• July 3, 2024

TOEFL Vs IELTS: Gateways to Global Education

TOEFL and IELTS are the leading English proficiency tests, widely recognized by universities worldwide. These assessments are essential for non-native English speakers looking to study in English-speaking countries.

IELTS and TOEFL are both standardized tests used to assess English language proficiency for non-native speakers majorly to study in Australia, USA and other different european country. IELTS offers Academic and General Training versions, whereas TOEFL is primarily internet-based and consists of four sections: Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing. Both tests provide scores that are widely accepted by universities, employers, and immigration authorities globally.

TOEFL Overview

TOEFL, conducted online, is favored in the U.S. and Canada, offering a score range from 0 to 120. It assesses English proficiency through a standardized computer-based testing method. Results are typically available within 4 to 13 days, with a validity of two years.

IELTS Overview

IELTS provides the option for paper-based or computer-based testing, with results available between 3 to 13 days. Recognized by over 11,000 institutions in 140 countries, IELTS scores range from 0 to 9 bands. Learn more about IELTS.

Comparing Test Formats

Both tests consist of four key sections: Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing, each designed to thoroughly evaluate a candidate’s language skills.








Time (minutes)


Time (minutes)




40 each for 3 parts


10 each for 3 to 4 parts



40 each for 4 parts


6 each for 3 to 4 parts



1 each for 2 parts


1 each for 2 parts



1 each for 3 parts


1 + 3 tasks


  1. Reading

    TOEFL: 54 to 72 minutes to complete 3 to 4 passages.
    IELTS: 60 minutes for 3 lengthy passages, challenging comprehension and analytical skills.

  1. Listening

    TOEFL: Consists of listening to 6 audio clips and answering questions in 41 to 57 minutes.
    IELTS: Divided into four parts totaling 40 minutes, featuring various real-world scenarios.

  1. Speaking

    TOEFL: A 17-minute section where responses are recorded and evaluated by AI.
    IELTS: Conducted as a live interview with an examiner, typically lasting 11 to 14 minutes.

  1. Writing

    TOEFL: Requires writing essays based on reading and listening tasks within 50 minutes.
    IELTS: Involves writing responses to graphical data and an argumentative essay within 60 minutes.

Score Comparison

TOEFL scores each section out of 30, contributing to a total of 120. IELTS assigns band scores for each section, averaging these for the final score.

Acceptance and Preference

TOEFL is generally preferred for applications in North America, whereas IELTS is favored in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand. Applicants should consider their destination’s specific requirements when choosing between the two.

Practical Considerations

The choice between TOEFL and IELTS may also depend on personal comfort with the test format, including the type of questions and the method of speaking assessment. Costs vary, and additional charges may apply for rescheduling or additional score reports.

Here’s a detailed score comparison table for TOEFL and IELTS to help illustrate how the scoring systems translate between the two tests:

IELTS Band Score

Equivalent TOEFL Score

0 to 4

0 to 31


32 to 34


35 to 45


46 to 59


60 to 78


79 to 93


94 to 101


102 to 109


110 to 114


115 to 117


118 to 120


This table reflects how scores on each test correlate, helping candidates and institutions understand a score’s significance across both testing formats. This comparison is particularly useful for students deciding which test might better reflect their language skills based on familiar scoring standards.

TOEFL vs IELTS: Results and Acceptance

While TOEFL is often the test of choice for those seeking visas in the United States and Canada, IELTS is more commonly selected by those applying to Australia, Great Britain, and New Zealand. Despite these preferences, both exams are universally recognized by numerous English-speaking nations, prestigious universities, and government entities around the world. This allows candidates to select either TOEFL or IELTS based on their personal comfort with the test formats and question types.

TOEFL vs. IELTS: Which is Easier?

Determining which test, TOEFL or IELTS, is easier largely depends on the test taker’s language skills, learning background, and comfort with the test formats. TOEFL’s format is consistent and computer-based, which might suit those who are comfortable with typing and computer navigation. On the other hand, IELTS offers a choice between paper-based and computer-based tests and includes a face-to-face speaking component, which may be preferable for those who excel in more interactive settings. Ultimately, the ease of either test will vary based on the individual’s preparation and familiarity with American or British English accents, as TOEFL typically uses American English while IELTS uses a variety of accents including British English.

TOEFL vs. IELTS: Which is Better?

Deciding whether TOEFL or IELTS is better depends largely on the individual’s specific needs and circumstances. TOEFL is often preferred in the United States and Canada for its computer-based testing format, while IELTS is favored in the UK, Australia, and other countries for its options of both computer-based and paper-based tests. Each has its strengths depending on the applicant’s comfort with the test format, the academic or visa requirements they need to meet, and the type of English accent they are more familiar with. Ultimately, the choice should align with the user’s educational and professional goals.


TOEFL and IELTS are similar in that they both test reading, listening, speaking, and writing skills, with each section getting its own score. The main differences lie in how the questions are asked, how long each task takes, where you take the tests, and how much they cost.

If you’re unsure which test to take, think about which format suits you best, what type of English you’re most comfortable with, and your budget. For expert advice, consider meeting with consultants at HardFord Education to help you make the right choice.