Monday, 16 September 2019 06:47 GMT

TOEFL vs IELTS: How Are They Different?

(MENAFN - Kashmir Observer) Students are asked to submit a TOEFL or an IELTS test score is needed as a part of a student's application to an English Speaking University. These are the standardized tests to determine English level by assessment of reading, writing, speaking and listening skills. Both the test differs in their exam structure, test format, scores, teaching criteria and more. In the article, we will explore the differences between the two.

What is the TOEFL?

TOEFL is an English proficiency test. This is designed by American Company, ETS, in order to measure reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills of an individual in American English. Over 900 universities in more than 130 countries have TOEFL score as their requirement for admission. Candidates who are planning to take the test must have complete details regarding TOEFL Exam .

The test is conducted in two modes. One is the Paper-Based Test (TOEFL PBT) and other is the Internet-Based Test (TOEFL IBT). Since offline tests are less popular in today's world, TOEFL IBT is more popular. For TOEFL IBT, students can get registered at designated centers which are present in almost all countries. The test duration is of 4 hours. American Institutions prefer TOEFL over IELTS. TOEFL is accepted in the UK and Australia.

What is the IELTS?

The test can be carried out in two formats, one is 'IELTS Academic' and other is 'IELTS General Training'. IELTS Academic is for those students who are planning for higher studies abroad. IELTS General Training is for those whose focus is on social skills and workplace contexts.

This test uses British English and has four parts which are reading, speaking, listening, and writing. The test is of 2 hours and 45 minutes which also includes transfer time from one section to another. Over 9000 institutions accept the IELTS Test in which each institution has its own required IELTS score. After taking the IELTS test, students can choose up to 5 organizations where the IELTS results will be sent free of charge.

Comparison between TOEFL and IELTS

In the UK, only UKVI is supported as it is also helpful in getting the UK Visa and Immigration application. In the US and Canada, either TOEFL or IELTS is considered. The price for both the test is similar i.e. around USD 200-300. Price may vary depending upon where you are taking the test. Students willing to give the test can search local centers where the test is offered. Test location for the exam can be found out easily on the respective websites. An individual can appear more than 50 times a year for TOEFL. Both TOEFL and IELTS exam consists of four sections which are speaking, reading, writing, and listening.

Some Differences:

  • TOEFL has completely multiple choice questions whereas IELTS has mix short and essay questions.
  • TOEFL can be given in offline and online mode as mentioned above, but online mode is popular whereas IELTS exam is available only in paper-based mode.
  • TOEFL test takes up to 4 hours to complete whereas IELTS has a duration of 2 hours and 45 minutes.
  • IELTS test can take more than one day as the speaking test is held separately with the instructor.

Below is the table that shows the detailed differences between TOEFL and IELTS



Exam Fee

Varies by country. In the US the

test cost is $215-$245

Varies by country between

$165-$300.Most countries have

fees under $200

Duration of Exam

2 hours and 45 minutes

4 hours

Total Test sections

Listening ( 30 minutes),

Reading( 60 minutes), Writing

(60 minutes), Speaking (11-14


Listening ( 60-90 minutes),

Reading( 60-80 minutes),

Writing (50 minutes), Speaking

(20 minutes)


Australia, Canada, New Zealand,

the UK, and the US

Australia, Canada, New Zealand,

the UK, and the US

How frequently the test is offered in a year

48 test dates per year

More than 50 test dates per year

Soring scale

Zero to 9

Zero to 120

Average minimum score required by top Universities



Test Scores

In the IELTS exam, there are separate scores for each section from 1 to 9. The average score is calculated of all the sections. Hence, if a candidate does not perform well in one section then the average score can be affected.

In TOEFL, the score is structured with 1 point for each question. The final score is given out of 120. Out of each section, a score of 0 to 30 is given. A feedback report is also given along with the scores. It takes at least 10 days to release the scorecard of both the exams. The printed scorecard is mailed to the students after 13 days of test dates.

So, the above mentioned were some of the major differences between TOEFL and IELTS. Candidates must choose the best suitable for them accordingly. Exams may be difficult but ultimately it's the hard work of the candidates which will help them to ace the exam.


TOEFL vs IELTS: How Are They Different?

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