TOEFL & IELTS

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Offline Shamim Ansary

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TOEFL & IELTS
« on: June 27, 2011, 09:41:43 AM »
Because universities want to make sure you have the English language skills necessary to study at their school, almost all institutes of higher learning require you to take a test of English. And TOEFL and IELTS are the two biggest standardized tests of the English language. One of the most frequent questions I hear is which test is easier or which test is better. The answer depends on what kinds of tests you excel at, as well as where you plan to apply. This article breaks down the differences between the two tests so that you can make your own decision.

Admissions

The IELTS test is administrated by the British Councils, the University of Cambridge, and IELTS Australia. That is to say, it is associated with the British government and traditionally was used by British universities, as well as New Zealand and Australian universities to determine the language capability of foreign students. TOEFL is administered by ETS, a US-based non-profit and is used widely by American and Canadian universities. However, these days, in order to make it easy on international students, universities all over the world take both TOEFL and IELTS. While you should check with the specific university you want to apply to, in general any school in the US, the UK, Australia or New Zealand will take either test score. So that's one worry off your mind. Pick the test you think will be easier for you to complete. To do that, you probably need to know the structure of each exam.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2011, 10:42:56 AM by Shamim Ansary »
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Offline Shamim Ansary

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Re: TOEFL or IELTS
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2011, 09:42:26 AM »
Structure of the TOEFL

As of last year, official TOEFL is almost universally given in the iBT (Internet Based Testing) format. It consists of four sections:

Reading

The TOEFL Reading section asks you to read 4-6 passages of university level and to answer multiple-choice questions about them (multiple-choice means you choose the answer from provided options). Questions test you on comprehension of the text, main ideas, important details, vocabulary, inferring, rhetorical devices and style.

Listening

The Listening Section presents long 2-3 conversations and 4-6 lectures. The situations are always related to university life i.e. a conversation between a student and a librarian about finding research materials or a lecture from a history class. The questions are multiple choice and ask you about important details, inferences, tone, and vocabulary. The conversations and lectures are very natural and include informal English, interruptions, filler noises like "uh" or "Uhm."

Speaking

The Speaking section is recorded. You will speak into a microphone and a grader will listen to your answers at a later date and grade you. Two questions will be on familiar topics and ask you to give your opinion and/or describe something familiar to you, like your town or your favorite teacher. Two questions will ask you to summarize information from a text and a conversation--and may ask your opinion as well. Two questions will ask you to summarize information from a short conversation. Again, the topics of the conversations are always university-related.

Writing

Finally, there are two short essays on the TOEFL. One will ask you to write your opinion on a broad topic, such as whether it is better to live in the country or the city. One will ask you to summarize information from a text and a lecture--often the two will disagree with each other and you will need to either compare and contrast, or synthesize conflicting information.
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Offline Shamim Ansary

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Re: TOEFL or IELTS
« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2011, 09:43:21 AM »
IELTS Structure

The IELTS contains the same 4 sections, Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing, but the format is very different.

Reading

The reading section of the IELTS gives you 3 texts, which may be from academic textbooks or from a newspaper or magazine--but all at the level of a university student. One will always be an opinion piece--i.e. a text arguing for one point of view. The variety of questions on the IELTS is quite broad, and not every text will have every question type. One question type asks you to match headings to paragraphs in the text. You may be asked to complete a summary of the passage using words from the text. Or you may have to fill in a table or chart or picture with words from the text. There may be multiple-choice questions that ask you about key details. One of the hardest question types presents statements and asks you whether these statements are true, false or not included in the text. You may also be asked to match words and ideas. Finally, some questions are short-answer but the answers will be taken directly from the text itself.

Some questions come before the text and may not require careful reading to answer. Others come after the text and may expect you to have read the text thoroughly.

Listening

The IELTS has four listening sections. The first is a "transactional conversation" in which someone may be applying for something (a driver's license, a library card) or asking for information (say calling for more details about an advertisement or a hotel). The second section is an informational lecture of some kind, possibly a dean explaining the rules of the university. Third is a conversation in an academic context and the final section will be an academic lecture. For all sections you may be asked to fill out a summary, fill in a table, answer multiple-choice questions, label a diagram or picture, or classify information into different categories. You will be expected to fill out answers as you listen.

Writing

There are two writing tasks on the academic IELTS. The first asks you to summarize a table or chart in about 300 words. You will have to identify important information, compare and contrast different figures or maybe describe a process. The second task asks you to present your opinion on a statement about a fairly open topic such as: "Women should look after children and not work" or "Too many people are moving to cities and rural areas are suffering."

