IELTS vs TOEFL, Which One Is The Best

IELTS and TOEFL are the two most popular international English certifications that are normally most accepted by universities, companies and immigration agencies in the world. IELTS vs TOEFL, It is worth mentioning that the IELTS test is the star test of British English while TOEFL specializes in American English.

Are you thinking of taking any of these international English certifications? Discover its main characteristics, its differences in our guide to find out which is the right one for you and your goals.


IELTS vs TOEFL, what are these tests?

These two English tests test your knowledge of English on four skills:  speaking, writing, reading,  and  listening. However, their differences stand out more.


IELTS English test

The IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is an English test designed by the University of Cambridge. IELTS vs TOEFL, It is the most demanded English test in the United Kingdom, as well as in other universities in the world that offer courses in English or that request proof of proficiency in this language.


TOEFL English test

TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) is an English test developed in the United States to assess the level of English of foreign students applying to American schools or universities. IELTS vs TOEFL, Therefore, the TOEFL is typically more academic and is the most popular test in the United States.

Both international certifications of English are officially valid for 2 years.


What are the differences between IELTS and TOEFL?

Types of English exam

There are three different types of IELTS English exams that can be taken on paper or on a computer:

IELTS Academic: requested by universities and educational centers.

IELTS General Training: for candidates who want to emigrate or work in English-speaking countries.

IELTS UKVI- For candidates who wish to apply for a UK visa.


There are three different types of TOEFL English tests

The TOEFL PBT (Paper Based Test): the paper version.

The TOEFL iBT (Internet Based Test): it is carried out online in an authorized center

The TOEFL ITP (Institutional Testing Program): tests the level of English of university students whose mother tongue is not English.

Sections / Skills Assessed


  • The IELTS English test includes questions regarding everyday life, for example, what do you like to do in your free time?
  • The IELTS English test can be done in person or by video call with a qualified examiner.
  • On the TOEFL English test, you first need to talk about a topic that is familiar to you. Then answer questions about a must-read text and related audio to pose a question about both.
  • The format of the TOEFL English test is digital. All responses are recorded on a microphone.



  • In the IELTS English test you will have to write two essays, one about a text, and the other consists of an article in which you describe your point of view.
  • The use of American English in the IELTS English test is not penalized.
  • TOEFL performs this test also with two tests. The first consists of comparing a short text that must be read with a listening fragment. Opinions on a topic can be included in the second article.
  • In TOEFL you are invited to use American English preferably over British.



On the IELTS English test, you will need to read a text and demonstrate an understanding of the nuances and tone of the language used by the author.

  • The difficulty of the text varies according to the format / level of the IELTS English test.
  • On the TOEFL English test, you will read academic texts that require knowledge of a very specific type of vocabulary.
  • In TOEFL, there is a wide range of questions from very general to very specific.



  • The IELTS English test uses British words and grammar formations.
  • The IELTS English test includes questions that test your knowledge of grammar.
  • In the TOEFL English test, American English is used.
  • The TOEFL English test includes multiple-choice questions, which increases your chances of hitting the answer.

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If you wish to read more: TOEFL speaking questions