Back to Basics ... IELTS and TOEFL
Both TOEFL and IELTS are standardized examinations designed to gauge a student’s proficiency in the English language, should he or she opt to pursue a degree in a college or university where English is used as the medium of instruction.
The purpose of the TOEFL test is to measure the communicative language ability of people whose first language is not English. The test will measure examinees’ English-language proficiency in situations and tasks reflective of university life where instruction is conducted in English (Jamieson, Jones, Kirsch, Mosenthal, & Taylor, 2000).
On the other hand a brief summary of the 1995 revision of IELTS can be found in Charge and Taylor (1997) emphasizing on the comprehension of extended text in the receptive papers (Reading and Listening), and the direct testing of performance through a face-to-face Speaking test and the use of the essay and report formats in the Writing test. The distinction between academic and vocational purposes has stood the test of time and is still reflected in the choice of Academic and General Training modules When compared with SAT and GMAT, both IELTS and TOEFL can be considered the basics or the groundwork before a student dives into the more complicated ones.
The following are the similarities and differences of TOEFL and IELTS:
- Both tests focus on how at ease a student is in using English to articulate his or her thoughts.
- They both have the Reading, Listening, Writing, and Speaking sections which cover a diverse and extensive range of topics.
- All the sections will test the student’s comprehension. The Reading section will test the students comprehension of academic passages.The Speaking and the Listening sections will measure comprehension of spoken lectures and conversations. On one hand, the Writing section will test the ability of the student to expound on a topic and express his or her opinion about it, thereby, checking his or her ability to come up with an organized and well-developed essay, enough to gauge his or her preparedness in an academic setting.
- IELTS is mostly a British Test and is readily acknowledged in schools in Britain, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. TOEFL, on the other hand, is widely accepted in U.S. universities and colleges. Unfortunately not all American colleges readily accept IELTS. Therefore it is best for a freshman applicant to check the testing requirement of his or her target university.
- With regards to their availability, TOEFL has more testing centers than IELTS, but rest assured that most major cities in the world have IELTS testing centers.
- TOEFL test has just one type which is the TOEFL IBT (Internet-based Test) although some cities have the Paper-based test(PBT) which is the IBT paper version. On one hand, IELTS test is divided into 2 categories namely, academic for university requirements and the general for visa requirements when migrating to another country.
- The highest possible score for TOEFL is 120 points while for IELTS is 9 points.
- The IELTS uses British, American, Australian, and Canadian accents while TOEFL uses American accent. Moreover, IELTS welcomes British spelling of words. The speaking portion of IELTS is done via a personal interview and covers academic to ordinary topics. TOEFL speaking covers listening to an academic discourse and expressing the student’s opinion about it and is done through the microphone.
To sum it all up, both IELTS and TOEFL are your stepping stones in prepping up for a higher level of academic achievement. They are your basic requirements before you gear up for the many challenges in achieving your goal of excellence in your chosen field.
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