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30K+ Students Counselled

IELTS Vs TOEFL: Which One Should You Take?


Recent student surveys have shed light on the perceptions and experiences of test-takers with the two prominent English language proficiency tests, TOEFL vs IELTS. While both exams are widely accepted by universities and institutions worldwide, the feedback from students highlights the unique strengths and challenges associated with each test. TOEFL supporters like its academic approach and how it’s set up for speaking. On the other hand, IELTS supporters prefer its practical use, especially in every day talking situations, which helps people communicate better in English-speaking places. If you’re an international student aspiring to study in an English-speaking country, you need clarification about which one to give. The IELTS Vs TOEFL is a debate we will engage in this article. 

IELTS Vs TOEFL: Highlights

Conducting BodyIDP and British CouncilETS
Testing MediumBoth Online and OfflineBoth Online and Offline
Test TypeIELTS Academic, IELTS General and IELTS IndicatorTOEFL iBT
Test Duration2 hours and 45 minutes4 hours
IntervalThere is no break during IELTS listening, reading and writing tests. The IELTS speaking is usually taken one week before or after the test.10-minute break between TOEFL listening and speaking.
SectionsReading, Writing, Listening and SpeakingReading, Writing, Listening and Speaking
Score Range0-90-120
Minimum Score Required for University6.390
Exam Frequency48 times in a yearOver 50 times in a year
Score Card Delivery11-13 days4-8 days
FeesINR 15,500INR 15,678

IELTS – International English Language Testing System

The IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is a standardised test to assess the English language proficiency of non-native English speakers. This test is recognised globally by over 11,000 employers, schools, universities and immigration agencies, with 3,400 establishments in the USA alone, according to the official website of IELTS. 

The IELTS test evaluates four key language skills:

  • Listening: Understanding conversations and monologues on everyday topics.
  • Reading: Reading comprehension of different types of texts.
  • Writing: Writing clear, well-organised texts for different purposes.
  • Speaking: Communicating effectively in English through a one-on-one interview.

There are two versions of the IELTS test:

  • IELTS Academic: For those seeking admission to universities or professional registration.
  • IELTS General Training: For immigration purposes or employment in an English-speaking environment.

The British Council jointly owns IELTS; IDP IELTS and Cambridge University Press & Assessment. 

TOEFL – Test Of English As A Foreign Language

The TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) is yet another standardised test that measures the English language ability of non-native speakers. Institutions of higher learning and government agencies in more than 130 countries acknowledge TOEFL scores. Some courses may need a minimum TOEFL score and the standard course prerequisites to be eligible for admission. The minimum score requirements typically range from 61 to 100. 

The TOEFL test evaluates all four English communication skills:

  • Reading: Ability to understand academic reading materials.
  • Listening: Ability to understand lectures, classroom discussions, and conversations.
  • Speaking: Ability to express ideas orally on an academic topic.
  • Writing: Ability to write essays and support an opinion.

There are two formats of the TOEFL test:

  • TOEFL iBT (Internet-based Test): This is the most widely accepted and preferred format. It is administered via the Internet at approved test centres.
  • TOEFL Paper-delivered Test: This is a paper-based version, which is gradually being phased out.

Scores are based on a scale of 0-120, with universities and institutions setting their minimum score requirements for admission. Many consider the TOEFL more academic-oriented than other English proficiency tests like IELTS.

Difference Between IELTS And TOEFL

When comparing these two widely recognised international English language proficiency tests, several important criteria must be evaluated. You can determine which test suits your needs and goals by weighing the following factors. This in-depth analysis of the criteria will help you decide between IELTS and TOEFL.

Difficulty Level Of The Test

Determining which English test, TOEFL or IELTS, is more challenging largely depends on your language competence and prior knowledge. There is no definitive consensus on which test is easier. 

  • While TOEFL is owned by a North American body and IELTS by organisations in the UK and Australia, your IELTS success does not hinge on familiarity with British accents, vocabulary, or contexts. 
  • IELTS features a wide variety of accents, making it truly international. Moreover, you are not expected to sound like a native English speaker to score well in the IELTS Speaking section.

Test Taker’s Objectives

Another crucial factor in deciding between TOEFL and IELTS is considering your specific objective. For instance, do you need to take the test for student travel, testing language proficiency, or moving abroad for work?

