFL is more popular in US.

Many countries use TOEFL/IELTS score for immigration (as a proof of proficiency in English). These tests are highly recommended for Non Native English speakers (who are planing to study abroad in English speaking countries). It's quite possible visa officer might ask your TOEFL/IELTS score!

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