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TOEFL or IELTS

TOEFL or IELTSIf you want to get high education abroad and have already begun to search the training programs in the foreign universities, you have to know that one of the main requirements is an international certificate of proficiency in English. Today it’s presented two international certificates - TOEFL and IELTS, and if you need to get them, of course, you have to pass the exam.

More than 90 % of universities accept the results of both exams. And here the question arises: “What kind of exam should I take: TOEFL or IELTS?” Let's try to understand what the differences between these two examinations are.

TOEFL is designed by an independent organization Educational Testing Service (ETS), which specializes on the development of the test and management system. This organization is located in Princeton, New Jersey, USA. Besides the TOEFL, company ETS developed such exams as TOEIC, GRE, etc. ETS develops not only tasks and questions for the test, but also checks all the results of the exam, prepares certificates on paper and sends them to the students who’ve passed the test.

IELTS test is jointly owned by three organizations:

  1. British Council is an organization which specializes on training activities and the development of relations with the countries of the UK.
  2. IDP: IELTS Australia is a branch of one of the world's leading international educational organizations IDP Education, which deals with accommodation of the students in Australia, the U.S. and the UK.
  3. University of Cambridge ESOL is a unit of Cambridge University, which conducts exams in English.

Thus, TOEFL is the test which was developed in the USA and IELTS was designed in the UK. However, it doesn’t mean that if you are admitted to the European university, you need to be sure to take the IELTS. Both exams are recognized worldwide and are accepted on equal terms.

Both exams consist of four parts:

Currently, most candidates prefer to take the exam TOEFL iBT (Internet-based test). You are taking the exam on the computer and fill in your answers on the computer. During the IELTS exam you need to work on paper.

Similarities and differences

In the sections Listening, Reading and Writing assignments are quite identical. There are some differences between the sections Speaking.

In TOEFL Speaking section you get find six questions, two of them are the questions on any subject, and four of them are retellings. You’re asked a question and you just have to give a verbal response into the microphone (it will be recorded).

In IELTS Speaking section you have to speak with the real examiner. This section consists of 3 parts: introduction and discussion (4-5 minutes), individual task on a particular topic (3-4 minutes ) and discussion of the assignments ( 4-5 minutes). Conversation is being recorded on the tape.

Pascale Laurent, Exam Manager at the British Council in Brussels, Belgium discusses the differences between the IELTS test and the TOEFL test:

Now have the information about ​​the difference between the exams and you can choose the most appropriate test for yourself: TOEFL or IELTS.