TOEFL & TOEIC Comparison

The TOEFL Exam

Ever wonder the difference between these prominent English tests for university admittance? The TOEFL, IELTS, TOEIC & the new PTE are the most common English tests administered at this time and prospective test-takers might wonder the differences between them. Here’s a quick 101 on the differences between each.

TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language): This exam is currently the most common for non-native English speakers. The TOEFL is often a requirement at most colleges and universities in the U.S., Canada and other English-speaking countries. In addition, government agencies, licensing bodies, businesses or scholarship programs might also require the TOEFL. At this time, an individual’s TOEFL score is valid for two years and then subject for re-evaluation after the two-year period.

The TOEFL itself was first administered in 1964 and has been taken by more than 23 million students since then. TOEFL tests have involved from paper based tests to the iBT (Internet Based Test) since 2012.

The TOEIC Exam

TOEIC (Test of English for International Communication): As quoted from the TOEIC website, “The TOEIC is an English language test designed specifically to measure the everyday English skills of people working in an international environment.” The point system ranges from 10 to 990 points and the test itself is two hours in length, multiple choice, testing listening comprehension and reading comprehension.The TOEIC gives certificates to those who take the test, with different colors differentiating the range of advanced skills. In 2006 a new TOEIC was released with longer reading passages and also British, Australian and New Zealand English-speakers, whereas the previous test only featured American speakers.

  • The test is divided into two parts which can be taken together or separately. The Listening and Reading section lasts 2 hours. The Speaking and Writing section takes about 90 minutes to complete. The whole test takes about 3 and a half hours.
  • The TOEIC is designed to test a person's proficiency in business English where the TOEFL is used as a college entrance exam. Students find the TOEFL to have questions that are more challenging than the TOEIC. However, like the IELTS, the TOEIC contains British, American, Canadian, and Australian dialects which might confuse those unfamiliar with the regional dialects.
  • Question Types: Reading, Listening, Writing and Speaking. Integrated (mixed) questions are given.