Differences in scoring systems between TOEFL vs IELTS


The results of an English language competence test must be submitted by international students from non-native English-speaking nations applying for admission to colleges abroad. The two most extensively used and accepted tests are IELTS and TOEFL. Despite having the same goal, these tests are different in some ways. A particular score on one of these exams may enable you to enroll in the University of your choice’s English-language programs, making it a crucial step in studying abroad. Before choosing which test to take, it is wise to learn more about the tests and their various grading systems. To select the proper exam for you, if you are still deciding which to take, read the following guide to learn how IELTS and TOEFL vary in scoring systems.

The top ways that IELTS and TOEFL differ from one another

Let’s examine the key difference between the IELTS and TOEFL tests now:


There are two primary IELTS exam variants as academic and general Training. IELTS general training is for people who want to enroll in a vocational training program or move abroad for work. In contrast, IELTS academic is for students planning on pursuing higher education at the undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral levels. 


TOEFL vs IELTS differs because they have different objectives, even though both examinations are designed to evaluate a person’s proficiency in the English language.

When compared to the TOEFL, IELTS has a larger breadth. It serves as a test of English proficiency for those looking to immigrate to an English-speaking country or study abroad.

Interaction with examiner:

The manner of the exam is administered in TOEFL vs IELTS  is another variation. For the speaking part of the IELTS exam, candidates must interact directly with the examiner. The TOEFL exam is entirely computer-based. Students, therefore, do not personally contact the examiners. Students must record and send their speech for editing for the TOEFL speaking section.


Regarding the number of students who take the tests each year, both are quite well-liked. Over 3.5 million applicants are expected to have taken the IELTS exam in 2018. Since more people take IELTS in this location than just students, the number is larger. Over 2.3 million potential students are thought to take the TOEFL every year.

Locations available:

Although the examinations are widely accessible, their accessibility varies. Students from more than 140 countries can take the IELTS exam at over 1,600 sites. It is easy to take the TOEFL. Exams can be taken practically everywhere in the world by students.


IELTS and TOEFL are graded differently, which is one of the key distinctions between them. IELTS scores are assigned a band rating from 1 to 9. The IELTS exam uses a scale from 0 to 9 to determine overall and sectional scores. Unlike the TOEFL, which is graded out of 120 points. Each section receives a mark between 0 and 30.


At authorized testing facilities worldwide, the TOEFL iBT exam is scheduled more than 60 times annually. There are 4 days a week when the new TOEFL iBT home edition exam is offered. IELTS tests may be taken as frequently as once per week. It has 48 test dates planned per year.

Results declaration: 

Students often receive their TOEFL results 6 to 10 days after the test date. The IELTS test results are made public within a week or 13 days of the exam.

Exam pattern and syllabus for TOEFL vs IELTS 

A student must pass all four portions of both exams, such as Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing. The way the exam is administered can vary, though.

Reading section: 

  • TOEFL:

TOEFL reading section evaluates a student’s reading and comprehension skills for academic content appropriate for a university setting. You will have to read three to four passages. You will be required to respond to roughly 10 questions for each passage.


Three passages are typically provided to students for the IELTS reading section. Students are required to respond to various questions based on the passages. The primary goal of the section is to evaluate the student’s understanding and ability to recognize the author’s main concepts and their ability to locate specific material.

Listening section:


The goal of the TOEFL listening part is to evaluate a student’s capacity for listening to lectures and dialogues in the classroom. Questions based on three to four lectures and two to three chats will be given to the class. Each question in a study is followed by six, and each question in a conversation is followed by about five.


The IELTS listening section tests a student’s comprehension of a conversation and capacity to pay attention to crucial details. Four recorded monologues or discussions that are separated into four pieces will be given to the students.

Speaking section:


The TOEFL speaking section aims to gauge a student’s proficiency in spoken English. Four assignments are provided to the student, and an examiner grades the answers. One task is for the learner to talk about a well-known subject.


The primary goal of the IELTS speaking portion is to evaluate a candidate’s ability to express their ideas and opinions in English. A face-to-face interview with the appointed examiner is required of the student.

Writing section: 


The goal of the TOEFL writing part is to evaluate student’s ability to communicate their thoughts clearly and methodically in writing. Two assignments will be provided to the students, such as an integrated assignment that requires reading for three minutes, listening for two minutes, and writing for fifteen minutes.


Writing an essay that is well-structured, understandable, and logical on the given topic is tested in the IELTS writing component. The two essays that the students must write are both short.

IELTS or the TOEFL: Which is better?

The question of which exam is easier arises when comparing the TOEFL and IELTS tests.

The choice between the two exams and the difficulty of each is entirely up to the individual. It depends on a few variables, including:

  • The preferred choice of the question:

The same skills of reading, listening, speaking, and writing is tested on the IELTS and the TOEFL. Before making a decision, familiarize yourself with the exam format and the types of queries that will be asked in both exams. For instance, you could prefer the TOEFL exam to the IELTS if you feel more at ease answering MCQs.

  • Cost

The cost can also play a role in deciding between IELTS and TOEFL. The prices differ according to the nation from which you take the exam. So, before deciding, determine how much the examinations will cost in your country if cost is one of your primary considerations.

  • Availability

The accessibility of the testing facility close to you also affects your exam choice. You can select an exam where testing location and dates are convenient for you.

Final Thoughts

Finally, IELTS vs. TOEFL have similar goals, but their scoring systems differ in various ways, according to a comparison of the two exams. Make sure you are aware of these differences if you intend to take one of these exams before making your final decision.


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