Understanding the Differences Between IELTS and TOEFL


Who is still confused about the difference between IELTS (International English Language Testing System) and TOEFL (Test of English as Foreign Language)? Apparently, there are still many people who’re not understanding about both of the tests. Some students also still confused about which test they should take for.

Usually, these two tests IELTS or TOEFL will be used as a requirement to graduate or to apply for study abroad. These tests are used to measure your English language skills, both in reading, speaking and writing, whether they are good enough for attending classes and for your daily life.

The fact is that these two tests are very different. Check out this article so you can fully understand about the differences.


Generally the IELTS test is taken by several institutions in commonwealth countries such as: Australia, the UK and New Zealand. Besides that, IELTS is also used for immigration purposes. The test are conducted by the University of Cambridge, the British Council and IDP Education Australia. This test is used British English for all the questions.

In IELTS, the format is more varied, with direct answers in the Listening and Reading sections, and subjective assessment by human evaluators in the Speaking and Writing sections. Also, the test provides a variety of audio types from different accents and speeds in the Listening section. In IELTS, scores range start from 0-9, with half a band being the smallest unit of score. The minimum acceptable score also varies depending on the institution or program.

IELTS test candidates are also allowed to choose either the Academic Module (for those wishing to enroll in university) or General Training Module (for those planning to undertake non-academic training, to gain work experience or for immigration purposes).

The writing format in all IELTS tests will be hand-written (not a digital test). The test take times with the maximum 2 hours and 45 minutes to complete 4 sections test: Speaking, Writing, Listening and Reading. In the Speaking section, you will be asked several questions about yourself and a topic by interviewer.


TOEFL is an English language proficiency test with an American accent. The test is organized by the ETS (Educational Testing Service) office in the United States for all test takers around the world. The TOEFL test is generally required by universities in the United States and Canada.

The TOEFL test has two types, which are TOEFL ITP and TOEFL IBT. TOEFL ITP (Institutional Testing Program) is usually used for the Asian area, with scores that can only be used for certain institutions and local areas, and not valid for all countries in the world. Meanwhile, TOEFL IBT (Internet Based Test) where you will be asked to record all your answers on a computer that has been directly connected to the internet. Your answers will be sent directly to ETS for examination and you will receive a digital certificate or score.

The TOEFL test is more likely to use a multiple-choice method for the Reading and Listening sections. Meanwhile, Speaking and Writing are mostly using software or by human evaluators. The test more focus on complex and fast audio comprehension in the Listening section.

Also, The TOEFL ITP test is divided into three exam sessions: Listening, Structure and Written Expression and Reading Comprehension. The maximum total score on TOEFL ITP is 500 or 550 or even 600. For TOEFL IBT includes Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing. The latest TOEFL IBT test scores have a maximum score of 120. The TOEFL test take times for almost 4 hours.

Lastly, your choice for taking between TOEFL and IELTS test depends on your personal needs, the institution’s policies, or an individual preferences regarding test format and scoring approach. We recommend you to research on the requirements and preferences for your desired institution before choosing which test to take. Good Luck!

For more information about English test, studying abroad, scholarship list or others, you can contact us by visiting our instagram. You can get a free consultation through +62 812-1268-6969 or come directly to Head Office of Eduplan Indonesia – Tangerang Office

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