Monday, April 6, 2009


A lot of people are asking what's the difference between IELTS and TOEFL? IELTS means International English Language Testing System while TOEFL means Test of English as a Foreign Language. They both test the four core skills in English namely: Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing.

How are they different from each other? IELTS is more universal. You can use it to get in Australia, Canada, US, New Zealand and UK. TOEFL can only be used in the US and Canada. Another difference is the task types. IELTS has more variations of task types such as multiple choice, sentence completion, matching headings, true/false. TOEFL has only the multiple choice task type. A third difference is the length of the exam. IELTS has a shorter exam duration which is 21/2 hours while TOEFL has 31/2 to 4 hours of exam time. Lastly, IELTS is paper-based while for TOEFL, there is the paper-based test and there is the IBT or the Internet-based Test.

Which is more difficult? It depends. The listening and reading parts of the TOEFL are easier because it is just multiple choice. However, what makes the TOEFL harder are the integrated tasks, especially the speaking section. If speaking is your waterloo, better take the IELTS because the questions are simpler and more practical in nature. The TOEFL speaking questions are more academic based.

Taking the IELTS and TOEFL is not difficult if you know how to approach it. It largely depends on the individual to assess which skill he/she is weak at.