IELTS vs TOEFL: What's the Difference?

IELTS vs TOEFL: What's the Difference?

Uploaded on
Jan 2, 2023
Last updated on
Mar 13, 2023
Uploaded on
Jan 2, 2023
Last updated on
Mar 13, 2023
Master of all battles

IELTS vs TOEFL is a constant confusion among students, which might lead to decisions not apt for your future. In order to avoid such mistakes, one should have in-depth knowledge about these exams and whether the university you are applying for recognises TOEFL or IELTS. To answer all your questions, keep reading our guide to IELTS vs TOEFL.

What is IELTS?

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is a prestigious language competency exam that individuals who wish to pursue an education abroad or for professional reasons must take. It is recognised in 140 nations. IELTS comes in two types: Academic and General Training (for working professionals and immigration needs) (for education purposes).

What is TOEFL?

The TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) measures a non-native speaker's capacity to read, write, speak, and interpret university-level English in all four linguistic domains.

More than 11,000 universities and other professional institutions across more than 150 nations, including the US, Canada, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand, have broadly embraced it. Each year, more than 2 million people take the TOEFL exam!

IELTS vs TOEFL: How Can You Decide?

Although many different official English proficiency exams are available, IELTS or TOEFL are still the most common and universally accepted by educational institutions and companies if you intend to study or work abroad in an English-speaking nation.
When picking between the TOEFL and IELTS, the following factors should be taken into account:

  1. Do you prefer American English, which is used more frequently in the TOEFL exam? Or can you confidently listen to and comprehend a variety of English dialects and discourse that will be presented to you throughout the IELTS exam?
  2. Do you like the TOEFL's multiple-choice questions? Or would you want a range of questions like those on the IELTS exam?
  3. Do you feel comfortable speaking with an IELTS examiner face-to-face during the Speaking section? Or, as with the TOEFL iBT, would you feel better speaking into a computer microphone and having your answers recorded?
  4. Would you prefer to handwrite your responses as you would on a paper-based IELTS exam? Or is typing on a computer your preferred method of working?
  5. Which authorised testing facility will you use for the TOEFL or IELTS? Is there a testing facility close by that provides the test you require?

Difference between IELTS and TOEFL

Find out which tests the universities in which you are interested will accept first. Consider which IELTS and TOEFL test is best for you if time is not an issue. If you're concerned about your handwriting or your English when conversing with a native speaker, the longer but totally computer-based TOEFL can be a good option. The IELTS exam is shorter and is surrounded by some myths, perhaps being more demanding, and includes direct dialogue with an examiner and various questions and tasks.
IELTS is slightly more expensive, ranging from $260 to $390 CAD, whereas TOEFL costs between $200 and $325 CAD. If you have a limited budget, this can be a problem. The perfect exam for you ultimately depends on your unique preferences. Test dates are available throughout the year, and each exam has received approval from hundreds of global organisations.

IELTS vs TOEFL Preparation 

IELTS Preparation 

  1. The British Council offers a variety of free IELTS study guides and resources to help you prepare for the test.
  2. Making sure you are prepared to take the IELTS test requires you to practise to know what to expect on test day.
  3. The British Council offers a variety of free IELTS study guides and resources to help you prepare for the test.
  4. Prepare study techniques and tricks for you to divide and study for the IELTS examination.

TOEFL Preparation

  1. Getting better through practice: The proverb is accurate for TOEFL test takers: Once you feel comfortable sitting for it, practise. Create a study plan, collect as many tests and resources as possible, and consistently go through them. Decide where you need to improve, and then work on those areas. Using techniques when studying for a TOEFL examination will be your saviour. 
  2. Get familiar with the test format: Since this is a timed exam, you'll want to become accustomed to the structure; you can do this by taking practice exams. Once you are comfortable with the exam's structure and instructions, do not become complacent.
  3. Pay attention to the time: The lengths of the four TOEFL sections vary, so it's a good idea to clock yourself while practising and know how much time you have for each session.
  4. Increase your knowledge: Daily English practice is necessary for non-native English speakers to develop their vocabulary and grammar. Make it a point to read English newspapers and magazines, watch more English-language television programming, and practise speaking with a friend. You'll feel more prepared to take the test once you've increased your vocabulary and confidence.

