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Comparative Study : IELTS and TOEFL - Two International

When it comes to test English for advanced purposes like immigration, occupation or education overseas, two international open tests that are considered standardised and common are IELTS and TOEFL respectively. The aim and purpose of both the tests is to examine the proficiency in English language for non-native speakers. Both the tests and their scores are widely accepted and comprehensive.

Here is a comparative study between IELTS and TOEFL.

Similarity between IELTS and TOEFL

  • Well known and most dreaded English language test among students
  • Four common sections in both TOEFL and IELTS - Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking.
  • Both IELTS and TOEFL score is valid for two years.
  • Conducts and maintains an international standard.
  • Assesses English proficiency of non-native speakers.
  • Hear and answer to audio clips in listening section.
  • Both scores accepted in US and Australia.
  • In both IELTS and TOEFL, the speaking section is divided into three parts.
  • The Writing section of both the tests have two distinct sections.

Comparative Study - IELTS Vs TOEFL

Difference between IELTS and TOEFL

Points of Difference IELTS TOEFL
Full Form International English Language Testing System Test of English in Foreign Language
Managed & administered by The British Council, University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations and IDP Education Australia Educational Testing Service (ETS)
Examination duration 2 hours 45 minutes 4 hours
Score Acceptance
  • IELTS scores is widely accepted in-
    ?UK, Australia, British, New Zealand and Canadian universities, including Harvard Business School
  • Accepted by 9000 organisations in 130 nations
  • By 3000+ academic institutions in U.S.
  • Professional enterprises across the globe (for employment purpose)
  • Approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI), Australia, Canada and New Zealand
  • Accepted by 8500+ organisations across 130 nations (UK, USA & Australia)
  • Considered by world’s top 100 universities
English accent British English American English
Nature of test IELTS exam is designed in two patterns:

  • Academic (for English-speaking tertiary programmes)
  • General  (for immigration and some occupational requirements)
There is only one kind of TOEFL exam
Mode of exam Computer or paper based Computer based
Nature of questions Short answer, elaborate writing, fill in the blanks, Multiple choice questions (MCQ) and so on Multiple Choice Questions
Pressure on candidates In IELTS, students need to be vivid and analytical In TOEFL students need to be crisp, brief and reasonable
Reading section
  • 3 passages (60-100mins)
  • Questions from literary sources like newspaper, text books and more. You can expect 15 types of questions. Few of them are: a) Short answer; b) MCQ; c) Match a heading; d) True or False; e) Complete a summary;  f) Fill in the blanks
  • 4-6 passages (60 mins)
  • MCQ
Speaking section
  • 10-15 minutes
  • Test is recorded and assessed by examiner later on
  • Use of recording device.
  • Exam divided in three parts
    a) Introduction
    b) Discussion on a general topic
    c) Questions related to the general topic
  • 20 minutes
  • Conducted by live examiner in three sessions
  • Use of headphone, microphone and computer

Exam divided in three parts:
a) First Two questions: On familiar topics and are opinion related
b) Second Two questions where you have to summarize information from a text and a conversation
Two questions will ask you to summarize information based on a short conversation you will be provided.

Writing Section
  • First task: Summarise or explain information presented in a graph, chart, table or diagram
  • Second task: Situational response (200-250 words)
  • First task : 5 para essay (300-350 words)
  • Second task : Situational response (150-200 words)
Score 1-9 band 120 points
Focus area
  • Rationality
  • Cohesion
  • Grammar
  • Speed 1-9 band
  • Vocabulary
  • Writing Style
  • Grammar

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