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Should I take the TOEFL or IELTS?

Updated: Mar 31, 2023

The IELTS (International English Language Testing System) and TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) are both standardized tests that measure the proficiency of a non-English speaker in the language English.


IELTS vs TOEFL


If you are planning to study abroad, Please check with the university directly whether the universities are accepting TOEFL or IELTS? Please note that it depends on the university you are applying to. Based on that you can decide which test you should write: IELTS or TOEFL to achieve your goals.


If you are not planning to study abroad, but only planning to move to another country to work or to immigrate then the General Training paper of IELTS is probably much more suitable for your needs.


If the universities consider both the exams, then It is your personal choice and there are multiple parameters to weigh the options. It also depends on the country you choose to study in.


Both IELTS or TOEFL tests determine candidates' language skills in the four main sections: Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking. Both TOEFL or IELTS are standardized tests which actually means that the scores are valid throughout the world. There is not much difference in price, both costing between $150 and $250 dollars to write these exams.


Followed by the differences between the tests: Let us Compare every test section

SECTIONS

IELTS

TOEFL

Speaking

​You speak to a real person

You speak to a computer

Listening

The duration is 30 mins, IELTS focuses on British accents

The duration is 60 mins, TOEFL mainly focuses on American accents

​Writing

It can be taken online or on a paper

It is an internet-based test (except for some areas)

Reading

IELTS has a wide range of question types.

The TOEFL test is a multiple-choice question only


Speaking

The speaking section is probably the significant difference between the IELTS and TOEFL tests. In the IELTS test, you will speak to a real person and in the TOEFL test, you will speak to a computer!


Listening

When it comes to the IELTS listening test, the length of the text, context, question type and accent differs from the TOEFL. TOEFL mainly focuses on American accents whereas IELTS focuses on British English accents. The IELTS listening duration is shorter than the TOEFL listening. The TOEFL listening duration is for 60 mins, but the IELTS listening is for only 30 mins.


Writing

The TOEFL test is totally an internet-based test (except for some areas), which means that you will type everything on a keyboard, but for IELTS you have the option to write on paper or take online. If you don't have good keyboard typing skills, then IELTS has the option that lets you write on paper.


Reading

The two main differences here are question types and context.

The TOEFL test is multiple choice questions only but the IELTS test has a wide range of question types. If you are comfortable with multiple choice then the TOEFL test might be suitable for you, But consider all the parameters and make a decision wisely.


TOEFL has only academic tests available, but with IELTS you can choose either the Academic paper or the General Training paper test.


- Contributed by Kalak Vimal Kumar



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