If you are a non-native English speaker and want to get enrolled in a foreign school, college or university abroad i.e. UK, USA, Canada, Australia and so on, you must pass an English proficiency test in the first place. But the dilemma is that there are so many English proficiency tests out there and each of them has their own pros and cons. Among those, IELTS or International English Language Testing System and TOEFL or Test of English as a Foreign Language is the most prominent. Depending on your case, you might go for any of those tests when you are planning for higher study abroad or immigration. Here are a few things that you must consider while selecting between these two tests.
If you are planning to go for higher study or immigration and taking the test as an entry requirement, find out the requirement of your Target University or country in the first place. IELTS is widely accepted in UK and Australian Universities, while TOEFL is accepted in most US and Canadian institutions. So find out the academic/immigration requirements in the first place.
In case you do not have any admission or immigration obligations, you should go for the test with which you are more comfortable. IELTS is actually based on British English whereas TOEFL is based on US English. In case you are comfortable with UK English vocabulary and grammar, you should choose IELTS. However, if you are more confident in US based vocabulary and grammar, you should definitely go for TOEFL.
If you are comfortable with UK English accent, you will do pretty well in IELTS. On the other hand, if you are comfortable with US accent; you should definitely go for TOEFL, which emphasizes on US English accent.
If you are not efficient in using computers, you shouldn’t go for TOEFL as this test is taken through computers. If only you are good with computers and have a faster typing speed, you should go for TOEFL. Otherwise, you should always go for IELTS, which is paper based and you have to hand write your essays.
IELTS test takes around 2 hours and 45 minutes while the TOEFL test will take around 4 hours. If you want to finish the test in less time, you can opt for the shorter option i.e. IELTS.
Preference on Question Patterns
Although both IELTS and TOEFL assess English proficiency, they have different question patterns. TOEFL test mostly comprises multiple choice questions whereas IELTS uses a wide range of questions including but limiting to fill in the gaps, MCQ and matching exercises. If you are comfortable ticking a MCQ paper, you should choose TOEFL. However, if you are comfortable with a wide range of question types, go for IELTS.
Note Taking Skills
In the listening part of TOEFL, your note taking skills will come in real handy. Compared to IELTS, skills on note taking are much more crucial in TOEFL. If you are not good with note taking, we would recommend you to go for IELTS.