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Atualizado: 28 de jun. de 2023

Do you want to study at a college or university in an English-speaking country?

So, this article is for you.

One of the first things you should know is that non-native English speakers need to take an English proficiency test to show they have the required English level. There are a few English exams that are accepted by institutions all over the world, but the most popular are TOEFL and IELTS.

When applying for a college or university, most students wonder which test they should take – TOEFL or IELTS. Some of them, even want to know which is the easiest one.

The chart below presents the main similarities and differences between the tests:




Stands for:

Test Of English as a Foreign Language

International English Language Testing System

Owned by:

Education Testing Service (ETS) an organization in the USA

British Council, IDP IELTS Australia and Cambridge University Press & Assessment

Developed by:

Education Testing Service (ETS)

Cambridge English Assessment


PBT (Paper-based Test), CBP (Computer-based Test) e iBT (Internet-based Test)

IELTS Academic e IELTS General Training

Most accepted by colleges and universities:


IELTS Academic


3 hours and 15 minutes

2 hours and 45 minutes





10 days

13 days


Human examiners and automated marking

Human examiners and automated marking

Accepted by:

Over 11,500 organizations in more than 160 countries

Over 11,500 organizations in more than 140 countries

TOEFL iBT and IELTS Academic test the four skills (listening, reading, writing and speaking), but in different ways:











54-72 minutes


60 minutes



41-57 minutes


30 minutes


2 tasks

50 minutes

2 tasks

60 minutes


4 tasks

17 minutes

3 tasks

11-14 minutes

One important difference about the two tests is the question types which appear in the Reading and Listening Sections.

TOEFL iBT is made up of multiple-choice questions where students must select and answer from options A, B, C or D.

IELTS has various question types: Multiple choice; Plan, map, diagram labeling; Form, note, table, flow-chart, Summary completion; Sentence completion; Short answer questions; True/False/Not Given; Yes/No/Not Given.

About the Listening Section, there is a myth that TOEFL iBT is American English while IELTS Academic is British English. However, that is not true once both tests have a range of different accents, such as North American, British, Australian and New Zealand accents.

A really important difference between the two tests is in the Speaking Section.

The IELTS Speaking test is taken with an examiner either face-to-face or on a video call, which can be nerve-wracking for some. The test is recorded for training and verification purposes. It is marked by the examiner and verified by other examiners if necessary. The IELTS Speaking test may or may not be taken on the same day as the other parts of the test.

The TOEFL iBT is entirely computer-based which means you won’t have to interact with an actual human. You listen to questions and then speak your answers into a microphone. Your answers are marked by a combination of Artificial Intelligence (computer-rated) and human reviewers. The TOEFL iBT Speaking test is taken on the same day as the other parts.

Well, if you've read this far, you already have enough information about IELTS and TOEFL to help you choose which test to take. However, we will do even more for you, as we know how difficult this decision is to make. We will answer three questions that students frequently ask us.

1. Which test is easier?

An important similarity between TOEFL and IELTS is that they test every aspect of the language, but they do it differently and this is what can make each of the tests easier to some test takers and more difficult to others. What I am saying is that this question is impossible to be answered once it depends on the experience of each person. Some people find it easier to speak to a computer than to a human being while others may think exactly the opposite. Some people find multiple choice questions much easier to answer while others prefer to deal with questions about planning, describing, graph analyzing and so on.

2. Which test should I choose?

To answer this question, you must understand the kind of English student you are and your preferences concerning the test questions. Feeling comfortable and confident with the test structure and question types is the first step to being successful, that means getting the score you need. Doing TOEFL iBT and IELTS Academic mock exams is the best way to discover the one that best suits you.

3. How long will it take me to prepare for the tests?

Many factors have to be considered when it comes to TOEFL iBT or IELTS Academic test preparation time. Your current level of English and the score you need to achieve are certainly the first ones to be considered.

If you want to have an accurate answer to that question and any others yout have, do not waste your time!

Click on the link below and schedule an online appointment with us.

We can provide you with a custom test preparation and study plan which will ensure you get the high score you need.

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