IELTS Test Preparation

Mar 31, 2023

IELTS vs TOEFL: Which Exam is Right for You?


The format of IELTS and TOEFL is quite different. IELTS has two versions: Academic and General Training. The Academic version is designed for those who want to study at an English-speaking university, while the General Training version is more suitable for those who want to work or live in an English-speaking country. IELTS offers a paper-based and a computer-based test that includes four sections: Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking. On the other hand, TOEFL is a computer-based exam that assesses the candidate's English language skills in four sections: Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing. Unlike IELTS, there is only one version of TOEFL.


Both exams have different scoring systems. IELTS uses a 9-band scoring system, where 9 is the highest score, and 1 is the lowest. Each section is graded separately, and the overall score is the average of the four sections. TOEFL uses a scoring system between 0-120, with each section scored on a scale of 0-30. The overall score is the sum of the four sections.

Test Content

Both exams assess the four language skills: Listening, Reading, Speaking, and Writing. However, the content of the exams differs slightly. IELTS includes a variety of accents in their Listening section, which can include British, Australian, Canadian, and New Zealand accents. In contrast, TOEFL primarily focuses on American accents.

IELTS Reading includes a wide range of texts, such as articles, journals, and essays. In contrast, TOEFL Reading includes academic texts, such as research papers, articles, and passages from textbooks. IELTS Writing includes two tasks: Task 1, which requires candidates to describe a graph or diagram, and Task 2, which requires candidates to write an essay. TOEFL Writing includes two tasks: Task 1, which requires candidates to summarize a reading passage and a lecture, and Task 2, which requires candidates to write an essay.

Speaking sections are similar in both exams. However, IELTS may be preferred by those who are more comfortable with face-to-face conversations, as the Speaking section is conducted in person with an examiner. In contrast, TOEFL's Speaking section is conducted through a computer, which may be more comfortable for some students.

Test Availability

IELTS is available in over 140 countries and is conducted up to four times a month. On the other hand, TOEFL is available in over 165 countries and is conducted over 50 times a year.

Test Cost

The cost of both exams varies depending on the country and location. However, the cost of preparation materials should also be considered when choosing an exam.

In conclusion, when deciding between IELTS and TOEFL, it's important to consider factors such as the test format, scoring system, content, availability, and cost, as well as your individual strengths and weaknesses. By evaluating these aspects, you can determine which exam is better suited for your needs and goals, and prepare accordingly to achieve your desired English language proficiency level.

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