Difference Between IELTS VS TOEFL

difference-between-ielts-vs-toefl

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) are the two most important standardised tests to measure the ability of non-native speakers of English to use or understand the language. IELTS and TOEFL are both extensive and ongoing efforts of modern dialects and are designed to assess the level of English proficiency in non-native speakers. Both tests evaluate reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills separately.

IELTS Vs TOEFL is the two most common and widely accepted tests for university admission abroad. It is mandatory to provide scores on an English language proficiency test. While these tests have the same goal, they differ in crucial ways. So, unless you are sure which one to take, read our guide to learn the differences between IELTS VS TOEFL and pick the best option to fulfil your study abroad dreams.

What is IELTS vs TOEFL?

Let's quickly review the two tests before going into the head-on collision between them.

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is an exam that assesses a candidate's ability to communicate in English. The test assesses a person's English language abilities in four areas: reading, listening, writing, and speaking.

The British Council, IDP Education, and Cambridge Assessment English jointly administered the exam created in 1989. There are two types of exams: paper-based and computer-based.

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What is TOEFL?

The TOEFL (Test of English as an Overseas Language) is a standardised test accepted by most foreign colleges where English is the language of instruction. The exam is planned and designed to measure a student's mastery of the English language successfully.

Education Testing Service (ETS), a private non-profit organisation based in the United States, administers the exam. There are two test modes: Paper-Delivered Test (PDT) and Internet-Based test (IBT).

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IELTS VS TOEFL Factors Highlights

Are you wondering why you should take the IELTS instead of the TOEFL or vice versa? If so, check out this helpful guide on IELTS vs TOEFL!

Exam Details 

IELTS 

TOEFL 

Conducting Body

British Council and IDP Education Ltd.

Educational Testing Services 

Exam Mode

Online and Offline 

Online and Offline 

Variants 

IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training IELTS Indicator

TOEFL iBT

Exam Duration 

2 hours 45 minutes

4 hours 

Breaks

No breaks during the listening, reading and writing sections, but the speaking portion can be taken up to a week before or after the rest of the test

A 10-minute break between listening and speaking sections

Sections 

Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking*

Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking

Test Delivery Format 

Paper-based

Computer-based 

Score Range 

0-9

0-120

Average Minimum Score Required by Top Universities

6.3

78

Exam Frequency 

48 times in a year 

More than 50 times a year 

Results Timeline

Results are issued 13 days after the test

Results are issued approximately 10 days after the test

Where All are the Scores Accepted

Accepted by more than 9,000 organizations globally

Accepted by more than 10,000 organizations globally

Cost 

INR 14,700/-

INR 13,780/  (TOEFL iBT)

IELTS vs TOEFL: Detailed and Section-Wise Comparison

IELTS has 48 exam dates per year, whereas TOEFL has more than 50 test dates per year. The following table clearly illustrates the distinction:

Sections

IELTS

TOEFL

Reading

3 long passages

3-4 passages of approx. 700 words

Total number of questions: 40

Number of Questions: 30-40 (9-10 from each passage)

Time: 60 minutes

Time: 54-72 Minutes

Listening

4 recordings

3-4 lectures, length 3-5 minutes each, 6 questions from each lecture

-

2-3 conversations (2 speakers) 3 minutes each. 5 questions from each conversation

Total number of questions: 40

Total number of Questions: 39

Time: 30 minutes + 10 minutes to transfer the answers to the sheet

Time: 41-57 Minutes

Speaking

3 parts (questions of each part get more difficult and intense)

1 Independent Speaking Task (speak for 1 minute)

-

3 Integrated Speaking Tasks (speak for 1.5-2 minutes after reading a passage/ article/ listening to a lecture)

Time: 11-14 minutes

Time: 17 Minutes

Writing

IELTS Writing task 1 – write 150 words based on a visual description in 20 minutes

TOEFL Integrated Writing Task (150-225 words) – write an essay after reading a passage and listening to a lecture in 20 minutes

IELTS Writing task 2 – write 250 words by responding to an argument or a problem or a viewpoint in 40 minutes

TOEFL Independent Writing Task (300-350 words) – write an essay based on a prompt in 30 minutes

Time: 60 minutes

Time: 50 Minutes

IELTS vs TOEFL Test Format

The main difference is in the format of the questions: the TOEFL uses multiple-choice questions, whereas the IELTS uses a variety of formats such as fill in the blanks, short answers, and so on. In addition, one significant difference is the length of the exams. The IELTS exam must be finished in 2 hours and 45 minutes, while the TOEFL exam will take 4 hours.

IELTS Test Format

Sections 

Duration 

Number of Tasks/Activities 

Listening 

30 minutes 

4

Reading 

60 minutes 

3

Writing 

60 minutes 

2

Speaking 

11-15 minutes 

3

Total 

2 hours 45 minutes 

 -

QUICK READ: IELTS Test Pattern

TOEFL Test Format

Sections 

Scoring

Number of Questions 

Duration 

Reading

0-30

36-56

60-80 minutes

Listening

0-30

34-51

60-90 minutes

Speaking

0-30

34-51

20 minutes

Writing

0-30

2 tasks

50 minutes

Total

0-120

 -

4 hours

QUICK READ: TOEFL Test Pattern

IELTS Vs TOEFL: Exam Pattern & Syllabus

A student must pass four areas of both exams: reading, listening, speaking, and writing. There are, however, differences in how the exam is done.

