How do the IELTS and the TOEFL work?

There are many exams for English proficiency and any of these may be prescribe to someone who wishes to study, work, or migrate in another country. The most popular of these tests are the International English Language Test System (IELTS) and the Test of English as Foreign Language (TOEFL). These examinations are common requirements of foreign employers and schools and embassies. But how do these exams work? Although there are many differences between the IELTS and TOEF, these exams do have some things in common in terms of general purpose.

1. Both exams test the test-taker’s ability to utilize English in specific circumstances. Both the IELTS and the TOEFL zero in on specific English needs depending on the situation used. For instance, both examinations measure a person’s ability to communicate in an academic or professional setting. This is why either the IELTS or the TOEFL is required from non-native communicators of English when they are applying to get professional work or study in English-communicating countries. The only difference is that the IELTS also tests one’s ability to survive in an English speaking culture in general.

2. In both examinations, there is no pass or fail. Both the TOEFL and the IELTS are exams to measure your English abilities. There is no standard acceptable score (although the higher the score you receive, the better), although the institution who has required you to take the exam may set a minimum score requirement that you must achieve.

3. Both exams have Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking components. The TOEFL and the IELTS test LRWS in order to determine one’s English language skills. The Listening and the Reading exams are marked by a computer, but a rater trained in using the rubrics of a specified test checks the Writing and the Speaking examinations. 

4. The raters of these exams have criteria to follow when giving scores to the Writing and Speaking component. When giving scores to your Writing or Speaking output, examiners must follow a rubric which take into consideration your Grammar, use of vocabulary words, organization, and ideas.

5. Both exams delve into the comprehension and expression skills of the test-taker. Both the IELTS and the TOEFL look into the candidate’s ability to understand spoken and written English and also to apply spoken and written English. The communication skills, in other words, are the center of these tests.


Whether you are made to take the IELTS or the TOEFL, the exams have the same goal: to measure your ability to communicate in the language. Make sure you prepare well.

Good luck!


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