International students get confused between IELTS vs TOEFL. Many universities abroad ask for a score for either of the exams or scores for both the exams.

IELTS score is preferred in the top-ranking universities in Australia, UK, and New Zealand whereas the TOEFL score is required to take admissions in the universities of Canada and the US.

TOEFL score is accepted in more than 10,000 institutions across 130 countries. A US-based organization named Education Testing Service conducts the TOEFL exam. Therefore the exam score is preferred by American institutions.

What Is TOEFL?

The extended name of the TOEFL is the Test of English as a Foreign Language. It is a standardized test that measures the ability of the non-English language speaker who seeks to take admission in English-Speaking Universities.

In this test, various skills of candidates like the reading, speaking, listening, and writing of the English language is tested. This test is administered and designed by the Educational Testing Service, which seems to be a nonprofit private organization.

Globally more than 2.3 million people take this every year to fulfil their wish to study in various universities abroad.  The validity of this TOEFL test is for two years. Similarly, this test can also be taken by other students who want to demonstrate their mastery of English for academic purposes.

The passage reading, which is used in the TOEFL exam use the academic language, formal English, and high-level vocabulary in comparison to standard English.

In order to take this test, the candidates should be at least 17 years of age, and they should be studying in class 11. It is always advised to take this test as often the formal English language is dense and complicated.

The people who also studied English for class 11 also face problems while speaking or writing formal English. To get admission to any colleges abroad, the minimum score which a candidate should have in the TOEFL test is 70.

TOEFL Test Exam Pattern

The exam pattern of the TOEFL test consists of a total of four sections, which are listening, reading, speaking, and writing. Therefore, the TOEFL syllabus and exam pattern are as follows:

Reading Comprehension

In the reading sections, a candidate would be required to read approximately four passages and then answer ten questions on each passage. Consequently, as there are 3-4 passages and the number of questions in each passage is 10, the candidate would be required to answer a total of 40 questions in the section. The time available for the candidates to answer the questions is 72 minutes.


In this section, one will be given a long and short conversation. And based upon the conversation, they will need to answer the multiple-choice questions. There will be a total number of 30-38 questions in these sections. And the time allotted for the students to answer the questions is 1 hour.


This is the third section of the TOEFL exam, and in this section, the candidate would be required to express their viewpoint on a topic. The candidate should familiarize themself with the topic so that they do not find it hard to solve this section. And then they should speak based on the topic. Moreover, in this section total, four questions would be asked, and the time available for the candidates to answer the questions is 17 minutes.



The writing section seems to be the fourth and last section of the TOEFL exam. In these sections, the candidates would be required to write an essay that should be based upon their reading and listening tasks. There would be two questions in this section, and the available time is 50 minutes.

What is the IELTS Exam

The IELTS exam is the International English Language Testing System. This test is the international standard test for the English Language Proficiency for non-English language speakers.

The IELTS is developed by the British Council, IDP Education, and Cambridge Assessment English. This test is accepted by the institutes of different countries in the world like Britain, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, etc.

The main purpose of this test is to assess the English language proficiency of non-English language speakers. The total duration of this test is three hours. Moreover, the IELTS is of two types; they are General and Academic training.

The subject matter of each test varies, which depends upon the type of test which an individual takes.

The main purpose of this exam is to test the ability of the candidates who have a desire to study or work abroad. This test is only for those countries where the English language is the primary mode of communication.

Moreover, the purpose of immigration is also necessary. There is a total of 1200 test centres in 140 countries all over the world. More than 10000 colleges and agencies use the scores and grades of this test across the globe. Globally three million students take this English assessment in a year. The eligibility requirements for this test are:

  • Studying abroad for graduate or postgraduate level
  • Applying for tier 4 student visa to study in Uk
  • Applying to get employment in an English speaking country

IELTS Exam Pattern

The exam pattern of the IELTS exam consists of four sections. They are discussed below:

Listening Section

The listening section of the exam consists of four recorded conversations and monologues. There will be a total of four questions in this section, and the students will get a time of 30 minutes to solve this section.


