TOEFL V/S IELTS: Which One Should You Focus On?


Last Updated: September 27, 2022
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Planning to study abroad but not sure where to get started? Chances are – you’ll have to give an IELTS or TOEFL exam to prove your English proficiency. Most colleges accept both. But which one should you be preparing for? 

We’ve tried to make this decision easier for you through this blog!

Let’s Understand TOEFL first

Apply to any college or university in a primarily English-speaking country and the first thing they’ll ask you to do is prove your language proficiency. One of the ways to do this is by taking a standardised test like the TOEFL exam or Test of English as a Foreign Language. If you’ve learnt English in school, this test will be easy to crack. It checks how well you can read, write, speak and listen in English. Given that all your lessons will happen in English, colleges want to make sure you’re familiar enough with the language to grasp lectures easily.


If you’ve completed your 10+2 from an English-medium school, you’re already meeting TOEFL’s eligibility requirements. This exam is given more than 50 times every year at accredited testing facilities throughout the world. There’s no limit to the number of attempts – you can give the exam as many times as you wish to until you get a good score. You just need to wait for 12 days between each attempt.

The average TOEFL score is 90 and anything  over 100 is regarded as good. You will probably pass the minimum TOEFL requirements of the Ivy League colleges if you are able to achieve a score between 100 and 120.Additionally, your scores are only valid for two years. So if you’re applying to another country more than two years after taking the test, you might have to re-attempt the test.

Here’s a list of some famous colleges that accept TOEFL test score:

What is IELTS?

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) was created to help people move to a country where English is the dominant language in order to work or study. This includes the USA, UK, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and others. This test evaluates your proficiency in speaking, reading, and writing English. IELTS is scored on a scale of 1 to 9. Most colleges require a minimum score of 6 to offer you admissions. It is one of the most widely used English proficiency tests in the world. If you’re 16 years and above, you’re eligible to take this test.

Here’s a list of top colleges that accept IELTS scores:


We’ve Learnt the Basics. Now Let’s Get to the Differences!

While both tests evaluate how well you understand the English language, here are the key differences between them:

  1. Management: TOEFL is offered by the US corporation ETS, or Educational Testing Service, and assesses your understanding of the North American English language. The University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations, British Council, and IDP Education Australia jointly manage IELTS.
  1. Pattern and Duration: IELTS asks you to respond using short responses, fill-in-the-blanks, and more. All the writing activities are handwritten and must be finished in 2 hours, 45 minutes. The speaking exams must be completed in front of an examiner, which can be intimidating for some.
TOEFL & IELTS difference

TOEFL only has multiple-choice questions and takes four hours to complete. Since TOEFL is totally computer-based, you won’t have to speak to people during the exam. The writing tasks require you to use a keyboard.

  1. Fee structure: The difference in fee costs between the IELTS and TOEFL is merely about INR 800. IELTS registration costs INR 14,500, whereas TOEFL registration costs INR 13,715.
  1. Results: This is a crucial element to take into account, especially as university admissions and intake dates approach. IELTS scores are delivered electronically and take three to five days to arrive. TOEFL results may take up to six days.
  1. Score: You will receive a score on the TOEFL between 0-120. An excellent TOEFL score is one that is greater than 100. The grading scale for the IELTS ranges from 1 to 9. Bands 7.0 and 8.0 are referred to as “good users,” and band 9.0 as “expert” users. However, a 6.0 user is “capable.”

TOEFL vs IELTS: How Do You Choose?

The most crucial thing to take into account is whether the colleges you are interested in accept the test results you submit. That, and the format you’re most comfortable with. While many colleges accept results from either exam, American universities prefer the TOEFL while other countries prefer the IELTS. Check out which format works for the colleges you’re applying to, and try mock tests for both formats before you settle on one.


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