IELTS, toefl

To move to a foreign country and study at a top university, you must submit several documents apart from your academic records. One of these important documents is the English language test score. 

English-speaking countries require you to prove your proficiency in English. There are a lot of different English testing exams which universities accept. 

But some of the exams to prove English language proficiency are IELTS, TOEFL, PTE, and Duolingo tests. But the IELTS and TOEFL are the most popular English exams among these exams. 

In this blog, I will discuss IELTS vs TOEFL and help you understand which exam you must take.

Students are often confused about how many tests they have to give. You have to submit test scores of only one of these exams which are accepted by the university you are applying to. In most cases, your choice of the exam does not affect your admission.


Before we compare these exams in a detailed way, let us first get some idea about them. 


Let’s start the IELTS vs TOEFL comparison by the definition of both exams.

IELTS: The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is a recognized English testing exam. Millions of students around the globe and in India test IELTS. 

The easy format of the exam and the feasibility of appearing in the exam is what makes it the choice of students. The IELTS tests your ability to Read, write, speak, and listen in English. 

TOEFL: The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is another popular exam for English among Indian students. TOEFL is also accepted by thousands of universities worldwide and thus is trustworthy. 

TOEFL also tests your English based on four modules Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking. 

Read our other blog to learn the IELTS exam preparation tips.

Test Formats

To find, out of IELTS vs TOEFL which is better for you, you will have to compare both exams on a lot of different parameters. The main parameter to compare the tests is the format of the test. 

Both the tests have very different formats and time duration, however, both serve the same purpose.

IELTS: The IELTS is one of the most popular tests because of its easy format. There are two variants of the IELTS: 

  • IELTS Academic 
  • IELTS General training 

If you are a student looking for admission to a university abroad, then the Academic IELTS is what you should give. If you are a working professional who needs to prove your English for your workplace, then you have to go for General Training IELTS. 

There are different types of questions in IELTS, like fill-in-the-blanks, MCQ type, short answer types, etc. 

You will be given 2 hours and 45 minutes to complete the test. The speaking module is tested in a personal interview with an examiner and can occur either before or after the exam. 

The examiners of the IELTS are looking to test your creative ability and comprehension skills. 

TOEFL: TOEFL has an easy form as well, but it is slightly different from IELTS. Also, It does not have any variant like IELTS. 

The other major difference between these two tests is that TOEFL has majorly MCQ-type questions, unlike IELTS. 

You will be given 4 hours to complete the test, which is much more than other language tests. 

The examiners here are looking to test your analytical skills and ability to weigh different options, thus, the format consists of more MCQs. 

If you want to learn the name of countries that do not require IELTS for study, read our other blog.

Writing module

Now that you are clear with the basic format of both tests, let us compare each module of the tests. The writing module of the language tests is often considered the most important module of the test. Most students also have concerns about their scores in the writing module. 

IELTS: The writing module of the IELTS is 60 minutes. It is divided into Task 1 and Task 2. Both the tasks are mandatory and you get 20 minutes for Task 1 and 40 minutes for Task 2. The first task requires you to describe an image, graph, chart, pie chart, or any other form of visual representation of data. 

You need to identify what the diagram shows and then describe it in your own words. The examiner is looking for your observation and analytical skills here, they want to understand how well you can analyze the data and put it in words. 

Task 2 is an essay writing part where you have to write an essay on the topic given to you. Your creative thinking skills are to be tested in this task.

TOEFL: The writing module of TOEFL consists of two tasks as well. Both tasks are essay writing types. You will get 50 minutes to complete the writing module. 

The first task is called the integrated writing task, and you will have 20 minutes to complete it. You will have to read a passage and listen to a short lecture and then write an essay based on it. 

The second task is called the independent writing task, which is of 30  minutes and requires you to write an essay based on a personal experience or opinion in response to a writing topic.

Reading module

The reading module is considered easier than the rest of the modules. You have to demonstrate your reading skills in this module. 

IELTS: The reading module of IELTS is 60 minutes duration. 3 passages are from various sources. You have to read through these passages and then answer questions based on them. 

There are 40 questions in the reading module. These passages can be from any textbook, journal, magazine, article, or any other general text. 

This is an easy module, and you can score well in it by using skimming and scanning techniques. 

TOEFL: The reading module of TOEFL is more or less similar to the IELTS reading module. It also includes 3 or 4 passages and each of the text will be around 700 words. 

You will have to answer 10 questions on each passage. The time duration for the reading module in TOEFL is 54-72 minutes. 

You do not need to worry if you are not familiar with the topic in the passage all the information required to answer the questions will b given in the passage. 

Listening module 

The listening module is the next module to compare IELTS vs TOEFL. 

IELTS: In the IELTS listening module, you will hear 4 recordings, and then you will have to answer questions based on each one of them. All the recordings are of native English speakers. 

The first recording will be of two people conversing in a usual social context. The second recording will be a monologue of a person speaking in a social context, for example, a speech on a local organization. 

The third recording will be between 4 people set in educational backgrounds. The last recording will be a monologue of a university professor giving a lecture. You will get 30 minutes to complete the listening module.

TOEFL: The listening module of TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) is quite similar to the IELTS. It has 3-4 lectures, some with classroom discussion, and there will be 6 questions per lecture. 

There will also be recordings of 2-3 conversations with 5 questions per lecture. You will get 41-57 minutes to complete the TOEFL listening module. 

Read our other blog to understand how to send TOEFL results to universities.

Speaking module

Here you will get the comparison between IELTS vs TOEFL speaking module.

IELTS: The speaking module of the IELTS is a personal interview module. You will sit with an examiner, and the examiner will ask you first to introduce yourself. 

He will then make you understand the format of the questions coming further, and he might ask you about your hobbies and interests to make you feel comfortable. The speaking module of the IELTS lasts about 11- 14 minutes. 

TOEFL: The speaking module of TOEFL requires you to answer 4 questions. These four questions are real-life based, and you must answer them based on your experience. 

You will be given 15-30 seconds to prepare for the answer, and then you will have to speak for 45-60 seconds on each question. The time given for the speaking module is 17 minutes. 

Fees Comparison 

A cost comparison is important in determining the best test for you. The cost of IELTS vs TOEFL are quite similar, so in this aspect, it does not make much difference which one you choose. The IELTS cost is INR 16,250, and the TOEFL is INR 16,900


The result of the IELTS is announced on the 13th day after the test, and the result of the TOEFL is announced 10 days after the test. 


Around 11,500 organizations accept IELTS scores, while TOEFL scores are accepted by around 12,000 organizations worldwide.


All the above aspects must be understood and measured carefully when determining IELTS Vs TOEFL: which exam you must use? 

Both exams have more or less the same format. However, there are some dissimilarities between the test modules, which you can look into in more detail on their official websites. 

The cost of the exams is also quite similar, so the only parameter that determines which is good for you is your own experience. 

Analyze the formats carefully and then make an informed decision by finding which exam suits you best. 

I hope I have cleared all your queries about IELTS vs TOEFL, and if you still have any questions about choosing any of the exams, you must contact our experts.


Do universities prefer TOEFL or IELTS?

Both tests are widely accepted, and most of universities worldwide accept the IELTS and TOEFL exams.

Is TOEFL easier than IELTS?

The answer to this question may vary from person to person, according to their strengths and weaknesses. As both exams are to test your language proficiency through 4 modules.