IELTS vs TOEFL to Study Abroad in 2022

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IELTS VS TOEFL: With every passing day, the number of students who wish to Study Abroad multiplies. However, only a few actually know what it entails to study abroad. This was the reason I wrote a post on hot tips to study in the United States; you may want to go through it here.

If you aren’t an English native speaker, you’ll almost always be required to sit an English language proficiency test as part of your application to study abroad at an English-speaking university.

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The two Study Abroad tests you would have to sit for are:

  • International English Language Test System (IELTS)
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

The tests are to ensure that you have a sound background in English. The good news is that both IELTS and TOEFL are widely accepted. Despite this fact, there is still a discrepancy between them.

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TOEFL And IELTS To Study Abroad


The IELTS is an English language test that is used for educational, immigration and occupational purposes and is accepted by over 9,000 institutions across 130 countries worldwide.

Jointly administered by the British Council, University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations and IDP Education Australia, IELTS uses British English and is more likely to be favoured by UK and institutions in Commonwealth nations such as New Zealand and Australia.

Depending on the entry requirements of your study programme, you might need to take either the Academic or General Training IELTS exam.


The TOEFL test seeks to test your ability to communicate in English in specifically academic, university and classroom-based settings.

It is accepted by over 8,500 institutions across 130 countries, including the UK, USA and Australia, as well as all of the world’s top 100 universities.

TOEFL is administered by US-based organisation the Education Testing Service, and so is conducted in American English. This test is more likely to be favoured by American institutions.

Differences Between TOEFL & IELTS

1 Mainly multiple-choice Questions Range of different question types such as short answer, gap-filling and short essay tasks
2 Longer time for the exam You are given shorter time compared to TOEFL
3 One type of TOEFL exam is Computer Based. Two types of IELTS and are both completed on paper.
4 You’ll answer six questions into a microphone which are recorded and later sent to a group of six reviewers IELTS speaking test is taken face-to-face with an examiner. Your score will only be determined by a single examiner
5 You need to be able to think analytically to weigh up the differences between their options.  IELTS requires more use of memory, and draws on broader comprehension skills as students are faced with different question styles

Students applying for English-speaking tertiary programmes will need to sit the Academic IELTS exam, whereas the General Training exam is used to meet immigration and some occupational requirements.

Now, If you were to study abroad, which of the above test would you want to take and what are your reasons?

Feel free to share this post with others and don’t fail to let me know how you feel through the comment box.

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