When we talk about the top English language exams for the international students then the 2 exams which come to our mind are IELTS and TOEFL. This article will help you to know that what are the merits of both exams and one is best for you? Any individual who is not a native English speaker needs to appear for the English language proficiency test in order to take admission to the international English-speaking universities abroad.

Since these 2 are the top English language exams which are used by many universities abroad as parameter for giving admissions to students form abroad. However, if we talk about the pattern, approach etc. of both exams, then these are quite different. You can read the given article carefully to make choice between both the exams.



It is an English language test that are used for purpose of education, professional work and immigration to the countries abroad. There are about 10,000 institutions all around the world which are providing admission to the students on the basis of IELTS exam.

This exam is organised by many universities all around the world as part of admission process. IELTS exam can be academic or general depending upon the requirements of the course.



This speaking ability admission test is administered by the US based organization named as Education Testing Service conducted in American English. This institute is supported by many American universities.

Basically, the test is organised to analyse your ability to communicate in English. This test is used by around 8.500 institutes in various countries including United Kingdom, united states of America and Australia.



IELTS has more variety of questions like short answer type questions, fill in blanks, short essay writing questions. However, the TOEFL has entirely multiple choice-based questions. Time taken for the TOEFL exam is around 4 hours and IELTS exam is around 2 hours and 40 minutes. There are three exams in one TOEFL exam where one exam is completely computer bases whereas two exams are paper based. Academic IELTS exam is to be given by the students who are applying for admission to the English- speaking courses whereas those who are applying for purpose of immigration and professional work are required to go for the general training exam.

Basically, we can say that TOEFL is a thinking- based exam where you need to choose between many other options given but IELTS is a memory- based exam where you need to answer in one word and in descriptive form also.




For the speaking test in IELTS the candidate is required to appear face to face with one examiner only. He or she will be marked by an individual examiner. However, in TOEFL you are asked six questions which are recorded and then sent to the 6 examiners and they will mark your performance.

TOEFL speaking test will take around 20 minutes and is take on the same day of examination. IELTS speaking test will take around 11-15 minutes but may be taken on the day other than the day of examination.



When we talk about the IELTS, you need to solve 2 sections of the paper. The first part of the exam is about summarising the information given in the form of diagram, pie-charts or graphs and the second part you need to write about your point of view whether in favour or against the certain topic given in the exam.

In TOEFL, you need to solve 2 sections of the paper. The first section asks you to write five paragraph essays of around 300-350 words and the second section you are supposed to take some part of information on certain topic and then write your own answer in 150-200 words.



The reading test of both the exams are same. TOEFL reading test comprise of 3-5 reading sections which has to be completed in 20 minutes. The candidate also needs to answer multiple choice questions which assess the understanding of the content.


The IELTS reading test comprise of 3 reading sections which has to be completed in 20 minutes. But in this paper, you need to answer wide variety of questions which can be in the form of short answer questions and fill in the gaps type questions.

Basically, the main aim of the exam is to check whether the candidate is able to understand the language.



Listening tests of both the tests is different. In the IELTS listening test candidate will answer the questions while listening to the recordings. The candidate answers different types of questions which vary from short answer to long answer type questions. In the TOEFL listening test which is for a time period of 40-60 minutes. Here the candidate is supposed to listen the parts of university lectures, make notes and then answer the multiple- choice questions.



The scoring criteria of IELTS is based on use of your thinking skills, grammatical skills and fluency. The scoring criteria of TOEFL is based on writing skills, grammatical skills, vocabulary.

We can take example of writing a paragraph where a candidate presenting many facts but with the poor grammar will have more score in TOEFL exam. However, if a candidate presents a paragraph with good vocabulary and less grammatical errors but less expressiveness in the content will score higher in the IELTS exam.

In an IELTS exam you are graded between 1-9 points which is an average of all your four tests. In a TOEFL test you are graded out of 120 points.


Hope this article will help the reader to choose which exam is best for him or her? Just keep your preferences in the mind while applying for any exam.