ielts vs toefl

IELTS vs TOEFL are two of the most widely taken English Language Proficiency tests in the world. Often students are confused between both. First, check with the institution you are applying to, and as per their requirement, you can decide.

If both the scores are accepted, you need to figure out which test you want to go for. Without further ado, here is the difference between IELTS and TOEFL:

ielts vs toefl

What is IELTS?

IELTS stands for International English Language Testing System. IELTS exam pattern consists of four IELTS modules: Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing. IELTS scores come in the form of bands, and the range is from 0-9.

It is a pen and paper-based exam and has three conducting authorities: Cambridge, British Council, and IDP. IELTS is conducted all over the year on specific dates in 140 countries around the world.

What is TOEFL?

TOEFL is a Test of English as a Foreign Language. TOEFL also has the same four modules as IELTS. TOEFL scores come in the cumulative scores in each module. i.e., a total of all the scores.

The TOEFL scores fall in the range of 0-120. TOEFL is an internet-based test (IBT), and paper-based tests are taken where the internet is not available. TOEFL is a trademark of ETS (Educational Testing System) and taken in as many as 140 countries.


Here is the comparison between IELTS and TOEFL at a glance:



Price in India 2018

174 $ (12650 INR) 180 $ (13110 INR)
Test Centres 900 worldwide

4500 worldwide

Test Scores

0-9 bands 0-120 scale
Time Duration 2 hours 45 minutes

Around 4 hours

As seen above, the TOEFL exam pattern and reach are fairly different from the IELTS test. However, the TOEFL and IELTS syllabus remains the same when it comes to modules: reading, writing, speaking, and listening.

While IELTS speaking is done person to person, TOEFL speaking is done on the microphone. TOEFL listening has mostly North American accents, while IELTS listening will have a variety of accents.

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TOEFL is largely an academic test. It is taken to prove the English language ability as eligibility criteria by English-speaking Universities. IELTS academic serves the same purpose. However, IELTS general test is taken for immigration purposes for some countries where English is the first language.

TOEFL vs IELTS: Which one to take?

Who should Take IELTS?

You should take IELTS if you,

  • Are comfortable with the person speaking the interview.
  • Have legible English handwriting.
  • Are good at non-academic topic discussions.
  • Are comfortable with questions like feel in the blanks, true/false, MCQ and two-three word answers.

Who should Take TOEFL?

You should take TOEFL if you,

  • Are comfortable with computers.
  • Are good at typing.
  • Are comfortable speaking into a microphone?
  • Are comfortable with MCQ type questions.
  • Are good with academic English.

Now that we have made the comparison, it comes to individual preferences. Decide for yourself which test you are most comfortable with and the type of question and exam pattern that suits you the best.