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TOEFL or IELTS - Which is Better?

Because universities waunt to form sure you've got English language skills necessary to review at their school, most institutes of upper learning require you to require a test of English. And TOEFL and IELTS are the 2 biggest standardized tests of English language. one among the foremost frequent questions I hear is which test is simpler or which test is best . the solution depends on what sorts of tests you shine at , also as where you propose to use . this text breaks down the differences between the 2 tests in order that you'll make your own decision.


The IELTS test is administrated by British Councils, the University of Cambridge, and IELTS Australia. that's to mention , it's related to British government and traditionally was employed by British universities, also as New Zealand and Australian universities to work out the language capability of foreign students. TOEFL is run by ETS, a US-based non-profit and is employed widely by American and Canadian universities. However, lately , so as to form it easy on international students, universities everywhere the planet take both TOEFL and IELTS. While you ought to ask the precise university you would like to use to, generally any school within the US, the UK, Australia or New Zealand will take either test score. So that's one worry off your mind. Pick the test you think that are going to be easier for you to finish . to try to to that, you almost certainly got to know the structure of every exam.

Structure of the TOEFL

As of last year, official TOEFL is nearly universally given within the iBT (Internet Based Testing) format. It consists of 4 sections:


The TOEFL Reading section asks you to read 4-6 passages of university level and to answer multiple-choice questions on them (multiple-choice means you select the solution from provided options). Questions test you on comprehension of the text, main ideas, important details, vocabulary, inferring, rhetorical devices and elegance .


The Listening Section presents long 2-3 conversations and 4-6 lectures. The situations are always associated with university life i.e. a conversation between a student and a librarian about finding research materials or a lecture from a history class. The questions are multiple choice and ask you about important details, inferences, tone, and vocabulary. The conversations and lectures are very natural and include informal English, interruptions, filler noises like "uh" or "Uhm."


The Speaking section is recorded. you'll speak into a microphone and a grader will hear your answers at a later date and grade you. Two questions are going to be on familiar topics and ask you to offer your opinion and/or describe something familiar to you, like your town or your favorite teacher. Two questions will ask you to summarize information from a text and a conversation--and may ask your opinion also . Two questions will ask you to summarize information from a brief conversation. Again, the topics of the conversations are always university-related.


Finally, there are two short essays on the TOEFL. One will ask you to write down your opinion on a broad topic, like whether it's better to measure within the country or the town . One will ask you to summarize information from a text and a lecture--often the 2 will afflict one another and you'll got to either compare and contrast, or synthesize conflicting information.

IELTS Structure

The IELTS contains an equivalent 4 sections, Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing, but the format is extremely different.


The reading section of the IELTS gives you 3 texts, which can be from academic textbooks or from a newspaper or magazine--but all at the extent of a college student . One will always be an opinion piece--i.e. a text asserting one point of view. the variability of questions on the IELTS is sort of broad, and not every text will have every question type. One question type asks you to match headings to paragraphs within the text. you'll be asked to finish a summary of the passage using words from the text. otherwise you may need to fill during a table or chart or picture with words from the text. There could also be multiple-choice questions that ask you about key details. one among the toughest question types presents statements and asks you whether these statements are true, false or not included within the text. you'll even be asked to match words and concepts . Finally, some questions are short-answer but the answers are going to be taken directly from the text itself.

Some questions precede the text and should not require careful reading to answer. Others come after the text and should expect you to possess read the text thoroughly.


The IELTS has four listening sections. the primary could also be a "transactional conversation" during which someone may be applying for something (a driver's licence , a library card) or posing for information (say calling for more details about a billboard or a hotel). The second section is an informational lecture of some kind, possibly a dean explaining the principles of the university. Third may be a conversation in a tutorial context and therefore the final section are going to be a tutorial lecture. For all sections you'll be asked to fill out a summary, fill during a table, answer multiple-choice questions, label a diagram or picture, or classify information into different categories. you'll be expected to fill out answers as you listen.


There are two writing tasks on the tutorial IELTS. the primary asks you to summarize a table or chart in about 300 words. you'll need to identify important information, compare and contrast different figures or even describe a process. The second task asks you to present your opinion on a press release a few fairly open topic such as: "Women should take care of children and not work" or "Too many of us are moving to cities and rural areas are suffering."


Finally, the speaking section are going to be persisted a special day from the remainder of the test and within the presence of a trained interviewer. The questions are an equivalent for all examinees but some parts could also be more within the sort of a conversation than a monologue. the primary a part of the test are going to be a quick introductory conversation followed by some short questions on familiar topics. The interviewer may ask your name, your job, what sorts of sports you wish , what your daily routine is, and so on. within the second part, you'll tend a card with a subject and a couple of specific inquiries to address. you'll need to represent two minutes on this subject , which can be about your daily routine, the last time you visited the films , your favorite a part of the planet or an identical familiar topic. within the last section, the interviewer will ask you to debate a more abstract side of the subject partially 2--why do people prefer daily routines? Why do people just like the movies? How does travel affect local life?

