IELTS stand for ‘International English Language Test Systems’. It is the ideal testing system that is designed to assess your language ability if you wish to work or study in a nation where English is the language of communication. Your IELTS scores are accepted by the universities and employers in many countries. Many foreign colleges, immigration authorities, and professional bodies recognize IELTS scores for admissions and employment.

What is TOEFL?

TOEFL is the standardized ‘Test of English as a Foreign Language’ that measures your English language ability, if you need to study in English-speaking colleges and universities or to work with employers in such nations. It focuses on assessing how a non-native speaker can perform or could be comfortable in reading, listening, speaking, and writing English as that is one of the most widely accepted language of communication.

Every year more than 30 million students/employees take IELTS or TOEFL test across the globe. This test demonstrates how proficient a candidate is in English language. [The level of proficiency can range from Intermediate to Advanced—many universities and employers in foreign countries generally accept IELTS/TOEFL level 6.0 or higher as evidence of language ability. Generally, the following people take the tests:

  • Students who wish to study at established institutions abroad.
  • People who plan to take on English Language Learning Program in English speaking institutions.
  • Students who plan to pursue scholarships and certifications from renowned B-Schools in foreign countries.
  • Students and employees applying for visas for further studies or work in other countries.


The two tests are pretty different from each other and so, many times people find that they should focus on one than on other based on their preferences.

You can reckon what is the difference between the IELTS and TOEFL Test as following:

The TOEFL is a language test for non-native English speakers, and is commonly used as an entrance exam at universities and graduate schools. Because of this, the TOEFL offers only academic English. On the other hand, the IELTS offers an academic option as well as a general test; this is generally the preferred test for immigration purposes to the UK and Canada.

Taken by whom? IELTS can also be taken by people who are seeking employment in other countries. It is the preferred test for work visa or immigration purposes [more specifically to the nations like the UK and Canada]. This test is generally taken by students who are planning to pursue higher education in foreign universities. It is used as an entrance test at universities and alumnus or post-graduate schools.
Tests consist of: Both IELTS and TOEFL are split into four sections—Writing, Listening, Speaking, and Reading—but each skill is assessed differently by the two tests.
Test Format: Speaking In this test you will get to talk to a real person which will feel more like a conversation. The test is divided further in two parts. In the first part, you are given a topic on home, studies, and job and in 1 minute, you will have to prepare a monologue. In the second part, you are asked questions on topic you spoke about in part 1. The entire test lasts for 15 minutes. In this test you will have to speak to a computer where you are asked 6 questions. The two questions will be asked on familiar topics such as your home town or family. You are asked to summarize information from a given text and to share your opinion on the given topic. The test lasts for around 20 minutes.
Writing This test has 2 set of writing papers: Academic—This is preferred by students who aspire to get an admission in foreign universities and colleges. You will have to write a short essay about the given graph, chart, map, or process.   General Training—This must be taken by people seeking immigration visas. This paper requires you to write a letter for the given task in the first part and write a short essay on the given topic in the second part. For this exam, you will type on computer where you would have to read a given text paragraph and then, listen to a 2-minute audio lecture on a specified topic. You will then be asked to write a brief response to the given question on the specified topic.
Listening This is 30 minutes long and is in half academic and half social context.   It includes sentence completion, matching headings and True, False or Not Given type questions.   IELTS can be in any accent from countries like Ireland, Wales, Scotland, the USA, Canada and Australia. This is 60 minutes long and is all in academic context.   It consists of multiple choice questions.   TOEFL test will always be standard American English.
Reading It has a wide range of question types.   With this you can choose between Academic and General Training. The TOEFL test is multiple choice only.   It has only academic text available.
Duration 2 hours 45 minutes 4 hours
Marking Each section is marked with a band from 0-9 (from these section scores, an overall 0-9 band is awarded). 120 marks, with 30 marks available for each section.

IELTS vs TOEFL: Which one should you choose?

We understand that this could be a very confusing question, but because it is very much important for you to take correct decision, you need to find out answers to the following questions:
• Whom you are more comfortable talking to: computers or to strangers/interviewers?
• How quickly can you type or how fast you can write? How good your handwriting is?
• Do you prefer standard American English accent or are you comfortable with other accents also such as Irish, Canadian, Scottish, or Australian?
• Do you prefer attempting multiple choice questions or are you proficient in writing essays?
• Would you like to choose from only academic topics or you would prefer discussing non-academic topics in English?

Answers the questions and see how best you fit your skill set to the respective exam. For example, if you are a shy person who hesitate to talk to strangers, you may prefer TOEFL as in that test you would have to talk to a computer.


IELTS as well as TOEFL scores keep valid until two years after the date you take the exam on.

The scoring for IELTS is a combination of scores from the main four sections which are certainly Speaking, Writing, Listening, and Reading. You are awarded band score for each section and then, an overall band score. Each section is scored on the band of 1 to 9. You can score whole (for example 5.0, 6.0, or 7.0) or half (for example 5.5, 6.5, or 7.5) bands in each section of the test.

