By admin | 30 December, 2021

IELTS vs TOEFL: A guide for you


There are many factors which will help you determine whether to take IELTS or TOEFL. These are language proficiency tests and have a similar format that involves listening, reading, writing and speaking. It is difficult to say which one is easier than the other. Hence, the following criteria will help you figure out the pros and cons of each test.

  • Nature of the test– IELTS is a paper-based test while TOEFL is completely online based. If you are more inclined towards the traditional paper-pen pattern of learning, IELTS will be good to go with. If you are techno-savvy and find no difficulties reading passages and typing online, then TOEFL should be good for you.
  • Accent– You’ll find IELTS easier especially with the listening section if you are comfortable with British accent or TOEFL if you are more at ease with the American accent. Hence, decide accordingly.
  • Test Duration– IELTS takes place on two different days. The first day of the exam requires about 2 hours 45 minutes of time. Comparatively, TOEFL takes about 4 hours to complete as all four sections of the exam are held on the very same day itself.  So, if you want to give a shorter exam, then go for IELTS.
  • Speaking Test– In the IELTS test, you have a 1-1 session between the examiner and the candidate for the speaking test. If you are good with your command over the language and can express yourself freely, IELTS is the right choice for you. On the other hand, TOEFL requires you to record all your answers online through a microphone for the speaking test. For people who are bad at giving interviews, TOEFL might be easy as you’ll be answering to a machine rather than person.
  • Choice of universities– If you are applying for an institution in US, then consider taking TOEFL since it is more widely accepted in the US along with GRE. For countries in Europe, IELTS is the most preferred choice.
  • Writing Topics– The essay topic for TOEFL is very simple and hardly requires brain storming as compared to the topic asked in the IELTS essay writing section. Also, if you do not have a good handwriting then typing an essay online for the TOEFL test should fit your bill.
  • Listening section– The TOEFL listening test is 60 minutes long and the IELTS listening test is 30 minutes. In terms of concentration, most students find the TOEFL listening test very long and this results in them losing concentration and missing out on answers. In comparison, the IELTS listening test involves listening as well as writing down answers simultaneously which is an exciting and easy task.
  • Reading section– The TOEFL reading test has multiple choice questions only. On the other hand, IELTS has a range of different questions including fill in the blanks, matching the headings and True, False or Not Given.

It is highly recommended that you take a diagnostic test for both the exams and then decide on the basis of your adaptability and scores.

By: Dilip Dubey

Academic Head and Senior Counselor

Education Street


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