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Difference Between IELTS Vs TOEFL: Which Is Easier To Take?

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International Language Testing System (IELTS) and Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) are two main English proficiency tests available for college students and employees from non-English speaking countries. Keep on reading to find out which one is easier – IELTS vs TOEFL?

Although similar in ambition and focus, these tests differ widely in their approach and testing criteria. We have divided this article into two parts – basic information and most important differences. So, while you should definitely work on the ways to improve your English communication skills, there are several other factors that you should consider before taking up your English proficiency test.

Basic Information Regarding IELTS and TOEFL 


IELTS is mostly a British test and that is why it is eagerly accepted in Great Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. It is also widely accepted in other parts of Europe as well.  

TOEFL was initially developed at the Centre for Applied Linguistics at Stanford University. It has very wide acceptance in US universities and almost every US university will accept it.


TOEFL only offers one type of test known as TOEFL- IBT (internet-based test). It also offers PBT (paper-based test) but that is not available everywhere. 

IELTS has 2 types of tests. The first one is known as the general test which is for people who want to immigrate or find jobs abroad. The second one is academic and is for those who are joining foreign universities and colleges. 

It entirely depends upon the person who is taking the exam to choose whatever model they want – between Paper-based and Internet-based.


The TOEFL Exam fee is somewhere around Rs.12,750/-  in India whereas the exam fee for taking IELTS is
Rs. 14,700/- on average. 

Scoring Chart

TOEFL comprises a total of 120 points wherein 30 points are divided for each subset. IELTS is an exam based on a nine-point scale with 0.5 point increments.

There is no minimum IELTS passing score as you are graded between 1.0 to 9.0 depending upon your performance from the lowest to the highest. Similarly, there is no particular TOEFL passing score. It depends upon which university you’re applying to and their minimum acceptable score.

Read more: TOEFL and IELTS score chart.

IELTS vs TOEFL Difficulty – Read Out To Find Which Test Is Easier For You! 

1. Multiple Choice vs Short Answers 

The key difference between the two exams is in the reading and listening sections. You will have to write answers for the questions on IELTS whereas there are multiple answer choices given to you in TOEFL. 

If you prefer multiple-choice questions or questions where you need to choose from the options provided, then maybe you will find TOEFL easier as compared to IELTS.

2. Computer-Based vs Paper-Based 

The question of ‘IELTS vs TOEFL’ is also the question of ‘computer versus paper-based’ test, because almost everyone who takes TOEFL needs to take the exam on a computer.

So you have to consider whether you are comfortable typing your answers on a computer or using a pencil or a pen to put your answers on a piece of paper. Whether you are comfortable looking at the questions on the screen and listening them on the headphones or reading them out from your familiar question paper.

If you prefer paper-based exams more, then IELTS is definitely a better and easier option for you.

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3. Text Used For Reading Sections

The reading sections for both TOEFL and IELTS have several passages,. Each passage Is followed by a series of questions. However, the two exams use different types of text. 

The IELTS uses academic texts as well as passages from newspapers and magazines. However, TOEFL uses only academic texts. The reading passages are usually denser with more complex vocabulary and concepts to understand.

So, if you’re not confident in your English reading skills, IELTS would probably be an easier option for you! 

4. Computer-Based Speaking vs Oral Interview

The speaking section of the TOEFL test, like all the other sections, is done on the computer. You will hear recorded questions and need to speak into the microphone to answer.

In the IELTS, you will be scored basis your face-to-face conversation with a real person. This is one of the biggest differences between the two exams and you must consider it, basis what you are comfortable with.

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5. Recommended Essay Lengths 

IELTS and TOEFL require you to write two essays for the writing section. However, IELTS gives you 60 minutes to write the recommended 400 words while TOEFL only gives you 50 minutes to write the recommended 500 words. 

If writing in English is a struggle for you, and it takes a long time, then you may find IELTS easier over TOEFL.

Ask yourself these questions to find out which exam is easier for you!

  1. Which certificate does your university/college/workplace require? 

Read More to Find Out Which Test Is Better For Canadian Universities. 

  1. Which test plays more to your strengths?
  2. Are the available dates for the exam appropriate for you? 
  3. Which exam is cheaper in your country? (in case you’re on a budget) 

Tell us about your experience with both of these exams!

Comment down below your opinion on, TOEFL vs IELTS: Which one is Easier?

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