Both the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) and the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) are English language proficiency tests which are conducted to assess a candidate’s ability to competently use the language as a medium of communication – through reading, writing, speaking and listening. These tests are primarily used as a benchmark for candidates looking to study or work abroad in English-speaking countries. While both exams have the same purpose, they vary somewhat in their format and in where they are accepted.
However, they are incredibly similar in the fact that they are both time-bound, and to pass them, candidates need to follow the same 5 Hacks to crack IELTS and TOEFL that we bring you here:
1. Build up a strong vocabulary
Vocabulary is one of the basics of any language. Gaining a strong hold on vocabulary can help you score much higher on any of these tests. Using distinct words while you speak or write can help you to stand apart from others and the ability will surely show on your scorecard on the test.
2. Solve model test papers and take mock exams
Practice makes perfect and it is particularly important in the case of timed tests like these. The more model test papers you solve, the better you will be able to identify areas you need to work on. It will also simultaneously increase your speed of solving questions. Mock papers also help you to get more familiar with the exam pattern and type of questions.
3. Watch as many English movies and series as you can
Now, who does not like entertainment? Watching English movies and series will make you more comfortable with the vocabulary and also enhance your listening skills - two important parts of both the IELTS and TOEFL tests. It further helps if you also have subtitles turned on.
Doing this on a regular basis will make you familiar with the accent and pronunciations, giving you a better idea of the native usage of words and phrases as well as expanding your vocabulary.
4. Focus on Time Management
Time and tide wait for none and so managing time is a crucial step to crack IELTS or TOEFL. Since both IELTS and TOEFL are time-bound exams, you need to keep a track of minutes spent per question. Working on your writing/typing speed can go a long way here.
5. Strategise and outline a study plan
A study plan is said to be the foundation of cracking any competitive exam like IELTS or TOEFL. Making a study plan automatically brings a certain discipline into what you will be studying for the day and what are the areas you need to cover or improve on.
And now, for test takers who might be a little confused about the two tests, here is a ready reckoner with some basic information for you.
What is IELTS?
The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is your gate pass to study or work abroad. Once you crack the exam, you can immigrate to countries like Australia, New Zealand, UK, USA and Canada, where English is the native language.
There can be two types of IELTS- IELTS Academic (for students) and IELTS General Training (for working professionals). Both exams test your ability to speak, listen, read and write in English. So having a good grip on English can definitely give you an edge. One can opt for either the computer-based IELTS or paper-based IELTS.
Examinees are graded on a scale of 1-9. The scores you obtain play a significant role in your chances of getting into a top-ranking university.
IELTS Exam Pattern:
There are overall 4 sections- Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking
Listening- There will be 4 recordings and 40 Questions each carrying 1 mark.
Reading- There will be 40 questions, each worth 1 mark based on 3 passages (descriptive, factual or analytical). You will be given a total of 60 mins to solve this section.
Writing- You will have to answer 2 questions where you will need to write at least 150 words for the first and an essay of minimum 250 words for the second. You will be allotted 60 mins for this section.
Speaking- There will be 3 questions. Part 1 will be only Q&A, Part 2 will be speaking at a stretch on a given topic and Part 3 will be Structure Discussion.
What is TOEFL?
Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is a test for non-native speakers of English who wish to study abroad, particularly in English-speaking countries. Like IELTS, this also assesses your English language ability. The test is accepted by more than 11,000 universities and other institutions in over 190 countries and territories.
TOEFL is a completely computer-based exam. The test score reports are valid for two years following the test.
As far as the distinction goes, TOEFL is an American test while IELTS accepts both British and American spellings.
TOEFL Exam Pattern:
Like IELTS, TOEFL also has 4 sections covering Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking
Reading- There will be 30-40 questions with a duration of 54-72 minutes. You will be given 3 or 4 passages to read and will have to answer questions based on them.
Listening- There will be 28-38 questions with a duration of 41-57 mins. You will have to minutely listen to lectures and conversations and then answer the questions accordingly.
Speaking- There will be 4 tasks and a total of 17 mins will be allotted. The candidate will have to speak on a familiar topic.
Writing- This section consists of 2 questions with a total duration of 50 mins. Examinees will have to write essays based on listening and reading tasks, supported by their own opinions.
Studying abroad can be one of the most beneficial experiences for young people, widening their horizons and changing their outlook. IELTS or TOEFL might be just the ticket you need to prove your eligibility to enrol in a study abroad programme and experience the adventure for yourself!