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IELTS vs TOEFL

Proving your language proficiency to the authorities belonging to English speaking countries is crucial for your visa process. If you score well on your language test, you are seen an appropriate addition to their workforce or student population.

This is because it displays your adaptability in a foreign country, speaking the language bridges the communication gap between two very different cultures.

IELTS – What is it?

There are two versions of the IELTS language test- the IELTS Academic and the IELTS General Training. The two have similar scoring systems as well as the same format. There are four sections- listening, reading, writing and speaking.

This is a widely accepted language proficiency test. The test lasts for 2 hours and 45 minutes, and the four sections are divided into two test days.

Each section has a maximum of 9 points. The total score is an average of all four sections.

TOEFL – What is it?

The TOEFL test is very similar to the IELTS. Unlike the IELTS, the tests take place on the same day, with breaks between the Listening and Speaking sections. There are four sections as well- listening, speaking, reading and writing.

The TOEFL is a popular test as well. You are graded on a 120-point scale.

Different sections of IELTS

The IELTS test is divided into the following categories:

Section

Number of Questions

Time Given

Listening

40

30 minutes

Reading

40

60 minutes

Writing

2 tasks

60 minutes

Speaking

3 tasks

11-14 minutes

 

Listening Section: There are 4 recorded conversations that are played during the test. Two of them are in a social setting, while the other two are in an educational setting. There are 10 questions that follow each recording that test your understanding on the conversations that were played. This involves a range of tests, from multiple choice to sentence completion.

Reading Section: You are given three paragraphs to read, followed by a round of questions. These paragraphs are exerts taken from books, newspapers and journals. It is a good idea to attempt a number of practise tests before you sit for your official test. These tests are all standardized, so even though the passages change with every new test batch, the skills tested remain the same.

Writing Section: There are two sections in this exam. The first tests your ability to comprehend visual representations of data. The second tests your argumentative skills.

For the visual representation of data, test takers analyse it and write a minimum of 150 words about it. You are given 30 minutes to do this, it is recommended to not take more than 20.

For the second section, test takers have to write a minimum of 250 words from an argumentative or discursive point of view.

This section tests the clarity and response of the student to the English language and the questions. You are given 60 minutes for this section; however, it is recommended that you spend 20 minutes on the first and 40 minutes on the second. Your range of vocabulary is also tested here.

Speaking Section: You will have a real-time conversation with an examiner. You can speak in British or American English here; the goal is to be grammatically correct and get your point across. You will be recorded.

You will have a casual conversation with the interviewer regarding the different aspects of your life. This is included in the exam to see how capable you are of carrying a conversation in real life. Your work, studies and family will be discussed at this stage.

The second part of the test tests your ability to speak about impromptu topics. You are given a minute to prepare, after which you must be able to start a discussion on the given topic.

The third stage of the English exam is a continuation of the first part. The discussion carries on in more detail.

Different sections of TOEFL

The following are the different sections of IELTS:

Section

Number of Questions

Time Given

Reading

36-56

60-80 minutes

Listening

34-51

60-90 minutes

Speaking

6 tasks

20 minutes

Writing

2 tasks

50 minutes

 

Reading Section: You will be given a few passages that you will have to answer questions on. The test will be university-level and from textbooks discussions in English. Then a series of questions will be asked. These will mostly be multiple-choice or sentence completion.

Listening Section: As in the IELTS exam, the listening section will have a few recordings which you will be asked to carefully listen to. Snippets from daily life, student discussions and lectures will be played for you. You will have to answer multiple choice questions pertaining to these recordings.

Speaking Section: You will have to speak on given topics in the first two stages of this test. These are independent speaking tasks.

The remaining four stages of the test will be a mixture of reading, listening and speaking. You may be asked to read and listen, and then speak. You will also be asked to listen and then speak. These will mostly be about your opinion about what you have just heard, or questions that need to be answered.

Writing Section: There are two sections here, Integrated Writing and Independent Writing. For the first part, you will listen to a recording and read a passage. You will then have 20 minutes to arrange your information and write a passage comparing these two sources of information.

The second stage is very simple. You need to elaborate on a given topic. You will be given 30 minutes to do so.

Cost of IELTS

The cost of IELTS is approximately Rs 14,000.

Cost of TOEFL

The cost of TOEFL is approximately Rs 13,000.

When do you get the results for IELTS?