Speaking

Finally, the speaking section will be held on a different day from the rest of the test and in the presence of a trained interviewer. The questions are the same for all examinees but some parts may be more in the form of a conversation than a monologue. The first part of the test will be a brief introductory conversation followed by some short questions about familiar topics. The interviewer may ask your name, your job, what kinds of sports you like, what your daily routine is, and so on. In the second part, you will be given a card with a topic and a few specific questions to address. You will have to speak for two minutes on this topic, which may be about your daily routine, the last time you went to the movies, your favorite part of the world or a similar familiar topic. In the last section, the interviewer will ask you to discuss a more abstract side of the topic in part 2--why do people prefer daily routines? Why do people like the movies? How does travel affect local life?
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Offline Shamim Ansary

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Re: TOEFL or IELTS
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2011, 09:44:18 AM »
Which is Better for Me?

So now you have some understanding of what each test involves, but you might be wondering which is better for you. Maybe in reading about the structure, you thought, "Wow TOEFL sounds so easy," or, "Oh the IELTS sounds like it's kind of fun!" That might be a good sign that one test will be easier for you than the other. More concretely, there are a couple of key differences between the tests.

British versus American English

While both the UK and the US accept both tests, and while British English and American English are not as different as some think, the fact of the matter is the IELTS tends to use British English and the TOEFL uses exclusively American English. On the IELTS, this difference will have a larger effect because spelling counts, and that is one area where Britain and the US do not always see eye-to-eye. Obviously if you have problems with the British accent (and the test may include a wide variety of accents, including Australian, New Zealand, Irish and Scottish). On the other hand, American accents may throw you off. Certain terms are also different and you don't want to waste time in your speaking test asking what a flat or a lorry is. So whether you are used to British or American English is certainly a factor. If you are more comfortable with US English, the TOEFL is a good bet but if you are used to British English and accents, you'll do better on the IELTS.

Multiple choice versus Copying Down

For the reading and listening sections, TOEFL gives you multiple-choice questions, whereas IELTS generally expects you to copy down words from the text or the conversation word-for-word. Multiple-choice questions will tend to be require slightly better abstract thinking, but the IELTS favors people who have good memories and think more concretely. The good thing about multiple-choice is that it is easy to pick out wrong answers, whereas the good thing about copying down is that the answer is sitting there in the text. You just have to find it and repeat it. So, concrete thinkers will tend to do better on the IELTS and abstract thinkers will tend to excel on the TOEFL.

Predictable or Different Every Time

Of course, the TOEFL is also more predictable than the IELTS. The IELTS throws lots of different question types at you, and the instructions are often slightly different every time. That makes it harder to prepare for. The TOEFL, on the other hand, is pretty much the same test every time--pick A, B, C, D, or E. On the other hand, the IELTS certainly keeps you on your toes and that can keep you more alert.

Speaking to a Person or a Computer?

Another large difference is in how the speaking section is carried out. For some people, it's very relaxing to just record your answers into a computer because it feels like no one is listening. You just try your best and forget about it until you get your grades. Because the IELTS test is done in an interview format with a native speaker present, you might get nervous or feel you are being judged. And they take notes: Oh God, did he write down something good or something bad? On the other hand, you might feel more relaxed in a conversation, with a person there to explain if you don't understand a question, or simply having a face to look at, instead of a computer screen. Getting feedback from a native speaker can be helpful too, in order to correct mistakes and improve during the test. So it depends on what you are more comfortable with. If you like talking to people, the IELTS is a better bet. If you just want to be alone and not feel judged, the TOEFL will be more comfortable for you.

Holistic versus Criteria

Finally, the speaking and writing sections of the TOEFL are graded holistically. The grader gives you a score based on the overall quality of the essay, including vocabulary, logic, style, and grammar. The IELTS by contrast is marked by individual criteria and you are scored individually for grammar, word choice, fluency, logic, cohesion, and a dozen other criteria. In other words, if you write well but have a lot of small grammar mistakes, your TOEFL score might be quite good because graders will ignore small mistakes if the overall essay is logical and detailed. The IELTS will not overlook bad grammar. On the other hand, if your grammar and vocabulary are strong but you have trouble expressing your opinion or organizing an essay, you could end up with a low TOEFL score but the IELTS will give you good marks for language use. So while it may sound like the IELTS is much tougher since it grades you on everything, in fact you can get quite a good score if you are strong in a number of areas. The TOEFL emphasizes the ability to put together a logical and detailed argument (or summary) and looks at clarity, word choice, and style above all. If you don't feel comfortable writing essays but you think you have excellent grammar and vocabulary and overall are a decent writer, the IELTS will probably be easier for you.

