TOEFL vs IELTS | Which exam is easier?

Vishesh Chogtu
Modified on 2021-11-22 in Exam
Read time: 11 mins
Source: English Buff

The Test Of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and the International English Language Testing System are the two main English language competence assessments accepted at institutions around the world (IELTS). The structure of the TOEFL is more academic in nature. IELTS has a more authentic communication aspect. In race of TOEFL vs IELTS, IELTS is still difficult, but it doesn’t have the same in-depth academic content as the TOEFL. Another distinction is that the IELTS is administered on paper, whereas the TOEFL is administered on a computer for the majority of test-takers. The TOEFL may be a better fit for students with good typing skills, whereas the IELTS may be a better fit for students who prefer scribbling their responses.

Toefl vs ielts : Highlights

Conducting BodyBritish Council and IDP Education Ltd.Educational Testing Services 
Medium Online and Offline Online and Offline 
Variants IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training IELTS IndicatorTOEFL iBT
Duration 2 hours 45 minutes4 hours 
BreaksThere are no breaks allowed during the listening, reading, or writing sections, but the speaking section can be taken up to a week before or after the other sections.Between the listening and speaking portions, there is a 10-minute break.
Sections Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking*Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking
Test Delivery Format Paper-basedComputer-based 
Score Range 0-90-120
Average Minimum Score Required by Top Universities6.378
Exam Frequency 48 times in a year More than 50 times a year 
Results TimelineResults are issued 13 days after the testResults are issued approximately 10 days after the test
Where All are the Scores AcceptedMore than 9,000 organisations throughout the world have accepted it.More than 10,000 organisations throughout the world have accepted it.
Cost INR 14,700/-INR 13,780/  (TOEFL iBT)

What is TOEFL?

The TOEFL exam is one of the most widely recognized English proficiency exams in the world, and it is accepted by colleges and educational institutions in the United States and Canada. The TOEFL exam assesses overseas students’ knowledge and understanding of English as it is spoken, written, and heard in college and university environments. The TOEFL test is administered by ETS (Educational Testing Services), which is in charge of creating the questions, administering the test, and delivering each examinee their scorecard.

With the launch of the TOEFL at Home edition, students can now take the TOEFL test from the comfort of their own homes. ETS has also produced the TOEFL Essential Test, a shorter but equally effective version of the TOEFL test that will begin on August 21, 2021. ETS recently decided to accept Aadhar Cards as part of a student ID for applicants taking the TOEFL exam from India. As you read, you’ll learn about these and other current events.

Check Out: How to prepare for IELTS?

What is IELTS?

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is the most widely used English language test for work, study, and migration around the world. IELTS is trusted by over 10,000 businesses as a trustworthy predictor of real-life English communication ability. Listening, reading, writing, and speaking are the four abilities used by IELTS to evaluate a test taker’s English language ability.
IELTS is the only high-stakes language test authorized for migration throughout Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, and it can be taken on a computer or on paper. IELTS was a pioneer of four-skills English language assessment more than 30 years ago, with a focus on human dialogues. IELTS continues to be the gold standard in English language testing.

Is TOEFL or IELTS Easier?

TOEFL is totally computer-based, you will not have to contact a live person. IELTS speaking tests are conducted in front of an examiner, which might be nerve-wracking for some people. TOEFL requires you to utilize a keyboard for writing exercises, but IELTS requires you to write by hand. When comparing the IELTS and TOEFL tests in terms of length, the IELTS essay is a little shorter, at 250 words, compared to the TOEFL’s 300.

TOEFL will ask you to listen to and take notes on lectures from a university class or snippets of on-campus discussion in the listening section. After that, you’ll utilize your notes to respond to multiple-choice questions. You’ll listen to recordings and answer questions as you go for IELTS, which will include a variety of now-familiar question formats.

Find out which tests the schools you’re considering will accept. If you don’t have a time limitation, consider which of the two tests is best for you: IELTS or TOEFL. If you’re concerned about your penmanship — or your English when chatting with a native speaker — the TOEFL may be an excellent option for you. IELTS is a shorter, somewhat more challenging exam that includes a wider range of questions and tasks as well as direct dialogue with an examiner. The TOEFL exam costs between $200 and $325 CAD, whereas the IELTS exam costs between $260 and $390 CAD. 

IELTS Format

Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking are the four sections of the IELTS exam pattern. These four criteria are used to evaluate the candidates. IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training Test are two versions of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Candidates should examine the college/requirements university’s before applying and then prepare accordingly. IELTS Academic is recognized by universities all around the world where students apply for undergraduate and postgraduate programs. The IELTS exam design is divided into four portions, each of which assesses a candidate’s aptitude on a variety of factors.

