Should You take the IELTS or TOEFL to get into an American University?

For foreign students who want to study in the United States, picking the right English language test is very important. Many American colleges accept the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) and TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), two of the most popular English language proficiency tests. This article will talk about the differences between the IELTS and TOEFL tests and help you choose the right one for your admission in an American college. 

If you are an international student looking to gain admission in an American university, contact WAC consultants for more information regarding studying in America.

IELTS vs. TOEFL: What are the differences?

The goal of both IELTS and TOEFL is to test how well people who are not native English speakers can use English. They are not the same, though, in terms of structure, score, and content:

1. Format of the Exam:

– IELTS: There are four parts to the IELTS test: speaking, reading, listening, and writing. It comes in two different types: IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. The Academic form is usually used to get into college.

– TOEFL: The TOEFL also has four parts: reading, listening, speaking, and writing. It is mostly used for academic purposes, and American colleges usually choose it over other options.

2. How to score:

 – IELTS: IELTS has a 9-band scoring method, and you can get both full and half band scores. The total score is the average of the four section scores. Each part is scored separately.

– TOEFL: The TOEFL has a score range that goes from 0 to 120. Each part is given its own score, and the total score is the sum of all the section numbers.

3. Content of the Test:

 – IELTS: The listening part of IELTS tests a wider range of accents and English languages. The speaking test includes a conversation with a trained tester that takes place in person.

– TOEFL: The TOEFL focuses on American English and includes accents that people in the US usually use. There is a computerised system for the speech test.

4. Length of the Test:

– IELTS: The IELTS test lasts for about two hours and forty-five minutes.

– TOEFL: The TOEFL test lasts about 3 hours and 30 minutes, which is a little longer.

5. Dates and times of the tests:

 – IELTS: You can take the IELTS test at any time of the year, and there are several test dates every month. The test can be given on paper or on a computer, depending on where it is given.

 – TOEFL: The TOEFL is given more often, with several test times each week. It is mostly done on computers, but there is also a paper version available for places that don’t have easy access to the internet.

Once you’ve chosen whether to take the IELTS or TOEFL and been accepted to a college in the US, you will need a student visa to go to school there. Student visas for the US come in two main types:

1. F-1 Visa:

The most popular type of visa for foreign students in the US is the F-1 visa. To get an F-1 visa, you must get accepted to a school in the U.S., show proof that you can pay for the school, and continue to be a full-time student. People with an F-1 visa can usually work on campus up to 20 hours a week during the school year and full-time during breaks.

2. J-1 Visa:

People on exchange visits and students can get a J-1 visa. This type of visa is often used for study or research programmes funded by cultural and educational institutions. You must be sponsored by an organisation that is approved by the U.S. Department of State in order to get a J-1 visa. People with a J-1 visa are required to follow certain rules and must return to their home countries when their programmes are over.

To sum up, the decision between IELTS and TOEFL relies on your personal preferences, and the U.S. college requirements you are looking at. In order to start your academic journey in the United States, you must first give an English language proficiency test and be accepted to a university. Then, you can apply for the right student visa, which could be an F-1 or J-1 visa. For further assistance don’t forget to visit WAC to get personalised help in all your questions regarding studying in USA.


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Both exams are universally accepted. However, IELTS is chosen by colleges in the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada, but TOEFL is preferred by American schools. It is important to research the unique needs of the institution or organisation in which you are interested.

Scores for both IELTS and TOEFL are normally valid for two years.

Both exams are available in thousands of locations across the globe. To locate the closest exam centre for IELTs or TOEFL, visit the respective official websites

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