TOEFL or IELTS: Which One is Better for Me?

By | April 30, 2018

If you are planning to live abroad, make an exchange program, international internship, MBA or LL.M., you know you have a proficiency exam to complete. The exams and TOEFL and IELTS assess the candidates’ abilities in the four pillars of communication (reading, listening, speaking, writing), but the similarities remain here. Precisely for this reason, understanding the differences is fundamental to defining the best for your project.


The two tests are thought and applied by institutions that have a lot of credibility in the market. And that credibility does not exist without reason. The examinations were designed in order to objectively evaluate the skills and abilities considered necessary for the performance of daily activities, whether in an academic or professional environment. A low score on the TOEFL or IELTS may reflect a need to practice a bit more. Prepare yourself with plenty of time to prevent the tests from becoming obstacles.


TOEFL or IELTS: Which One is Better for Me?


In IELTS grades range from 1 to 9 per section. All grades in the four sections of the test will help compose an average that also ranges from 1 to 9. Notes from 6 are already accepted in universities, however, the most competitive programs will require grades above 7.

In TOEFL, grades range from 0 to 30 per section. The grades from all sections are added to the end to make up your grade, which will range from 0 to 120. Notes above 80 can already guarantee you place in universities abroad, but most MBA and LL.M. , requires grades above 100 for their candidates.


Applicants to IELTS will find only the paper version of the test, for those who choose to take the TOEFL, there is the paper version and the computer, the latter being the most popular.

The overall time of the test is also quite different for the two tests, for IELTS it is about 2 hours and 50 minutes of testing: 40 minutes for Listening, 60 minutes for Reading, 60 minutes for Writing and a maximum of 14 minutes for Speaking. The first three sections of the test are done in sequence, since Speaking, as it is an individual interview, can be scheduled for 7 days before or 7 days after the scheduled date for the exam.

The TOEFL iBT test lasts an average of 4 hours: up to 80 minutes for Reading, up to 90 minutes for Listening, 10 minutes for Intermission, 20 minutes for Speaking and 50 minutes for Writing. All sections of the test are done on the same day.


Both tests are accepted at most universities around the world. So if your route is academic, the only way to determine which test is best for you is with the university that you have chosen which tests are accepted and which is the minimum score. If the university you are applying to accepts the outcome of either, it is important to try to identify which model of evidence best fits your thinking. There are sample questions and quizzes on both exam sites and lots of information available.

No matter which of the tests you choose to do, it is important to separate time to prepare, learn to control your time within the exams and practice to get a high score.