Difference between IELTS and TOEFL


There are many people in India who choose to pursue their higher education abroad. There are others who choose to settle abroad too. Most of these countries expect such candidates to have a certain level of knowledge of the English language. In order to test their English, tests are conducted. Some of them are IELTS, TOEFL, TSE, ITEP, etc.


International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is a test conducted to test the candidate’s proficiency in the English language. IELTS scores are accepted by many institutions in USA, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and South Africa. Australia and Canada also consider these scores from those who plan to immigrate. An IELTS score is valid for two years.

IELTS has two versions:

The Academic Version is taken by students who intend to pursue higher education and also by professionals such as doctors and nurses who plan to study or practice in an English speaking country. Most universities have a minimum score criteria.

The General Training Version is taken by candidates who plan to undertake non-academic training or to work  or for immigration purposes.

The IELTS tests candidates on their reading, writing, listening and speaking skills in English. The listening and speaking sections are same for both versions. The reading and writing section of the academic version is of a higher difficulty level than the general training section.


Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) conducted by ETS, tests an individual’s ability to use and understand the English language. This is taken by candidates who wish to pursue their higher studies in English speaking countries like the US. The TOEFL score is valid for two years. TOEFL started off as a paper based test (PBT) and later on became a computer based test (CBT). Now it is an internet based test (IBT) though it continues to remain a PBT is a few countries. The TOEFL also tests candidates on their reading, writing, listening and speaking skills in English.

Differentiator between IELTS and TOEFL

One of the main differences between them is the speaking section. In IELTS, it is a face to face meeting between the candidate and the examiner. Firstly, the candidate is asked general questions about himself. Then he is a given a card with a topic on which he will have to speak for two minutes. Finally thy have a discussion on a subject. The candidate is evaluated depending on his performance in these three tasks. A candidate taking the TOEFL CBT or IBT is tested by a computer. First the candidate has two tasks where answers questions based on a familiar topic. In the next four tasks, the candidate has to speak on subjects on the basis on information collected form other sources like a conversation or an existing written subject. The examiners listen to these tasks and then evaluate the performance of the candidate. As already mentioned TOEFL has PBTs, CBTs and IBTs where as IELTS is a PBT. Another difference is in the score calculation. TOEFL has numerical scores. The score set is different for PBTs, CBTs, and IBTs. IELTS has band scores ranging from 0-9 and half band scores. Half band scores are taken in to consideration by most institutions.



Do you have any question? Please ask:

Questions will be answered on our Forum section

3 Responses to “Difference between IELTS and TOEFL”

  1. 3

    what is difference between ielts and toefl ? and is gre is compulsory for studying in germany or ielts is sufficient? please reply me

  2. 2

    I want to do post graduate course from u.s.a and i want to know that ielts is acceptable there in u.s

  3. 1

    job option after doing m.pharm or ,ms from nz