IELTS, Cambridge, TOEFL. What are the differences?

Learning Nov 10, 2022

What is IELTS?

IELTS stands for The International English Language Testing System. This testing system is designed to help you study, work, or migrate to a different country where English is the native language

However, you must be able to show that you have a high English language ability. Around the world, many people take the IELTS exam when they are applying for universities and jobs. People also take the exam when they are planning to migrate to a country where English is the native language.

What is Cambridge?

Cambridge English Qualifications are thorough exams which makes learning English fun and fruitful. They use a unique approach to ensure that the progress being made continues. 

They help you improve your English speaking, listening, and language skills. People often take a Cambridge exam when they want to open doors to achieve higher education or want to improve their job status. Because this qualification is accepted around the world, many people take it to achieve their dreams.

What is TOEFL?

Test of English as a Foreign Language, TOEFL for short, is a test that is used to help measure non-native English speaker’s language ability who wish to enroll in an English university.

These different English tests are important if you wish to have a diploma or certificate indicating your English language level. This is useful to have because you can put it on your CV or use it to get into a specific university. The IELTS and TOEFL tests are more relevant for a visa, job, and college or university application, because they normally require a certain English level if you want to be accepted.

However, it is important to note that certificates received by Cambridge Assessment English are the most recognized around the world. Cambridge English tests help show that you have a basic understanding of the English language. Certificates from Cambridge Assessment English have high value because it proves your English language understanding and communication skills.

IELTS scores

When you take the IELTS exam there is no pass or fail score. The results are reported in band scores. The lowest band score is 1.0 and 9.0 being the highest. To get a ‘good’ overall score on this exam you need to score a 7.0 or higher. If you score a 7.0 you are described as a ‘good user’. In the pictures below, you will find the different IELTS band scores for academic reading, general reading, and listening.

However, it is important to note that some countries do require a certain score to qualify as a pass. An example of this is when you are applying for a most skilled visa in Australian. To meet the threshold criteria, you are required to show at least Competent English. You will need to complete a recognised English Language test and be awarded with the following scores:

Cambridge Scores

When taking the Cambridge English test, you must score 180 or higher to pass. Candidates will be rewarded a grade A and a Cambridge English certificate that says you showed the ability of a Level C2 when they score 200 to 210. 

If you are a student looking to study abroad, you will need to obtain a certain score. If you want to study in the United Kingdom, then it is required that you obtain a score of 180-199 in the Cambridge English test. You will be awarded with a certificate that says you can speak advanced English at Level C1.

Here is a link that shows an example of a C2 Proficiency Speaking test: 

TOEFL Scores

The TOEFL test has varied passing scores, because each institution or university sets their own passing score. When you score around 90, 85-95, for the test, your mark is seen as average. If you score 100 and above your score is considered good.

It is important to note that this test can be taken online as well as offline. However, there is a difference in the scoring of these two tests. The internet-based test has a score scale of 0-120. Whereas the paper-based test has a score scale from 310-677. To obtain a good passing score for the paper-based test you must be awarded a mark of 580-600

If you are unsure of the scoring system, then you can have a look at the ETS TOEFL Score picture.

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