Which is best for Me?

So now you've got some understanding of what each test involves, but you would possibly be wondering which is best for you. Maybe in reading about the structure, you thought, "Wow TOEFL sounds very easy ," or, "Oh the IELTS seems like it's quite fun!" which may be an honest sign that one test are going to be easier for you than the opposite . More concretely, there are a few of key differences between the tests.

British versus American English 

While both the united kingdom and therefore the US accept both tests, and while British English and American English aren't as different as some think, the very fact of the matter is that the IELTS tends to use British English and therefore the TOEFL uses exclusively American English . On the IELTS, this difference will have a bigger effect because spelling counts, which is one area where Britain and therefore the US don't always see eye-to-eye. Obviously if you've got problems with British accent (and the test may include a good sort of accents, including Australian, New Zealand, Irish and Scottish). On the opposite hand, American accents may throw you off. Certain terms also are different and you do not want to waste time in your speaking test asking what a flat or a lorry is. So whether you're wont to British or American English is certainly an element . If you're easier with US English, the TOEFL may be a good bet but if you're wont to British English and accents, you'll do better on the IELTS.

Multiple choice versus Copying Down

For the reading and listening sections, TOEFL gives you multiple-choice questions, whereas IELTS generally expects you to repeat down words from the text or the conversation word-for-word. Multiple-choice questions will tend to be require slightly better abstract thinking, but the IELTS favors people that have good memories and think more concretely. the great thing about multiple-choice is that it's easy to select out wrong answers, whereas the great thing about copying down is that the solution is sitting there within the text. you only need to find it and repeat it. So, concrete thinkers will tend to try to to better on the IELTS and abstract thinkers will tend to excel on the TOEFL.

Predictable or Different whenever 

Of course, the TOEFL is additionally more predictable than the IELTS. The IELTS throws many different question types at you, and therefore the instructions are often slightly different whenever . that creates it harder to organize for. The TOEFL, on the opposite hand, is just about an equivalent test every time--pick A, B, C, D, or E. On the opposite hand, the IELTS certainly keeps you on your toes which can keep you more alert.

Speaking to an individual or a Computer?

Another large difference is in how the speaking section is administered . for a few people, it's extremely relaxing to only record your answers into a computer because it seems like nobody is listening. you only try your best and ditch it until you get your grades. Because the IELTS test is completed in an interview format with a speaker present, you would possibly get nervous or feel you're being judged. and that they take notes: Oh God, did he write down something good or something bad? On the opposite hand, you would possibly feel more relaxed during a conversation, with an individual there to elucidate if you do not understand an issue , or just having a face to seem at, rather than a display screen . Getting feedback from a speaker are often helpful too, so as to correct mistakes and improve during the test. So it depends on what you're easier with. If you wish lecture people, the IELTS may be a better bet. If you only want to be alone and not feel judged, the TOEFL are going to be easier for you.

Holistic versus Criteria
At last, the talking and composing areas of the TOEFL are reviewed comprehensively. The grader gives you a score upheld the overall nature of the exposition, including jargon, rationale, style, and language structure. The IELTS against this is set apart by singular models and you're scored separately for sentence structure, word decision, familiarity, rationale, union, and twelve other standards. At the end of the day, in the event that you compose well however have huge amounts of little language structure botches, your TOEFL score could be very acceptable on the grounds that graders will disregard little errors if the overall paper is sensible and itemized. The IELTS won't disregard awful punctuation. On the contrary hand, if your punctuation and jargon are solid however you have inconvenience communicating your assessment or sorting out an exposition, you'll end up with an espresso TOEFL score yet the IELTS will offer you great imprints for language use. So while it will sound simply like the IELTS is far harder since it grades you on everything, really you'll get very great score in case you're solid during various regions. The TOEFL stresses the ability to put together a legitimate and point by point contention (or outline) and shows up at lucidity, word decision, and class specifically . In the event that you don't feel great composing papers yet you believe that you have fantastic language and jargon and by and large are a genuine essayist, the IELTS will most likely be simpler for you. 

I trust this paper was useful in settling on your decision. Regardless, I like to suggest you go to the sites of IELTS and TOEFL and acquire some more detail on each test, and furthermore give some training issues a shot your own. 

Walton Burns is an English instructor and college position expert in Astana, Kazakhstan. investigate his blog with more guidance for worldwide understudies and English students at and his site at [] for games, exercise plans, tests and other cool stuff!