  • IELTS offers a distinct advantage by providing two test types: IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. The IELTS Academic test is suitable if you plan to work in an English-speaking organisation or study at an undergraduate or postgraduate level. 
  • The IELTS General Training test measures your ability to cope in everyday situations and day-to-day life, commonly taken by individuals wishing to emigrate to an English-speaking country.

Test Delivery Method

Regarding test delivery methods, TOEFL and IELTS do not differ significantly. Both tests offer online versions that you can take from the comfort of your own private space. TOEFL has its Home Edition test and IELTS has recently launched IELTS Online in some locations, which should be more widely available in the coming months.

Test Taker’s Level Of English

While an accurate comparison between TOEFL and IELTS scores can be challenging, an approximate degree of comparability can be established based on the levels typically required by academic and business institutions. 

  • These levels can also be compared with the reference standards of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR). This international standard defines language proficiency and serves as a worldwide benchmark.

Generally, IELTS results are reported as band scores on a scale from 1 (the lowest) to 9 (the highest), whereas TOEFL performance is graded on a scale from 0 to 120 points (the highest). The table below outlines how these align:

LevelCEFRIELTS (9.0)TOEFL iBT (120)
Basic UserA1N/AN/A
Independent userB10-40-31
Proficient userC17.094-101

Test Sections

Overall, TOEFL and IELTS assess the same skills: listening, reading, writing, and speaking. However, the sections in each test may differ due to differences in the task types used.

  • Listening module: This section in TOEFL is limited to multiple-choice questions. In contrast, the IELTS Listening section is more varied, including task types such as multiple-choice, matching, plan/map/diagram labelling, form/note/table/flow-chart/summary completion and sentence completion.
  • Reading module: TOEFL dedicates 35 minutes to this section, divided into two passages, with comprehension assessed through multiple-choice questions. On the other hand, the IELTS Reading section lasts 60 minutes and involves a set of texts evaluated more comprehensively. 

Test Taker’s Speaking Skills

One notable difference in the Speaking section is that TOEFL test-takers must speak into a microphone while answering questions. In IELTS, test-takers have a one-on-one oral interview with a trained IELTS Examiner. They may sit this part on the same day as the written test or at an earlier/later date. IELTS Speaking can be done via video call or in person.

Test Results

The time taken to receive TOEFL and IELTS results varies, depending on the delivery method chosen. 

  • For IELTS, the results depend on whether you take the test on paper or computer. IELTS on computer results take between three and five days, whereas IELTS on paper results are usually available 13 days after the test date. 
  • TOEFL results take between seven and ten days following the mailing date.


IELTS and TOEFL offer numerous test dates per year for the convenience of test-takers. IELTS provides 48 test dates per year, while TOEFL is available on more than 50 dates annually. The table below presents a simple comparison of the two tests.

IELTS AcademicQuestionsTOEFL iBTQuestions
Listening30 mins4041-57 mins28-39
Reading60 mins4054-72 mins30-40
Writing60 mins2 tasks50 mins2 tasks
Speaking11-14 mins3 parts17 mins4 tasks

Let’s bifurcate and see each section of both the tests and difference amongst them. 

IELTS vs TOEFL – Listening

An often-circulated misconception about IELTS and TOEFL is that IELTS assesses British English, while TOEFL focuses on US English. However, both tests have various English accents, including North American, British, Australian and New Zealand accents, ensuring that candidates have a well-rounded understanding of the language.

  • The IELTS Listening test comprises four parts, each consisting of ten questions. Parts 1 and 2 are centred around everyday English, while Parts 3 and 4 assess academic English. Parts 1 and 3 feature multiple speakers, while Parts 2 and 4 are delivered as monologues by a single speaker.
  • On the other hand, the TOEFL iBT Listening test comprises lectures and conversations that use the language skills typically required at university. The test includes three to four lectures, each consisting of six questions and two to three conversations with two speakers, with five questions per conversation.

Listening Score Comparison


IELTS vs TOEFL – Reading

In the IELTS Academic Reading test, there are three passages with a combined total of approximately 2,750 words. The first two passages have thirteen questions each, while the third passage has fourteen questions. 

  • These questions will cover various question types, as previously mentioned. The reading texts are sourced from books, journals, magazines, newspapers, or websites. 
  • You are not required to be an expert in the subject matter, but rather, you must be able to answer the questions based on the text.

