Mistakes When Applying For A Job Ielts Reading Answers TOEFL or IELTS – Which is Better?

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TOEFL or IELTS – Which is Better?

Because universities want to make sure you have the English language skills needed to study at their school, almost all higher education institutions require you to take an English test. And TOEFL and IELTS are the two most widely standardized English language tests. One of the most frequent questions I hear is which test is easier or which test is better. The answer depends on what types of tests you excel at, as well as where you plan to apply. This article breaks down the differences between the two tests so you can make your own decision.

entry

The IELTS test is administered by the British Council, Cambridge University and IELTS Australia. That is, it belongs to the British government and is traditionally used by British universities, as well as New Zealand and Australian universities, to determine the language ability of foreign students. The TOEFL is administered by ETS, a US-based non-profit and widely used by American and Canadian universities. However, nowadays, to make it easier for international students, universities around the world take both TOEFL and IELTS. You should check with the specific university you wish to apply to, generally any school in the US, UK, Australia or New Zealand will either take test scores. So this is a worry from your mind. Choose the test that you think will be easiest for you to complete. To do this, you probably need to know the structure of each exam.

Structure of TOEFL

Until last year, the official TOEFL was almost universally given in iBT (Internet Based Test) format. It has four sections:

Reading

The TOEFL Reading section asks you to read 4-6 university-level passages and answer multiple-choice questions about them (multiple-choice means you choose an answer from the options provided). The questions test you on comprehension of text, main ideas, key details, vocabulary, inference, rhetorical devices, and style.

listening to

The listening section presents 2-3 long conversations and 4-6 lectures. The situation is always related to university life, such as a conversation between a student and a librarian about finding research materials or a lecture in a history class. The questions are multiple choice and ask you about important details, inferences, tone and vocabulary. Conversations and lectures are very natural and include informal English, interruptions, filler sounds like “uh” or “uhm”.

to speak

The speaking section is recorded. You will speak into a microphone and at a later date the grader will listen to your answers and grade you. Two of the questions will be on familiar topics and ask you to give your opinion and/or describe something you are familiar with, such as your city or your favorite teacher. Two questions will ask you to summarize information from the text and conversation–and may also ask for your opinion. Two questions ask you to summarize information from a short conversation. Again, the topics of conversation are always university related.

writing

Finally, there are two short essays on the TOEFL. Someone will ask you to write your opinion on a broad topic, such as whether it is better to live in a country or a city. One will ask you to summarize information from a text and a lecture–often the two will disagree with each other and you will either have to compare and contrast or synthesize conflicting information.

IELTS Structure

Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing are the same 4 sections in IELTS, but the format is very different.

Reading

The reading section of the IELTS gives you 3 texts, which can be from academic textbooks or from a newspaper or magazine–but all at the level of a university student. One will always be an opinion–that is, a text arguing for one point of view. The variety of questions on IELTS is quite wide and not every text has every question type. A question type asks you to match headings to paragraphs in the text. You may be asked to complete a summary of the passage using words from the text. Or you may have to fill in a table or chart or picture with words from the text. There may be multiple-choice questions asking you about key details. One of the most difficult question types presents statements and asks you whether the statements are true, false, or not contained in the text. You may also be asked to match words and ideas. Finally, some questions are short-answer but the answers will be taken directly from the text itself.

Some questions come before the text and do not require careful reading to answer. Others come after the text and may expect you to read the text completely.

listening to

IELTS has four listening sections. The first is a “transactional conversation” in which someone is applying for something (a driver’s license, a library card) or asking for information (say, calling for more details about an ad or a hotel). The second section is some sort of informative lecture, possibly by the dean explaining university regulations. The third is a conversation in an academic context and the final section will be an academic lecture. For all sections you may be asked to fill in a summary, fill in a table, answer multiple-choice questions, label a diagram or picture, or classify information into different categories. You will be expected to fill in the answers as you listen.

writing

There are two writing tasks on the Academic IELTS. The first asks you to summarize the table or chart in about 300 words. You may need to identify important information, compare and contrast different figures, or perhaps describe a process. Another task asks you to express your opinion on a fairly open-ended topic statement such as: “Women should take care of children and not work” or “Many people are moving to the cities and the countryside is suffering.”

to speak

Finally, the speaking section will be conducted on a separate day from the rest of the test and in the presence of a trained interviewer. The questions are the same for all examinees but some parts may be in the form of a conversation rather than a monologue. The first part of the test will be a brief introductory conversation followed by short questions on familiar topics. The interviewer may ask your name, your job, what kind of sports you like, what is your daily routine, etc. In the second part, you will be given a topic and a card that answers some specific questions. You will have to speak for two minutes on the topic, which can be about your daily routine, the last time you went to the movies, your favorite part of the world or something familiar. In the last part, the interviewer will ask you to discuss the more abstract side of the topic in Part 2–why do people prefer daily routines? Why do people like movies? How does travel affect local life?

