In the age of globalisation, graduating with an international experience is an added feather in a student’s cap. Be it for increased career prospects, exposure to diverse cultures, or the excitement of being independent, studying abroad has always fascinated students. Do you often think about getting educated abroad? Well, knowing the Stages Involved In Studying Abroad would make your experience a pleasant one.
When it comes to the requisites of the universities or academic institutes in native English-speaking countries, language proficiency plays a primary role. With the list of tests being long, you get tired of battling unanswered questions – “ Should I take up a language proficiency test? Is TOEFL better than IELTS? Or should I consider the Duolingo English Test?” Well, if that is true, you have landed on the right page.
Who Should Take the English Proficiency Test?
If you are a student aspiring to pursue higher education abroad, but English is not your native language, you are most likely required to take an English proficiency test to secure admission in native English-speaking countries. The test scores make a significant part of your application form.
Also, read about How To Write A Statement Of Purpose, which helps you with another crucial application component.
As an international applicant, taking tests such as TOEFL, IELTS, and Duolingo proves your language proficiency. More often than not, it is confusing to choose from the list of tests that are suggested. This article comes with an in-depth analysis comparing the three widely taken tests – TOEFL, IELTS, and Duolingo English Test. This comparison – TOEFL Vs. IELTS Vs. Duolingo – would clarify many questions and help you make an informed choice. Let us look at the highlights of each of the three tests.
TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)
Designed and administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), TOEFL has been one of the widely taken language proficiency tests since 1964.
More than 11,000 universities across 150 countries accept the scores of TOEFL for their admissions.
TOEFL is held as an Internet-Based Test (iBT ) and Paper-Based Test (PBT). While TOEFL – iBT measures the candidate for listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills in a duration of 3 hours, the TOEFL PBT assesses the listening, reading, and writing skills in 2 ½ hours. It takes between 6 to 10 days for the results to get declared.
Taking TOEFL costs around $160 – $300, depending on the country. A candidate from India is charged $180 per attempt.
IELTS ( International English Language Testing System)
Established in 1980, IELTS is jointly managed by the IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge Assessment English, and the British Council.
The IELTS test scores are accepted by over 10,000 academic institutions across 140 countries, including the US, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland, and Britain.
IELTS is conducted in two types – The academic IELTS module and the General IELTS module. The candidate also has the option of choosing between the Internet-based test and the Paper-based test.
The tests measure the candidate for listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills in a time duration of 2 hours, 45 minutes (165 minutes). While the Computer-Based Test results are declared between 3–5 days, it takes around 13 days to get the Paper-Based Test results.
The test fee for IELTS is $149.
Duolingo English Test
The recent inclusion to the list of English Proficiency Test is Duolingo English Test. The popular language-learning platform, Duolingo, has conducted it since 2016.
As per Duolingo, over 3000 institutions accept the Duolingo English Test scores across the world.
The test is conducted online, and it involves three parts – Quick Set-up, Adaptive test, and Video interview, all the three together taking an hour. The results are declared within 48 hours.
The proficiency test costs an affordable $49.
TOEFL vs. IELTS vs. Duolingo
Let us make the comparison easier using the table below.
|Feature||TOEFL||IELTS||Duolingo English Test|
|Universities / Academic Institutions which accept the test||More than 11,000 across 150 countries||Over 10,000 across 140 countries||Over 3000|
Internet-Based Test (iBT)
|Computer Based Test
Three or four sections
Four sections –
Score points – on a scale of 0 to 120
|Band score on a scale of 0 to 9, based on points in each skill||Score points – on a scale of 10 to 160|
2 ½ hours – PBT
3 hours – iBT
|2 hours 45 minutes||1 hour|
|Test Results||6 to 10 days||3 to 13 days||2 days|
Each of these English Proficiency Tests has its distinctive features.
Let’s evaluate the favourable and not so favourable aspects of each test.
- TOEFL is the most widely accepted and recognised Language Proficiency test.
- Being a well-structured and accurate test, TOEFL makes it a convenient option for aspirants.
- Getting a place for taking up the test is quite challenging, owing to its popularity. You may have to wait to get your place.
- Longer test duration.
- The cost of the test is comparatively higher.
- It takes about six to ten days for the results to be declared.
- It is preferred by students who have been learning British English. Hence, Indian students prefer IELTS.
- IELTS General test is preferred over TOEFL by people who need the proficiency test for work or immigration purposes.
- IELTS is offered most frequently. People with less time in hand prefer IELTS.
- IELTS conducts face-to-face speaking tests. Candidates need to block two days for the tests.
- Declaration of results may take longer.
- Some consider the Writing test of IELTS to be more challenging.
Duolingo English Test
- It is gentle on the wallet, with an affordable rate of $49.
- The test can be taken anytime from home, taking just one hour.
- The results are declared within 48 hours.
- Many universities and institutes do not widely accept it as compared to TOEFL and IELTS.
- Practice materials are not available much.
- The time may not be sufficient for some candidates.
Thus, considering the TOEFL Vs IELTS Vs Duolingo English Test, each of these tests has its pros and cons. First and foremost, check with the university or the institute about the Language Proficiency Tests they accept. As a test-taker, it is essential to analyse and understand each test’s attributes, read through the syllabus, the test pattern, and the marking scheme thoroughly, and choose the one that suits you the best. Taking professional help would ease out the whole process. Check out Study Abroad Counselling and ace the challenges.