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TOEFL or IELTS: Which Exam Will Better?

Moving abroad is everyone’s dream but before filing visa application people need to clear an English Language Proficiency Exam. People can opt either for TOEFL or IELTS because both of these exams help them to prove their English Language Skills. But one decision is always difficult to take which is, among TOEFL or IELTS which one should we take? Which one will help us to get higher scores?

So, this article will definitely help you in taking the right decision.

Introduction to TOEFL & IELTS

Introduction to TOEFL & IELTS

TOEFL: The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is also an English language proficiency exam produced by the ETS. ETS is the same organization that develops GRE and other tests. The TOEFL test can be given either by paper-based or computer-based. However, TOEFL iBT is, by far, the most commonly taken and accepted version of the TOEFL


The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam is owned by the British Council and IDP. There are two IELTS versions i.e. Academic and General. Academic IELTS is for students applying for higher education. On the other hand, General IELTS is for people travelling to English-speaking countries for secondary education, work, or PR basis.

IELTS & TOEFL Test Formats

TOEFL Format

The total time duration allocated to complete the test is 3.5 hours. Ten-minutes break is provided in between the listening and speaking sections. As the paper is divided into four sections, therefore, for each section, students will receive a score of 0-30. Below is the format of the exam.

Section Number of Questions Time Allocated
Reading 36-56 60-80 minutes
Listening 34-51 60-90 minutes
Speaking 6 tasks 20 minutes
Writing 2 tasks 50 minutes


IELTS Format

IELTS test duration is of 2 hours and 45 minutes. It has the same four sections as the TOEFL. For each section, the student receives a score from 0-9. The test format is as below:

Section Number of Questions Time Allocated
Reading 40 60 minutes
Listening 40 30 minutes
Speaking 3 tasks 11-14 minutes
Writing 2 tasks 60 minutes


Which Test Students Need to Prepare: IELTS or TOEFL?

CD-IELTS is just getting started for the IELTS. The test format is expected to stay the same for at least a few more years. Many coaching companies prepare students for IELTS. But if applicants have the choice of preparing for one of the tests or the other with a professional test coach, they may prefer the IELTS, as long as the schools you’re applying to will accept it.

General Differences

The TOEFL exam is comprised of multiple choice questions, whereas IELTS contains a range of different types of question like short answer, gap-filling, and short essay tasks. It is shorter than the TOEFL exam, taking approx. 2 hours and 40 minutes to complete.

Students applying for English-speaking programmes will need to sit in the Academic IELTS exam, whereas the General Training exam is used to meet immigration and occupational requirements.

Both IELTS and TOEFL are standardized tests. The TOEFL test is commonly used as an entrance exam at universities and graduate schools. Talking about the IELTS, it offers an academic option as well as a general test. No matter which tests applicants are taking, the scores all expire 2 years after the test date. The level of test difficulty truly depends on the applicant’s English background.

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The two most common English language proficiency exams are TOEFL and IELTS. Both tests are comprised of four modules i.e. Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing, but these tests vary in terms of format. So, before appearing for any of the exam students must ask these four questions to themselves:

  • Which exam is accepted by the school applicant interested in?
  • Which test plays more to your strengths?
  • Which one is cheaper?
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