Which is better for me?

So now that you know what each test covers, you may be wondering which one is best for you. Maybe while reading about the structure, you thought, “Wow TOEFL sounds so easy,” or, “Oh IELTS sounds kind of fun!” This can be a good sign that one test will be easier for you than the other. More concretely, there are some important differences between the tests.

British vs. American English

Both the UK and the US accept the tests, and while British English and American English may not be as different as some might think, the fact is that the IELTS uses British English and the TOEFL uses only American English. On the IELTS, this difference will have a big impact because spelling is measured, and it’s an area where Britain and the US don’t always see eye to eye. If you have problems with British accents (and the test may cover a variety of accents including Australian, New Zealand, Irish and Scottish). On the other hand, American accents can throw you off. Some terms are also different and you don’t want to waste time in your speaking test asking what flat or lorry means. So whether you are used to British or American English is definitely a factor. If you are more comfortable with US English, TOEFL is a good bet but if you are used to British English and pronunciation, you will do better in IELTS.

Multiple selection vs copy down

For the reading and listening sections, the TOEFL gives you multiple-choice questions, while the IELTS generally expects you to copy a text or conversation word-for-word. Multiple-choice questions require a little better abstract thinking, but IELTS favors people who have good memories and think more concretely. The good thing about multiple-choice is that it’s easy to choose wrong answers, while the good thing about copying down is that the answer is embedded in the text. You just have to find it and repeat it. So, concrete thinkers will do better on IELTS and abstract thinkers will do better on TOEFL.

Estimated or different every time

Of course, TOEFL is also more predictive than IELTS. The IELTS throws a variety of questions at you and the instructions are slightly different each time. It makes it difficult to prepare. The TOEFL, on the other hand, is the same test every time–choose A, B, C, D, or E. On the other hand, IELTS definitely keeps you on your toes and can make you more alert. .

Talking to a person or a computer?

Another big difference is how the speaking section is handled. For some people, recording your answers on the computer is very comforting because it feels like no one is listening. You just do your best and forget about it until you get your grades. Because the IELTS test is conducted in an interview format with a native speaker present, you may feel nervous or judged. And they take notes: Oh my God, did he write something good or bad? On the other hand, you may feel more comfortable in a conversation, have a face to explain if you don’t understand a question, or just a face instead of a computer screen. It can also be helpful to get feedback from native speakers to correct and correct mistakes during testing. So it depends on what you are more comfortable with. If you like talking to people, IELTS is a good bet. If you just want to be alone and not feel judged, TOEFL may be more convenient for you.

Overall versus criteria

Finally, the speaking and writing sections of the TOEFL are graded holistically. The grader gives you a score based on the overall quality of the essay, including vocabulary, logic, style, and grammar. In contrast IELTS is marked according to individual criteria and you are scored individually for grammar, word choice, fluency, logic, coherence and dozens of other criteria. In other words, if you write well but have many grammatical errors, your TOEFL score may be good because graders will overlook small errors if the overall essay is logical and detailed. IELTS will not ignore bad grammar. On the other hand, if your grammar and vocabulary are strong but you have difficulty expressing your opinion or organizing an essay, you may get a low TOEFL score but IELTS will give you a good score for language use. So IELTS may seem very difficult because it grades you on everything, in fact you can score well if you are strong in many areas. TOEFL emphasizes the ability to put together a logical and detailed argument (or summary) and pays attention to clarity, word choice, and style. If you don’t feel comfortable writing essays but think you have excellent grammar and vocabulary and are a decent writer overall, then IELTS might be easier for you.

I hope this essay was helpful in making your choice. In any case, I recommend that you go to the IELTS and TOEFL websites and get some more details about each test and try some practice problems yourself.

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