SectionDuration Task
Listening30 minutesIt includes four monologues and four conversations
Reading30 minutesThree long reading passages with tasksThese texts range from descriptive to factual, to discursive, to analytical, and they include non-verbal information like diagrams, graphs, and illustrations. These texts are authentic (taken from books,  journals, and newspapers)
Writing60 minutesThe candidate must summarize, describe, or explain a table, graph, chart, or diagram in 150 words, followed by another 250-word short essay.
Speaking11-14 minutesIn a face-to-face interview, short questions are asked, a familiar topic is discussed at length, and a structured discussion follows

TOEFL Format

Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing are the four portions of the TOEFL exam pattern 202. Candidates should always practice as much as possible, as the more TOEFL Sample Papers they practice, the higher their results will be. The ETS, the governing authority for the TOEFL exam in 202, determines the exam pattern.

Section Number of QuestionsDurationTask
Reading4072 minutesAnswering questions based on 3 or 4 academic passages.
Listening3857 minutesYou may be asked questions based on lectures, conversations, or classroom discussions.
Speaking4 tasks17 minutesThe candidates should express their opinion on a topic that is familiar to them and speak with authority based on reading and listening tasks.
Writing2 tasks5o minutesCandidates must write essays based on reading and listening tasks and support their opinions with writing.

IELTS vs TOEFL Speaking Section

IELTS speaking test will be a face-to-face test for all students, but the TOEFL speaking test will be recorded using a microphone and emailed to the examiners  The TOEFL test would last 20 minutes. IELTS would take no more than 10-15 minutes. The ability to try a speaking exam before the other tests in IELTS is a significant difference between TOEFL and IELTS, whereas there is no such choice in TOEFL.

Check out : TOEFL Exam Pattern and Syllabus

TOEFL vs IELTS Reading Section

Both examinations’ reading tests will comprise texts along the lines of those they may encounter in their studies. This portion of the IELTS exam will have 3 questions, and applicants will be required to answer questions in a variety of formats such as gap fillings, short responses, and so on. TOEFL will give you 3-5 reading questions to answer in 20 minutes.

IELTS vs TOEFL Writing Section 

You will be asked to answer two writing questions while taking the ILETS exam. In the first, you must explain the facts presented in the form of a diagram, table chart, or other visual aid. In the second, you must write 200-250 words about an argument or a certain point of view. If you take the TOEFL exam, you must write a five-paragraph essay in 300-350 words. For the second question, you will need to take notes from a specified material and write a response of 150-225 words.

TOEFL vs IELTS Listening Section

Both examinations’ Listening skill tests are extremely different from one another. In the ILETS exam, students can answer questions while listening to a recording. There will be a variety of lengthy and short questions. The TOEFL test, on the other hand, will be based on classroom lectures that applicants will take notes on while listening to the audio. In the TOEFL hearing component, students must complete MCQs in 40-60 minutes.

IELTS vs TOEFL Score Comparison

TOEFL Writing and Speaking sections are graded primarily on their appearance, including your vocabulary range, writing style, and grammar. The IELTS is graded based on specific logic, coherence, grammar, and fluency criteria. For example, an article with a logical flow of ideas but poor grammar may score higher on a TOEFL exam. In contrast, an article with solid grammar and vocabulary but a lower ability to articulate a notion will score higher on the IELTS criteria.

The overall scores of the TOEFL and IELTS may be roughly compared as follows:


Score Description 

Band scoreSkill level
Band 9Expert user
Band 8Excellent user
Band 7Good user
Band 6Competent user
Band 5Modest user
Band 4Limited user
Band 3Extremely limited user
Band 2Intermittent user
Band 1Non-user
Band 0Have not given any test

TOEFL and IELTS Preparation

The question of how to begin preparing for the IELTS/TOEFL is a lot easier to answer. When you decide to study abroad, you should begin preparing for these tests as soon as possible. These tests may be requested of you at any time unless and until you have enrolled in a course that eliminates the need for a language competence test. As a result, you can begin studying for these tests. Furthermore, because the tests must be used to acquire the language, studying for them can never be considered a waste of time. Simply brush up on your language skills, place a greater emphasis on comprehending the nuances, and make it a point to communicate in the language, both verbally and in writing. 

