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IELTS Exam Fees Around The World

The exam fees for taking the IELTS English Language Test can vary from country to country. So we’ve compiled the below list detailing the cost of taking the IELTS exam in a number of popular origin countries for study abroad students.

The information has been taken from the IELTS website pages and may need updating from time to time. These figures are here to give you a rough price guide.

Please note: these figures are for the IELTS Academic for UK Visas and Immigration test. Other IELTS tests for different purposes are generally less expensive but this is the test that you will need to take if you are looking to study abroad in the UK with IELTS.

Last updated 11/05/2021

IELTS in Europe

IELTS in North, Central & South America

  • USA – USD 295
  • Mexico – MXN $4,647
  • Canada – CAN 309-319 depending on the region. Test centres in Ottawa, London, Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg & British Colombia are $309. Test centres in Niagara Region and Windsor are $319.
  • Brazil – BRL 1046
  • Colombia – COP 762,000
  • Argentina – ARS 2,860

IELTS in Asia

IELTS in Oceania

Can’t find your home country? Search for it here.

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IELTS vs TOEFL: Which Is Better?

If you’re applying to university or college in an English-speaking country and English is not your first language, it’s likely that your institution will require you to take a standardised test to prove your English language proficiency. And this will bring up the big question:  IELTS vs TOEFL exam? Let’s find out the differences between the two.

IELTS & TOEFL: The Basics

IELTS and TOEFL are the most popular standardised English language tests taken worldwide.

CRITERIA IELTS TOEFL
Centres 1,100 test centres in over 140 countries. 4,500 test centres in over 165 countries.
Exam It lasts for about 2h 45 minutes. It lasts for about 4 hours.
Scoring Each section is marked with a band from 0-9 (from these section scores, an overall 0-9 band is awarded). 120 marks, with 30 marks available for each section.

Note: the desired score for IELTS is of around 6.5+ and for TOEFL – 80+.

We took a look at these two exams and compared them side-by-side, to see which one will give you the fastest kick-start before moving to an English-speaking country to begin your studies overseas.

How are they marked?

Although the IELTS and TOEFL exams are assessing the same thing, the marking of the exams works slightly differently for their 4 sections: reading, writing, listening and speaking.

In theory, it is possible to get an overall score of 0-4 for IELTS, but it is very unlikely to score this low since, with around 10% in the reading and listening and 30% in the speaking and writing sections, an overall score of around 4.5 should be easily obtained.

Each institution will set its own English language requirements for undergraduate and postgraduate (graduate) and should be available on their website.

If you cannot find this information, check with the institution so that you know what is required from your test results. Many institutions have minimum score requirements overall or for each section.

What do the tests consist of?

Both TOEFL and IELTS consist of 4 sections: Writing, Listening, Speaking and Reading.

TOEFL usually takes around 4 hours, whereas IELTS is usually shorter than that – at around 2 hours 45 minutes.

We will now look at each section below to discuss which test gives you better practical skills for living/working/studying in an English-speaking country.

Reading

  • TOEFL: multiple-choice-only reading section (academic tests available).
  • IELTS: range of 15 question types including short answer, true/false, summary and multiple choice.

With IELTS, you can select to take the Academic paper or the non-academic one. In real life, you are rarely asked multiple-choice questions (outside of exam situations), so the IELTS gives you a more realistic, practical experience.

The exam splits into 3×20 minute sections, gradually getting harder. This should build up your confidence slowly through easy questions progressing onto the more difficult ones.

Listening

  • TOEFL: always standard American English.

The TOEFL listening exam lasts between 40 and 60 minutes and is based on questions regarding university life situations.

  • IELTS: different English variations from Ireland, Wales, USA, Australia.

The IELTS listening section lasts 30 minutes, divided into 4 sections, and it can cover an informational lecture, a conversation in an academic context and an academic lecture. The IELTS listening test ticks off a variety of tasks from sentence completion to matching headings.

Speaking

  • TOEFL: 20-minute conversation with a computer, recorded and assessed by an examiner at a later stage.

You are asked 6 university-related questions on various things such as hometown and family topics, and you will have to express your opinion on a chosen subject/given text.