I hope this essay was helpful in making your choice. In any case, I recommend you go to the websites of IELTS and TOEFL and get some more detail on each test, and also try out some practice problems on your own.


This, including above all articles have been collected from http://gmatclub.com/forum/toefl-or-ielts-100782.html
"Many thanks to Allah who gave us life after having given us death and (our) final return (on the Day of Qiyaamah (Judgement)) is to Him"

Offline Shamim Ansary

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Re: TOEFL or IELTS
« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2011, 09:48:12 AM »
experience of an Examinee

I took the exam 2 weeks ago, and got the results last Tuesday. I'm actually happy because after the exam I was feeling a little down, I thought it went really horrible, so the score kind of surprised me.

I got 106/120 broken into:
Reading 27/30
Listening 26/30
Speaking 23/30
Writing 30/30

I prepared reading a book that came with a CD that my wife used to prep for the exam 5 years ago. It was actually a mistake since the Computer Based Test is different than the Internet Based Test. The CBT had few passages for the reading, it had something like Sentence Correction of the GMAT (focused on grammar), and the listening section had many very short conversations. So I thing that the IBT is much more difficult.

The last week I tried to memorize the templates for the speaking section. I didn't practice much though. And I memorized a template for the writing section. I also practiced my typing skills to type at a good speed.

The Reading section went not so well. I got the first passage with 20 min limit, and during the whole 20 minutes a girl had trouble with the microphones (they test the mics 2 times, at the beginning of the test and right before the speaking section again). She kept describing the city she lives in, each try louder and louder. I couldn't focus during the whole passage. I had read about taking earplugs, but completely forgot them. I actually feel comfortable with reading comprehension, but the TOEFL passages are a bit longer than those of the GMAT, and since they come one after the other, it gets too boring. After the first passage, I got 2 more passages with 40 minutes limit. After finishing them, I though: good, now listening next. But on the screen it appeared another 2 passages with 40 minutes. It kind of put a heavy load on my spirit. I struggled with the timing in the first 2 passages, the 3rd and 4th did actually really well, but the last passage was really heavy and the last question was more demanding than the last question of the previous passages, and could not answer it completely (I had to drag sentences in different categories).

The Listening section went quite well. I started taking notes in the first lectures and conversations, but since I rarely write by hand I was too slow and could not keep up listening, so I stopped and just listened from the 3rd conversation onwards. I think I did well and was quite satisfied with my performance, except that I lost my focus in the middle of a lecture and screwed several answers.

The Speaking section was the worst. I took a short break and quickly returned and wrote down the templates on the scratch paper. Right from the first question I was not able to finish my speech on time. I had trouble with the timing while practicing, so you need to make sure you can answer the question comfortably in the few seconds you have for that. For the second question I was still talking about the first reason when the timer stopped, so I got really nervous and while I did better on a couple of questions afterwards, I still felt like I was screwed.

Finally, the Writing section came, and as soon as I could start typing I entered the template I memorized. I added the necessary sentences and wrote quite a lot, around 340 words for the 1st essay. I was careful to take good notes during the lecture, since it's key to prepare a good essay. The second essay was easier for me, and wrote almost 500 words. I was typing extremely fast so I had plenty of time to review and correct typos and change a couple of words in some places.

Overall, I think that it's not a difficult exam. If we had a free software to practice then most people would perform better in the first attempt. I think that my worst mistake was my preparation. During the last week I saw the Cambridge book and I wished I could have gone through all of it building up each skill. But I also think that retaking the exam without further preparation I could improve at least 1 point in each of the three first sections now knowing how the test works. So it's very important to prepare with the right materials.

Well, I wish all of you who are going to take the test soon good luck in getting the score you need or want.

Source: http://gmatclub.com/forum/106-experience-115026.html
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Offline baset

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Re: TOEFL & IELTS
« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2011, 06:01:06 PM »
IELTS tests all four language skills – listening, reading, writing and speaking. The Speaking test is a face-to-face interview with a certified Examiner. It is interactive and as close to a real-life situation as a test can get.
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Re: TOEFL & IELTS
« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2011, 12:23:12 PM »
The student who want to sit in IELTS exam the best bookk to start preparation is Intermediate English Grammar by-Raymond Marphy
« Last Edit: November 01, 2011, 05:32:53 PM by baset »
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Offline Sultan Mahmud Sujon

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Re: TOEFL & IELTS
« Reply #7 on: September 29, 2011, 10:20:50 AM »
well done

Offline Anisur Rahman

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Re: TOEFL & IELTS
« Reply #8 on: November 29, 2011, 06:37:54 PM »
TOEFL Speaking Samples

An easy way to get a high score on the TOEFL independent speaking tasks is to think of your answer as a mini essay. Of course, you have only 45 seconds in total, so your introduction and conclusion may be only one line each. Even so, by including them, you provide a complete answer.

