IELTS or TOEFL - Which one should I take?

 The TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) and IELTS (International English Language Testing System) are two of the most known and widely accepted language tests in the world.





4 hours

2h 45 minutes


4500 centers in over 165 countries

1100 centers in over 140 countries


The cost is usually between 160 and 200 USD

The cost varies widely even within the same country - usually it is around 200 USD


Scored on a sliding scale from 0 to 120 with 30 marks available for each section

Each section is marked with a band 0-9

Does Webteachers offer prep?

Yes! Webteachers TOEFL preparation

Yes! Webteachers IELTS preparation



TOEFL, a.k.a. Test of English as a Foreign Language, test results are necessary when applying in universities, foreign business school as well as employers that are using the TOEFL test as requirement when hiring new employees. More than 6000 institutions in 130 countries take into consideration TOEFL test results. Furthermore, the test is taken by more than 18 million people every year! TOEFL is a language test for non-native English speakers. It’s widely used for accepting students into universities and because of this TOEFL offers only academic English. IELTS is the preferred test for accepting immigrants into Canada and the UK and has an academic option as well as a general test.


TOEFL is based around academic subjects while the IELTS academic option will have mixture of general speaking and listening sections. One can say that IELTS has more of the real-world feel than the TOEFL and which test you should choose depends on your language skills.



Which one is harder? IELTS or TOEFL?


It’s probably the question you are most curious about, but there is no straight forward answer. It depends on your background and skill levels. Therefore you should follow the guidelines below.






If you are able to understand variety of accents this is best choice for you

American accent


Allows handwriting

Typing only - if you are not fast typist, then choose IELTS

Test duration

2h 45 minutes

4 hours


Different question formats

Multiple choice questions


IELTS is more common in the UK and Europe.

TOEFL is more common in the US.

Are you comfortable with speaking in microphone?

If not, then it would be better to choose IELTS.

If yes, this test is for you.

Is it easy for you to take notes from a recording?

If not, then IELTS will probably be better for you.

If yes, then TOEFL will be great for you in this regard.

How do you feel about discussing non-academic English?

IELTS will be focused on variety of subjects based more on real-world usage. If your sources of learning English are entertainment based, then the IELTS test is best for you.

TOEFL is an academically centered test. If your sources of learning English are not entertainment based, then TOEFL is best foryou in this regard.

Both of these tests are widely accepted and available at a variety of locations. Consult the program or job that you want to apply for and make sure which one they accept. Furthermore, look at the charts and make a choice of taking the IELTS or TOEFL test, considering your strengths and weaknesses.

No matter which test you wish to take, be sure to practice using the Free TOEFL Practice Tests and Free IELTS Practice Tests .