Preparation Strategy for TOEFL

  • Improve your English language skills
  • Understand the four sections of the TOEFL test: Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing
  • Understand the scoring structure of TOEFL

Preparation Strategy for IELTS

  • Learn about the IELTS test format and procedure
  • Develop useful test-taking strategies and skills for the IELTS Academic tests
  • Improve your English reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills

Primary Difference between IELTS VS TOEFL

Mentioned below is a summary of the distinctions between IELTS VS TOEFL for aspirants and those wishing to study abroad :

  • The IELTS exam takes less time than the TOEFL.
  • The IELTS speaking examination is given in front of an examiner.
  • The TOEFL often requires you to use just US English or UK English throughout the exam, rather than a blend of the two, although the IELTS tends to be a bit more forgiving.
  • The TOEFL consists largely of multiple-choice questions, but the IELTS has a larger variation in how questions are designed and replies must be given.

Which universities accept IELTS vs TOEFL?

Over 9000 universities worldwide accept either IELTS or TOEFL, or both. If you are applying to institutions in the United Kingdom or Australia, IELTS is more frequently accepted.TOEFL is generally accepted by American colleges.

CEFR Score Equivalents

Many European students will be better familiar with the CEFR scale, which assesses European language ability in terms of letters and numbers. In general, a student who intends to study abroad at the undergraduate level must have finished the CEFR B2 level or above in the teaching language of the institution. A CEFR level of B2 corresponds to an IELTS score of 5.5-6.5, although a CEFR level is rarely used in place of a desired IELTS or TOEFL result.

Check Out: Prepare for TOEFL

Conclusion: IELTS vs. TOEFL

Both TOEFL and IELTS are indeed the two most widely used English language competency tests. Both examinations include the same four areas: reading, listening, speaking, and writing, but they differ in style and how they assess skills.

In the TOEFL vs. IELTS debate, ask yourself the four questions below to determine which exam is best for you:

  • Which test do the colleges you’re thinking about applying to accept?
  • Which test is gonna be the best fit for your skills?
  • Is one simpler to travel there than the other?
  • Is one less expensive?
toefl vs ielts


✅ Is TOEFL easier than IELTS?

Ans: IELTS and TOEFL both test basic English proficiency tests. IELTS is considered to be easier than TOEFL by most of the test takers.

✅ Which is better IELTS or TOEFL?

Ans: TOEFL is more commonly accepted by American institutions, while the IELTS is more commonly accepted overseas, but many schools accept scores from either exam. … Generally speaking, the majority of United States schools surveyed stated they preferred TOEFL scores over scores of other English-language tests

✅ Why is TOEFL easier than IELTS?

Ans: The TOEFL test is 60 minutes long and the IELTS listening test is 30 minutes. … Some students have commented that it is easier to listen to American accents and this makes the TOEFL listening easier, but you should also bear in mind that you will never get a very difficult accent on the IELTS test.

✅ Does TOEFL expire?

Ans: TOEFL scores are only valid for two years after you take the test. After they expire, you won’t be able to access them online or send them to schools. The TOEFL score validity period is fairly short to ensure schools have accurate and current information about your English skills

✅ Can TOEFL be taken from home?

Ans: If you have a Windows desktop or laptop, can install the ETS Test Browser and are able to add the ProctorU extension to your browser, you can take the TOEFL at home. While the ETS Test Browser is where you’ll be giving your exam, ProctorU will be used by your proctor to monitor you during the test


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About the Author

Vishesh Chogtu

Comments (18)

RishikaCommented on 2022-01-27

Can I take both TOEFL and IELTS?

shourya dayalCommented on 2022-01-27

Can I take both TOEFL and IELTS?

JatinCommented on 2022-01-27

Does Yale accept IELTS?

shourya dayalCommented on 2022-01-27

Does Yale accept IELTS?

ananayaCommented on 2022-01-27

Does Oxford require IELTS?

shourya dayalCommented on 2022-01-27

Does Oxford require IELTS?

AkritiCommented on 2022-01-27

What is the maximum TOEFL score?

shourya dayalCommented on 2022-01-27

What is the maximum TOEFL score?

jatinCommented on 2022-01-27

Is IELTS British or American?

shourya dayalCommented on 2022-01-27

Is IELTS British or American?

RajeevCommented on 2022-01-27

Is TOEFL test hard?

shourya dayalCommented on 2022-01-27

Is TOEFL test hard?

AnkurCommented on 2022-01-27

Does TOEFL expire?

shourya dayalCommented on 2022-01-27

Does TOEFL expire?

AnkitaCommented on 2022-01-27

Do universities prefer TOEFL or IELTS?

shourya dayalCommented on 2022-01-27

Do universities prefer TOEFL or IELTS?

KunalCommented on 2022-01-27

Is TOEFL easier than IELTS?

shourya dayalCommented on 2022-01-27

Is TOEFL easier than IELTS?