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Recently Updated on September 15, 2023


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Toefl Vs Ielt

Difference Between TOEFL and IELTS

TOEFL and IELTS both are widely taken examinations to determine whether is TOEFL easier than IELTS. Or IELTS is easier than TOEFL. There are certain differences listed down below that might provide some clarity.


Appearing for these exams is fairly expensive. Despite both these exams costing almost the same, USD 200 to USD 250, it also depends on the country from where you are appearing for these exams.


Their scoring systems are slightly different. While in IELTS the score band is from 0-9, in TOEFL the score band ranges from 0-120. The validity of both scores is up to two years.

Also, TOEFL is a single test with an overall score of 120. But, in IELTS, an average is taken on a scale of 10 by combining individual scores of all four tests
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TOEFL vs. IELTS exam format

The exam format is somewhat similar for both papers, but TOEFL has more multiple choice questions than IELTS, which has more essay and short answer types questions. For some people, this might make TOEFL easier than IELTS.

Speaking Section

In TOEFL, like the rest of the paper, the speaking examination will be recorded and sent for further evaluation, but in IELTS, this takes place face to face with the interviewer. Furthermore, in IELTS, you will have the option of appearing for the speaking assessment before the exams, but there is no such option in TOEFL.

Reading Section

In TOEFL, you will have three to five questions to be answered at an estimated time of 20 minutes. In IELTS, you will have exactly three questions, but the format might be different every year. It could be to fill up the blanks, give short answers, or do anything unique.

Listening section

In TOEFL, students will hear classroom lectures that they will have to take note of to further attempt the questions. In IELTS, the students answer while listening to the recording, which is comparatively easier than making mental notes like in TOEFL.


TOEFL is more widely available, geographically speaking, as it can be taken in about 4500 locations, which is a lot more than IELTS. IELTS can be taken in about 1600 locations which are relatively less.


The frequency of the examination also makes a lot of difference, as TOEFL is conducted a lot more often than IELTS. TOEFL has scheduled 60 dates every year, whereas IELTS only has 48 slots.


Most colleges accept the scores of both exams, but consensus has shown that US-based colleges prefer TOEFL over IELTS. In contrast, IELTS is accepted more widely across other colleges outside the US.

The format and pattern of the two exams are slightly different in the following ways.


IELTS does not offer as many multiple-choice questions as TOEFL. For most of the questions in TOEFL, the answer is already in front of you, and you simply have to choose. If you feel more comfortable with coming up with your answers, then IELTS may be the way to go.


Both IELTS and TOEFL are paper-based and computer-based but it has been noticed that people have mostly appeared for TOEFL on computers. Some question in IELTS asks the students to write which requires good handwriting and writing speed.


IELTS’s reading examination is considered easier than TOEFL’s. TOEFL only takes passages from academic writing and thus requires more in-depth knowledge and a critical eye, whereas IELTS’ reading section is considered comparatively easier as it makes use of extracts taken from magazine and newspaper articles alongside academic writing.


The speaking section of the tests is where the differences seem to weigh in. In IELTS, one has to speak to another person, an interviewer, whereas in TOEFL, since the entire exam is computer-based, the speaking section is also tested by a computer on a recorded basis.

Additionally, in IELTS, people have the option of giving the speaking section test a week in advance, whereas in TOEFL, the entire test is taken in one go.


The essay length of both exams might make a difference in your choice. In IELTS, you will have to write an essay of 400 words in 60 minutes, whereas, in TOEFL, you will be required to write 500 words in under 50 minutes
One can choose either of these two papers by keeping in mind the major differences that arise in terms of the speaking examination, availability, frequency, and acceptance of these scores in their chosen college or university.

The answer to “IELTS vs TOEFL which is easier?” depends solely on subjective preferences and capabilities
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