TOEFL vs IELTS: Which Is More Accepted To Study Abroad?


If you are ever going to study abroad, you are definitely going to be required to present any of these two; TOEFL VS IELTS. But the big question is: TOEFL VS IELTS: which is more accepted to study abroad?

The two tests have the same goal and are acceptable by institutions abroad. However, certain institutions choose one over the other for reasons best known to them.

Here in this article, we are going to discuss this to help you learn what you should better go for if you are going to study overseas.

What Is TOEFL?

The acronym TOEFL stands for Test of English as a Foreign Language.

The test was developed in the early 1960s to assess the English proficiency of second-language speakers of English who intend to study in institutions where English is the language of instruction.

TOEFL is a trademark of the Educational Testing Service (ETS), a private non-profit organization, which designs and administers the tests.

It is a standardized test used to measure the English language ability of non-native English countries. It also assesses your ability to both speak and understand English by analyzing your English ability to read, speak, listen, and write.

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

TOEFL iBT test is the world’s most widely respected English language assessment and is used for admissions purposes in over 130 countries, including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

What Is IELTS?

The acronym TOEFL stands for International English Language Testing System.

International English language Testing System (IELTS) is the most popular world English language proficiency test for higher education and global migration.

The IELTS assesses the language ability of candidates who need to study or work where English is the language of communication.

Over the years, IELTS has been the widely accepted test used for educational, immigration, and occupational purposes, and it’s accepted by over 10,000 institutions across 140 countries of the world.

While TOEFL is limited to America alone, IELTS is jointly owned by the British Council, Australia, and America. What this means is that you can actually use IELTS in any of the regions you wish to study in.

Further reading: In Which Countries Are IELTS Not Required | 2022 List

What Is The Difference Between TOEFL VS IELTS?

The two tests are comprised of four sections that assess the important aspects of language: speaking, listening, writing, and reading. The TOEFL, however, is entirely multiple-choice, while the IELTS has a mix of short answers and essay questions.

The internet-based TOEFL can take up to four hours to complete, while the IELTS is two hours and 45 minutes long.

However, the IELTS may take more than one day because there’s definitely going to be an oral test. The speaking test is with an IELTS official and the person who will be assessed with the instructor is separate from the other sections.


  1. Writing:

One of the biggest differences between both with respect to the writing part is that in IELTS one has to write everything down on paper whereas in TOEFL all assignments are typed using a keyboard.

2. Speaking:

There is a very big difference between the speaking part of the tests. If you feel that you are more comfortable speaking English to a person’s face to face rather than in a microphone, then the IELTS might be more suited to you while In the TOEFL exam, you’ll answer six questions into a microphone which are recorded and later sent to a group of six reviewers.

3. Listening:

In the listening part of the IELTS test, you will have to answer 10 questions while the audio is playing. The TOEFL listening test is between 40-60 minutes long and involves you listening to excerpts from university lectures or conversations on a university campus. 

4. Reading:

Again the reading session in TOEFL is much lengthier and involves multiple-choice questions that require a lot of reading that can be tiresome and prone to loss of concentration.


The TOEFL and IELTS are the two most commonly administered English language proficiency exams. Both tests have the same four parts which include: Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing.

In the debate of TOEFL vs. IELTS, there are four questions that you’d need to ask yourself. The following four questions will help to determine which exam is best acceptable to study abroad.

  1. Which exam does the schools you’re interested in accept?

2. Which test plays more to your strengths?

3. Which one is easier to get?

4. Which one is cheaper?

With the following questions, IELTS is more acceptable to study abroad reasons is because the IELTS test is an excellent tool that gives us confidence in evaluating students’ English-language skills.

It is well recognized globally and is well used for both undergraduate and graduate admissions with recognition in over 130 countries, including Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, and most countries in Asia and Europe. A database of the over 9,000 institutions that accept the IELTS test.

See our article on How to Become an IELT Trainer in 2022 | Full Guide


The IELTS is better and most commonly accepted by schools abroad. The reason is that it takes a shorter time to complete the test and it is as well recognized globally across all regions.


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