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How do you know which test to take?
There is a wide choice of English tests available, but often English students are asked to choose between the IELTS or TOEFL exam. It is often the students' choice as both exams are usually accepted as meeting the entry requirements for academic settings.
As it is often up to the English test taker to decide which of these two exams, here are some questions to help you consider whether to take the IELTS or the TOEFL exam.
Do you need the IELTS or the TOEFL for academic English?
If you need the IELTS or TOEFL for academic English, then keep reading these questions. If you don't need the then for academic English, for example for immigration, take the general version of the IELTS. It is much easier than either the IELTS academic version or the TOEFL!
Are you more comfortable with North American or British / UK accents?
If you have more experience with British or Australian English, take the IELTS because it generally uses British English vocabulary and accents while the TOEFL reflects American English and vocabulary.
Can you type relatively fast?
Currently, one key differences between the IELTS or TOEFL is that the TOEFL requires you to type your essays in the written section of the test. If you type very slowly, I would strongly recommend taking the IELTS as you handwrite your essay responses. (N.B. that the IELTS is starting to be administered online as well, so you will soon need those typing skills for both!)
Do you want to finish the test as quickly as possible?
The TOEFL lasts approximately four hours, whereas the IELTS is significantly shorter - about 2 hours 45 minutes. Remember, however, that shorter does not necessarily mean easier!
Do you feel comfortable with a wide range of question types?
The TOEFL exam is made up of almost entirely multiple choice questions. The IELTS, on the other hand, has a much wider range of question types including multiple choice, gap fill, matching exercises, etc. If you do NOT feel comfortable with multiple choice questions, the TOEFL is not the test for you.
Are you proficient at taking notes?
Note taking is important on both the IELTS and the TOEFL. However, it is much more critical on the Listening section of the TOEFL exam.