IELTS vs TOEFL exam pattern 

IELTS exam pattern 

The IELTS test is divided into 4 components. The first three test sections—listening, reading, and writing—will be taken sequentially. Depending on the scheduling policies at your preferred test centre, the Speaking portion of the exam may be taken that day, up to 7 days before or after. The sections for the IELTS test are: 

IELTS Listening 

After listening to four recordings of fluent English speakers, you will be asked to answer a series of questions in writing.
Recording 1: A two-person conversation that is taking place in a typical social setting.
Recording 2: a monologue that is presented in a typical social setting, such as a speech on neighbourhood amenities.
Recording 3: A conversation between two to four persons taking place in an educational or training situation, such as a university tutor and a student talking about an assignment 
Recording 4: Contains a monologue about a scholarly topic, such as a university lecture.
The ability to comprehend the main ideas and specific factual information, the viewpoints and attitudes of speakers, the intent behind an utterance, and proof of your ability to follow the development will all be factors that are taken into consideration by the evaluators.

IELTS reading

40 questions will be presented to you, and they will cover Multiple choice, matching information, identifying the writer's views/claims, matching headings, matching features, matching sentence endings, sentence completion, summary completion, note completion, table completion, flow-chart completion, diagram label completion, and short-answer questions are just a few of the question types that are used.

IELTS writing 

Two questions will be posed to you:
In Task 1, test takers must respond to a situation, either by sending a letter requesting details or outlining the circumstance.
In Task 2, test takers must respond with an essay to an issue, argument, or point of view.

IELTS speaking 

Your spoken English proficiency is evaluated in the speaking portion. Each test is documented.
Part 1 consists of broad questions about you and several well-known subjects, including your home, family, job, studies, and interests. About four and five minutes make up this section.
Part 2: You will be handed a card that invites you to discuss a certain subject. You have up to two minutes to speak after one minute of preparation. After then, the examiner will pose one or two questions on the subject.
Part 3: You will be questioned further about the subject covered in Part 2 in this section. They will enable you to talk about more ethereal concepts and problems. This portion of the test lasts four to five minutes.

TOEFL exam pattern 

Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing comprise the TOEFL exam's four components; learn about TOEFL Guide: Requirements, Eligibility, Exam, Syllabus for a smoother examination process.  You'll be required to carry out tasks incorporating all four communication abilities. For instance, you might be required to read a text, hear some audio, and then respond to a question.

TOEFL listening 

In this part, you'll hear lectures and chats. Both speak in academic language.

  1. 3-4 3-5 minute lessons, some with classroom discussion; 6 questions each lecture
  2. 2-3 conversations, each lasting three minutes, with five questions
  3. Throughout the exam, you can make notes on any audio item to aid in answering questions.

You have 41 to 57 minutes to finish the segment of the test.

TOEFL reading

There are three or four reading portions totalling about 700 words each, and each passage has ten questions. Answering all of the section's questions will take you between 54 and 72 minutes.
Reading passages are sections of college-level textbooks that are used to introduce a subject. The texts touch on a range of topics. If you are unfamiliar with a passage's subject, don't be concerned. The passage will have all the details you need to answer the questions.

TOEFL writing 

There are two written assignments.

  1. Integrated writing assignment (20 minutes): read a brief text, hear a brief lecture, and then write a response to what you have read and heard.
  2. Write an essay based on personal experience or opinion in response to a writing prompt for an independent writing activity (30 minutes).

Your responses will be entered using a computer keyboard (or handwritten for the TOEFL iBT Paper Edition).

TOEFL speaking 

Your ability to speak English fluently in a classroom context is assessed on the TOEFL iBT Speaking section. The four tasks/questions reflect real-world scenarios you might run across inside and outside of a classroom.

  1. Independent Speaking Task #1: Your response must be totally based on your own thoughts, judgements, and experiences.
  2. Questions 2-4: Integrated Speaking Tasks: These questions demand you to use all three components of the English language, hearing, reading, and speaking, just as you would in or outside a classroom.

IELTS vs TOEFL scoring difference 

IELTS score 

Along with your scores on each of the test's separate sections, you'll also find an "overall band score" on your IELTS Test Report Form, which contains your official test results. Based on the average score from the four sections, your final grade is determined.
IELTS bands range from 0 (did not respond to the questions) to 9 (expert English language user).
Check the IELTS admission requirements for the institutions you want to apply to, including any minimum requirements in particular subskills, if you're looking for further study in the UK or another English-speaking nation.

TOEFL score

Your TOEFL exam score comprises four separate section scores, each given a score out of 30, which are combined to produce a final score out of 120. There are four or five degrees of proficiency for each skill: Below Basic, Basic, Low-Intermediate, High-Intermediate, and Advanced.

Now that you have read through our comparison guide between IELTS vs TOEFL, we hope you have gained enough information to choose which examination you should take; also a fun fact about IELTS is you don’t need to take them to study in the UK! Check out our guide to studying in the UK without IELTS to learn more.