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What is TOEFEL and IELTS tests?

What is TOEFEL and IELTS tests?

Almost all universities in the world, where studies are conducted in English, require an international certificate of English language proficiency, among other mandatory documents for admission to the university.

There are many international tests that assess the level of English language proficiency, but the most popular tests among them are TOEFL and IELTS. It is said that you should pass IELTS if you want to study in Britain and Europe and TOEFL if you are going to continue your studies in American universities, however, for most universities both are acceptable and when you find the desired program to continue your studies abroad, its requirements will definitely indicate the acceptable score of each test.

Each test certificate has a term of only 2 years, so it is recommended to first review the desired programs, find out which certificate is required and what test score you need to enter a specific program, and only then start preparing for TOEFL or IELTS.

Remember, before you start preparing for TOEFL or IELTS, you must be fluent in English. The level of knowledge of the English language is preferably Upper Intermediate, or at least Intermediate. If you do not speak English well, or have not had contact with it for several years, I recommend you to take a general English course for a few months and only then move on to TOEFL or IELTS courses, otherwise it is possible to waste time and money.

TOEFL and IELTS tests are mainly focused on improving 4 language skills: speaking, listening, reading comprehension and writing. Those who are fluent in English can pass these tests after 2-3 months of intensive preparation, although of course it is individual, some may need more or less time for it.

There are many training centers where you can take TOEFL and IELTS preparation courses, and the final international exam can be taken only in organizations that are officially authorized to conduct this exam.

There is a fee to take each exam, and it is best to register several months in advance, as the exam places are usually filled several weeks in advance. For example: if you want to take the exam in 2-3 months, it is better to register now. Also note that after passing the exam you will receive the certificate in about 10-14 days.

TOEFL and IELTS tests are mainly focused on improving 4 language skills: speaking, listening, reading comprehension and writing. Those who are fluent in English can pass these tests after 2-3 months of intensive preparation, although of course it is individual, some may need more or less time for it.

Today, the International English Language Certificate IELTS is recognized by more than 10,000 organizations in 140 countries around the world, including universities, professional institutions, immigration agencies and other government agencies in countries such as Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand and many others.

The curators of the IELTS exam are international organizations, leaders in the field of knowledge assessment: Cambridge English Language Assessment, IDP: IELTS Australia and The British Council.

Advantages of the IELTS exam:
1. Universality

- The certificate is valid in absolutely all countries where knowledge of the English language is required

- Any person can pass the exam. The IELTS test confirms any level of English language proficiency

– The formats are adapted to different purposes: for communication in English in the scientific field (Academic Module) and for communication in English in everyday life (General Module);

2. Reliability

- The IELTS test to test knowledge has been developed by world leaders in English language teaching: Cambridge English Language Assessment, The British Council and IDP: IELTS Australia. In addition, the IELTS certificate is a document of a uniform international format;

- Every year, the materials for the English IELTS exam are prepared by the world's best philologists and linguists;

– The IELTS exam is evaluated on a 9-point scale that tests any level of English language proficiency. 0 - means complete ignorance of the language and 9 - shows that you know the language at the highest level. IELTS test results are reliable in 140 countries of the world, for more than 9000 institutions;

3. Practicality

– The IELTS exam meets several goals of the candidate at the same time: the IELTS certificate can be used both for continuing studies in higher education, as well as for employment and immigration;

– IELTS certificate is a reliable document for higher education institutions, employers, embassies in all countries where communication in English is required;

The IELTS exam consists of 4 components: listening, reading, writing, speaking.
The total duration of the exam is 2 hours and 45 minutes.
As a rule, all four parts of IELTS are taken on the same day.


As for TOEFEL related details, more than 30 million people worldwide have already taken the TOEFL test. In more than 130 countries, more than 9,000 universities, agencies, and other educational institutions recognize the TOEFL test as an acceptable test to test the English language proficiency of their prospective students.

The TOEFL test tests four language skills: writing, reading, listening and speaking. For example, in the reading section you will find an excerpt from the text and questions at the end of the text to test your understanding of the reading. The topic you write will be used to test your writing skills. The listening section requires you to understand the conversation and answer the questions. To determine your ability to speak, you must answer specific questions asked of you.

In addition to improving listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills, TOEFL preparation courses also teach students the techniques and strategies needed to successfully pass the test. Within the course, students are given the opportunity to do exam simulation tests, which later helps them to pass the exam successfully.

The duration of the exam is 4-4.30 hours. The one-time cost of taking the exam is 165 dollars. Applicants register for the TOEFL exam on the official website through an online application form. The website address is: https://www.ets.org/toefl

There are 2 variants of the TOEFL test:

iBT (internet based test)
PBT (Paper Based Test)
When taking the TOEFL iBT exam online, the maximum score is 120 and the computer-based exam lasts approximately 4 hours and 30 minutes. Each skill is valued at 30 points. It is also possible to take the TOEFL Paper Based Test, although it is mostly conducted in places where the Internet is not available.

As for those who want to take the TOEFL exam, they should first prepare well in general English. A person should be able to read and translate a foreign text, write a free topic, answer questions and be able to understand what is heard. When a student takes TOEFL courses, these four language skills are already being improved, and strategies for passing the exam are also being worked on.

Often, TOEFL test takers think that in preparation courses they will learn the language, but preparing for the TOEFL test means preparing for TOEFL test strategies. Of course, in the TOEFL preparation courses, the level of language knowledge is improved to some extent: filling vocabulary, improving listening skills, mastering writing techniques, developing skills for reading the text quickly and developing other skills, but the preparation course does not mean that you are preparing for the language , will train you in strategies for passing the test successfully and getting a high score.  Anyone can take the exam, however, if a person does not have an appropriate level of English, he will get a low score on the exam and it will not be enough to enter the desired university.

Both exams are of equal difficulty. However, keep in mind that TOEFL is taken on a computer and the written part is printed, unlike IELTS. Besides, the interview is not with a live person, but with a computer.


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