TOEFL Or IELTS: Which Is Easy For Indians? 

Are you confused? TOEFL or IELTS, which is more favourable for Indians? Which is the best exam to choose for yourself? A number of questions are running in your mind, right? We are here to clear out your confusion. Basically, TOEFL and IELTS exams are the most popular English proficiency exams for non-native speakers.

These exams are very crucial for the students willing to pursue higher education and for the employment opportunities in English speaking countries. These tests are taken to determine the language proficiency of the students. Students or employees are going to study or work abroad. Sometimes, it becomes very difficult for them to choose TOEFL or IELTS. This blog contains an in-depth comparison between the two exams. Continue reading the blog. 

This blog includes:-

  1. What are TOEFL and IELTS? 
  2. Importance of the exams for Indians
  3. Exam structure of TOEFL and IELTS
  4. Scoring criteria of TOEFL and IELTS
  5. Requirements of language skills for TOEFL and IELTS
  6. Tips and strategies for success

What are TOEFL and IELTS? 

Whenever you think of an English language proficiency test, either TOEFL or IELTS comes to mind. TOEFL stands for Test of English as Foreign Language, while IELTS stands for International English Language Testing System. Both the exams are taken by universities, colleges and immigration authorities across the world. 

Importance of TOEFL and IELTS for Indians:

Clearing exams like TOEFL or IELTS is a crucial requirement for Indians who are willing to study or work abroad. These exams determine the strength of the student and ensure that the student has a strong command of the English language. TOEFL and IELTS are both essential for academic success in foreign universities. Sometimes, these exams result in securing visa applications and scholarships as well. 

Exam structure of TOEFL and IELTS

Different exams have different question structures according to the requirements. Let’s examine the structures of the TOEFL and IELTS.

TOEFL Exam Structure:

The TOEFL exam structure consists of four sections: reading, writing, speaking and listening. In the reading section, a passage is provided, and the student has to answer the question based on the passage. The writing section determines their writing skill through a well-structured essay. In the speaking section, students express their thoughts on the given topics. The listening section evaluates their ability through audio recordings. 

IELTS Exam Structure:

The IELTS has four similar sections: reading, writing, speaking and listening. The reading and the listening sections check the ability of their understanding along with the audio and written text. The writing section contains a task of essay writing. The speaking section contains a face-to-face interview. 

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Differences in the Sections of TOEFL and IELTS:

Both the exams have similar sections. Still there are few differences in their sections. TOEFL has more focus on the academic language and students have to read and listen to university level material. On the other hand IELTS has various topics and different accents are used in its listening section. The speaking section contains a live conversation with an examiner and TOEFL contains record prompts. 

The Scoring Criteria of TOEFL and IELTS:

Just like the exam structures, the scoring criteria of both exams can also be different. If you decide to sit for the exams and score high in them, you must check out the scoring criteria.

TOEFL Scoring System:

On a scale of 0 to 120, TOEFL is scored. Each section received a score of 0 to 30. Scoring is done on the basis of the correct answer and then converted to a final scaled score. 

IELTS Scoring System:

On the scale of 0 to 9 IELTS is scored. Then the overall band score is the rounded average of the individual scores. In the range of 0 to 9 a band is scored. Each band represents a specific level of English proficiency. 

Requirements of Language Skills for IELTS and TOEFL Exams

TOEFL or IELTS- whatever you opt for, is the gateway to new opportunities. However, to crack both exams, you need to pay attention to improve your language skills. Let’s read more about it here.

Reading and comprehension skills:

Both exams require reading and comprehension skills by asking questions and presenting text to evaluate understanding. The TOEFL passages are generally long and more academic. Whereas the passage of IELTS covers a wide range of topics including general interest articles. 

Listening skills:

The students’ spoken English skill is measured in the listening section of both exams. Lectures and academic conversation are mainly followed in TOEFL, while speech, mixed conversation, and monologues are included in IELTS. 

Speaking skills:

In the speaking section, the expression of ideas and effective communication in English is measured. However, a face-to-face interaction with an examiner is held in IELTS. Whereas TOEFL contains record prompts. 

Writing skills:

In the writing section, essay writing is provided in both exams. In TOEFL the essay must be well structured with clear arguments. Whereas, IELTS includes various types of tasks like opinion essays and graph descriptions. 

Essential Details about IELTS and TOEFL Exams

Understanding some details, you can easily pass the exams. The details include:-

  1. Test structure

The TOEFL exam’s computer based version is more popular. Whereas, IELTS introduced a computer based version in 2018. Both the exams have four similar sections. They are reading, writing, listening and speaking. TOEFL focuses more on academics while IELTS focuses more on real life contents. 

  1. Variety of questions

The TOEFL exam is based on multiple-choice questions. It also includes rearranging options to find the correct answers. Whereas, IELTS prefers writing down your answers. Now, it depends on you whether to choose TOEFL or IELTS. If you prefer MCQs, you may choose TOEFL. 

  1. Time duration of the test

TOEFL has a longer time duration lasting upto 4 hours and 20 minutes. On the other hand, IELTS has a time duration of only 2 hours and 55 minutes. Now, if you prefer a short time test, then IELTS can be a suitable choice. 

  1. University requirements

TOEFL is popular in over 10,000 universities in more than 150 countries, which includes Asia, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, the UK, the EU and the USA. 

IELTS is popular in educational institutes in Canada, Australia, the UK and over 3,000 educational institutes in the USA. 

Want to know about AP, ACT or SAT exams? Read about them here.

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Summing up

In conclusion, it depends on your individual preferences and choices whether to choose TOEFL or IELTS. 

Both the exams have similar sections which measure your English language proficiency but have some distinct format. Some may be comfortable with the TOEFL’s computer-based format, while some may choose a face-to-face speaking component in IELTS. 

Whatever you choose, make sure to get help from experts to score high marks in the exams.


How can I prepare myself for the IELTS exam? 

Prepare yourself according to the exam format. Start practising each component and start working on time management. Use the official IELTS practice materials. Participate in the mock tests and enroll in preparatory courses. 

What if I am not happy with my TOEFL exam? Can I retake the test? 

You can retake the test a number of times you want. However, you will have to give a minimum twelve-day gap between each try. Your highest-scoring test will be accepted by the educational institutions. 

Can I sit for both TOEFL and IELTS exams? 

Yes, you can sit for TOEFL as well as IELTS, and it can be a good decision for you. 

What is the validity of TOEFL and IELTS? 

The scores of TOEFL and IELTS are valid for two years. As soon as 24 months are complete, your scores will automatically be removed from your account. 

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