TOEFL vs IELTS – which one is right for me?

Many students join EF English Live so that they can improve their English and hopefully take an exam to show their mastery of English. But deciding which exam to take can be tough: TOEFL vs IELTS? Both the tests have 4 sections: reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Here are some answers to the most common questions students might have and hopefully this will help you decide which exam is right for you.

Which one is easier?

This is the most common question that students ask me. The answer is neither. Both of the exams are equally difficult, but choosing the right one for you might make studying feel easier.

What schools look at the score?

This should be one of the biggest deciding factors for you when choosing an exam. If you want to study anywhere in Europe, take the IELTS exam as schools want to know your score for IELTS. If you want to study in North America, then take the TOEFL exam as American universities want to know your score for the TOEFL exam.

Which English do you speak, American or British English?

You may need to think before answering this question. If you watch Hollywood movies, you are listening to American English. If you are not sure which English you speak, look up some words that are different in American and British English (for example, ‘elevator’ and ‘lift’) and find out which words you use more. If you speak more British English then consider taking IELTS, but if you speak more American English, then consider the TOEFL exam.

British and American flag

Can you type fast?

This might not be a question that everyone thinks about, but I feel it is equally important. The writing portion of the TOEFL exam requires you to type an essay and if you are not good at typing or are not comfortable with typing, then take the IELTS exam since it is going to be all handwritten.

How long can you sit for a test?

Many students have trouble sitting for long periods of time during a test and this is another thing to take into consideration when choosing. The TOEFL exam is four and half hours, and the IELTS exam is two hours and forty-five minutes. So if you want to take the TOEFL, you need to be prepared to sit for long periods of time.

So if you have taken the TOEFL or the IELTS, tell me what you thought of the exam. Was it difficult? Do you wish you had taken the other exam? Tell us your thoughts about the exams.

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