Should you take TOEFL or IELTS?

For many people living or studying abroad, the need to take English language training often goes beyond wanting to feel more at home. Having an English language training qualification is often necessary to have access to different educational or career opportunities. 

The two most accepted English language tests, recognized by thousands of institutions worldwide, are the International English Language Test System (IELTS) and the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). While you may have heard of both, it can often be difficult knowing which one is best for you.

To help you make your decision, here are some things to consider.

The Main Differences Between the Two Tests

While both the IELTS and TOEFL are used to perform standardized testing of English language level, they are different in several ways.

  • The IELTS offers two types of tests—a General Training exam typically used for immigration or job applications, and an Academic IELTS exam needed by students applying for some college programs. Accepted by more than 10,000 institutions around the world, this internationally based language testing system lets you choose between UK or US spelling. The exam is based more on memory and comprehension skills, using different question formats, taking about two hours and 40 minutes to complete, and written out on paper. 
  • Accepted by more than 8,500 institutions across the globe, the TOEFL offers a single test in academic English only, and is commonly used as part of a student’s application to universities and other higher education institutions. Administered by a US based organization, this test is conducted in American English only, takes four hours to complete on the computer, and uses a multiple-choice question approach. TOEFL training with a specialized language school is a good idea to help prepare you for this test.

For students based in the U.S., both the TOEFL and IELTS are accepted by colleges and grad schools. If you’re taking an English language test for study purposes, you should contact the institution you plan to attend to find out about their testing requirements. You might also be wise to contact a language course training school to help you determine which test is best for you, depending on your personal reasons for taking it.

How Do Each of the Exams Test the Most Important Parts of Language?

Both the IELTS and the TOEFL are designed to assess the four most important aspects of language—speaking, reading, writing, and listening. 

  • The reading and writing parts of both tests are quite alike, asking you to read text and answer questions in short answers or in short essay form. 
  • The speaking part for each is very different. The IELTS is a face-to-face conversation, whereas the TOEFL has you speak into a microphone to answer questions into a computer. 
  • The listening part is also quite different on both tests. This 30-minute section of the IELTS asks you to answer questions while listening to audio recordings. The TOEFL takes between 40-60 minutes, asking you to listen to some excerpts of language and answer multiple questions about them afterwards. 

Which Format Will You Feel the Most Comfortable With?

Feeling comfortable with the type of test you choose is important for helping you achieve the best score possible. So for example, if you prefer multiple choice testing, writing out your answers on a computer rather than on paper, and speaking into a microphone rather than with a person one-on-one, then you will probably prefer the TOEFL.  

TOEFL preparation in Boston

Choosing the right test for you is important!

TOEFL Training Is Worth the Investment

From there, it’s all about getting yourself ready for exam time! Having a high English language score can often help you get into colleges and graduate schools across the U.S., so paying for specialized preparation training is well worth the investment.

TOEFL courses let you practice questions that are very similar to the exam, helping you discover your strengths and weaknesses. For example, during ASC English’s upcoming workshop, you can see many samples of real-life past tests and learn important up-to-date information about taking the test. 

Are you interested in learning more about TOEFL preparation in Boston

Contact ASC English today for more information!