Is TOEFL easy or IELTS? What to Choose Between TOEFL & IELTS?

Is TOEFL easy or IELTS? What to Choose Between TOEFL & IELTS?

Is TOEFL easy or IELTS What to Choose Between TOEFL & IELTS

One of the key requirements for applying to universities in English-speaking countries is English proficiency tests. All the students applying from non-native speakers of the English language have to take these exams and score well in them. The most popular English proficiency tests are TOEFL and IELTS. 

Both the tests include four phases that are reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. Then what’s the difference between the two? Which one will be better? 

To understand Is TOEFL easy or IELTS, you must first analyse their formats with the help of career experts. SeekEx provides access to the best experts who will provide complete guidance in this process. This article provides you with an overview of both the English proficiency test so that you can choose what’s best for you. 

What are IELTS and TOEFL?

IELTS is an acronym for the International English Language testing system. It is one of the popular English proficiency tests that is taken by candidates who want to either study abroad or want to work abroad. Across 140 countries, an IELTS score is considered for getting admission to their universities. The British Council and IDP are responsible for conducting the IELTS exam. 

There are two variants of the IELTS exam, one is IELTS General training that’s for immigration purposes and specifically for working professionals. The other one is IELTS Academic which is meant for education purposes. Is TOEFL easy or IELTS is a common question that arises in the mind of the candidates. Let’s understand what the TOEFL is to find out which is easier. 

TOEFL stands for Test of English Language as a Foreign Language. It is also a famous language proficiency test that students wanting to study abroad prefer to take. Basically, it puts emphasis on testing the candidate’s abilities to communicate in the English language. More than 130 countries across the world accept TOEFL test scores for providing admission to students in their Universities. Just like IELTS, TOEFL is also conducted in four sections : reading, listening, speaking, and writing. 

Before understanding is TOEFL is easy or IELTS you must know that candidates can opt for the TOEFL test in either of the two available formats. One format is a paper-based test (PBT) and another one is the web-based test (iBT). Education Testing services is one that plans and controls the TOEFL test. 

Major differences between IELTS and TOEFL

Major differences between IELTS and TOEFL

If you’re one who desires to study abroad then it’s quite essential to understand which is easier TOEFL or IELTS. By understanding the differences between the two you can easily make out which one is easier. Let’s check out different aspects in which these two tests differ:


The basic difference between both the English language proficiency tests lies in the format of the questions in the tests. TOEFL consists of MCQs whereas in IELTS questions are asked in varied forms that include short answers, fill in the blanks, etc. 

Time Duration

Along with the differences in the formats of both the exams another major difference is the duration of the examination. Before finding out Is TOEFL easy or IELTS, you must know that the duration of IELTS is 2 hours 45 minutes whereas TOEFL’s duration is 4 hours. 


IELTS is available in two variants: General training and academic. As per the purpose of a visit to a country the applicants can select their variant. In the case of TOEFL, there’s only one type of variant that is preferred by the students to get admission in a course abroad 


While you’re trying to find out Is TOEFL easy or IELTS, you must know that the main purpose of the IELTS exam is to test the creative thinking abilities and comprehension skills of the students. Whereas TOEFL examines the analytical thinking of the candidate appearing for the exam.

These are the basic differences between IELTS and TOEFL. However, there are numerous other aspects by which these two exams differ from each other. As we proceed in this article, the differences will be more clear and you can easily understand which one you should choose. 

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TOEFL Vs IELTS, which is more accepted?

Is TOEFL easy or IELTS, this may be the question that you have in mind when you need to appear for an English proficiency test. Experts say that both the tests are valued in their own way and the one you should opt for completely depends on the university requirement for which you are applying. 

In the majority of the reputed universities across the world, IELTS is considered in the United Kingdom and Australia. IELTS is given more preference than TOEFL for getting admissions to graduate schools. 

Particularly American Universities prefer TOEFL over IELTS. So, whenever it comes to mind TOEFL Vs IELTS which is more accepted, you must consider the requirements of the universities you want to apply to and find out which test is acceptable in that particular institution. 

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Is TOEFL  Easy or IELTS?

Is TOEFL  Easy or IELTS which is better

Numerous students have appeared for both tests and a majority of them have mentioned that they found IELTS easier than TOEFL. They have scored more in IELTS exams than in TOEFL. One of the possible reasons is the time duration. Often students get frustrated while giving the TOEFL exam for 4 long hours. 

Let’s check out what are the factors that make IELTS easier than TOEFL in the perception of the students who appeared for both the tests:

  • The multiple-choice questions asked in the IELTS are simple and straightforward. Besides that in the speaking test round of the TOEFL test, the conversation is conducted with a computer. Whereas in IELTS the conversation held is like real conversion. So, a real conversion is always more comfortable than a computer-based conversation. 
  • Those candidates who wonder Is TOEFL easy or IELTS must understand that the education system in gulf countries and in India which is more based on the European educational system. As the IELTS test is also based on Europe’s educational system, it’s likely that it will appear easier to the candidates of Indian and other neighbouring countries.


