TOEFL vs IELTS: What are the differences? - Best Education Consultancy in Nepal skip to Main Content

For international students, TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) and IELTS (International English Language Testing System) are two of the major English language proficiency exams approved by universities around the world. Acing these tests allows one to apply and pursue a higher degree in English Programs of their choice. Hence, the tests have become an important part of the studying abroad process. But, which one enhances your chances, TOEFL or IELTS? Both are quite similar, but depending on your choice of program and country, one is a better choice for you. Here are some main points about TOEFL vs IELTS to help you choose the right one.

But first, let’s get started with the basics of TOEFL vs IELTS

The TOEFL is an English language proficiency exam developed by the US-based Educational Testing Service (ETS). Whereas IELTS was another English language proficiency exam jointly owned by the British Council, IDP, IELTS Australia, and Cambridge Assessment English. 

For IELTS there are two variants; IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. And the widely accepted version of the TOEFL is the TOEFL iBT. IELTS Academic is for people who want to apply for higher education or a job. People traveling to English-speaking countries for secondary education, job experience, or work experience should take the IELTS General Training.

What are the main differences between these two programs?

TOEFL requires students to use either US English or UK English during the exam, and not a combination of the two, while the IELTS seems to be a little more lenient in this regard. 

Both the tests are widely accepted by universities worldwide. TOEFL is accepted by over 8,500 institutions in 130 countries, including the United Kingdom, the United States, and Australia, while IELTS is accepted by over 10,000 institutions in 140 countries. 

The TOEFL consists mainly of multiple-choice questions and takes approximately 3.5 to 4 hours, while the IELTS has a range of different questions such as short answers, gap-filling, essay-based questions. IELTS has a larger variety of how questions are formulated and responses must be given and take approximately 2 hours and 40 minutes.

Exam structure:

These two programs have the same four sections of testing; Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking. 

While TOEFL encourages students to critically consider their choices, IELTS encourages students to use their memory and comprehension abilities.

a. Speaking:

In the case of IELTS, speaking is conducted face-to-face and one gets about 11-14 minutes with a single invigilator. IELTS speaking examination is taken on a different day than the rest of the exam.

On the other hand, an applicant for the TOEFL must answer six questions using a microphone, which is then registered and submitted to a jury of six reviewers. This session lasts just 20 minutes and always takes place on the same day as the rest of the test.

b. Writing:

TOEFL requires students to complete two tasks for writing: a five-paragraph essay of 300-350 words and a comprehensive section with text extract on a topic, which you must use to create a 150-225 word response. Similarly, you must summarize or illustrate details presented in a graph, map, table, or diagram in the IELTS two parts. In the second, you’ll need to respond to a prompt with a point of view, an argument, or a request to write in a specific language style with a 200-250-word answer.

c. Reading:

In the TOEFL, you will be given 3 to 5 reading sentences to complete in 20 minutes. To test your understanding of the texts, you will be asked a series of multiple-choice questions. In IELTS, there are three sections where students get 20 minutes for each section. 

The variety of questions ranges from “fill in the blanks” to “short answer”. Questions are often intended to assess how well you comprehended the text’s specific use of vocabulary, concepts, and style.

d. Listening:

The TOEFL listening test lasts 40-60 minutes and consists of you listening to excerpts from university lectures or conversations. You’ll be expected to take notes while listening and then respond to a series of multiple-choice questions. 

The process is a bit different when it comes to IELTS. Students will answer questions while listening to recordings in the IELTS listening test. They will be required to respond to a variety of question types and exercises of varying lengths. IELTS listening test lasts up to 30 minutes.

What about TOEFL vs IELTS scoring?

The TOEFL speaking and writing sections are graded on how they appear, which includes your vocabulary, writing style, and grammar. Those who take the IELTS are evaluated based on different grades for individual criteria such as logic, cohesion, grammar, and fluency. 

The IELTS is rated on a scale of 1 to 9, with your total score calculated as the average of your individual scores in each of the four exams. Students will need at least an overall average of 6.0, to qualify for abroad study programs.

The TOEFL is a single test with a maximum score of 120 points. Students will need a minimum of 78 to qualify, whereas top colleges give more priority to those with a score of 100+.

Both the programs will generally cost you about $200-$250 for each attempt. 

It will be much easier for you to choose between these two programs now that you have some ideas about them. Choose what you want to learn first, then consider which of these options is best for you. Remember to choose the one that is the easiest for you, and then look for the one that is both economical and ideal for you. This would also improve the chances of obtaining an international visa for you.

At Accede Education Center, you get free IELTS classes and free mock exams. You also get personalized consultation as our counselors guide you throughout the process.

Contact us for more details:

Address: Shah Manzil, Narayanhiti Palace Museum North Gate Rd, Kathmandu 44600


Phone: 985-1141894


Back To Top