TOEIC or TOEFL: what are the differences? Which one to choose ?

By Global-Exam, with the Studentpublished on March 04, 2019

6 mins

The TOEIC and the TOEFL are two certifying language tests that allow you to judge your level of English. They are internationally recognized by companies and schools as the benchmarks for English language tests. What are their differences ? Which language test is right for you? Which test to choose for your project? TOEIC or TOEFL, we give you all the characteristics of these two English tests.

TOEIC vs. TOEFL: What are the differences?

The TOEIC and the TOEFL both certify the English level of people who are not English speakers. However, depending on your professional or academic goals, the language test to choose may change.

The TOEIC: for companies
The TOEIC is mainly used in the professional world. Although some schools require a minimum TOEIC score as a condition of access or as a prerequisite for the validation of a diploma, the TOEIC is mainly used in a professional context. Its structure allows recruiters to judge a candidate’s ability to adapt to a professional environment with international responsibilities.

TOEFL: for studies
The TOEFL is mainly used in higher education. For example, many foreign schools and universities use it to recruit candidates. In France, it is also used as a prerequisite to validate a year of study or a diploma. The TOEFL makes it possible to judge the capacity of a candidate to follow a training in English.
There is also a difference in the typology of candidates for the two tests. The TOEFL has a student target while the TOEIC is mainly aimed at people entering professional life.

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TOEIC and TOEFL: how are the tests carried out?

Each test has its own specificities, whether in terms of the skills measured, sequences or timing.

The TOEIC: “Listening” and “Reading”
The TOEIC is a demanding language test that does not lasts only 2 hours but that includes 200 questions. It measures a candidate’s professional English comprehension through two parts: The oral comprehension part called “Listening” and the written comprehension part called “Reading”.

TOEFL: comprehension and expression (written and oral)
The TOEFL, on the contrary, is much longer and lasts about 4 hours. It assesses all of the candidate’s English skills through 4 parts: Written comprehension, Oral comprehension, Written expression and Oral expression. Being very complete, it is highly appreciated by higher education establishments.

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TOEIC and TOEFL scores: how are you scored?

The TOEIC score
Your TOEIC score is between 10 and 990 points. Each game is scored from 5 to 495 points. It is estimated that from 800 points, the score is satisfactory. Your score is valid for 2 years.

The TOEFL score
The entire TOEFL is scored out of 120 points. Each of the four parts is scored out of 30 points. It is estimated that from 85 points, the score is satisfactory. Your score is like the TOEIC valid for 2 years.

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What are the TOEIC and TOEFL tests like?

The TOEIC: on paper
The TOEIC test is done via a MCQ of 200 questions divided into two equal parts of 100 questions. The test takes place on paper. The TOEIC assesses your ability to understand texts and audios in a professional context. It is based on classic business situations. Consequently, there is associated vocabulary relating to subjects such as contracts, sales, finance, digital, etc.

The TOEFL: a computer-based test
The TOEFL IBT (the most used version of the TOEFL) is administered on computers. The themes of the questions deal with student life and higher education establishments. You are then confronted with an associated vocabulary. The TOEFL is complete and includes, in addition to the oral and written comprehension parts, an oral expression part and a written expression part. This requires real production unlike the TOEIC.

Why take the TOEIC or TOEFL? Which language test to choose?

Companies and higher education institutions are free to choose which test and which score to ask candidates. However, whether it is for a job with international responsibilities, an internship abroad, validating a diploma or accessing prestigious schools and universities, it is very likely that you will be asked for a TOEIC or TOEFL score.
You can also choose to take a language test on your own initiative. In this case, if you want to strengthen your employability, opt for the TOEIC which is the most recognized test in the professional world. If, on the other hand, you want to open the doors of schools and universities, choose the TOEFL.

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Preparation: TOEIC or TOEFL white

Whether you choose the TOEIC or the TOEFL, the success of your language test is linked to your preparation. For this, we advise you to start by evaluating yourself through a TOEIC or TOEFL blank test. Thus, you will be able to identify your strengths and weaknesses and adapt your preparation.

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