Listening Section

TOEFL

The TOEFL listening section determines how well a student can listen to lectures and conversations in the classroom. Students will be required to answer questions based on 3 - 4 lectures and 2 - 3 dialogues. Each lecture is followed by six questions, while approximately five questions follow each dialogue.

IELTS 

The IELTS listening section assesses a student's ability to follow a conversation and listen for important and specific information. Four recorded speeches or discussions will be distributed to students in four portions. The first two monologues/conversations are on social demands, while the final two are about education. Questions are based on the audio, which can only be listened to once.

Listening Section

TOEFL 

IELTS

Total Questions 

40

40

Time 

41–57 minutes

30 minutes

Reading Section

TOEFL

The TOEFL reading section assesses a student's ability to read and comprehend university-level instructional material. You will be expected to read three to four passages. You will be required to complete a series of around 10 questions based on each of these passages.

IELTS

A student is usually given three passages to read in the IELTS reading section. Students are asked to respond to several types of questions based on the passages. The section's major goal is to evaluate the student's ability to comprehend and identify the author's key ideas and locate specific facts.

Reading Section

TOEFL

IELTS

Total Questions

40

40

Time

54-72 minutes

60 minutes

Speaking Section

TOEFL

The TOEFL speaking component is intended to assess a student's ability to communicate in English. An examiner scores the results of four tasks presented to the student. A pupil is asked to speak on a familiar topic in one work. Before speaking on the topic, students must read, listen, or do both in the other three integrated Speaking Tasks.

IELTS

The primary goal of the IELTS speaking part is to evaluate a candidate's ability to articulate their ideas and opinions in English. A face-to-face interview with the appointed examiner is required of the student.

Speaking Section

TOEFL 

IELTS

Total Parts 

4

3

Time 

17 minutes

10-15 minutes

Writing Section

TOEFL

The TOEFL writing section is intended to assess a student's ability to present and communicate their ideas. Students will be given two tasks: an integrated task that requires them to read for three minutes, listen for two minutes, and then write for fifteen minutes, and an autonomous essay writing job.

IELTS

The IELTS writing section evaluates your ability to write a well-structured, coherent, and rational essay on the given topic. Students were required to submit two essays, one brief and the other longer.

Writing Section

TOEFL 

IELTS

Total Questions 

2

2

Time 

50 minutes

60 minutes

TOEFL Score vs IELTS Score

Both the TOEFL and IELTS exams have different scoring systems. While IELTS uses a 0-9 band system, TOEFL scores vary from 0-120. With the help of the list given below about the TOEFL to IELTS score conversion table published by ETS, you may roughly predict how well you might fare on the other exam if you have taken practise tests for one.

TOEFL Score

IELTS Band

0-4

0-31

4.5

32-34

5

35-45

5.5

46-59

6

60-78

6.5

79-93

7

94-101

7.5

102-109

8

110-114

8.5

115-117

9

118-120

Which Universities Accept IELTS vs TOEFL?

IELTS, TOEFL, or both are accepted by over 9000 universities worldwide. IELTS is more generally accepted by universities in the United Kingdom and Australia. USA universities widely accept the TOEFL.

IELTS vs TOEFL - What to Choose?

Although both examinations have outstanding reputations and are highly regarded, their methodologies, structure, and substance differ. As a result, you need carefully consider the path you will pursue.

To begin with, both the TOEFL and the IELTS test all aspects of the language.

TOEFL Exam

  • Listening to a vocal recording on the computer constitutes the speaking portion.
  • The writing portion entails using a computer to answer questions.
  • Four tests for every four parts, such as speaking, writing, listening, and reading.
  • 3-hour duration.
  • A 120-point scale.
  • The difficulty is average.

IELTS Exam

  • An examiner is present for the speaking portion.
  • The writing portion is done on a sheet with document analysis.
  • 1 test for each of the four components.
  • 245 minutes and 2 hours.
  • A 0-to-9-point scale.
  • Extremely challenging.

The TOEFL exam costs between $200 and CAD 325, whereas the IELTS exam costs $260 and CAD 390. If you're on a tight budget, this could be a problem. Finally, the best exam for you is a matter of personal preference. Hundreds of institutions worldwide have accepted each exam, and test dates are available throughout the year. Check the requirements of your university preference. Then choose which path to follow.

Moreover, when we compare IELTS and TOEFL, we can see that they differ in many ways while both exams have the same goal. If you're considering taking one of these examinations, make sure you know the differences before deciding. If you are still unsure about choosing the exam for your study abroad career, contact AECC experts. We will help the Indian students to clear the English proficiency exams to study abroad destinations like Australia, Canada, UK, USA and much more. Register now with us for more detailed pieces of information.

FAQs About Difference Between IELTS VS TOEFL

Which is better IELTS or TOEFL?

The TOEFL and IELTS are both widely recognised at undergraduate and graduate colleges worldwide. The TOEFL is more often recognised by American colleges, while the IELTS is more commonly accepted abroad, however scores from either exam are accepted by many schools.

How long is IELTS valid?

How long will an IELTS score be valid? The validity period for Test Report Forms is two years. You may take IELTS as many times as you choose. You are free to utilise whatever result you like.


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