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What is the Difference Between IELTS and TOEFL?

    If you’re aspiring to study abroad, you probably have heard of IELTS and TOEFL. But what they are, how do they differ from each other, and why they are important?

    If these questions ring in your head, you’re at the right place.

    TOEFL and IELTS both are English language proficiency tests for individuals who want to pursue higher study in an English-speaking country like the USA, Canada, UK, and others. These tests also help professionals with career advancements in an English-speaking country.

    Scoring well in TOEFL or IELTS can open doors for you to study in top universities of foreign lands, get reputed jobs, and much more.

    But which exams should you take? It's a one-line answer which aligns with your career goal.

    To learn in-depth about the IELTS and TOEFL differences, continue reading!


    Purpose and Recognition of IELTS and TOEFL

    TOEFL, Test of English as a Foreign Language is a standardized test for non-native speakers who aspire to pursue their higher education in an English-speaking country. It measures the English language ability of candidates for whom English is a second language.

    The TOEFL test score is recognised by more than 11,000 universities and institutions in over 190 countries and territories.

    You must know ETS, the organizing body of TOEFL conducts TOEFL IBT at the test center, TOEFL IBT at home, and TOEFL essentials.

    Canada universities don’t permit TOEFL iBT Home Edition for SDS (Student Direct Stream) purposes. However, you can take TOEFL iBT at a test center for SDS purposes in Canada.

    IELTS, International English Language Testing System is another international standardised test to examine English language proficiency for non-native English language speakers. The British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia, and Cambridge Assessment English jointly manage IELTS.

    The IELTS exam is accepted in over thousands of countries across the world for higher studies, immigration and employment including Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK.

    However, the IELTS score exam is preferred in the UK, Commonwealth Nations such as Australia, and European universities. The TOEFL is widely recognised if you want to pursue your studies from the United States and Canada.

    Exam Structure and Format IELTS vs TOEFL

    Both the IELTS and TOEFL exam includes the 4 sections - Reading, writing, listening, and speaking, to examine candidates' English language skills and proficiency. However, there are slight differences between IELTS and TOEFL number questions and allotted time.


    IELTS Academic






    30 mins


    36 mins




    60 mins


    35 mins




    60 mins

    2 tasks

    29 mins

    2 tasks


    11-14 mins

    3 parts

    16 mins

    4 tasks

    Major Differences between IELTS & TOEFL

    As of now you know how TOEFL and IELTS are two exams with the same purpose and objectives. But since, both are conducted by different bodies and include different sets of questions differ in its nature.

    Here is an overview of the IELTS and TOEFL exam.


    IELTS Academic



    Approximately 3 hours

    1 hour 56 minute

    Marking System



    Result declaration time

    3-13 days

    4-13 days

    Mode of Exam

    Online and paper-based


    Conducted by

    Jointly conducted by
    the British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge Assessment English


    Accepted by

    Over 11,000 organisations and institutions worldwide

    Over 12,000 universities and institutions worldwide

    IELTS vs TOEFL Exam fees

    Whether you want to appear for IELTS or TOEFL, you’ll need to register yourself through its official website, which includes fees.

    The TOEFL Exam fees in 2024 for Indian students is Rs. 16,900 and IELTS is RS 16,250.

    If you’re registering for TOEFL iBT, you can use the TOEFL voucher code to get discounts on TOEFL exam fees.

    You can apply the voucher code after entering all the basic details, selecting exam date and time.

    TOEFL vs IELTS: Which Exam is Hard

    Both TOEFL and IELTS are international exams which have a level of standard. Both exams include high quality questions.

    However, some participants find that TOEFL reading is tougher than the IELTS reading section. The IELTS section includes text from newspapers, magazines, and journals whereas TOEFL reading segments include complex academic tests from textbooks.

    Moreover, TOEFL iBT offers less time and the number of questions to students , which means the questions have high value. In IELTS, the value of questions stays less, offering more opportunities to students.

    The TOEFL and IELTS both are important, recognised, and high-standard tests, you will require proper preparation to excel in any of them.

    Scoring well in these exams will offer you the opportunity to enrol with the top universities in the United Kingdom, United States, New Zealand ,Singapore, Australia, Canada, etc, and make your dream come true.

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