IELTS vs TOEFL Which is Better?

IELTS vs TOEFL Which is Better?

In today’s time, the importance of the English language has increased a lot. It is an essential skill for those who want to pursue higher education abroad, get a job abroad or migrate to an English-speaking nation. You have to prove your English language proficiency by scoring good marks in the English Proficiency tests. There are various tests for the same.

But in this blog, we are going to focus on the two popular English language proficiency exams which are IELTS and TOEFL. As a test taker, you may also have questions that which is easy IELTS or TOEFL? Or which is better IELTS or TOEFL? Through this blog, you will get the answer to all such questions.

In this blog, we will get into a detailed exploration and delve into the intricacies of both exams. We will study in detail the examination formats, scoring systems, test duration and various other features to help you make an informed decision.

Both IELTS and TOEFL exam assesses an individual’s English language proficiency in four key areas. They are speaking, listening, reading and writing. IELTS is majorly formulated for those who are migrating to English-speaking countries for work or secondary education. Whereas TOEFL is popular among North American institutions. If you need any help in the preparation of both tests then Global Colliance is a good option. Global Colliance is the best overseas consultancy in Ahmedabad.

There lot of things which make both tests differ from each other. The test format is one of the significant factors. Those who are good at written communication may prefer essay-based IELTS exams. On the other hand, those who are tech-savvy may find computer-based TOEFL more appealing. The scoring system of both the tests also differs which is also a factor that is considered by test takers. Let’s now study in detail about both the exams, how they differ and which is better for you.

Overview of the IELTS Exam

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is a popular exam for assessing an individual’s English language proficiency. It is developed by the British Council, IDP IELTS Australia and Cambridge Assessment English. There are four basic components on which assessment takes place and they are Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing.

The IELTS exam has two versions i.e. Academic module and the General training module. Those candidates who want to go for higher education in an English-speaking nation can opt for the Academic module. This module tests an individual’s ability to comprehend complex texts, engage in academic discourse and be able to give strong arguments in writing and speaking.

The General Training module is for those candidates who want immigration opportunities for non-academic training programs abroad. This module evaluates an individual’s English proficiency in daily interaction and social context.

Each module of the IELTS exam has a fixed format with specific tasks. The listening section assesses the candidates’ listening skills through conversations, monologues, audio recordings etc. In the reading section, the test takers have to answer a variety of question types which include multiple choice, matching headings, and identification of information.

When it comes to the writing section it has two basic tasks for candidates which differs in Academic and General training modules. The writing section evaluates how good is a candidate at articulating his/her thoughts and organising ideas logically. Finally, the speaking section assesses the candidate’s oral communication skills.

Overview of the TOEFL Exam

The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is an English language proficiency test administered by Educational Testing Services (ETS). The exam is for individuals targeting higher education or looking for professional opportunities in English-speaking countries. Just like IELTS this exam too assessed on four components i.e. Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing.

The reading section in the TOFEL exam has academic passages from university textbooks. Test takers need to answer multi-choice questions, identify information and summarize main ideas. In the listening section candidates have to face various audio recordings, which include lectures, conversations and classroom discussions. This section evaluates a candidate’s ability to speak good English in everyday contexts as well as in academics.

The Speaking component of the TOEFL exam expects that candidates can express their ideas properly. Test takers have to give quick responses, express opinions and provide summaries. At last, the writing section evaluates the candidate’s ability to create a well-structured essay. The section assesses the candidate’s writing proficiency.

IELTS VS TOEFL: A Brief Comparison

IELTS and TOEFL both are very popular and widely accepted English language proficiency tests. They are accepted by many organisations and universities worldwide. But still, there is a lot of difference between IELTS and TOEFL exams. A test taker must understand this difference. This will also help them understand TOEFL or IELTS which is better.

  1. Test Format and Structure

    The IELTS exam has Academic as well as General Training modules. Both IELTS and TOEFL exams have 4 sections i.e. listening, reading, writing and speaking. IELTS tests can be given online as well as offline.

     Whereas TOEFL is a completely computer-based online exam. The speaking section in IELTS requires a face-to-face interview. However, the speaking section in TOEFL involves responding to prompts.

  2.  Content and Question Type

    The content of the IELTS exam differs between Academic and General training modules. In the academic module, there are academic tasks like articles, essays and lectures. Whereas in general training module texts and tasks are based on daily life.

     On the other hand, TOEFL has a major focus on academic English. The reading passages and listening material here are taken from university books. The question types in TOEFL include multiple-choice questions and integrated tasks.

  3. Scoring System

    The scoring system of the exam can answer a popular question among test-takers: IELTS Vs TOEFL which is easier? The IELTS exam has a band scoring system which allows bands ranging from 0 to 9. Each section has an individual score and scores of all these sections are averaged to bring out the overall band score. 

    The TOEFL has point point-based scoring system. In each section, one can score from 0 to 30. The scores are given for correct answers. The overall scoring scale is between 0 to 120.

  4. Test Duration

    The total test duration of the IELTS exam is around 2 hours and 45 minutes. The listening, reading and writing sections are completed in one shot without any breaks. The speaking section can be conducted on the same day or can be scheduled within a week.

     The test duration of TOEFL is around 3 hours and 30 minutes. The reading, speaking and listening are completed in one single sitting. A 10-minute break is allotted between the listening and speaking sections. The writing section is scheduled separately and can be completed up to a week after the other sections.

IELTS Or TOEFL: Which is better for You?

IELTS and TOEFL both are widely accepted exams for migration abroad in English-speaking nations. Both tests have their own characteristics, scoring patterns, pros and cons etc. So, if you still find it difficult to choose between IELTS vs TOEFL, then do consider the following factors: –

  1. Purpose and Requirement

    Firstly, you shall research the requirements of your target institutions or organisations. Some may prefer TOEFL and some may prefer IELTS. So do proper research about the requirement.

  2.  Test Format

    IELTS can be given online as well as offline. Whereas TOEFL is a fully computer-based exam. In addition to this IELTS has more face-to-face interactions whereas in TOEFL you need to respond to computer-based prompts. Now depending on your skills decide which test suits you.

  3.  Scoring System

    Both tests have different scoring systems. IELTS is based on a band score system which ranges from 0 to 9. Whereas the TOEFL have point-based scoring in which score ranges from 0 to 120. By proper understanding of the scoring system, you can decide which test to opt for based on goals and aspirations.

  4.  Accessibility and Availability

    Accessibility and availability of test centres also need to be considered while deciding between IELTS and TOEFL. Check which test offers more convenient test dates and test centres.

  5. Cost

    Compare the costs involved in completing each test. These include registration, study material, preparation, visa etc.

    The selection between IELTS and TOEFL is based on various factors. By careful evaluation of all these factors, one can determine which test to opt for. Make the decision that aligns with your goals and hence increase your chance of succeeding in the test.



Both IELTS and TOEFL are popular English proficiency exams accepted on a wider scale. But the decision between which is better for one depends on the individual circumstances, preferences, and goals. Both tests are reliable and have different formats and scoring patterns.

Those who are okay with face-to-face interactions and want flexibility in test modules can opt for IELTS. But for tech-savvy youth TOEFL would be a better choice as it is a fully computer-based test. Candidates shall also go through the requirements of the institute or organisations they are targeting. Consider the preferences and pros/cons of both tests before making the final decision.

Both tests allow you to showcase your familiarity and proficiency in the English language. So do analyse properly, consider your goals and preferences and make final decision. If you are planning to appear for either of the tests, then Global Colliance can help you. It is one of the best study abroad consultant.

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