Are you planning to study or work abroad in an English speaking country? Is your English proficient enough? Perhaps exams like TOEFL and IELTS will say it.
Most of the aspirants might have already heard at least one out of these two. However, most of us are confused if a TOEFL score is more important than an IELTS score. This article will answer all the queries regarding these two exams.
The common connection that is shared by both TOEFL and IELTS is the English language. Even though we study this very language in our classroom, however, we might not be on par with the native speakers. Most of the English speaking countries like the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada and others attract hordes of talent seeking job opportunities, education etc. from all the countries around the world.
Since the majority of these migrants do not speak English as their mother tongue, English Proficiency Tests like TOEFL and IELTS are held to judge their speaking, writing, reading and listening skills.
The TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) is an English language proficiency exam conducted by the ETS (Education Testing Services), the same organization that develops the GRE and several other tests.
TOEFL is conducted both as TOEFL iBT (Internet Based Test) and TOEFL PBT (Paper Based Test).
On the other hand, the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is another English language proficiency test jointly owned by the British Council and IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge English Language Assessment.
There are two versions IELTS: the IELTS Academic and the IELTS General Training. IELTS Academic is for individuals applying for advanced education and professional registration. IELTS General Training is for individuals going to English-talking nations for secondary education, work understanding, or work involvement.
Both TOEFL and IELTS consists of 4 sections- Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking but in a different order.
For each section in IELTS, you will receive 0-9 as a score. And the total score is also the average of all four which is also calculated in the bands of 0-9. Any band above 7 is considered a good score.
|Sections||Number of Questions||Time Allotted|
|Writing||2 tasks||60 minutes|
|Speaking||3 tasks||11-14 minutes|
The total time of the IELTS is 2 hours and 45 minutes excluding the breaks.
One gets an additional benefit of taking the Speaking section up to a week before or after the other sections according to your convenience. This privilege is absent in the case of TOEFL.
- For the listening test, four recordings (two set in an everyday social context, one set in an educational context, and one that is a university lecture) will be played. You have to answer 10 questions based on the recording. There can be several types of questions including multiple choice, matching, diagram labelling, sentence completion, and short answer.
- There would be three passages for reading, each of them followed by about 10-15 questions same as the listening section. The passages are generally taken from books, journals, magazines, and newspapers. The writing style of the passages can be narrative, descriptive, and argumentative.
- In the writing section, students have two options, either to write a precis of about 150 words in 20 minutes based on a visual info (graph, table, chart, or diagram) or they can opt for writing their opinion in 250 words in 40 minutes on a certain topic as mentioned in the question. For both tasks, students are tested on how well they react to the inquiry, the clearness of their written work, the scope of vocabulary, spelling, and language.
- While conducting the speaking test, the examiner might ask for your introduction, followed by an extempore for two minutes on a general topic and some additional questions. The students are judged on the basis of their fluency, articulation, grammar, responsive skills, etc.
The TOEFL exam spans over 3.5 hours and has four sections like IELTS, however, the maximum marks allotted for each section is 30 and it totals to 120 for the four sections. A good TOEFL score ranges between 90 to 120.
|Section||Number of Questions||Time Allotted|
|Speaking||6 tasks||20 minutes|
|Writing||2 tasks||50 minutes|
For Reading, there will be three or four sections from scholastic messages that students must read and answer inquiries. The sections are from college-level reading material that presents a topic or discipline. There are three kinds of inquiries: standard multiple-choice, questions where a student must embed a sentence into the correct spot in a section, and inquiries where students should appropriately sort data into a graph or synopsis table.
The Listening segment has four to six recordings, each taken after an arrangement of inquiries. The accounts are like discussions that a student engages in scholarly life, for example, a classroom address or a discourse between classmates or between a student and instructor. The various types of questions asked are multiple choice, reordering of steps in an event or process, or match the correct objects or text to categories in a chart.
The initial two undertakings are an independent speaking test that draws on the student’s point of view, conclusions, and encounters while reacting.
The remaining four assignments are coordinated undertakings. Candidates must utilize in excess of one’s aptitude when reacting to these sorts of inquiries.
- First, two integrated tasks require students to read, listen, then speak.
- The other two assignments expect candidates to listen and speak.
The Writing segment is divided into two sections: Integrated Writing and Independent Writing. For Integrated Writing, students hear a short chronicle and read a short section. They are given 20 minutes to outline and analyze the data they got from these two sources. The proposed reaction length is 150-225 words.
For Independent Writing, candidates are given a subject and should give their assessment on that point. The written work must be clear and upheld by illustrations. Candidates are given 30 minutes to compose at least 300 words.
Which one should I choose?
After going through the above details, you must have got an overview of these two exams (TOEFL & IELTS). Your choice of taking either of the exams depends on certain factors. Firstly, the college or university you intend to apply for your higher studies. If the institution accepts TOEFL as a base then you must go for that. Most American colleges look after TOEFL score whereas other international institutions which follow the UK pattern would seek IELTS as the base.
However, there is one basic distinction between TOEFL and IELTS, the former is easier for candidates who are tech-savvy as the entire examination is conducted with the help of a computer. Unlike IELTS, where the speaking test is taken by an examiner, in TOEFL, you’ll hear recorded questions and speak into a microphone to give your answer.
On the financial front, both these exams cost the same around USD 225-250 and can is conducted multiple times in a year.
Both these exams have their own level of difficulties and it should be best left at the discretion of the candidates and the various factors which might be helpful in deciding which one to choose.