Before getting to know about IELTS vs TOEFL which is good for you? Just learn what is English language test and why it's so needed.
What are English Language Tests?
An English language proficiency test helps in understanding a candidate's English language skills with regard to listening, reading, writing and speaking. If you are a student aspiring to study abroad or planning to work and stay in a country where English is the primary language, these tests are essential and will help you understand and speak the language seamlessly.
Why take English language tests?
An English language test is imperative for people who wish to move to English-speaking countries for higher education, work and immigration purposes. The test certificate is proof that the candidate is capable of communicating and understanding the English language for academic and professional purposes.
Types of English Language Tests
A few years ago, there was only TOEFL in the segment, but now it faces competition with a few other viable options.
The below-listed tests are widely accepted and standardised tests measuring proficiency in the English language for non-native English speakers. Read on to get a clear perspective of your options before you choose an English language proficiency test that best fits you.
IELTS (International English Language Testing System)
The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is a standardized and widely recognized English language test for international education and global migration. It evaluates the English language proficiency of non-native English speakers, who wish to study or migrate to countries, where English is the language of communication.
There are two categories under IELTS: Academic and General
The IELTS Academic modules assess if your English language skills meet international academic proficiency. This is best suited for students who wish to pursue their undergraduate or postgraduate degrees in an English-speaking environment and for those planning to move for professional registration.
The IELTS General assesses if your language skills are adequate for the workplace and social situations. People migrating to Australia, Canada and the UK, those applying for secondary, training programmes and work experience in any English-speaking environment can opt for General Training.
What is the importance of IELTS?
IELTS is one of the most trusted English language tests across the globe with more than 10,000 organizations recognizing it internationally. The IELTS certification is accepted by academic institutions, companies, professional bodies and government organizations across the UK, the USA, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Singapore, Europe and 140 more countries around the globe. The test is considered the standard for English language testing and their certification is recognized for both academic and immigration purposes. This test assesses the English language skills of a candidate by testing their reading, writing, listening and speaking skills. Tests are available throughout the year in over 1600 centres in over 140 countries.
The IELTS exam can be taken online and offline. The exam format for both modes is the same. The listening and speaking sections are the same for both academic and general, while the writing and reading differ slightly.
IELTS Indicator is an online test that was introduced to help candidates take up the IELTS examination over the pandemic period. The IELTS Indicator is held online once a week at a scheduled time. Similar to IELTS Academic and General, this test also assesses the candidate’s English language skills in reading, writing, listening and speaking.
The test is timed and the duration is the same as the in-person test. The candidates' will receive the results within seven days. Candidates are advised to check if their university accepts the Indicator certificate.
Video-call Speaking test:
To make IELTS more flexible to people around the world, select IELTS test centres will offer the IELTS Speaking test through high-definition video calls. The candidates must take up the speaking test at an official IELTS centre.
The IELTS test format consists of 4 parts:
Four recordings of native English speakers will be played and the candidate will have to answer the list of questions provided. There will be a total of 40 questions of different types, including multiple-choice questions, plan/map/diagram labelling and sentence completion.
The reading section consists of 40 questions. This section is designed to test a wide range of reading skills, including reading for gist, reading for main ideas, reading for detail, skimming and understanding writers' opinions, attitudes and purpose.
The excerpts for the academic section are taken from books, journals, magazines and newspapers.
The topics in this section cater to candidates taking up their undergraduate and postgraduate studies or to those seeking professional registration.
General Training Writing:
The topics in this section are of general interest. The writing style is expected to range from personal, formal to semi-formal.
This section assesses the candidates' use of spoken English. There are three parts to this section.
Part 1: The examiner poses questions about the candidate, including their family, work, studies and interests.
Part 2: The candidate will be given a card with a particular topic. With a minute's time for preparation, they will have to speak on the given topic for up to two minutes.
Part 3: This session is a continuation of session 2. The candidate will be asked questions about the topic in part 2 and it lasts about four to five minutes.
- 2 hours and 45 minutes
- Listening: 30 minutes
- Reading: 60 minutes
- Writing: 60 minutes
- Speaking: 11-14 minutes
Each section is marked separately on a scale of 0-9 and the average of the four sections is taken as the final score. Each university/organization can set their own minimum score based on its requirement.
The IELTS certificate is valid for two years. After 2 years, the candidate has to reappear for the exam if they wish to prove their eligibility.
The IELTS certificate is accepted in over 10, 000 institutions in more than 140 countries.
The IELTS certificate is recognized as a standard proof of English proficiency for study, work and migration in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK. In the USA, it is accepted for study and work.
The cost of an IELTS exam in Thailand is THB 7,100, for both IELTS Academic and IELTS General.
TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)
The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is also an English language assessment test, primarily used by non-native English speakers while applying to colleges abroad, where English is the common mode of communication.
TOEFL specifically focuses on the type of English that is used in academic settings and that is why it is most sought after by students who wish to study overseas in countries like the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Why choose TOEFL?
TOEFL tests are graded using an unbiased system with several test raters and the identity of the candidates remain anonymous. Therefore, the candidates can be assured of a fair grading system. In addition to this, almost 90% of the candidates get placed in their 1st or 2nd choice university.
TOEFL can be taken through two modes:
- TOEFL PBT (paper-based test - offline)
- TOEFL iBT (internet-based test - online)
The offline mode is called the paper-based Test (PBT). TOEFL iBT is suitable for students who prefer to take up the test at home instead of going to the test centre. This mode is offered everywhere where TOEFL is usually available, except for Mainland China and Iran. The test content is similar to that of the pen-and-paper format and the candidates will be proctored by a human proctor online through ProctorU.
The TOEFL exam has four major sections:
This section assesses the candidate's ability to comprehend basic academic texts. The excerpts are taken from lectures, university textbooks and articles. It consists of three to four paragraphs amounting to up to 700 words.
This section attempts to test the candidate's comprehension and understanding of conversations and lectures in English. The candidate will be tested on a range of accents, including British, Australian and American.
The speaking section assesses the ability of the candidate to clearly express their opinions on a particular topic. They will be given 17 minutes to complete a set of four tasks.
The writing section consists of two parts: an integrated writing task and an independent writing task. The integrated writing task involves a reading text, where within 3 minutes, the candidate will have to read a passage of 200-220 words. Upon completion of this, they will be given 20 minutes to write an essay using the information taken from the text. The duration for the independent writing task is 30 minutes, within which the candidate has to write up to 300-350 words.
Internet-based - 4 hours
Paper-based - 3 hours
- Reading: 60 - 80 minutes
- Listening: 60 - 90 minutes
- Speaking: 20 minutes
- Writing: 50 minutes
In the revised TOEFL PBT format, each section is graded between 0 and 30 separately. There is no overall score.
- The TOEFL iBT grade can range from 0 to 120 points.
- There is no fixed passing grade as each university has its own minimum grade.
The TOEFL certificate can only be used as valid proof for 2 years from the day the results are announced. To prove their eligibility post these two years, the candidate must retake the exam.
The TOEFL certification is accepted by 100% of the universities in the U.K.
In addition to this, more than 11,000 universities in over 150 countries also recognize the TOEFL certification.
The registration fee for a TOEFL exam differs from location to location. The TOEFL Exam cost for Thailand is about US$ 215:
Not sure how to move forward on IELTS vs TOEFL which is good for you? Do contact us at AECC Global, and we will guide you. We can provide you tips to help you study like our very helpful 7 tips to prepare for the IELTS exam. We are here to help!