04 Jan Confused about IELTS, TOEFL, Duolingo? Read On
International students applying to programs taught in English must provide proof their English proficiency as part of their applications. This ensures that they have the necessary English skills to understand academic writing, and are able to communicate effectively.
Let’s look at what’s available and do a quick comparison?
TOEFL: Test of English as a Foreign Language Internet Based Exam
The TOEFL test has 4 sections: Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing.
It takes about 4 hours to complete
Each section is worth 30 points for a maximum score of 120. Scores are good for two years.
Many universities require score of 90+.
You will spend about Rs 15,000 to take the test.
There are several free resources available online for you to practice for TOEFL, but the best would be www.ets.org, who are the creators of TOEFL.
IELTS: International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
IELTS is a lot like TOEFL, except that the speaking portion is done with an examiner. IELTS is jointly owned by the British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge Assessment English.
It takes about 3 hours to complete, and scoring ranges from 1 to 9 including half scores.
The scores are valid for two years.
Many universities require score of 6+.
You will spend about Rs 18,000 to take the test.
You can look up www.ielts.org to find out more
There is also the IELTS indicator which is the online test that you can use to safely demonstrate your language skills during the Covid-19 shutdown.
It’s held once a week online
The online test assesses each of the IELTS skill areas: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. The Speaking test is delivered via video call with a fully qualified and trained examiner, maintaining IELTS focus on assessing conversational English proficiency.
You will get your scores within seven days – both an indicative score for each section and an overall band score.
Duolingo English Test
The Duolingo English Test is also an English proficiency exam. Just like TOEFL and IELTS, it tests reading, listening, speaking, and writing.
But there are some significant differences.
The test is adaptive, which means that if you answer a question correctly, then the next question is harder. And if you answer it wrong, then consequently the next question is easier. It takes an hour to complete, and you can take it sitting at home on your personal computer.
Duolingo is offered by a private organisation in teaching language proficiency. Please check their website for details. https://englishtest.duolingo.com/en
This ends up being lighter on the pocket. You would spend about Rs 3,800 on the test.
Please check at the college/university website to ascertain if they accept Duolingo as a valid certificate.
The big question- which test do you take?
First and foremost, you would need to check the university site to be sure of which score would be acceptable. Below, we have given you a comparison table of the tests and the scores.
|TOEFL allows you to send your results to four universities for free||IELTS allows you to send your results to fiver universities for free||Allows all submissions free, so it may be a good idea to take it along with TOEFL/IELTS|
|There is an additional fee of Rs 1500 per university thereafter||There is an additional fee of Rs 1500 per university thereafter||Used primarily in undergrad admissions, but increasingly it is finding its place in other fields.|
|Longer passages to read, write and listen to||Longer passages to read, write and listen to||It’s a good choice, especially if you are relying on your intuition to give you an answer|
|Separate and clearly demarcated sections||Traditional question formats like multiple choice, short answers.||Texts are shorter|
|Isn’t an adaptive exam, so your answers have nothing to do with your previous rights or wrongs||Isn’t an adaptive exam, so your answers have nothing to do with your previous rights or wrongs||Blends all sections into a single exam, can therefore be challenging to change gears constantly|
|4 hours||3 hours||1 hour|
|Can be taken on a computer||Since there is the IELTS Indicator, this too can be taken at home during the COVID 19 period||Can be taken on the computer|
|0||10 to 25|
|2 to 4||35|
|5 to 8||40|
|9 to 13||45|
|14 to 19||50|
|20 to 25||55|
|26 to 31||60|
|32 to 37||65|
|38 to 43||70|
|44 to 49||75|
|50 to 55||80|
|56 to 61||85|
|62 to 67||90|
|68 to 73||95|
|74 to 79||100|
|86 to 91||110|
|92 to 96||115|
|97 to 102||120|
|103 to 107||125|
|108 to 112||130|
|113 to 115||135|
|116 to 118||140|
|120||150 to 160|
|2.5||20 to 25|
|3||30 to 40|
|3.5||45 to 50|
|4||55 to 60|
|4.5||65 to 70|
|5||75 to 80|
|5.5||85 to 90|
|6||95 to 100|
|6.5||105 to 110|
|7||115 to 120|
|7.5||125 to 130|
|8||135 to 140|
|8.5||145 to 150|
|9||155 to 160|
|9||118 to 120|
|8.5||115 to 117|
|8||110 to 114|
|7.5||102 to 109|
|7||94 to 101|
|6.5||79 to 93|
|6||60 to 78|
|5.5||46 to 59|
|5||35 to 45|
|4.5||32 to 34|
|0 to 4||0 to 31|
Here is a look at what the scores mean, courtesy
Band 9 – Expert user – You have a full operational command of the language.
Band 8 –Very good user- You have a fully operational command of the language with only occasional unsystematic inaccuracies and inappropriate usage.
Band 7- Good user- You have an operational command of the language, though with occasional inaccuracies, inappropriate usage and misunderstandings in some situations
Band 6- Competent user- Generally you have an effective command of the language despite some inaccuracies, inappropriate usage and misunderstandings.
Band 5- Modest user -You have a partial command of the language, and cope with overall meaning in most situations, although you are likely to make many mistakes. You should be able to handle basic communication in your own field.
Band 4- Limited user -Your basic competence is limited to familiar situations. You frequently show problems in understanding and expression. You are not able to use complex language.
Band 3- Extremely limited user -You convey and understand only general meaning in very familiar situations. There are frequent breakdowns in communication.
Band 2 –Intermittent user- You have great difficulty understanding spoken and written English.
Band 1 –Non-user -You have no ability to use the language except a few isolated words.
Band 0 –Did not attempt the test
Among test takers, we have seen the trend of opting for IELTS as it has a very wide acceptance. However, due to COVID scenario, there may be a few changes. We strongly advise you to check the acceptance before selecting the option that suits you.As you figure what’s best for you amongst the numerous options, you must also understand that this is just one of the many requirements in your applications to International universities. EduPeer is here to help with the entire process with their SEAMless advantage.
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