The four section scoring of the IELTS are divided as the following:

Section Score Range Mean*
Listening 1-9 6.2
Reading 1-9 5.8
Writing 1-9 5.6
Speaking 1-9 5.8
Total 0-9 5.9
The scoring for the TOEFL exam, on the other hand, is done by both a computer and a team of interviewers. The two entities are combined for the overall scoring, because that gives the authorities the complete and precise assessment of the candidate’s English language ability. The automated scoring is done so that no biasness is practiced, but it can be ineffective in measuring the proficiency of the language and content. Whereas, the personal interviewers can gauge the candidate’s ability based on the quality of idea and content plus procedure.

The four section scores of the TOEFL are divided as the following:

Section Score Range Mean Scores*
Reading 0–30 20
Listening 0–30 19
Speaking 0–30 19
Writing 0–30 20
Total Score 0–120 80

The test scores for both the tests are posted online within 10 days after the test date. ETS also send up to four official score reports directly to the institutions that the student selects.

IELTS/TOEFL Exam dates in 2017 – 2018

IELTS Exam dates

The exam dates for IELTS are scheduled for 48 days every year. You have complete flexibility of choosing any date that is convenient to you. However, the exam date that you can choose has to be at least three to four months before the date of expiry of your application.

IELTS Registration Fee

The registration fee for IELTS is INR 11,300.

TOEFL Exam dates

For TOEFL the exam date has o be at least a month before the application expires which gives you enough time to prepare for your final test. If ever you have to re-appear for the exam, you can do that after 12 days of your previous attempt.

TOEFL Registration Fee

The registration fee for TOEFL is $170, which would roughly translate to INR 11,000 to 11,500 (approx).

IELTS/TOEFL Test Pattern 2017

The syllabus of IELTS include four sections—Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing. You are scored at each section as well as for the whole Test. Your IELTS score is the sum of all the four scores.

The test pattern is as follows:

Section Duration IELTS Academic
Reading 60 minutes It includes three long passages that range from descriptive to factual to discursive. The text for the passages is taken from books, journals, or newspapers. You are assessed based on how good you are at analyzing non-verbal elements such as diagrams, graphs, and illustrations.
Listening 30 minutes The Listening section includes recorded monologues and conversations.
Writing 60 minutes Within this section you are expected to write at least 150 words about specific topic. You are given a short essay or table or graph or chart or diagram and are asked to summarize it.
Speaking 11-14 minutes This section includes face-to-face interview that assesses you on the basis of how spontaneous you are at answering short questions and speaking about a familiar topic.

For the first three sections, you must appear at once whereas the Speaking section can be arranged separately on the same day or up to seven days before or after you have appeared for the first three sections.
Because TOEFL is quite similar to IELTS, it also has an analogous exam pattern with four sections—Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing. All the four sections are scored, and you are also given the TOEFL score.

The test pattern for TOEFL is as follows:

Section Duration Questions Tasks
Reading 60-80 minutes 36-56 questions You are expected to read 3 to 4 passages from the specific academic text and answer the given questions.
Listening 60-90 minutes 34-51 questions You are made to listen to a lecture or have a class room discussion and conversation. Based on those you should answer the asked questions.
Break 10 minutes You are given a break of few minutes to reassure yourself.
Speaking 20 minutes 6 Tasks You are asked to speak on a specified topic and express your opinions or beliefs that you reckon from the given tasks.
Writing 50 minutes 2 Tasks This includes reading and listening to familiar topics and then, summarizing them into short essays while supporting your subjective opinions.


1What is the difference between SAT Subject Tests and Advanced Placement classes and exams?
SAT Subject Tests are high school-level tests, reflecting high school curricula. These tests indicate a student’s readiness to take college-level courses in specific subject areas. AP Exams, however, assess a student’s college-level knowledge, skills and abilities, learned in the corresponding AP courses. As a result, the topics covered on SAT Subject Tests may differ from those covered on AP Exams. While AP Exams are also an excellent way to demonstrate understanding in specific subject areas, not all students have an opportunity to take AP courses in a range of subjects. For students who lack access to AP and still wish to demonstrate subject knowledge, the Subject Tests offer this opportunity. Also, students who are taking an AP course in senior year may not have their AP Exam score to report to colleges in time to meet admission deadlines. In this case, they could use Subject Tests scores to show their mastery in the subject.
2Should I take SAT Subject Tests if I’ve already taken other college admission tests (e.g., SAT or ACT)?
Some colleges require or recommend SAT Subject Tests in addition to the SAT or ACT. Some also use these for course placement once you’ve arrived on campus. Depending on your performance, you may potentially fulfill basic requirements or even receive credit for introductory-level courses.
3What if I don’t know which colleges I’m going to apply to?
You should still consider taking Subject Tests in case you decide on colleges or programs that do require or recommend them. You don’t want to have to try to schedule tests at the last minute. And remember, even colleges that don’t require or recommend Subject Tests may consider them as part of your application.
4What if the colleges that I’m interested in don’t require Subject Test scores?
You may still want to take Subject Tests in the subjects that you excel in and submit those scores. Many colleges may still consider Subject Tests when reviewing your application, since they give a more complete picture of your academic background and show your readiness to focus on a specific major or program of study. Subject Tests can also help you place into the right college courses.
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