Last Updated: March 15, 2021
IELTS vs TOEFL: Which is Better?
Candidates looking to study abroad in the United States or an English-speaking country, have IELTS or TOEFL as one of the fundamental prerequisites to qualify. IELTS and TOEFL are both popular among students, but candidates choosing to write one of these might be confused in making their choice since it is hard to understand which will be better for different universities.
Both these tests determine the level of language proficiency candidates have by assessing the different aspects of language like reading, listening, writing, and speaking. But while these tests assess the requisite skills students have, they do so through different formats and scoring patterns which ought to be the concern for students who need to choose between them. Candidates can choose to play to their strengths and choose tests accordingly so that they will be able to present the highest score possible and gain college admissions of their choice.
Making the Choice-IELTS or TOEFL
It is a question that has riddled students for years and choosing between the two examinations is tough. 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.
Just like the strengths of students vary in their language skills, the difficulty level of both the exams depends on the students’ ability to crack the different formats the exams provide. This subjective element of the exams then can be deciphered by analyzing the processes from the applicability of the tests to the time durations offered by them which will provide a strong basis for students to choose between them.
Applicability of IELTS and TOEFL
: One of the first things candidates need to find is the universities they want to apply to and which examination scores are applicable for the courses they need to apply to. If their dream university accepts TOEFL, then TOEFL is the exam they need to appear for. The preferences of different colleges and universities will be mentioned in their course specifications along with the information regarding the requisite scores. This will help the candidate both understand which test they are required to take and what should be their goal score.
Exam Center Availability
: Another thing to be considered is if the examinations have exam centers nearby. The examinations are stressful as it is and this stress can only be amplified if the candidate has to travel long distances to attend the test. Candidates should be clear about why they want to sit for a particular examination. The two examinations do not have a lot of differences and it is often IELTS that is considered to be the best choice if the candidate only requires to write the exam to move abroad and for no other specific reason.
Similarities Between IELTS and TOEFL
- Focuses on some of the core language skills including reading, listening, writing, and speaking.
- Both the exams are standardized. This implies that the scores candidates receive will have the same value throughout the world.
- The exams are similarly priced and vary between $180 and $300 based on the location.
Differences Between IELTS and TOEFL
- The speaking sections of the exams differ in how IELTS requires the candidate to speak to a real person whereas TOEFL requires the candidate to speak to a computer. In this latter method, the speech is recorded and then evaluated by a human and an AI programmed to evaluate language.
- In the speaking section. TOEFL asks 6 questions the answers of which should be delivered within 20 minutes whereas IELTS is considerably shorter and lasts for a maximum of 15 minutes with three sections.
- IELTS is popular in Australia, Europe, UK, Canada, and New Zealand whereas TOEFL is popular in the US. Universities generally accept both these scores to judge the candidate’s language proficiency in English.
- For the UK, it is mandatory that one takes the IELTS UKVI since it supports the UK Visa and Immigration application but for countries like Canada and the U.S., they accept both the exam results.
- The TOEFL test is entirely made up of multiple-choice questions whereas IELTS also includes short answers and essay questions.
- TOEFL is generally given as a paper-based test. The internet-based version of TOEFL takes a total of 4 hours while IELTS takes just 2 hours and 25 minutes in all.
- IELTS may be conducted on two days since candidates might not be able to sit for the speaking section on the same day. TOEFL on the other hand can be completed on the same day.
- The accents that are provided for the listening section are generally Australian, Canadian, New Zealand, British and American for IELTS. For TOEFL, one can expect North American, British, New Zealand, and Australian.
- IELTS is conducted a total of 48 times in a year whereas TOEFL has more than 50 test dates per year.
- IELTS is scored on a scale of 0-9. TOEFL is scored on a scale between 0-120. Charts converting these grades to on another is available on most university sites to help students understand and compare their score with the other test.
General Information for IELTS and TOEFL
Many countries use TOEFL/IELTS scores for immigration as proof of having proficiency in English. These tests are highly recommended for non-native English speakers who are planning to study abroad in English-speaking countries. People moving to the UK will have no choice but to take IELTS UKVI since it is mandatory for the visa application.
Most students feel that TOEFL is a bit more challenging because the experience of talking to a computer can feel a bit awkward. On the other hand, there are students who find speaking to a microphone easier than speaking to a person. This makes the difficulty of both the methods relative and entirely dependent on the student in concern. In a way, the IELTS is a bit more flexible in this regard since one can talk to the examiner if they have any doubts which are impossible to do during TOEFL.