IELTS (International English Language Testing System) and TOEFL (Test Of English as a Foreign Language) are the two tests that are most widely used to certify an individual for English and serve as entrance tests for many reputed universities around the world. In addition to test your English proficiency, it helps universities understand your test-taking abilities. Although IELTS and TOEFL aim to accomplish the same task, they have a few differences. Some universities accept IELTS, while others only take TOEFL into consideration. Let us see a few comparisons, for a better understanding on which one to take:


TOEFL goes on for about 4 hours, while IELTS goes on for about 2 hours and 45 minutes. While 4 hours can seem like a long time, it takes great typing and computer skills to still complete the test. TOEFL comes with a lot of multiple choice questions and makes it easier to take up the test.


TOEFL is mostly preferred by reputed American universities and is well suited for students aiming to enter courses in US. IELTS aims at targeting students wishing to pursue courses in Europe and other countries. TOEFL will hence have a standard American English structure while IELTS can be a little tricky in terms of language, but understandable.


TOEFL is available and considered at over 500 locations in the US and over 4,500 around the world, while IELTS is available at 59 locations in the US, and over 900 worldwide. This does not mean that IELTS is less important, it means that TOEFL is more universal than IELTS.


IELTS and TOEFL both have a near-to-equal pricing. TOEFL is priced at $160 and can go up to $200 based on location. IELTS is around $200 even though the price varies according to locations around the world.

Ease of Examination

TOEFL is more of a computer-oriented examination while IELTS is for people who are comfortable with writing. IELTS involves a face-to-face interview while TOEFL requires speaking through a microphone. TOEFL uses standard American English whereas IELTS calls for various dialects of English. TOEFL is all about answering multiple-choice questions while IELTS involves fill ups, true or false questions, flowcharts and multiple-choice questions as well.

Skills Required

Both tests require four types of English skills – Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. The only difference between the two tests is that IELTS requires an in-person speaking skills test while TOEFL requires talking to a computer.

Test Scoring

In IELTS, each section is marked from 0-9, where scores are awarded for each section. TOEFL is a test that scores a total of 120 marks, where each section is awarded with 30 marks.


Both tests are similar and test basic reading, writing, listening and speaking skills. If you are comfortable with taking to a person and writing on paper and taking shorter test times, IELTS is the perfect fit. If you are comfortable with only standard American English, talking to a computer, answering only multiple-choice questions and don’t mind the length of the test, then TOEFL is the perfect fit for you. But the real question is, does the university you wish to enter prefer TOEFL scores or IELTS scores? It is better to decide depending on your shortlisted university preferences.