  • IELTS: slightly shorter; 12-15 minutes long. Split into 3 sections and conducted with a real examiner.

With fewer examples when you will have to talk to a computer, IELTS is much better for practising with a live tester (section 1).

You can’t hide from speaking English when it is the native language of where you are living, so don’t shy away from a real conversation.

During the IELTS exam, you will talk about your home, jobs, studies and you’ll have to prepare a monologue of 2 minutes tops on a certain topic (section 2).

At the end (section 3), you will have to answer questions based on the topic you spoke about initially in section 2.

Writing

  • TOEFL: 2-question exam that lasts for 50 minutes and is typed on a computer.
First, you’ll have to read a text and listen to a lecture of about 2 minutes.
Based on this information, you’ll have to write a short answer to a specific question.
The next answer you’ll need to write down will require a longer reply (between 450 and 600 words).
  • IELTS: Academic and General Traning – 2 different writing tests.

The Academic test is more suitable for you and all students who apply to go to universities, and it features 2 tasks, lasting for about 1 hour.

These answers are handwritten.

The first question involves interpreting a graph, table or diagram, and the next one involves a short 250-word essay answer as an argument or a discussion.

These tasks are quite evenly matched, but depending on whether you will need to write out things by hand or you will be using a laptop, computer or tablet for writing at university.

Either way, it is a good idea to practise both forms of writing, regardless of which method of assessment you decide on.

OK, but which one is more widely accepted?

University Admissions

Before you decide on which course you will take for your English as a foreign language qualification, if you are applying to study in the UK or in an English-speaking country, you must check which qualifications they will accept, as some universities will only accept one or the other. If you are unsure, you can search for the admissions department within the university’s website and email them to find out. The information should be listed on the site as well under the course requirements so if you have an idea about which course you would like to take, search for this and it should tell you what you need to know.

Visa Application

If you require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK, it is recommended that you take IELTS or Pearson’s Test as TOEFL is no longer recognised by the UK Home Office as a Secure English Language Test.

In case you don’t require a visa for your studies, a TOEFL test will be enough for your application, as long as your scores meet the entry requirements, which are usually at fixed levels for the University, although some exceptions may apply.

If you’re still not sure which to choose, you can find out about Cambridge Advanced English (CAE), an alternative to TOEFL and IELTS, which is accepted by 99% of UK universities as a benchmark for the English Language.

The final verdict

Choose IELTS if you:

  • are comfortable being interviewed
  • have easy-to-read English handwriting
  • prefer multiple question test types (true/false; fill-in-the-blank etc)
  • understand various English dialects
  • like talking about non-academic topics.

Choose TOEFL if you:

  • are comfortable working with computers
  • feel confident speaking into a microphone
  • are good at answering multiple-choice questions
  • prefer standard American English
  • enjoy reading topics meant to inform
  • manage to take notes from audio recordings.

IELTS vs TOEFL: Online resources for you

IELTS Resources:

  1. General IELTS information
  2. Free IELTS practice tests
  3. IELTS test formats

TOEFL Resources:

  1. General TOEFL information
  2. TOEFL practice tests
  3. TOEFL test formats

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TOEFL & IELTS University Score Requirements Around the World

Ready to start your study abroad journey? If you’re looking to study a university course in English, it is very likely that you’ll need to pass either the TOEFL or IELTS with a good score, depending on your university’s requirements. So we’ve put together a list of TOEFL and IELTS score requirements for a range of different universities around the world to give you an idea of what to aim for.

TOEFL & IELTS Requirements: USA

University of Central Missouri:

  • TOEFL IBT (internet based) score of 79;
  • TOEFL PBT (paper based) score of 550;
  • IELTS score of 6.0.

Southern New Hampshire University

  • TOEFL score of 71 (for undergraduate programmes) and 79 (for graduate programmes);
  • IELTS score of 6.5 (undergraduate and graduate).

Harvard Business School

  • TOEFL IBT score of 109;
  • IELTS score of 7.5.

University of Central Florida

  • TOEFL IBT score of 80;
  • TOEFL PBT score of 550;
  • IELTS score of 6.5.

Lewis-Clark College State

  • TOEFL IBT score of 72,
  • TOEFL PBT score of 530;
  • IELTS score of 6.

