Similarities and Differences Between TOEFL and IELTS!

Image of open books Many people have been asking us about the differences between the two popular TOEFL and IELTS exams, as this information can help make the right choice for you.

1) Format

TOEFL is conducted on a computer – all components, including speech.

IELTS takes place on paper – speaking with a person.

2) Difficulty

Both tests are on the same level (C1). You may find one easier or more difficult, not because the level is different, but because the tests have different texts as sources, they have different tasks and questions.


TOEFL – you will have 3-5 sections to read – each time is 20 minutes long. The nature of the materials is academic.

IELTS – 3 reading sections – each time is 20 minutes long. The materials are, as in the case of TOEFL, relevant to the academic environment. There are different types of questions (questions with choice of answer, fill in the missing word, connect words in meaning, etc.)


TOEFL – listening is very different from IELTS. With TOEFL, you will have 40-60 minutes filled with Hearing lectures or academic chats (university lectures, etc.) Keep your notes and answer multiple choice questions.

IELTS – types of questions have a wider scope, and exercises of different lengths. You will answer questions after going through the listening part.


TOEFL – 2 writing tasks are required and they are done on a computer. The first task involves writing an essay of 5 paragraphs between 300-350 words long. Keeping notes is important, because the second task requires taking notes during reading the text and following a lecture on the same subject. You are then asked to answer using your notes by writing a text of 150-225 words. This section includes both listening and writing.

IELTS – 2 tasks: the first is a short essay of 200-250 words. In the second it is required to consider the information graph – chart, table and summarize the submitted information in writing.


 TOEFL – there is a difference in this section too. TOEFL is required to record your answers on a computer of 45-60 seconds on 6 different questions based on short descriptions / dialogues.

IELTS – lasts 12-14 minutes and is done with a member of the examining committee rather than by recording a computer response (TOEFL). There is a brief warm-up exercise, consisting of a brief conversation, followed by a response to some sort of picture simulation, and finally a deeper discussion related to the topic.

Decide on which of the two exams to appear. Because if you want to do yourself well, you have to begin preparing yourself according to the specifics of the exam.

You can practise free online TOEFL  and IELTSAs you have seen there are significant differences in modules. Preparatory materials are also different, so stop on one of the exam and act! DO IT!