In the reading section, there will be three long passages that one has to read, along with completing the task with it. The texts in the passage range from factual to discursive and descriptive. Moreover, the analytical also include various non-verbal materials like graphs, diagrams. There will be a total of 40 questions in this section, and the students will be given 1 hour to solve this part.


In this section, there will be two questions, and the candidate would be required to write a short essay of 250 words. In the next task, they need to describe a summary, explain a table, diagram, etc. within 150 words. The total length available for the candidates to solve this passage is one hour.



The speaking section is the last section of the exam. And in this section, one will be required to have face to face interviews. The interview would include short questions, speaking at length about a familiar topic, etc. There will be three questions in this section, and candidates would be required to answer the questions within 14 minutes.

Difference Between TOEFL And IELTS

The IELTS exam is the only exam to support the UK Visa and Immigration application, whereas, for other countries like the USA and Canada, students can either give TOEFL or IELTS.

The students who are looking to give these tests can search for the test location for the IELTS exam by going to the IELTS website. Whereas, one who is looking to give the TOEFL exam can easily find the test centres as it is held nearly 50 times in a year.

The cost of both countries varies from country to country. The cost of the IELTS exam varies from $215- $245, and the cost of the TOEFL varies from $165- $300.

Similarly, the duration of both the exam also varies as the total duration of the IELTS exam is 2 hours and 45 minutes. Whereas, the duration of the TOEFL exam appears to be 4 hours.

Both the TOEFL and IELTS measure the primary aspects of language like writing, reading, and speaking, etc. But the major difference among them is the type of test; the TOEFL absolutely consists of multiple-choice questions. In comparison to it, the IELTS exam consists of a combination of essay type and short questions.

Similarly, there is also a major disparity between the pattern of both tests. In the IELTS exam, the speaking exam is conducted as a normal conversation between the examiner and examinee. But in the TOEFL exam, the speaking test is conducted by giving six sections to the examinee where one has to speak on the everyday topic, etc.

In the listening section of the IELTS exam, one will answer the questions while the audio seems to be playing. But in the TOEFL exam, one needs to answer the questions after carefully hearing the recording. Hence, in the TOEFL exam, the questions will show the ability of the speaker to understand the content.

Similarly, in the writing section, one will be required to answer two parts. In the first part, one needs to describe a graph or chart in 150 words. And in the next paragraph, one needs to write about an argument in 250 words.

While in the TOEFL exam, the candidate would be required to write around 300 to 350 words about a certain topic. The test scores of the IELTS exam is calculated by a human being, and it is each section has a separate score.

Hence, if someone does not perform well in one of the sections, then their average score will get reduced. But the results of the TOEFL exam is calculated by the human as well as the computerized system.

The score structure is one pint for each question, and the total final score is 120. Moreover, for each section, one will receive a score from 0 to 30.

Along with the scores, one will also receive feedback reports which detailed report how an individual performed compared to the average. The frequency of the IELTS exam is 48 times in a year, and the frequency for the TOEFL exam is over 50 times in a year.

IELTS vs TOEFL Summary

1. Mostly for graduate and post-graduate studies in Universities situated in the USA and Canada. Study, work and migration to Australia, UK, New-Zealand. Also accepted in Canada and the USA
2. Conducted by Educational Testing Service (ETS) Conducted by British Council and IDP Education Ltd.
3. Test based on American English Test based on British and Australian English
4. Exam Duration is approx. 4 hrs. Exam Duration is approx. 2 hrs. 45 mins.
5. Exam Fee ranges between INR 12,000/- to INR 13,000/- Exam Fee ranges between INR 11,000/- to INR 12,000/-
6. The test is conducted more than 50 times a year The test is conducted 48 times a year
7. Test score ranges from Zero to 120 Test score ranges from Zero to 9
8. Questions are mostly Multiple Choice Type Question type varies from Fill in the Gaps, to Matching exercises, to MCQs and etc.


Candidates have to choose for what purpose these exams are being taken. IELTS is for those who want to study or work in Australia, New Zealand, or the UK.

Every year, candidates go to these countries to try luck either in studies or jobs. Whereas TOEFL is mainly American universities or employment opportunities in America.

Both tests have different scoring parameters. Many educational institutions require both scorecards for selecting candidates.