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TOEFL or IELTS or Cambridge exam?


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I would like to enroll for an international English Test . I googled for it and I got tons of information. The most important ones seem to be TOEFL, IELTS and Cambridge Exams (First, Advanced, Proficiency).

I am living in Switzerland. I have no idea which test would be the best for me. Does anybody know about the differences of those exams? also i need to know, which exam makes the most sense for me as a guy from Switzerland (not all the english diplomas are "recognized" here I think)

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In most cases, TOEFL or IELTS are fine, as both exams are accepted and meet the entry requirements for academic settings.

If you are more about British English, you might want to take the IELTS exam as it is more focused on British English vocabulary than TOEFL.

Also, the TOEFL test usually takes about 4 hours, which is rater long. The IELTS test is short..is usually about 3 hours.

Let's clear the meaning of the abbreviations as well :

TOEFL stands for Test of English as a foreign language and IELTS stands for International English Language Testing System.

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I took IELTS exam (academic) for employment reason. I think the exam you need will depend of what is your reason of taking the exam. Is it for employment or for evaluation in a university. In IELTS it can be academic or general. I think if you will take the exam for further education, you can take TOEFL or IElTS. To be honest I'm not really familiar with Cambridge Exam, because I haven't try it.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I took IELTS exam (academic) for employment reason. I think the exam you need will depend of what is your reason of taking the exam. Is it for employment or for evaluation in a university. In IELTS it can be academic or general. I think if you will take the exam for further education, you can take TOEFL or IElTS. To be honest I'm not really familiar with Cambridge Exam, because I haven't try it.

Hi Kitkat0124, I am planning to take the IELTS exam for employment.  Should I not take the General exam since it's "general", it can be used both for employment and other stuff?  Care if I ask you your IELTS score?

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Hi Pogyo, I think it depends on what kind of work, I'm not really sure but for professional level they want the Academic type. In my my case, I'm required to take the academic type. I got 7 in all categories. (speaking, reading,listening and writing)

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For the purposes of finding work, what's generally more recommended? TOEFLS or IELTS? I'm thinking of taking one of them but I'm afraid of taking one and then finding out that most companies are looking for the other.

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For the purposes of finding work, what's generally more recommended? TOEFLS or IELTS? I'm thinking of taking one of them but I'm afraid of taking one and then finding out that most companies are looking for the other.

I can't really tell what you really need to take. You know what my brother and I are in the same field of work but his course required him to take the TOEFL and TSE,  The TSE is stands for Test of Spoken English. It's a separate exam for speaking only. TOEFL in paper based is just for writing, listening and reading. So you also need to take the TSE. To complete the four categories. While I'm required to do the IElTS. Actually I  can also take the toefl and tse, but for me, IELTS is easier. One exam, with combination of all the categories. While in my course I can take any of the exam. His course can't do that. Anyway to cut it short it all depends of your course. But I guess it is safe if you will take the Toefl and tse.

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This thread's been pretty informative. I remember I took the TOEFL way back, when I was around 16 years old, I think? I don't remember much about it, just that it was pretty easy. It basically just tests your understanding of English. I wonder if I have to take any new tests before I move to the US. I used to work in a call center that answered to DirecTV customers, maybe that counts as something.

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Actually TOEFL is the most sought-after examination because for almost any job application where English proficiency is necessary.

By enrolling in TOEFL you play safe and eventually you can get other certifications, but of course, problem is many times is pricing involved.

I agree with you that it is safer to take TOEFL than IELTS.  In my case I can take any of the two and I selected IELTS. There are some jobs and universities  that preferred  TOEFL than IELTS.

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I'm also thinking to take TOEFL this month. The main differences between TOEFL and IELTS are-

-IELTS uses different accents (British accent,Australian accent) in the understanding section, where you have to listen to a conversation.

On the other hand TOEFL only uses US accent.

So you should take TOEFL if you watch a lot of hollywood movies(like me) and listen to English songs.

-The other main difference is the speaking part.

In IELTS you will be interviewed by the examiner face-to-face. And they ask questions like "What do you like to have as a birthday present" and similar questions like that.

In TOEFL you have to speak in the mic and have to record your speech after the beep. They generally give academic topics like "Asexual reproduction in Bees" and topics like that.

So, I guess I made the differences pretty clear. Don't know about you but I'm going to take TOEFL :P

Best of luck for your exam ;)

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I personally have the Cambridge one. From what I know and heard about it, it's recognized almost everywhere in Europe. I didn't have a hard time on the test, it's one of those exams where you could go only with your language knowledge. They include no academic topics or have any special preparation. (Most of the exercises at least, some do require special solving 'tactics'.)

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I'd say go with IELTS. I tried it and got a 6.5 without putting a lot of effort on it. I think you will do great in IELTS. Most universities want 5.5 and 5.5 is a really low mark. Just score really good in Reading and Listning and Speaking and do your best at writing. Writing part is the most annoying and hardest because you have to write perfectly and you don't have a lot of time to put your ideas in order. Good luck :)

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