Similarly, the TOEFL iBT reading section comprises three to four passages, each with a total of 700 words. Each passage is followed by ten multiple-choice questions. Like the IELTS, you do not need to be well-versed in the subject matter and can answer questions based on the information provided in the text.

Reading Score Comparison


IELTS vs TOEFL – Writing

Both the IELTS and TOEFL Writing tests consist of two tasks. The IELTS Academic Writing test requires completing task one by interpreting information presented in a graph, chart, table or diagram within 20 minutes and writing at least 150 words. 

  • For task two, you have 40 minutes to answer a discussion question in at least 250 words, with the task worth double the marks of task one. If you take the paper-based IELTS test, you must handwrite both tasks.
  • On the other hand, TOEFL iBT task one is unique in that it integrates reading and listening skills. 
  • You must read a brief passage and listen to a short lecture, then write a response based on the information presented. 
  • Task two requires you to write an essay expressing your personal experience or opinion on a given topic, and you have 50 minutes to complete both tasks.

Writing Test Score Comparison


IELTS vs TOEFL – Speaking

The IELTS and TOEFL differ in how their speaking tests are conducted. In IELTS, you will have a face-to-face or video call conversation with an examiner who records the test for review and training purposes. 

  • The test will be evaluated by the examiner and other reviewers as needed.
  • Meanwhile, the TOEFL iBT test requires you to listen to questions and provide answers through a microphone. The AI technology and human reviewers will then evaluate your responses. 
  • The timing of the speaking test also differs between the two exams. IELTS may or may not be taken on the same day as the other test components, while TOEFL iBT is always taken on the same day.

The IELTS Speaking test is composed of three parts: In part one, you provide personal information and discuss everyday topics. In part two, you will have one minute to prepare for a task and two minutes to deliver your talk. Finally, in part three, you engage in a discussion with the examiner related to the topic in part two.

Speaking Score Comparison


TOEFL And IELTS Difference In Fees

The cost of taking the TOEFL and IELTS tests can vary significantly. Generally, the TOEFL tends to be more expensive. In contrast, the IELTS is typically more affordable. See the costs below: 

TOEFL Cost In 2024₹16,900
IELTS Cost In 2024₹17,000

Which One Should You Choose?

Firstly, it’s important to confirm which test(s) the institutions you’re interested in accept. If you have the luxury of time, you should consider which test is best suited for you, which is the IELTS or TOEFL. TOEFL is completely computer-based and longer in duration, making it an excellent option if you’re concerned about your handwriting or English-speaking skills. On the other hand, IELTS is a shorter exam that may be more challenging, with a broader variety of question types and tasks, including one-on-one interaction with an examiner.

Ultimately, the choice of which exam is best for you is up to you. Both exams are widely accepted by hundreds of institutions worldwide, and test dates are available throughout the year.


Which is easier, IELTS or TOEFL?

While both IELTS and TOEFL test basic English proficiency, many test takers find IELTS easier than TOEFL. This is particularly true for the reading section, according to student feedback.

Is TOEFL better than IELTS?

Both TOEFL and IELTS are widely accepted by universities around the world as proof of English language proficiency. Neither test is inherently better than the other, so it’s best to choose the one that best fits your needs.

Is TOEFL accepted in the UK?

Yes, all universities in the UK accept TOEFL scores. However, it’s always a good idea to confirm the details with study abroad consultants like Leverage Edu

.What is the TOEFL exam used for?

The TOEFL exam is widely accepted by over 8,500 institutions across 130 countries, including the UK, USA, and Australia. It serves as the primary English proficiency test for admission to many universities.

Does the USA accept IELTS?

Yes, major universities in the United States recognise IELTS as a valid measure of English language proficiency. IELTS results can be used as proof of your ability to read, write, speak, and understand English.

If you liked reading this blog on “IELTS Vs TOEFL” then make sure you explore our other informative blogs linked below!

1 thought on “Top PGDM Courses In Canada: Universities, Specialisations & Eligibility”

  1. I have done Bachelor’s in Culinary Arts from India and completed my graduation in the year 2022 .I am 22 years old. After graduation, I have done 1 year paid internship from USA .Now, I would like to take occupational experience and learn culinary skills and also do masters in Culinary arts.How can I find the college n best course / country where I can persue studying further

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IELTS Vs TOEFL: Which One Should You Take?

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