You will receive the results for IELTS Academic within 3 to 5 days of sitting for the exam, if you have taken the computer-based test.

If you have taken the paper-based test you will receive your results after 13 days.

When do you receive the results for TOEFL?

You will receive the results for TOEFL within 6 days of taking the test. You can view your results and download them within 8 days of taking the test.

Which one should I choose- IELTS vs TOEFL?

Choosing either depends on a few factors:

  • Which exam helps display your strengths?

You may be better at reading and writing than speaking and listening. There may be certain areas that challenge you and others that you are adept at. Based on this, you must make a decision between IELTS and TOEFL.

If you are not particularly good at writing, then you might want to avoid the IELTS exam. You will have to write short answers for many questions on IELTS. TOEFL does have a few written answers, but they are relatively easy. You also receive prompts which you do not for the IELTS exam. Most questions are multiple choice on the TOEFL, so choose this if you written word is not strong.

  • Which exam is more convenient for you?

If you have good typing speed, then the TOEFL test is for you. They are computer-based. If you write faster on paper then opting for IELTS is a better idea, as they offer paper based as well as computer-based exams. You may also find that IELTS has more test locations than TOEFL. If you live in a metropolitan city, then both exams should be equally accessible to you.

  • Which text will be easier for you?

The TOEFL exam only uses academic texts, while the IELTS uses a combination of academic as well as exerts from magazines and newspapers. This essentially means that the text provided on the TOEFL test is more challenging to understand, and will only be easy for you if your English language proficiency is at university level.

If unsure about where you stand with your reading skills, opt for the IELTS test, as the text that they provide is easier to comprehend with a limited vocabulary.

  • Are you comfortable having a real time conversation with some one?

Talking to an examiner may be challenging for some people and may lead to poor performance. If you are nervous about interacting with some one directly for the speaking section of your test, then opt for the TOEFL exam.

The TOEFL exam is completely computer based, so you can speak into a microphone for the speaking section of your test. The IELTS however, requires you to have an actual conversation with a person.

Choose your test according to what feels easier and more natural to you.

  • Which test does your target school or country prefer?

It is important to know which test your school prefers. Some countries prefer TOEFL, while others prefer IELTS. The US prefers TOEFL, while other countries prefer IELTS.

Ideal score for IELTS

Any score above 7 is considered good on the IELTS exam. Getting a full score is possible, and will look great on your application.

To get a perfect score, book a free consultation with Kansas now!

Ideal score for TOEFL

Scores in the range of 80-90 are considered good, and even higher will look great on your application.

Conclusion

The IELTS and TOEFL are both great tests when it comes to proving your language proficiency. You should choose one over the other based on the following factors:

  • Displays your strengths
  • Is more convenient
  • Is preferred by the school and country of your choice
  • Your range of vocabulary

Other than a few differences, both tests are very similar in format and content, and you will score on either with the right preparation. To know more, talk to us now!

Other FAQS

Is one exam cheaper than the other?

Both of the two tests cost approximately the same.

How are the sections divided in the IELTS?

They are divided in the following manner:

Section

Number of Questions

Time Given

Listening

40

30 minutes

Reading

40

60 minutes

Writing

2 tasks

60 minutes

Speaking

3 tasks

11-14 minutes

 

How are the sections divided in the TOEFL?

They are divided in the following manner:

Section

Number of Questions

Time Given

Reading

36-56

60-80 minutes

Listening

34-51

60-90 minutes

Speaking

6 tasks

20 minutes

Writing

2 tasks

50 minutes

 

What are the main differences in time allowed and score range between IELTS and TOEFL?

The following are the main differences in time allowed and score range:

TOEFL

IELTS

Column1

Total Test Time

3 hours and 30 minutes

2 hours and 45 minutes

Score Range

0-120

0-9

Sections (in order)

Reading

Listening

 

Listening

Reading

 

Speaking

Writing

 

Writing

Speaking

Numbers of Institutions That Accept These Tests

Over 9,000

Over 9,000

 

How do you prepare for IELTS and TOEFL?

There is a wide range of resources available online that you can use to prepare for your exams. You can also sign up for coaching classes that will prepare you for these exams specifically. You can also consult Kansas now!

Topics: Study, UK, Canada, USA, Australia

Y Sindhura
Y Sindhura

With 8 years of experience in the overseas division, Sindhura is a specialist in Canada, Australia, UK and Germany visa process.

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