IELTS and TOEFL are both standardized international tests.

IELTS is the most widely taken test for higher education i.e. university or immigration purposes.

Many Universities and colleges in Canada will accept both tests.


  • paper-based handwritten test (computer-delivered IELTS is also available) 
  • there are two types of the IELTS test: IELTS Academic module and IELTS General module
  • audio for test material is recorded in British , Australian and New Zealand English  
  • In the three components of listening, reading and writing, candidates are required to spell words
  • duration of the test is approximately 3 hours. Time is split between the writing and the speaking components 
  • the speaking component is split into 3 segments of 15 -20 minutes long face to face with an examiner 
  •  there are 2 different writing tasks for 1 hour combined (task 1-20 mins, task 2-40 mins). Task 1 in the academic module involves interpreting a graph, table or diagram written within 150 words. Task 1 in the general module requires one to write a letter about a given situation. Task 2 in both modules involves a short 250-word essay on an argument or a discussion about a current social issue
  • the listening component requires writing your answers on the question paper as you listen.  
  • the reading component requires one to read 3 academic passages, each passage being 20 mins (academic module). The format for answering questions varies, multiple choice, match a heading, True/False/Not Given to name a few
  • IELTS can be taken as often as one likes


  • online computer-based test
  • academic module only
  • audio for test material is recorded in North American English 
  • predominantly multiple-choice questions 
  • duration of the test is approximately 3-3.5 hours
  • the speaking exam (integrated tasks) 17 mins in length, requires one to listen to 4 university-life related situations with the verbal response being recorded by computer
  • there are  2 questions in the writing exam for 50 minutes combined (Q1-20 mins, Q2-30 mins) with the response typed in on a computer. Question 1 (integrated task) involves reading a passage
  • listening to a lecture on the same passage, then entering on the computer in your own words the summarized content
  • the listening exam requires one to listen to a recorded lecture, conversation, and/or discussion, the candidate then answers five to six multiple choice questions on the recordings. (note-taking is essential)  
  • the reading section requires one to read  3 - 4 academic passages, each passage being 18 mins. Questions are multiple choice (main ideas, important details, vocabulary, inferring,etc)
  • TOEFL cannot be taken more than once in a 12-day period


Comparing IELTS and TOEFL, the major differences between  the two are the speaking and writing components.  Some candidates may be comfortable speaking to a computer while others may prefer speaking to a live examiner. The written component of the TOEFL exam is typed (no spell check feature) as opposed to the handwritten (legibility a must) paper-based IELTS exam. Candidates may loose points for illegibly written passages. 

To visit the official websites for more information



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