If English is not your first language and you are applying for a job or to study in an English-speaking country, it is likely that you will be required to sit a standardized test to show your level of English proficiency.
There are two main English language tests you can sit that are accepted worldwide – TOEFL and IELTS. Both evaluate how well you can combine your reading, writing, listening and speaking skills. It can be hard to decide which English language test to take to make sure you get the best score possible to put on your application. Here are some factors to consider when making your decision:
It is recommended that you check with the schools you are applying to in order to see which test they accept. Generally, the IELTS is more readily accepted in universities within the Commonwealth although many US universities are starting to accept it too. The US tends to prefer the TOEFL with over 8,000 universities that accept it. Ultimately you will need to take the corresponding exam to that which your schools require, although many now accept both.
Is the TOEFL or IELTS available to closer to you? The TOEFL is available in 4,500 centers in 165 countries, whereas the IELTS exam is available in 1,100 centers across 140 countries. It may also be the case that one test has more convenient test dates available for you.
Test section differences between TOEFL and IELTS are another factor to consider, as whether or not an exam plays to your strengths will greatly impact the maximum score you can achieve. Here are the main differences between the TOEFL and IELTS exams that students usually find play to/ against their strengths: