Do you want to pursue higher education overseas in an English-speaking university yet you do not feel confident with your English skills? Whether you like it or not, you will be obliged to take an English language proficiency test.  Worry no more because help is here!

There are two most recognized English language tests in the world; the International English Language Test System (IELTS) and Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) tests.

Truth be told, both tests accurately assess your English level and are widely accepted across over thousands of institutions worldwide, however, the two tests differ in their approach, structure and teaching criteria. For this reason, it is important that you may select carefully which one you should take.


What is IELTS?

The IELTS is an international standardized test of English language proficiency for non-native English language speakers. It is used for scholastic, migration and professional purposes, and is acknowledged by over 9,000 institutions and organizations across 130 countries worldwide. Jointly administered by the British Council, University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations and IDP Education Australia, IELTS uses British English, and is more likely to be favored by UK and institutions in Commonwealth nations like New Zealand and Australia. Depending on the entry requirements of your study program, you might need to take either the Academic or General Training IELTS exam.

What is TOEFL?

The TOEFL test aims to measure your ability to communicate in English particularly in academic, university and classroom-based settings. It is accepted by over 8,500 institutions across 130 countries, including the UK, USA and Australia, as well as all of the world’s top 100 universities. TOEFL is administered by US-based organization the Education Testing Service, and so is conducted in American English. This test is more likely to be favored by American institutions.

General differences

Apart from the different styles of English each exam is based on, TOEFL exam questions are almost entirely multiple choice, whereas IELTS requires you to respond to a range of different question types such as short answer, gap-filling and short essay tasks. The IELTS is significantly shorter than the TOEFL exam, taking approximately 2 hours and 40 minutes versus four hours to complete.

There is only one type of TOEFL exam that is done entirely on the computer, whereas there are two types of IELTS that are both completed on paper. Students applying for English-speaking tertiary programs will need to sit the Academic IELTS exam, whereas the General Training exam is used to meet immigration and some occupational requirements.

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