Primarily the TOEFL test sections are evaluated on the basis of your vocabulary range, writing style, and grammar. Whereas in IELTS evaluation is done on the basis of scores obtained in specific criteria like grammar, coherence, fluency, and logic. 

Suppose, a candidate writes an essay that has a good logical flow of ideas but contains grammatical mistakes, then it would score well in TOEFL. However, the same essay would not score high in IELTS. Similarly, an essay good in grammar and vocabulary but fails to communicate a concept may score higher in IELTS but not in TOEFL. 

A single test is held for TOEFL which has a maximum score of 120 points. In the case of IELTS, evaluation is done on a scale of 1-9. The average score of all 4 exams is calculated to obtain a total score. To find out Is TOEFL easy or IELTS you must check out the score break out of both the tests in detail. 

IELTS Score breakout

Upon appearing in the IELTS exam, you will get a band between zero to nine that denotes your English proficiency level. Here is a breakout of the scores according to the bands.

  1. Band 9: Considered as an expert
  2. Band 8: Considered as very good
  3. Band 7: Denotes Good
  4. Band 6: Competent in English
  5. Band 5: Modest in English
  6. Band 4:Limited Knowledge in English
  7. Band 3: Extremely limited knowledge
  8. Band 2:Intermittent user of English
  9. Band 1: Non-user of English
  10. Band 0: Did not attempt the test

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Test Sections of IELTS

To understand Is TOEFL easy or IELTS, you must know the test sections of both very well. Let’s check out the test sections of IELTS first. Basically, IELTS can be divided into four sections: listening, reading, writing, and speaking. The first three of these sections are held on the same day. For the speaking section, you have the option to choose whether you want to take the test on the same day or on some other day within a week before or after. 

  1. IELTS Writing Section

In the writing section of the IELTS paper, you get two writing questions. The first one is where you have to explain the information provided in the diagram, table chart, etc. Whereas in the second question you have to write 200 to 250 words on a given argument or a viewpoint. 

  1. Speaking Section

Is TOEFL easy or IELTS can be easily determined by analysing its test sections. In the IELTS exam, the speaking test is held face to face for all the candidates. The duration of the speaking test may last a maximum of 10 to 15 minutes. One of the important differences between TOEFL and IELTS is that the speaking test can be taken before other tests in IELTS, unlike TOEFL. 

  1. Reading Section

Analysing different sections of both IELTS and TOEFL enables the candidate to find out is TOEFL easy or IELTS. In this section of the IELTS test, there are three questions and the applicant has to answer the questions related to it in various formats like filling gaps, short answers, etc. This section is considered one of the crucial ones as the lines included in the reading section are basically related to ones that the candidate will encounter in their programs. 

  1. Listening Section

The listening section is the test that makes both TOEFL and IELTS differ a lot from each other. In the process of analysing IELTS Vs TOEFL scores, this section plays a major role. In the IELTS, while listening to the recording, students can answer the questions related to it. Different types of long and short questions are asked in it. 

TOEFL Score Breakout

Those who want to know Is TOEFL easy or IELTS must know that in TOEFL the total score of all the sections is considered. However, in IELTS each separate section’s score is equally important. Although in TOEFL total score is what matters, still some universities have certain points that you need to meet for each section. You will be tested through different sections that are reading, writing, listening, and speaking and the score obtained in each section will be combined to form the overall score. 

To analyse Is TOEFL easy or IELTS, you have to first check the sections of the TOEFL iBT:

  • Reading: 0-14 is considered as low, 15-21 is medium while 22-30 is the high score. 
  • Listening: 0-13 is considered as low, 14-22 is medium while 22-30 is the high score.
  • Speaking:0-16 is considered weak, 10-17 is limited, 18-25 fair while 26-30 is good.
  • Writing: 0 is considered 0, 1-16 limited, 17-23 fair and 24-30 is good. 

Register and book for the TOEFL test well in advance as there are waiting lists for the availability of test dates in some areas. Seven days before the test, registration of the test date closes so book your test accordingly. 

Test Sections of TOEFL iBT

TOEFL iBT categorises language ability into various areas. These areas are reading, listening, writing, and speaking. The score obtained in each section is combined together to obtain an overall score. Let’s discuss each test section of TOEFL in detail to find out is TOEFL easy or IELTS:

  1. Writing Section: 

The writing section of the TOEFL exam consists of 2 tests. In the first one, you have to draft a five-paragraph essay of 300-350 words. In the case of the 2nd question, you have to frame a response in 150-225 words with the help of some notes. If you compare the writing section of IELTS and TOEFL, then you can easily find Is TOEFL easy or IELTS.

  1. Speaking

Unlike IELTS where the speaking test is conducted face to face, the speaking assessment in TOEFL is recorded through a microphone. Further, this recording is sent to the examiners. The speaking test of TOEFL lasts for 20 minutes and this test is conducted only after completing other tests. 