INTRODUCTION: The introduction should immediately answer the question asked in the task. State clearly what you are going to speak about or what you prefer. This is like the thesis statement in an essay.

BODY: The body is where you provide the reasons, details or examples to explain or support your answer.

CONCLUSION: Your last sentence allows you to conclude in a logical, powerful and convincing way.

Let’s look at some sample TOEFL speaking tasks below. You can practice for your exam by reading the answers aloud. In this way, you’ll have a better idea how to structure your own answer on exam day.

TOEFL SPEAKING SAMPLE 1 - TASK 1
Describe something that you do to reduce stress. Explain why it is helpful. Include details and examples to support your answer.

Introduction
Reading books helps me to relieve stress like nothing else can.

Body
This is true for several reasons. First, when I read a book I mentally enter the world of ideas. I can forget my day-to-day worries.

Second, from an emotional angle, reading is a solitary act. It enables me to spend time alone, away from others. This helps me feel more peaceful.

Third, from a physical perspective, reading allows me to stop working and relax my body. At home, I like to read while lying in bed or on the sofa.

Conclusion
The act of reading transports me to another world. That’s why books are good friends and why reading is such an effective way of reducing my level of stress.                      
« Last Edit: November 29, 2011, 06:39:44 PM by Anisur Rahman »
Anisur Rahman
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Department of Computer Science and Engineering
Daffodil International University

Offline Anisur Rahman

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Re: TOEFL & IELTS
« Reply #9 on: November 29, 2011, 06:45:53 PM »
Another Sample:

Do you prefer to go out to dinner or stay home and cook a meal? Use reasons to support your response.

Introduction
I love cooking in my own home.

Body
There are so many reasons for this. First, financially, it’s impossible to eat out often. You would end up spending a lot of extra money for no reason.

Second, health-wise, when I cook at home, I have control and can produce much more nutritious meals. Outside, I have no idea of the quality or quantity of the ingredients they have used.

Third, emotionally, cooking at home makes me feel relaxed, happy and secure. It gives me a warm feeling to know that my home smells of the delicious food that I have cooked. I also enjoy sharing a meal with my loved ones.

Conclusion
That’s why I only eat out on very special occasions or when I have no choice.
Anisur Rahman
Assistant Professor
Department of Computer Science and Engineering
Daffodil International University

Offline Anisur Rahman

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Re: TOEFL & IELTS
« Reply #10 on: November 29, 2011, 06:46:33 PM »
Another:

Do you like to try new kinds of food or eat the same kind of food all the time? Use details and examples to support your answer.

Introduction
I prefer to eat the food I know most of the time.

Body
From the time I was young, I was always a bit fussy and finicky about eating. I don’t really know the reason why. I never liked to feel an unfamiliar taste in my mouth. It’s almost as if I could tell how foods tasted without trying them, and so I restricted my diet to those foods I really enjoyed.

As I got older, I realized that I was actually very healthy, even if I was a little thin. So I continued to eat the foods I loved, when I was at home or in restaurants. I never enjoyed going to people’s homes for dinner because the choices would be limited and I didn’t know in advance what they were going to cook.

Conclusion
Oh well, everyone has their pet peeves and this one is mine!
Anisur Rahman
Assistant Professor
Department of Computer Science and Engineering
Daffodil International University

Offline sushmita

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Re: TOEFL & IELTS
« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2012, 01:34:41 PM »
Good pedagogic post!

Thank you!

Offline Narayan

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Re: TOEFL & IELTS
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2012, 10:48:22 AM »
Excellent Post....
Thanks all of you.
Narayan Ranjan Chakraborty
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Department of CSE
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Offline ns.tonmoy

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Re: TOEFL & IELTS
« Reply #13 on: January 14, 2012, 05:54:37 PM »
hummmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.... ::) :o :P

Offline arefin

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Re: TOEFL & IELTS
« Reply #14 on: January 16, 2012, 09:29:11 AM »
Good to know
“Allahumma inni as'aluka 'Ilman naafi'an, wa rizqan tayyiban, wa 'amalan mutaqabbalan”

O Allah! I ask You for knowledge that is of benefit, a good provision and deeds that will be accepted. [Ibne Majah & Others]
.............................
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DIU