IELTS v/s TOEFL: Know the Differences

toefl, lelts
toefl, lelts

In case you are not an English native speaker, it is mandatory to take an English language test for studying abroad.

Two common English Language Tests:

  • ELTS (International English Language Test System)
  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language).

Though both IELTS & TOEFL precisely test you English skills and are worldwide accepted in thousands of universities, these tests are diverse in their approach, criteria & structure. Therefore, it is important for you to know their differences & then choose.

Following points will help you know the differences and help you select the best for you.


IELTS is an English test that will work for immigration, educational and occupational purposes. It is acceptable by 9000 institutions across 130 countries all over. IELTS uses British English.

Additionally, UK and institutions in Commonwealth nations such as New Zealand and Australia will more likely to be favour. Depending on the entry requirements of your study programme. You might need to take either the Academic or General Training IELTS exam.


On the other hand, TOEFL checks your ability to communicate in English particularly academic and university scenarios. Finally, it is governed by US-based organization and is acceptable in 8,500 universities across 130 countries.





  Exam Pattern

 Includes short answer questions, gap-filling and short essay tasks.

   Multiple choice questions.

Exam Duration

Approx. 2 hours 40 mins

4 hours

Exam Structure




Speaking test is taken face-to-face with an examiner. IELTS speaking score will only be determined by a single examiner.

There are six questions that need to be answered into a microphone which are recorded & later sent to a group of six reviewers.


Includes two tasks. First, summarise or explain information presented in a graph, chart, table or diagram. Second, write a 200-250 word response to a prompt that offers a point of view, argument or asks you to write in a particular language style. 

Includes two tasks: Writing five-paragraph essay with word limit 300-350 words. Second, take notes from a text section followed by creating your response in 150-225 words.


Has 3 sections also each 20 minutes long and with texts academic in nature, but with a wider range of question types that could be anything from ‘fill in the gaps’ to short answer.

It is composed of three-five reading sections & you will have 20 minutes to complete.


 IELTS students can answer questions whilst they are listening to the recordings, and will need to respond to a number of different question types and exercises of different lengths. 

Test is between 40-60 minutes long, and involves you listening to excerpts from university lectures or conversations on a university campus.