IELTS vs TOEFL: Which English language exam is preferred for US college admission


For many years, the “Test of English as a Foreign Language” (TOEFL) is a kind of examination that most American colleges and universities depend on to measure the English language skills exhibited by the applicants from non-native English-speaking countries. On the other hand, the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is a type of exam that is required by most other native English-speaking countries like Great Britain and Australia, to test the ability of the English language. The IELTS test can compete with the Test of English as a Foreign Language test in the United States and both are considered to be the most preferred exams in the world. The TOEFL score is more commonly accepted by the US educational institutions for admission, while the IELTS is more commonly accepted worldwide. Generally speaking, most US schools and colleges stated that they preferred TOEFL rather than other English-language tests.  


The IELTS is an English language test used for educational, immigration and professional purposes, and is accepted by over 10,000 educational organizations in 140 countries all over the world. IELTS jointly owned by the British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge Assessment English. IELTS is an international language test, meaning you can use both the UK or US spelling. Depending on the criteria for getting admission for your study program, you may be required to appear the IELTS exam for academic or general training.


The TOEFL exam seeks to measure your ability to communicate in English, especially for academic purposes in classrooms. It is adopted by more than 8,500 educational institutions in 130 countries, as well as the top hundred universities in the world, including the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia. TOEFL is operated by a US-based education service and operated in American English. This test is more likely to be for American colleges and universities. 

Difference between IELTS and TOEFL:

Besides the different tone and style of English, each test is based on a different pattern. TOEFL test questions are in multiple-choice form, whereas IELTS question pattern includes different types such as short answer, filling the gaps and short essay questions. The TOEFL is significantly longer than the IELTS exam, taking approximately four hours versus two hours and forty minutes to complete. The TOEFL test is to be completed on a computer, and the IELTS test is done on paper. TOEFL follows the multiple-choice pattern where a student needs to choose the correct one from the given options and in order to do this, the student needs to think analytically to analyze the differences between their options. IELTS test needs more use of a candidates’ memory and draws on a broader comprehension skill as students are faced with different question patterns.


Here, we can say that TOEFL and IELTS are two preferred examinations of measuring English language skills of a candidate. Maybe the style and pattern are different but the purpose is almost the same. Especially, in the United States, most colleges and universities preferred TOEFL scorecard at the time of admission although few American educational institutes accept IELTS test score to judge a students’ ability.

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