College of the Desert

  • TOEFL IBT score of 45;
  • TOEFL PBT score of 450;
  • IELTS score of 5.

Hawaii Pacific University

  • TOEFL IBT score of 80;
  • TOEFL PBT score of 550;
  • IELTS score of 6.0 overall.

University of North Carolina, Charlotte

  • TOEFL IBT score of 83;
  • TOEFL PBT score of 557;
  • IELTS overall band score of 6.5.

TOEFL & IELTS Requirements: Australia

Griffith University

  • TOEFL iBT score of 79;
  • TOEFL PBT score of 575;
  • IELTS score of 6.5 (with no sub-score of less than 6.0).

Bond University

  • TOEFL IBT score of 98 (or less, depending on the programme);
  • IELTS score of 6.5 (or even higher, depending on the programme you choose to study).

 Victoria University

  • TOEFL IBT score of 55;
  • IELTS overall score of 5.5 (no band less than 5.0).

University of Melbourne

  • If you get an overall score of less than 7 for IELTS or a score less than 94 for TOEFL IBT, you will need to take a Diagnostic English Language Assessment (DELA) to enrol at the university.

Central Queensland University

  • TOEFL iBT overall score of 75 (with no score less than 17);
  • IELTS score of 6 (with no individual band score of less than 5.5).

Monash University

  • TOEFL IBT score of 79;
  • TOEFL PBT score of 550;
  • IELTS score of 6.5.

University of the Sunshine Coast

  • TOEFL IBT score of 76;
  • TOEFL PBT score of 550;
  • IELTS overall score of 6.0 (with minimum 5.5 in each subtest).

TOEFL & IELTS Requirements: Canada

McGill University

  • TOEFL IBT overall score of 86 (no less than 20 in each of the four component scores);
  • TOEFL PBT score of 567;
  • IELTS score of 6.5.

Simon Fraser University

  • TOEFL IBT score of 93 (with a minimum of 20 in each category);
  • TOEFL PBT score of 580;
  • IELTS overall score of 7.0 (with a minimum of 6.5 in each section).

University of New Brunswick

  • TOEFL IBT of 80;
  • TOEFL PBT of 550;
  • IELTS minimum band score of 7.

University of Alberta

  • TOEFL IBT score of 88 (with a score of at least 20 on each individual skill areas);
  • TOEFL PBT score of 550 (paper-based);
  • IELTS score of 6.5 (with at least 5 on each band).

Centennial College

  • TOEFL IBT score of 80;
  • TOEFL PBT score of 550;
  • IELTS score of 6.0 (with no band score less than 5.5).

TOEFL & IELTS Requirements: UK

University of Birmingham

  • TOEFL overall score of 80 overall (or more depending on the programme you choose);
  • IELTS score of 6.0.

University of Oxford

  • TOEFL IBT overall score of 110
  • TOEFL PBT overall score of 600;
  • IELTS overall score of 7.0.

University College of London

  • TOEFL overall score of 92;
  • IELTS overall grade of 6.5 (with a minimum of 6.0 in each of the subtests).

University of Manchester

  • TOEFL IBT score of 72
  • IELTS score of 5.5.

Apart from TOEFL and IELTS, some universities also accept other English proficiency language tests such as the Cambridge English Language Assessment or the Pearson Test of English Academic. There are many other tests (for example Ascentis, City and Guilds, the English Speaking Board International, the Teaching Knowledge Test) available out there, but you have to double-check with your institution that they accept them for enrollment.

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Good Vocabulary Habits for Passing the IELTS Exam

The amount of vocabulary you need to take the IELTS exam can seem like an impossible mountain to climb, but if you follow these guidelines you’ll prepare yourself well and be sure to get the grades you need.

1. Become a word collector

All good English teachers will insist that you speak only English in classes and you should do your best to take this outside of the classroom. It’s always tempting to read and speak your native language but try and resist. 

It really doesn’t matter whether you read newspapers, magazines or books but it does matter that you read them in English. You may not understand every single word but see that as an opportunity to collect new words. The BBC have a great website for English learners which includes a ‘Word of the Day’ and a section on ‘Words in the News’ where you can listen to and read current news reports.

