Difference Between TOEFL and IELTS

Key Difference : IELTS and TOEFL are international language tests used to assess candidates' proficiency in English. The critical difference between the two tests is based on the vocabulary and tone of the students, with IELTS being a Britis/Australian test and TOEFL an American test.

The TOEFL and IELTS are two main language tests primarily designed to test a student's seriousness in the English language, especially in their ability to communicate effectively in their classroom and fit into a dominant English-speaking culture.

In addition, it is usually a requirement for students from countries where English is not the primary language. Therefore, it is a way for universities and colleges to check a student's compatibility with English. Although these two tests are similar in their ambition and focus, they differ widely in their approach.

The term 'TOEFL' stands for Test of English as a Foreign Language. This is the most popular and recognized test taken by non-English speaking students. Most US institutions generally require this.

It measures a student's ability to write, read and communicate in English in college and university settings. After the exam, the test result is then used by colleges, universities, and scholarship agencies to admit students to a university.

The TOEFL is usually a paper-based or computer-based test or can be given directly through the Internet. However, only paper-based and Internet-based (iBT) options are available at present. These sections contain reading, listening, speaking, and writing essential to test a student.

On the other hand, the term 'IELTS' stands for International English Language Testing Service. Similar to TOEFL, IELTS is also designed for non-speaking speakers of English. In addition, it is used to measure a student's ability to communicate in English, although the same listening, reading, writing, and speaking skills. It can also be given by those abroad under a work visa.

However, IELTS is required for higher education institutions and the various UK, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. Thus, from the above definition, it is evident that international students can opt for TOEFL or IELTS.

But, then, both these exams have their differences, which can be read in the table below. So, which exam is considered the best? The answer depends on where the student wants to go and what exam pattern he is comfortable with.

TOEFL may favor more abstract learners as many multiple-choice questions, whereas IELTS may be more suited for concrete learners as it involves memory recall. In addition, one must make sure that which test the company or university conducts is also one applying for.

Comparison between TOEFL and IELTS:





The term 'TOEFL' stands for 'Test of English as a Foreign Language'.

The term 'IELTS' stands for 'International English Language Testing System'.


It is operated by ETS (United States of America)

It is operated by the University of Cambridge UK.

the intention

It measures a student's ability to communicate effectively in the classroom and fit into a dominant English-speaking culture.

Here, work, college and time intended to test an examiner's ability to speak English are also required for visas.


  • The main focus here is on North American speakers and listeners.

  • This test covers only North American pronunciation.

  • It is designed to fit a variety of languages ​​and accents.

  • It incorporates the accents of many different countries into the test.


The test is based on American English.

The test is based on British English.


There is only one type:


There are two types:



accepted in

It is accepted at American universities. However, it is now accepted globally.

It is accepted in the UK, Australia and other common money countries.

test base

It is an internet based exam.

It is a paper based test.

test time

Time is 4 hours.

Time 2:45 pm.

test section

It has four sections:

  • Reading

  • Writing

  • listening and

  • Speaking

It has four sections:

  • Reading

  • Writing

  • listening and

  • Speaking

Test Format

This includes:

  • 20 minute speaking assignments.

  • 60-90 minute listening task.

  • 60-90 minute reading assignments.

  • 50 minutes of writing assignments.

This includes:

  • An 1125 minute speaking task.

  • 40 minute listening task.

  • One hour reading.

  • One hour writing assignment.

exam marks

The perfect score for this test is 120.

The correct score for this test is 9.

auditory block

It consists of multiple choice questions.

After listening to them the students have to copy the words.

difficulty level

It is considered easy because of the consistent format of the test.

It is considered difficult because of the frequent changes in the format.


Minor grammatical mistakes are ignored.

Mistakes are not ignored.


There is no difference between the candidates.

There is a generic version for candidates of immigrants.


Depending on countries, the price may vary, but it is often cheaper than IELTS.

Depending on countries, the price may vary, but it is often more expensive than TOFEL.