TOEFL vs IELTS (Difference between TOEFL and IELTS)

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16 January 2023 by aecc

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If you look forward to studying or working abroad, then TOEFL or IELTS will be the definitive English proficiency test. The difference between TOEFL vs IELTS is well explained in this blog. Both TOEFL and IELTS are accepted globally. All non-native English speakers take either of these exams to apply to universities abroad. Each university has set a minimum score for the English proficiency exams to be eligible for admission. Read ahead to get a complete overview of TOEFL vs IELTS.

What is the difference between TOEFL and IELTS?




Mode of exam

Online and Offline

Online and Offline



IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training


3 Hours 15 Minutes

2 Hours 45 Minutes


A 10-minute break is available between the listening and speaking parts.

No Breaks are there between reading, listening and writing parts. 


Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing

Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing

Test Delivery Method

Computer Based

Paper Based

Score Range



Minimum Score Required for University Admission



Exam Frequency

48 times yearly

Over 50 times in a year

Score Card Delivery Time

4-8 days

11-13 days

Accepted By

Over 11,500 organisations globally

Over 11,000 organisations globally

TOEFL vs IELTS Comparison (TOEFL versus IELTS)

The below table is the TOEFL versus IELTS Comparision:








54-72 minutes

41-57 minutes

10 minutes

17 minutes

50 minutes


36-56 questions

34-51 questions

6 tasks

2 tasks


60 minutes

30 minutes approx. and 10 minutes transfer time

No breaks

11-14 minutes

60 minutes


40 questions

40 questions

3 speaking parts

2 questions


Who Accepts TOEFL Scores?

Over 11,500 organisations globally accept TOEFL scores. TOEFL is a widely accepted English language test to evaluate a candidate’s English proficiency. You may use TOEFL Destination Search to know which institutions accept TOEFL scores. The most popular countries which accept TOEFL are the USA, UK, Europe, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. 

Who Accepts IELTS Scores?

More than 11,000 organisations globally accept IELTS scores. IELTS is a highly acclaimed and accepted English language test to find a candidate’s English proficiency. You can use “Find an organisation” to know which institutions take IELTS scores. IELTS is most prevalent in the UK and Australia. As well as some American universities accept it.


TOEFL Exam vs IELTS Exam

The table below shows the TOEFL Exam vs IELTS exam pattern:





TOEFL Reading

  • 3-5 Reading sections of 20 minutes each
  • Reading materials are taken from academic textbooks
  • Questions are multiple-choice
  • 3 Reading sections of 20 minutes each
  • Reading materials are taken from academic textbooks
  • Multiple choice questions

TOEFL Listening

  • The listening section is 40-60 minutes, where questions are asked from lectures or campus conversations.
  • Take quick notes and answer the multiple-choice questions.
  • Various question types and exercises are asked at different lengths.
  • You will gradually answer questions while doing the listening section test.

TOEFL Speaking

  • The time duration of the speaking section is 20 minutes.
  • You will record responses on the computer for 45-60 seconds to six different questions regarding short descriptions/conversations.
  • The IELTS speaking section duration is 12-14 minutes. An examiner will be present rather than a computer.
  • It has a short warm-up exercise containing a small chat, a response to visual representation, and an extended discussion on an associated topic.

TOEFL Writing

  • With the first task, you need to write a 5-paragraph extended essay which should be 300-350 words.
  • Taking quick notes is essential in the second task, as you must take notes from a reading section in the textbook and a lecture on the same topic.
  • You must take notes to respond to questions. You will write a 150-225 word answer.
  • In the first task, you will write a short essay of 200-250 words.
  • In the second task, you will be given an infographic, such as a chart or graph and will be asked to summarise the details provided. 

TOEFL vs IELTS Score Comparison

The below table is the TOEFL vs IELTS score comparison:


























TOEFL or IELTS for Indian Students

TOEFL for Indian Students

IELTS for Indian Students

It takes approximately 4 hours to complete the test.

IELTS takes a comparatively shorter time. It takes about 2 hours and 45 minutes to complete the IELTS test.

You can take up TOEFL Exam if you prefer answering multiple-choice questions.

IELTS has many question types, such as filling the gaps, multiple choice and matching exercises.

You need to type your essays in the written section of the test.

You have to write your essays on paper for IELTS.

In TOEFL, you will not be interacting with the examiner.

In IELTS, you will interact with the examiner directly.


TOEFL is more widely accepted in the USA compared to IELTS. The minimum IELTS score for college admission in the USA is a 6 band score. Only a few institutions in the USA accept IELTS scores. When looking for admission in the USA, TOEFL scores are recommended so you can apply to a wide range of institutions.

TOEFL Reading vs IELTS Reading

The content for the reading test for both exams is usually taken from academic textbooks. TOEFL has 3-5 reading questions that you must complete in 20 minutes. In comparison, the IELTS exam has 3 questions in this section. You need to answer different question types, such as short answers, gap-filling questions and multiple-choice questions. 

TOEFL Listening vs IELTS Listening

The listening sections of both these proficiency exams are very different from each other. Candidates should be responding to the questions while listening to the audio, and there will be various short and long-form questions in IELTS. In comparison, the TOEFL exam is entirely based on classroom lectures, and applicants should take quick notes while listening to the recording. Moreover, candidates should solve multiple choice questions in a given timeframe of 40-60 minutes in the TOEFL listening section. 

TOEFL Speaking vs IELTS Speaking

Speaking tests in TOEFL will be recorded using a microphone and forwarded to the examiners. At the same time, the IELTS speaking test will be a face-to-face exam for all the applicants. For TOEFL, the duration is 20 minutes, and the IELTS Speaking lasts for a maximum of 10-15 minutes. The differentiating factor of TOEFL vs IELTS is that in IELTS, there is an option to attempt the speaking test before other tests. However, there is no such option in TOEFL.

TOEFL Writing vs IELTS Writing

When you appear for the IELTS exam, you must solve 2 writing questions. In the first part, you must describe the information given in the form of a table, chart, diagram, etc. While in the second part, you need to write 200-250 words based on the given viewpoint or argument. In comparison, you need to draft a 5 paragraph-long essay of 300-350 words in TOEFL. For the second part, you need to take some quick notes from the given text and write a response in around 150-225 words. 

Frequently Asked Questions

TOEFL is accepted more than IELTS around the world. Both are equally reputed and highly acclaimed English proficiency tests. However, the acceptance rate varies from country to country. In the USA, universities mostly prefer TOEFL.

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TOEFL is accepted in more institutions in comparison to IELTS. TOEFL is accepted in over 11,500 institutions globally, whereas IELTS is accepted in over 11,000 institutions worldwide. TOEFL has an exam frequency of 48 times yearly, and IELTS has an exam frequency of over 50 times annually.

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TOEFL and IELTS are basic English proficiency tests. IELTS is easier when compared to TOEFL. Hence, many students also feel that the IELTS reading section is more straightforward than TOEFL. With a comprehensive study plan schedule, both tests are easy to get desired scores. 

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