Do you always carry a notebook? If not why not start. You don’t have to stop reading to look up a word but you can quickly write it down and look it up later. Once you’ve got the definition look at it in context. Again try to use an English to English dictionary alongside your translation dictionary. Translations can sometimes be inaccurate. If you prefer to use technology use your mobile or tablet to record new words and study them when you get home.

2. Use a dictionary

There’s more than definitions in dictionaries. You can also see which word form the word fits into, its pronunciation and how to use it. The phonemic chart might look like an ancient language to you but using an interactive chart will help you with the sounds.

3. Organise your vocabulary

There are many ways you can organise your collection of new words for the IELTS exam, and most people have their own method of doing it. Many will just write down the word, the translation and the definition. Why not take it to another level and also:

  • Use the word in a sentence to put it into context
  • Write down the word form.  Is it a verb?  Is it a noun?  Is it both?
  • What are the antonyms?  What are the synonyms?  Why not buy a Thesaurus?
  • What are the collocations?
  • Is it a verb?  Are there any phrasal verbs using it?
  • Everybody has different ways of learning.  Visual learners will find Mind Maps or Vocab Trees helpful. Again the BBC can help you with some templates and ideas.

4. Divide your IELTS vocabulary into topics

The IELTS Speaking Test will ask you to speak about a topic for two minutes. The topics are varied and you won’t know which one you will be tested on. The best way to prepare for this is to PRACTISE, PRACTISE, and PRACTISE. This website focuses on the most likely topic range and gives you IELTS-style practice tests. Any new vocab you learn while practising will also help you in other parts of the exam.

Get into these habits and you will find that your collection of vocabulary will increase rapidly. Good luck!

Written by Gill Balfour, Editor and Counsellor Liaison. 

Enjoyed this article? Check out our other English Language Learning subject guides.

6 Tips to Help You Pass the IELTS Reading Paper with Flying Colours

It can be a daunting experience when you first look at an IELTS Reading Paper. There is so much text to read and at times the very technical vocabulary and jargon involved can be enough to throw off even the most confident of speakers.

At times it may feel like a mountain to climb to study and retain the amount of vocabulary you need for such an extensive range of topics, so we’ve put together some tried and tested methods to help you sleep a little easier at night and ace the IELTS Reading Paper first time.

1. How can I deal with so much text?

It’s a good question but what you need to do is focus on the questions and read to answer them. Practice makes perfect and you can train yourself to focus on the text you need to read to answer the questions. Don’t try and read the whole text straight away, look at the questions first.

2. Get help from the title

Before you do anything else read the title; it will immediately give you an idea of what the article is going to be about. If the title is a question the following article will answer it and that will be the main focus. If the title isn’t a question turn it into one. There could also be subheadings and they will give you further information. Doing this will give you an idea of what you’re going to read about before you read another word.

3. Think about the structure

The texts in the reading paper will be written with the same structure you would use when writing an essay. They will have an introduction and a conclusion with problems/solutions, advantages/disadvantages contained within the body of the text. Looking at the first paragraph and the last paragraph will help you understand the text.

4. Use the Key Words to help you

Identifying the key words in the question is essential. You should by now have an idea of the subject matter so your main focus now is on the type of information you need to answer the questions. For example if ‘not’ is in the statement they will be looking for a negative, quantity indicators such as ‘few’ or ‘all’ will be important in answering the question and time references such as ‘already’ will give you a clue as to whether the answer is going to be a future or past event. You might dismiss these words as unimportant but they will help you get the information you need to answer the questions.

5. Use synonyms

Locating parallel words in the text and the questions is really important. Make sure you build a great collection of synonyms during your studies. Finding the synonyms every time you learn a new word will grow your vocabulary and prepare you well for the reading paper.

6. True, False or Not Given?

The ‘Not Given’ option makes these questions difficult for most students. Turning the statement into a question will help you decide if the text answers the question, contradicts it or doesn’t actually give any information relating to the question. If the statement contains proper nouns, like the names of people or place names, this will help you pinpoint the relevant part of the text more easily.

Remember to use these tips and these practice papers to help you get the best possible marks for the IELTS Reading Paper. Good luck!

Written by Gill Balfour, Editor and Counsellor Liaison

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