IELTS and TOEFL: Know the advantages
Updated on Nov 10, 2014 - 2:24 p.m. IST by Bedasree Das
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IELTS and TOEFL are the two most important tests for an aspirant planning to study abroad. Both these tests evaluate a candidate’s English language proficiency and are accepted not just by universities abroad but also by various organizations including immigration departments. Now, there is always a question of which one is better. Well, both IELTS and TOEFL have their advantages and both the tests are similar in terms of acceptance and broad evaluation. However, as a candidate you may decide to take either of the two tests based on the requirements of the organisation you are applying to. Also, many foreign universities accept both IELTS and TOEFL. Thus, it is advisable to attempt the one, which is most convenient for you. But, how do you find out about the advantages one has over the other?


Here, we have listed some points that will help you understand the unique advantages of IELTS and TOEFL and guide you to choose the right test for yourself.


1. Test style:

The most significant difference between IELTS and TOEFL is that the former arranges one-on-one interactions between a test-taker and an examiner to test the conversational capability of the test taker while the latter is a computerized test in which the test-taker's voice is taped and analysed by more than one examiner. You can thus take either of the two tests depending on your comfort level. If you are confident that a direct interaction with the examiner can earn you more points then you should opt for IELTS.

However, if you think that a computerized testing of your conversational ability will be best and free from any human interference, you can opt for TOEFL.


2. Scoring:

Although, the pattern and syllabus of both IELTS and TOEFL are similar, their scoring system differs. While TOEFL has a scoring range of 0-120, IELTS uses the 9-band system to evaluate a candidate. While, the yardstick of measurement is same in both the tests, the output differs in terms of acceptance by universities. In that case, it helps to understand the comparative points between the two tests.


Click here to know the comparative scoring patterns of IELTS and TOEFL


3. Place of study:

One of the most important factors which you should consider while taking an IELTS or TOEFL test is the university where you would be applying to. TOEFL, organized by the ETS, is accepted in most American universities and across 165 countries, while IELTS conducted by the British Council is accepted in over 135 countries, including the UK. So, if you plan to study in one of the ivy league colleges in the USA, make sure you sit for TOEFL. However, many institutes and organizations accept scores of both the tests. The difference in acceptance will be the comparative degrees of score and band.

Test FeatureAdvantage IELTSAdvantage TOEFL
Conducting bodyBritish Council, IDP Australia and Cambridge ESOLETS
EnglishIELTS uses British EnglishTOEFL uses American English
FormatIELTS has two versions, namely, Academic and general depending on the purpose of the test-takerTOEFL is conducted in only one version.
Duration2 hours 45 minutes longMore than 4 hours
Speaking testIt involves one-on-one interactions between a test-taker and an examinerTOEFL has  a computerized speaking test
ScoringUses a 9-band scoring system where 0 is for candidates who did attempt the test and 9 is for expert users.Total score of 120 with a maximum of 30 points for each section.

4.  Format:

A very significant point of difference between IELTS and TOEFL is that IELTS has been divided in terms of the purpose of the test taker. IELTS Test is conducted in two versions - IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. While those who want to pursue UG or PG degree or join a professional organisation can take the academic test, the general training test is taken by those who want to undertake work-related training in an English-speaking country. These customized versions make it easier for candidates as it is generally observed that the general test version is easier compared to the academic format. In the case of TOEFL, candidates are required to take the same test irrespective of their purpose.


Stay tunes to for more stories on IELTS and TOEFL


Also Read:

IELTS Exam Preparation Tips

IELTS Test Pattern

Download IELTS Sample Paper 

IELTS Syllabus

IELTS Application Form



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Questions related to IELTS

Showing 408 out of 408 Questions

Feb 13 i had written my IELTS exam(paper based), can anyone know the result date?

Hrisheekesh Singh 21st Feb, 2020

Hi Sudalai,

Generally, the IELTS 2020 results are available 13 days after the test date. The IELTS results can be seen online via the candidate's IELTS registration account using the candidate's Identification Document Number i.e. passport number and registration number. However, the result of the computer based exam is made available after 5-7 days of the exam date.

IELTS 2020 scores are calculated on a 1-9 point scale which is a mean of the individual sectional scores.

You may refer to the source article for more detailed information about IELTS Result 2020.

I hope this information helps you.

Good Luck!


I am currently studying for the NEET-UG 2021. I want to go to Cambridge University for MBBS. Apart from NEET and IELTS, is there anything I should be aware of? Also, what are the various choices offered for getting a scholarship?

Animesh Vats Student Expert 21st Feb, 2020


Well I must tell you that there are no such scholarship available to study medicine in UK specially for international students and the education is way too expensive. The exam you need to qualify depend on what the college demands. IELTS or TOEFL is needed as language proficiency requirement.

I hope my answer helps.

All the best.


can you please inform me how to apply for IELTS and TOEFL exams

Charvi Nayyar 7th Feb, 2020

hello aspirant

you can register for IELTS exam in the following way:

1. you can register online and pay the fees by credit card (Log on to and Select the option "Register for IELTS" and fill the necessary information).

2.  register in person at idp branch and pay the fees there. identical to the first option.

3. register by courier and pay test fee by demand draft.

you can register for TOEFL exam by online means and or by email or by phone. you can also register in person at a toefl resource center. you will be basically required to visit and create an online profile and then pay the exam fees.

hope this helps


Dear Sir/Mam, I want to do MS in UK in January 2021. Do i have to give both IELTS and TOEFL exams or either? I dont know when and how to start preparation. please Help. Thanks

Mayank Chowdhary 2nd Feb, 2020

Giving either of them is ok actually. And for preparations then if you plan to shift in 2021 try to give the exam in around November 2020 if possible and to start it's preparations, as per me it's a 3 months regular studies required to crack the same. So you can start in around July/August to be well prepared to give the exam.

Either the IELTS or the TOEFL is required as part of your application to an English-speaking university and will demonstrate if you will be able to understand the course material.

The IELTS and TOEFL exams are two of the most accepted English proficiency exams around the world. However, both of these tests are different in their structure, approach, and teaching criteria. This means that you need to understand how the two differ before selecting which test to study for and ultimately take.

Thank you.


Dear Sir/Mam, I want to do MS in UK. But cost of study is Expensive. Does scoring good in IELTS and TOEFL helps to reduce the amount of cost ? what else option do i get in order to get admission in UK in minimum cost ? Please Help Me !!

Harshit sethi 1st Feb, 2020

All the foreign Universities offer a scholarship which is on the basis of meriat and need basis . You should try to look for it and inform the competent authority about it . They would help you in every way . They also offers 100 % scholarship to merit and need basis students.

This would help you to study abroad.

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