How to Choose Between IELTS and TOEFL: A Guide for English Learners.

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How to Choose Between IELTS and TOEFL: A Guide for English Learners.

IELTS is the abbreviation of International English Language Testing System. On the hand, TOEFL is the abbreviation of Test of English as a Foreign Language.

IELTS and TOEFL both are English tests that are required either for immigration purposes or for qualifying for admission in colleges or universities. Both the exams have their own importance and sets of rules. For academic reasons, the institutions mention the particular test required by them so one doesn’t have to go through the difficult process of choosing between the two. However, sometimes it’s not specified and the applicant is free to select either of the two; this is where they feel completely lost in picking the best option as per their capabilities and interests.

For deciding which test suits us the best, we need to understand the similarities and differences between the both.

Points of similarities between IELTS and TOEFL

  1. Both the tests are based on reading, speaking, listening and writing skills and they’re evaluated on the basis of standard scores in all the countries.
  2. Both cost around $150-$250.
  3. Both are used to evaluate the minimum level of English skills required to be a part of the institution or a resident of the country.

Points of differences between IELTS and TOEFL:

Difference in Speaking

The major difference in the speaking session of both the tests is that in the TOEFL test; one appears before a computer where entire speaking part takes place through an automated software. On the other hand, in IELTS, one talks to a real person instead of talking to a machine. The latter is found feasible by those who find it weird talking to a computer whereas some people are shy and they think talking to a machine is a better option to avoid interacting with a stranger so they prefer TOEFL. However, when one wants to clarify a certain point which they fail to understand then they won’t be able to ask a computer of course hence they are required to be extra attentive in this test.

Difference in Writing

The biggest difference between the both with respect to the writing part is that in IELTS one has to write everything down on paper whereas in TOEFL all assignments are typed using a keyboard. So it completely varies from person to person. Some people are not really good typists so they prefer writing instead and others find their handwriting really horrible hence they don’t want to scare out the checkers and rather want to type the answers.

Difference in Listening

The duration of listening session is different for both IELTS and TOEFL. TOEFL is twice longer in time i.e. the listening session lasts for 60 minutes whereas IELTS is only 30 minutes long.

Then there’s a difference in speakers’ accents. In the IELTS test, there can be variety of accents including USA, Australia, Canada, Wales, Ireland etc. TOEFL listening would encompass only standard American accent.

Difference in Reading

Again the reading session in TOEFL is much lengthier and involves multiple choice questions only that require a lot of reading which can be tiring and prone to loss of concentration.

Most importantly one needs to see what is most convenient for them keeping in view the vicinity of test centers. All in all, as per popular preference, IELTS is regarded relatively easier and more engaging than TOEFL probably because it takes shorter time and involves more human interaction.

Some Key Facts about IELTS and TOFEL:

  • TOEFL test is administered and developed by the US-based “Educational Testing Service” (ETS).
  • TOEFL exam’s each section is scored on a scale of 0 to 30, and the whole exam is scored on a scale of 0 to 120.
  • TOEFL scores will be valid for 2 years after the administration date of the test.
  • IELTS is administered in over 140 countries, and in more than 1000 locations.
  • Every year you can get up to 48 IELTS test dates.
  • IELTS score is reported on a 9 band scale.
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