  1. Reading

In the case of reading tests, both TOEFL, as well as IELTS, includes texts that are around the lines of the ones that are present in the programs. There are 3-5 reading questions that the candidate has to complete in 20 minutes. By analysing the reading test you can find Is TOEFL easy or IELTS

  1. Listening

Every other section of IELTS and TOEFL is similar but in the case of listening, candidates notice TOEFL and IELTS differences. The TOEFL test is conducted on the basis of classroom lectures. The applicants have to take notes while listening to the audio. In this process, students will also have to solve the given MCQs within the duration of 40 to 60 minutes. 

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IELTS Vs TOEFL which is better?

Apart from determining, is TOEFL easy or IELTS, candidates also want to find out which is better. Basically, both the tests have four main sections that are listening, speaking, reading, and writing. The scores obtained in these tests are consistent across the world.

Speaking test is what creates a difference between the two. In TOEFL one has to communicate with a computer whereas, in IELTS, you have to talk to a real person. Different people have different opinions regarding these tests. Some of them consider TOEFL easier and some find talking with computers weird so prefer IELTS. 

Many candidates want to understand Is TOEFL harder than IELTS and for that, they should also consider the pattern of the speaking exams. When it is about TOEFL then the candidates have to answer around 6 questions within 20 minutes. Whereas the IELTS exam lasts around 15 minutes. Thus, the majority of candidates consider TOEFL tougher than the IELTS exam. 

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IELTS Vs TOEFL, which one should I choose? 

IELTS Vs TOEFL, which one should I choose 

Before coming to a conclusion about Is TOEFL easy or IELTS and choosing one among them you must consider other factors as well. The first thing that must be considered while choosing a test is which one is ideal for you. Both of them have some pros and cons. So consider the one that meets your requirements. Here are the factors that you may consider:

  • One of the essential factors that you should consider before deciding which tests is your university preference. Check which exam your preferred university will accept. Usually, if you want to know TOEFL vs IELTS for the USA which is better then it will be TOEFL. 
  • The next thing that you must consider is the time for preparation. Usually, you need 3 to 6 weeks for IELTS preparation whereas 2 to 3 months for TOEFL. So, if you don’t have much time for preparation then go for the IELTS exam. 
  • IELTS is conducted in both pen paper and computer formats. Whereas TOEFL is conducted only on computers. So, choose the test that you are comfortable with according to your preference. 
  • The exam format is another vital criteria that you must consider before applying for the tests. Even before understanding Is TOEFL easy or IELTS, you must know the exam formats. Although both have almost the same format except for the speaking section. So, check the format thoroughly before making a choice. 

How does SeekEx help you?

How seekex can help in choosing career between ielts and toefl

A simple question, Is TOEFL easy or IELTS can actually confuse a candidate too much. In that situation, you will need the guidance of experts who can show you the right path. SeekEx provides access to career experts who have knowledge about both tests. You can ace the English proficiency test under their guidance and get admission to the desired universities abroad. 

Apart from suggesting to you, Is TOEFL easy or IELTS, career experts on the SeekEx app also guide you to prepare well for both of these standardised English Tests. If you are planning to appear for any of these tests and consultation is a must. Let’s check out how SeekEx helps to make the right choice:

  • Provides information about the best English Proficiency tests that will be valid for your desired university and country.
  • Provides knowledge about alternatives to IELTS and TOEFL.
  • Guide you through the preparation strategy to score high in English proficiency. 
  • Analyse your skills and suggest an apt English proficiency test as per your skills.
  • Discuss tips to score high in the test irrespective of the test you opt to take.

Hence, these are the ways the career experts on SeekEx guide and enable you to choose the right English proficiency test for IELTS and TOEFL. Now, you will not have to keep wondering Is TOEFL easy or IELTS exam. 


Want to study abroad? The English proficiency test is mandatory in most universities abroad. In this blog, very minute facts about both IELTS and TOEFL are mentioned. You can easily compare both of them and find Is TOEFL easy or IELTS. 

Different candidates have different requirements and as per their needs, the perception of the tests varies. So, if you are planning to take an English proficiency test in the near future then consider all the similarities and differences between IELTS and TOEFL before making a choice. 

Still, in dilemma, get the guidance of career experts on the SeekEx app and make the right choice!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a good score in IELTS?

A score of 7.0 or higher is considered a good score in the IELTS exam. 

What is a good score in TOEFL?

90 is considered an average score in TOEFL. So, any score above 100 is considered good in TOEFL. 

For how many years do IELTS and TOEFL scores remain Valid?

Both IELTS and TOEFL scores remain valid for 2 years. 

Is TOEFL easier than IELTS?

Most test takers consider IELTS easier than TOEFL. Though it completely depends upon the requirements of the test takers. 

Is TOEFL accepted in the US?

Almost every university in the US accepts TOEFL. It’s essential to go through the requirements of the college before choosing a test. 

SeekEx Team is responsible for publishing Expert's views and opinions shared with SeekEx Technologies Pvt. Ltd. We are solely focused on providing value to aspirants who want to pursue a greater career that provides self-satisfaction and standards of living. SeekEx team is heading with the approach of providing valuable Career counseling and career development tips, news, opinions, and recommendations.

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