Need to Take the IELTS or TOEFL Exam? Resources to Help You Prepare!

Need to Take the IELTS or TOEFL Exam? Resources to Help You Prepare!

If you are an international student and English is not your first language, you may be required to take the International IELTS or the TOEFL exam to study overseas. The most popular countries where IELTS and TOEFL exams are accepted for university admissions are the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, United States, and Canada. The exams mainly measure  your ability to communicate in the four basic English language skills – listening, reading, speaking, and writing.


Why Should You Take the Test

Many students are not aware that international universities as well as visa granting authorities need to ensure that you have the communication skills to both study and live in the country.  Your IELTS or TOEFL exam scores are a good way to prove that you have a good command of the English language.  They may also help you with getting accepted into an international university as well as with getting your visa approved.

Which Test Should You Take

While both tests assess your level of English and are widely accepted, the two tests are different in their approach.  Therefore, it is important for students to think carefully when deciding which test to take.  Here are some things to keep in mind when making your decision:


The IELTS test assesses your ability to communicate in English for purposes of immigration as well as in an academic or professional environment. It is accepted in over 30 countries and at over 9,000 institutions.  The IELTS uses British English and is favored by most universities in the UK, Ireland, New Zealand and Australia.  There are two types of IELTS tests and both are used differently to assess English proficiency. The General Training IELTS test is accredited for migration and tests practical everyday English skills. The Academic IELTS is used for students planning to study in higher education or seeking professional registration.  If you are planning on studying overseas you will want to take the Academic IELTS test.


The TOEFL exam is used to assess your ability to communicate effectively in English in an academic environment.  It is accepted by most of the top 100 universities and in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia.  The exam uses American English and is favored by most universities in the US.

The questions on the TOEFL exam are primarily multiple choice, while the IELTS requires more use of memory and broader comprehension skills as the questions can require a short essay or fill in the blank responses. Both exams also have a speaking component; the IELTS exam is taken face to face with an examiner, while the TOEFL exam has students speak into a microphone where their responses are recorded.

Where Are the Test Scores Accepted

For students interested in studying in the United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand and Australia it is recommended that you take the IELTS exam.  However, the TOEFL exam is also accepted by many institutions.  It is recommended that you confirm with the university to which you would like to apply as to which exam is required. Students interested in studying in the United States should take the TOEFL exam.


We have compiled a list of FREE and affordable online courses for students to use to prepare for both exams: 



TOEFLTV is a channel providing various videos covering the four sections of the TOEFL test, Speaking, Writing, Listening and Reading.  Students only have to subscribe to the channel to view the tutorials.


Students can find TOEFL tutorials as well as free lessons and resources.

IELTS Essentials

IDP provides many free support tools to help students prepare for the IELTS test.  Students are also able to register for the exam  through the IELTS Essentials website.

British Council – IELTS Free Resources

The British Council offers students many free resources from practice tests, an online course, to books and study guides. Students can also register to take the exam through the British Council website.


For students who prefer taking a course over independent study, the courses provided below are available online and are offered through

Life in the UK Test Course with IELTS Listening and Speaking

IELTS Preparation Course: Full Guide & Important Tips

Master the IELTS: all you need to know about the IELTS Test

English Vocabulary for the TOEFL and SAT Exams

The Ultimate TOEFL and IELTS Grammar Test



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