Similarities between IELTS and TOEFL Exam


About the IELTS and TOEFL

The International English Language Testing System and Test of English as a Foreign Language, commonly known as IELTS and TOEFL, are both English Proficiency Tests that are required for foreign education and immigration purposes in English speaking countries. The TOEFL Exam is used by institutions particularly in the US for education abroad only while the IELTS Exam can be used for both Immigration as well as for Academic purposes.

Both tests offer a Paper-based test (PBT) and an Internet-based test (IBT). While IBT is preferred for the TOEFL Prep, the favored test type for the IELTS Preparation is the PBT. The cost of these tests is approximately 180 – 300 dollars depending on which country you take the test. The TOEFL and IELTS tests are accepted in more than 140 countries.

Related Blog Post: Is There an IELTS Exam Age Limit?

Skills Tested

The IELTS Exam and TOEFL Exam test a candidate’s ability in the four basic skills, that is listening, reading, writing, and speaking, and are evaluated based on a unique standard scoring. The scores are used to evaluate the minimum level of English skills required to be a part of an institution or a resident of a particular country.


To start with, the time allotted on the listening section in the IELTS Exam is shorter than on the TOEFL Exam, although the task on both the tests is common, you are required to listen to audio and answer questions based on the information from the audio. It is necessary that you practice listening to varied accents during your TOEFL Prep and IELTS Prep, as, on the actual test, you are allowed to listen to the audio-only once in both the tests.

Related Blog Post: Things you must know before taking the IELTS


The reading section on the TOEFL Exam can be lengthier than the IELTS Exam though the number of passages given on the tests is more or less the same (3-4 passages). While the IELTS reading section takes 60 mins to complete in the IELTS, the TOEFL reading section is 54 – 72 mins long. Also, both tests have a variety of questions, on IELTS Exam you will have to write answers on an answer sheet, while the TOEFL Exam has Multiple- choice questions where you have to select only one answer.


The writing section on the IELTS and TOEFL exams consists of two tasks. The second task is common for both where you need to write an essay stating your opinion. The first task on  TOEFL asks you to read a piece of text, listen to audio, and finally, reiterate the information you have gathered while for the IELTS Prep you are required to write a letter, formal, informal, or semi-formal, in the General Test and reporting an image or data in the Academic Test. The IELTS and TOEFL Exam have their unique criteria or rubric to grade you for the essay.


The speaking section does not have a lot of similarities in the TOEFL and IELTS Exam except that the candidate responds by speaking. The TOEFL Exam expects you to give your response after reading a passage and listening to an audio script while the IELTS Prep is all about personal responses to questions divided into three parts. The speaking section in the IELTS exam takes 12- 14 minutes while the TOEFL Exam takes exactly 17 minutes.

Test validity and results

The IELTS and TOEFL Exam scores are valid for 2 years from the date of registration. The number of TOEFL and IELTS Exams conducted nearly 50 times in a year. While the IBT test result takes 5-7 days, the PBT test result takes approximately 14 days for both the IELTS and TOEFL exams.

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