Students who wish to pursue their masters abroad have to fulfill an essential prerequisite apart from the GRE test. They will also have to attempt a universally recognized English test. Till date, there are several tests which are accepted by universities worldwide. All the exams are very similar as they all test you on the same 4 sections and they are – reading, writing, listening and speaking


TOEFL – the Test of English as a Foreign Language

  • The whole test is about three hours long and can be taken on a computer or on paper.
  • TOEFL is scored on a scale of 0 – 120. Each section is scored from 0 – 30 points.
  • The TOEFL score is valid for two years. If you take it more than once, universities will usually only consider the most recent score.

IELTS – International English Language Testing System

  • There are two versions of the IELTS: Academic and General Training
  • Academic is for candidates who want to enroll in those universities and other institutions of higher education that require the students to be proficient in English Language.
  • General training is for those who plan to do non-academic training, as well as professionals who want to work in an English-speaking country or fulfill immigration requirements.
  • The reading, writing and listening modules are 2 hours and 45 minutes long. Speaking is about 15 minutes which usually happens on another day before or after the exam
  • IELTS scoring is from 1- 9 .The accepted level depends on the institution.

While there is no official expiration date, institutions do not consider an IELTS score older than two years.

Let us  consider some other important factors of TOEFL vs IELTS:

Cost INR 11,300 INR 12,750
Accent British accent American accent
Writing Preference Hand-written Typing
Microphone use Not used Uses a microphone
Interview Detailed personal interview No such interview
Dialects Variety of dialects American language
Question-Type Many different types of questions Only Multiple choice questions
Language source From leisure/entertainment background From academic background
School Preference UK schools US schools

Given below is another English certification exam which candidates attempt for proficiency in English :

Pearson’s Test – PTE

This has three parts –

(i)   PART 1: SPEAKING & WRITING (77 – 93 minutes)

(ii)  PART 2: READING (32 – 41 minutes)

(iii) PART 3: LISTENING (45 – 57 minutes)

  • Cost of PTE is INR 10,900.
  • The score is based on the performance in all sections, the overall score is 10-90 points.

Out of all the given examinations the most popular ones taken by students is IELTS OR TOEFL which often becomes debatable as students tend to always want to go for the easier exam or the less expensive exam. Hence universities now days have come up with their own solution for the contest between IELTS OR TOEFL. One can keep in mind which country you choose to do your masters in before deciding whether to take IELTS or TOEFL.  IELTS is accepted by almost every European country whereas TOEFL is recognized by universities in North and South America.

Given Below are some distinguishing factors of TOEFL vs IELTS, that will help you figure out which would be your exam of choice.

  • Cost: IELTS exam is much cheaper than TOEFL. Cost of giving IELTS is around INR 11,300 whilst cost of giving TOEFL is approx. INR 12,750..
  • Duration: TOEFL exam is around 4 hours, IELTS is considerably shorter which is around 2:45 minutes
  • Test Centers: In India, IELTS is usually held in 3-4 star hotels while TOEFL is held in cyber cafe turned examination centers.
  • Score sending: TOEFL ask you to send the scores via ETS only, after 4 score reports it would cost you 35 $ for application to any other university. IELTS has no charges for sending scores.
  • Typing/Writing Preference: If you’re typing speed is slow, then do not take TOEFL as it requires you to type your essay answers. However, IELTS allows you to write you essay answers.
  • Microphone Use: If you’re comfortable speaking into a microphone, you can go with TOEFL. However, if you’re not comfortable with that then IELTS will give you an option of face to face/personal interview.
  • Question Type: If you are familiar with tests that have many question types, including multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank, matching, true/false, and flowcharts then IELTS would be suitable. TOEFL only has multiple choice questions.
  • Schools Location: If your first preference is European schools, then it would be a better idea to go with IELTS. On the other hand, if you’re aiming for U.S. schools, then you can opt for TOEFL.


At the end of the day it comes done to more or less personal preference. Both exams can be considered equally easy or difficult, but what can be considered while choosing between IELTS or TOEFL is, if you are planning on doing your Masters in UK or around Europe IELTS is a better option as it is more preferred exam in Europe whereas in the case of TOEFL it is more popularly recognized in US, Canada etc.

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