Indians who wish to study, work or immigrate abroad are required to pass an English-language proficiency exam. Two such popular exams are the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) exam and the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) exam.
If you are wondering which one is better, then this article might help you decide. But first, let us briefly discuss the format and details of the IELTS exam and the TOEFL exam.
Format of the IELTS Exam and the TOEFL Exam
|Conducting Body||IDP Education Ltd.||Educational Testing Services(ETS)|
|Variants||IELTS Academic and IELTS General.||TOEFL iBT test (at a test centre), TOEFL iBT home edition and TOEFL iBT paper edition.|
|Duration||2 hours 45 minutes||4 hours|
|Sections||Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking.||Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking.|
|Exam Frequency||Up to 48 times a year.||Over 60 times a year.|
|Cost||Differs as per the type of the test, but ranges from INR 14,600-15,750.||INR 14,197.44 (US$190).|
|Results Timeline||13 days for paper-based test 3-5 days for computer-based test||10 days after the test|
|Minimum score required||6.3||78|
|Validity||2 years||2 years|
|Acceptability||Over 11,000 institutions around the globe.||11,500 institutions in over 160 countries.|
IELTS and TOEFL exams are the most preferred English-language examinations used by students, jobseekers, and aspiring migrants. Both examinations evaluate skills such as reading, writing, listening, and speaking, to determine how well you understand the English language. Both have no age restrictions, and participants can take as many examinations as they want. Universities in America mostly accept TOEFL, whereas universities in the UK and Australia prefer IELTS over TOEFL.
There are two variations of the IELTS exam
- IELTS Academic: It is appropriate for applying to universities that provide higher education or for professional registration.
- IELTS General Training: It is appropriate work or immigration.
There are three variations of the TOEFL exam
- TOEFL iBT: A computer test administered at a testing centre.
- TOEFL iBT Home-Edition: Test on a computer in the comfort of your home.
- TOEFL iBT Paper-Edition: Reading, listening and writing on a paper at the test centre and speaking on a computer from home.
The IELTS exam focuses on a candidate’s creative thinking and comprehension capabilities, whereas the TOEFL exam assesses analytical thinking and how effectively a candidate can weigh its options.
Important Factors to Consider
Now that we have discussed the formats of the two exams, let us look at some factors to consider before deciding whether to choose the IELTS exam or the TOEFL exam.
- Acceptability: The foremost factor is whether the institute or organisation you are applying to accept IELTS or TOEFL score. For instance, TOEFL exam is preferred mostly by American institutions.
- Duration: IELTS takes only 2 hours 45 minutes, whereas TOEFL is a 4-hour-long duration test. Also, the timing differs for different sections of the test. For example, the reading section in TOEFL is 60-100 minutes, whereas in IELTS it is only 60 minutes.
- Time for preparation: IELTS is suitable if the application date is only a few months away, as its preparation takes 3-6 weeks on average. Whereas TOEFL preparation takes 2 to 3 months.
- Exam pattern: Most of the questions in the TOEFL are MCQs with answer choices, but many of the questions on the IELTS require you to write your own answers. In addition, the TOEFL exam should be completed in one sitting, but the IELTS exam can be divided into segments (speaking section) and can be completed at different intervals of time.
If you are planning to study or work abroad, you will need to pass one of the Standard English proficiency tests, such as the IELTS or TOEFL. You have the option of answering either to demonstrate your command of the English language, depending on the factors discussed in the article. We hope this article has given you enough information on the IELTS and TOEFL exams to help you make an educated decision.
Best of luck with your exam studies!