Friday, April 5


This is a popular question on the web. What does the Pro think? The Pro thinks one is an American company (ETS TOEFL) and the other is a British company (IELTS Cambridge). Yes, some of the questions are different, but other than that, these two tests serve the exact same purpose: they both test English-language proficiency at the academic level. The only difference is American schools prefer TOEFL and British schools prefer IELTS. Why? Simple. Each company is protecting its market by telling schools their test is best for their market. The logic goes something like this: IELTS is British and Oxford University is British, so Oxford should use IELTS, right, Oxford? The same logic applies to TOEFL in America.

Believe me, if you got a high IELTS score, Harvard would accept it. The same with a high TOEFL score and Oxford. Why? Because they know what we know: The TOEFL v. IELTS issue is a non issue, academically. It's just two companies protecting their respective markets.

But, you ask, what about British v. American English? That too is a non issue. The difference between these two dialects is negligible; moreover, the subtle distinctions between British and American English don't even enter the equation as far as testing is concerned. Instead, it's all about argument development. Why? Because the British educational system is built on Greek rhetoric, so is the American educational system.  

REMEMBER: Before you take either test, contact the school or agency to which you are applying. See which test they prefer, and play the game.

REMEMBER: If you are planning to apply to an American school, the question you really should be asking is: Should I take the TOEFL iBT or the TOEFL PBT?

The Pro