Things to know about IELTS vs. TOEFL: Which is easier? When you apply to a university in another country, both the IELTS and the TOEFL can show how good your English skills are. Because most colleges accept both of these scores, it’s easy to get mixed up about which test to take. You can use the 6 things in this blog to compare IELTS and TOEFL and figure out which one is easier for you!
Things to know about IELTS vs. TOEFL: Which is easier?
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IELTS and TOEFL both show how well you know the English language, but they do so in different ways. The subject and country you choose also affect how important one or the other is at your school. When you’re trying to decide between the IELTS and the TOEFL, there are a few things you should think about. Find out more about each test and decide which one is best for you!
Before we start comparing these two exams, let’s get a better idea of what they are about and why they are important.
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What is the IELTS?
Both students and people who work need to take the International English Language Test System (IELTS). It’s even used by people who want to move to other countries.
IELTS is a good way to get into a lot of universities all over the world, like those in Canada, the U.S. and many other countries. They all accept it.
IELTS scores are accepted by 10,000 schools in more than 140 countries around the world.
When it comes to taking the test, you can either do it on paper or on the internet. This game has two different types of questions and even short essays that you can write down.
Take the test in less than three hours.
IELTS vs. TOEFL
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There is only one examiner in front of you when you speak. They will be in charge of evaluating you. These accents are shown in this part, which may happen on a different day than the rest of the test.
When you’re listening, you have to answer questions of different lengths while you listen to recordings of lectures or carefully planned conversations.
From 1 to 9, the IELTS has a score of 1 to 9, and they get their overall score from how well they did on the four-part written test.
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What is TOEFL?
The Test Of English as a Foreign Language (or TOEFL) is an English proficiency test conducted by the Education Testing Service (ETS). Most universities around the globe also accept it.
The test is conducted in American English, and most American institutions prefer it as an English evaluation system.
While the TOEFL exam is available in both internet-based (TOEFL iBT) and paper-delivered formats, 98% of TOEFL test takers worldwide opt for the TOEFL iBT test due to the convenience and ease of the testing manner.
It focuses on evaluating your skills when communicating in English in detailed settings like academic, classroom-located, and university environments.
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he TOEFL is attempted by typing all the answers on a computer. During the speaking part, six reviewers are in charge of checking your recorded answers. This takes 20 minutes and it’s performed the same day as the rest of the evaluation.
As for the writing part, you are expected to write a 350-word essay containing five paragraphs for the first task. For the second one (lasting 20 minutes), you’ll be asked to create a 225-word response to the excerpt of a lecture from which you previously took notes while listening to it.
This is also applicable in the 40-60-minute long listening part of the test.
Comprehension is what the TOEFL evaluates most stringently, with a scoring system from 1-120.
IELTS vs TOEFL pattern
The IELTS exam has 4 sections: Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking. The total time given to complete the test is 2 hours, 45 minutes. The Academic IELTS exam pattern is as follows:
Similarly, TOEFL also has 4 sections: Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking. The total time given to complete the test is 3 hours. The Academic TOEFL exam pattern is as follows:
IELTS vs TOEFL Reading section
The reading paper has 3 passages with a total of 40 questions divided into a number of tasks. The candidate is expected to complete the paper in 60 minutes. The questions in different tasks range from multiple-choice, matching information, diagram labeling, and identifying information (question type: true or false). Also, the distribution of the number of questions in the tasks is not fixed.
The reading section of the test consists of 3-4 multiple-focus passages (compare/contrast, cause-effect). Each passage consists of 10 questions. The time allotted to this section can vary between 54-72 minutes, depending on the number of passages given in the test. The scores for this portion of the test can range between 0 and 30. You can take a look at the TOEFL practice test for reading right here.
IELTS vs TOEFL Listening Section
The listening paper has a total of 40 questions divided in 4 different tasks which are to be finished in 30 minutes. The candidate listens to 4 different recordings, played only once. The recordings will be in a variety of voices with native-speaker accents. They can be a one on one conversation or a monologue on any topic. The questions range from multiple-choice, matching, map or diagram labeling, form completion, note completion, summary completion, and short answers.
