#EngTips: IELTS vs TOEFL

Hi fellas! Did you follow our #EngTips on TOEFL test (#EngTips: #TOEFL) last week and IELTS test (#EngTips: IELTS) the week before?

Today, admin will give a little recap on IELTS & TOEFL tests. And as I promised, I’ll highlight some of their differences. Ready?

RT @lulyprastuty: @englishtips4u min, what’s the difference of TOEFL & IELTS? Thanks :)

RT @ferisha_: @EnglishTips4U min, IELTS itu bedanya apa ya sama TOEFL? Jelasin dong. Trims~

RT @irtyo: @EnglishTips4U so, what is different between IELTS and TOEFL?

RT @khairunnisaonly: @EnglishTips4U which one is better ?

RT @ATKusuma: @EnglishTips4U IELTS vs TOEFL which is better?

Do you have the same questions as those I’ve just RTed? What’re the differences between IELTS & TOEFL? Which is better?

Let’s do a quick recap to start :) IELTS & TOEFL are tests of English proficiency.

IELTS stands for International English Language Testing System & TOEFL stands for Test of English as a Foreign Language. Both IELTS and TOEFL iBT tests assess your English reading, writing, listening & speaking skills. IELTS & TOEFL are needed if you wish to study overseas or to apply for scholarship in overseas universities. At the completion of IELTS or TOEFL, you would get a score and the certificate is valid for 2 years.

Now, let’s move on to the differences, shall we?

Different intent
IELTS & TOEFL generally differ in intent.

IELTS & TOEFL test whether you can speak, read, understand and write English well enough to attend college in an English-speaking program.

While TOEFL mainly focus on academic purposes, the IELTS test comes in 2 versions: academic & general training.

Say you wish to migrate to UK, Australia or other commonwealth countries, you can take the General Training version of IELTS. The general training version of IELTS is for those who are looking to head to an English-speaking country for work/immigration.

Different style

TOEFL is designed for North American speakers & hearers. Whereas IELTS is designed to fit a variety of accents & situations.

The spoken portions of TOEFL are read by native North American speakers. The questions are based on North American English.

The writing styles and accents in IELTS tests are designed to mimic the accent & style of many different countries. This makes IELTS ideal for those who are looking to test their ability to speak and read English, but not necessarily need to speak and read North American English.

This difference will have a larger effect because spelling counts and that is one area where Britain and US do not always see eye-to-eye.

Different method of scoring

The score calculation of IELTS & TOEFL also differ.

IELTS tests are rated by so-called ‘band’ scores from 0 to 9. Every module will be awarded a score from 0 to 9, and then averaged for the IELTS band score.

In TOEFL, numeral scores are assigned to different test parts and then totaled for the final TOEFL score.

Different types of questions

The TOEFL test is almost entirely made up of MCQs (multiple choice questions). On the other hand, IELTS has much wider range of question types including MCQs, gap fill, matching exercises, etc. If you do not feel comfortable with MCQs, the TOEFL is not the test for you.

For the reading and listening sections, TOEFL gives you MCQs, whereas IELTS generally expects you to copy down words from the text or from text or conversation word-for-word.

The good thing about MCQ is that it is easy to pick out wrong answers. Whereas the good thing about copying down is that the answer is sitting there in the text. You just need to find it & repeat it.

Different test duration

If you tend to become nervous during a test and want the test to end sooner, you should take the IELTS test.  The TOEFL exam lasts approximately for 4 hours, whereas the IELTS test is significantly shorter, about 2 hours and 45 minutes.

Different style of speaking module

Another large difference is how the speaking section is carried out. In TOEFL, your answer will be recorded and assessed. Whereas the speaking module in IELTS is carried out in front of a native speaker, in an interview format.

Some people might feel more relaxed to just record your answers into a computer because it feels like no one is listening. Because IELTS is done in an interview format with native speaker present, you might get nervous or feel being judged. Or perhaps you might feel more relaxed in a conversation, with a person there to explain if you don’t understand a question or simply having a face to look at, instead of a computer screen.

If you like talking to people, IELTS is a better bet. If you want to be alone and not feel judged, TOEFL will be more comfortable for you.

Different grading criteria

The speaking and writing sections of TOEFL are graded holistically. The grader gives you a score based on the overall quality of the essay, including vocabulary, logic, style and grammar.

The IELTS by contrast is marked by individual criteria and you are scored individually for grammar, word choice, fluency, logic, cohesion, and many others. #EngTips

In other words, if you write well but have a lot of small grammar mistakes, your TOEFL score might be quite good because graders will ignore small mistakes if the overall essay is logical and detailed. The IELTS will not overlook bad grammar.

However, if your grammar and vocabulary are strong but you have trouble expressing your opinion or organizing an essay, you could end up with a low TOEFL score but the IELTS will give you good mark for language use.

If you don’t feel comfortable writing essays but you think you have excellent grammar and vocabulary and overall are a decent writer, the IELTS test will probably be easier for you.

So, which one is better? IELTS or TOEFL?

The final question which usually bothers the majority of candidate is which of the two is more difficult, IELTS or TOEFL. There really is no definite satisfying answer because it depends on your knowledge and preparation, as well as the test itself. Mind you, IELTS & TOEFL change every time they are taken.

Nevertheless, such a question is largely irrelevant, since most educational institutions clearly state what test the students must take in order to enroll in their university, which means students usually know what they have to prepare for and should not lose time by developing fear for any test section.

That’s all, fellas! I hope today’s #EngTips could help you better understand IELTS & TOEFL tests. :D

Compiled and written by @miss_qiak at @EnglishTips4U on January 26, 2013

6 thoughts on “#EngTips: IELTS vs TOEFL”

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