Scores of English proficiency tests are an essential part of university applications to English-speaking countries. All the non-native speakers of the English language have to take these exams in order to complete their applications. Out of all, the popular ones are IELTS and TOEFL. Both of them assess the reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills of the candidates but in different formats. Are you wondering Why should I opt for ILETS over TOEFL or vice-versa? If yes, then here is an insightful blog on IELTS Vs TOEFL! 

Details  IELTS  TOEFL 
Conducting Body British Council and IDP Education Ltd. Educational Testing Services 
Medium  Online and Offline  Online and Offline 
Variants  IELTS Academic
and IELTS General Training 
Duration  2 hours 45 minutes 4 hours 
Sections  Reading, Writing,
Listening and Speaking*
Reading, Writing,
Listening and Speaking
Score Range  0-9 0-120
Exam Frequency  48 times in a year  More than 50 times a year 
Cost  INR 14,000/- INR 14,000/  (TOEFL iBT)

* Candidates are free to attempt the speaking section of the IELTS exam prior to other sections.

What is IELTS?

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is an esteemed language proficiency test that is taken by candidates either willing to attain overseas education or for occupational purposes. It is accepted across 140 countries. IELTS has two variants, IELTS General Training (For working professional/ Immigration purposes) and IELTS Academic (Education purposes). 

What is TOEFL?  

TOEFL is an acronym used for Test of English Language as a Foreign Language which is a famous language proficiency test frequently opted by students aspiring to study abroad. The exam lays emphasis on testing the abilities of applicants to communicate in classroom-based English and hence is accepted in around 130 countries.  


The major difference lies in the format of the questions as TOEFL comprises of MCQs whereas IELTS would ask you to answer the questions in varied forms like fill in the blanks, short answers, etc. Along with this, one prominent distinction is the duration of both the exams. IELTS has to be completed in 2 hours 45 minutes, on the other hand, it will take you 4 hours to complete TOEFL.

IELTS is available in two variants i.e., General Training and Academic, the applicants can choose their version test as per their purpose of visit. TOEFL offers only one type of exam and is mostly opted by the students enrolled in a program abroad. IELTS demands applicants to showcase their creative thinking abilities and comprehension skills, on the contrary, TOEFL would analyze your analytical thinking and how well you can weigh their different options. Thus, this becomes one of the main features of TOEFL vs IELTS.

IELTS Test Format 

Sections  Duration  Number of Tasks/Activities 
Listening  30 minutes  4
Reading  60 minutes  3
Writing  60 minutes  2
Speaking  11-15 minutes  3

TOEFL Test Format 

Sections  Scoring Level
Reading 0-30 High: 22-30 
Medium: 15-21 
Low: 0-14
Listening 0-30 High: 22-30 
Medium: 14-22 
Low: 0-13
Speaking 0-30 Good: 26-30 
Fair: 18-25 
Limited: 10-17 
Weak: 0-16
Writing 0-30 Good: 24-30 
Fair: 17-23 
Limited: 1-16 
Zero: 0
Total 0-120

IELTS Vs TOEFL: Writing Section 

While attempting the ILETS paper, you would be asked to solve 2 writing questions. In the first one, you will have to explain the information given in the form of a diagram, table chart, etc. While in the second one, you will have to pen down 200-250 words upon the argument or a given viewpoint. If you take up the TOEFL exam,  you will have to draft a five-paragraph essay within 300-350. For the second question, you will have to fetch some notes from a given text and have to frame a response in 150-225 words.  

IELTS Vs TOEFL: Speaking Section

Speaking assessment in TOEFL will be recorded through a microphone and will be sent to the examiners while the IELTS speaking test will be face to face test for all the candidates. The duration of TOEFL would be 20 minutes IELTS would range a maximum of 10-15 minutes. An important distinguishing factor in TOEFL vs IELTS will be the option to attempt a speaking test before the other tests in IELTS whereas there is no such option in TOEFL. 

TOEFL vs IELTS: Reading Section

The reading test of both the exams will include the texts around the lines of the ones they will encounter in their programs. TOEFL will offer 3-5 reading questions to be completed in 20 minutes. IELTS test will include 3 questions in this section and the applicants would be asked to answer questions in various formats like gap filings, short answers, etc.  

TOEFL vs IELTS: Listening Section

The Listening skill test of both the exams is very different from each other. In the ILETS test, students can answer the questions while they are listening to the recording. Varied sort of long and short questions will be there. Whereas the TOEFL test will be based on classroom lectures and applicants take note of while listening to the audio. Students have to solve MCQs in a given duration of 40-60 minutes in the TOEFL listening component. 

IELTS vs TOEFL Score Comparison 

The TOEFL speaking and writing portions are assessed primarily on how they look, including your vocabulary range, writing style, and grammar. The IELTS is evaluated based on distinct marks for specific criteria like logic, coherence, grammar, and fluency. For example, an essay with a logical flow of ideas but bad grammar may score higher on a TOEFL exam, but an essay with good grammar and vocabulary but a lesser ability to communicate a concept will score higher on IELTS criteria. The IELTS is evaluated on a scale of 1-9, with your total result being the average of your individual scores in all four exams. If your total average is 6.25, it will be rounded up to a final score of 6.5. TOEFL is a single test with a maximum score of 120 points. TOEFL and IELTS total scores can be broadly compared as follows:

118-120 9
115-117 8.5
110-114 8
102-109 7.5
94-101 7
79-93 6.5
60-78 6
46-59 5.5
35-45 5
32-34 4.5
0-31 0-4

Score Description 

Band score Skill level
Band 9 Expert user
Band 8 Very good user
Band 7 Good user
Band 6 Competent user
Band 5 Modest user
Band 4 Limited user
Band 3 Extremely limited user
Band 2 Intermittent user
Band 1 Non-user
Band 0 Did not attempt the test

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Is TOEFL easier than IELTS?

IELTS and TOEFL both test basic English proficiency tests. IELTS is considered to be easier than TOEFL by most of the test takers. Many students believe that the IELTS reading section is easier than TOEFL’s reading section.

Is TOEFL better than IELTS?

Both TOEFL and IELTS are accepted by most universities abroad.

Is TOEFL accepted in the UK?

Yes, TOEFL is accepted in all the universities in the UK. You can confirm the details with Leverage Edu experts!

What is the TOEFL exam used for?

Yes TOEFL exam is accepted as the primary English proficiency test by all the top universities. It is accepted by over 8,500 institutions across 130 countries, including the UK, USA, and Australia.

These were all the differentiating factors of IELTS vs TOEFL. We at Leverage Edu provide excellent guidance for both of these standardized English tests. If you are planning to take any of these tests in the near future, get in touch with our well-versed faculties and get started with your preparation!

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