This section contains 3 to 4 lectures, and some lectures contain classroom discussions. Each lecture is around 3-5 minutes long, and at the end of each, you will be asked 6 questions. Also included in this portion are normal, daily-life conversations. You’ll get to listen to 2-3 conversations, each being 3 minutes long. Additionally, you’ll be asked 5 questions at the end of each conversation. The accents used in the listening portion are those of native-speakers from all over North America.
IELTS vs TOEFL Speaking Section
Speaking test is an interview with the examiner which lasts up to 11-14 minutes. The test consists of 3 tasks. Task one is typically an introduction or an interview wherein the examiner asks the candidate for a personal introduction. The interview can go on for about 4-5 minutes. In the second task, a task card is given to the candidate containing a topic to speak on. 1 minute is given to jot down the notes and 1-2 minutes are given to talk on the given topic. At the end of the 2 minutes, the examiner can ask a couple of questions based on your topic. Task three is related to the previous task. The topic from task two is discussed in-depth and in an abstract way. This task can end up for 4-5 minutes. In some cases, they conduct the speaking test on a different day.
This portion of the test consists of 4 tasks. You’ll be assigned 1 independent task to express your opinion on a topic you’re familiar with. You’ll have 30 seconds to prepare your response. Apart from that, you will have 3 integrated speaking tasks based on reading and listening. You’ll have 1 minute to prepare your response. The total time allotted to this section is 17 minutes. You’ll be scored out of 0-4 points, and then your points will be converted to a scale between 0 to 30. You can find an example of the speaking section here. This example is 11 seconds long and you have 45 seconds to respond.
IELTS vs TOEFL Writing Section
The writing test consists of two sections with a total test time of 60 minutes. Section one consists of various types of visual information(e.g: graphs or pi diagrams). They expect candidates to elaborate the visual information in precisely 150 words. Section two consists of a topic to write on where candidates elaborate on an argument or a topic in not less or more than 250 words.
You’ll have two tasks in this section of the test-
- Section 1- An integrated task based on what you read and heard. You’ll have 20 minutes to complete this.
- Section 2- An independent task to support an opinion on a topic. You’ll have 30 minutes to complete this.
The total time allotted to this section is 50 minutes and you’ll be scored on a point range of 0 to 5, which will then be converted to a score scale of 0 to 30.
IELTS vs TOEFL Who accepts what?
Several universities accepted the IELTS, including those in Canada, US, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, etc. All in all, the IELTS exam scores are accepted by 10,000 institutions in more than 140 countries around the world.
Some of the top countries that accept TOEFL include the United States of America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and many other institutions across Europe and Asia
Major differences between IELTS and TOEFL
If you have read so far, you must’ve already noticed a few subtle yet important differences between the two exams. Let’s point them out-
- While TOEFL is ONLY computer-based, IELTS is both paper and computer-based. So if you’re more comfortable taking an exam on paper, you can choose IELTS.
- The speaking section for these two exams is so different. In IELTS, you have to appear for a personal interview. This isn’t the case in TOEFL, where you can speak to the computer during your online test itself.
- They take TOEFL in standard American English. So if you’ve grown up watching English movies and binge-watch sitcoms even today, TOEFL might be for you.
- The essay they expect you to write in the TOEFL writing section is lengthier. It also demands a fast typing speed. On the other hand, if you type slow but have legible handwriting, you can go for TOEFL.
- In IELTS, you have to give short answers, which is not the case in TOEFL. TOEFL requires you to attempt MCQ-type questions.
- The reading passages in TOEFL are also used to inform rather than entertain. This means that if you like reading non-fiction, news, etc., you will find this exam easier to attempt.
IELTS vs TOEFL which is easier
All these parameters and information mentioned above should help you decide upon which entrance exam to choose between IELTS vs TOEFL.
However, if you’re still confused, remember that both these exams cost approximately the same and the price should not be your deciding factor.
Look at what you’re better at – if it’s academic reading, online interviews, MCQs, and typing on keyboards instead of writing, go for TOEFL.
Otherwise, choose IELTS.
The answer to IELTS vs TOEFL, which is easier, is, as you must’ve realized, subjective.
Once you’ve decided, all you have to do is find the right test prep course, make your study plan, and start preparing!