IELTS vs TOEFL: Which is better?


If you are applying to university or college in an English-speaking country and English is not your first language, your institution may require you to take a standardised test to prove your English language proficiency. Many people in this situation will find themselves asking "IELTS or TOEFL?" So which exam should you take?

The two main English language tests widely accepted around the world are IELTS and TOEFL; but which one is better? We look at the exams and compare them side-by-side, and unlike other comparisons which may look at 'which is easier: IETLS or TOEFL?', we aim to see which we think will give you the best kick-start before moving to an English-speaking country to start your studies overseas. 

TOEFL vs IELTS - Which Is More Accepted?

University Admissions

Before you decide on which course you will take for your English as a foreign language qualification, if you are applying to study in the UK or in an English-speaking country, you must check which qualifications they will accept, as some universities will only accept one or the other. If you are unsure, you can search for the admissions department within the university’s website and email them to find out. The information should be listed on the site as well under course requirements so if you have an idea about which course you would like to take, search for this and it should tell you what you need to know.

What TOEFL Score Do You Need?

Visa Application

If you require a Tier 4 visa for study in the UK, it is recommended that you take IELTS or Pearson’s Test as TOEFL is no longer recognised by the UK Home Office as a Secure English Language Test. If you do not require a visa for your studies, a TOEFL test will be sufficient for your application, as long as your scores meet the entry requirements, which are usually at fixed levels for the University, although some exceptions may apply.

 Compare the IELTS and TOEFL exams 


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