Is IELTS or TOEFL Better?
Although many local Hong Kong Universities accept both IELTS and TOEFL, the requirements vary widely for overseas universities and colleges. In addition, foreign countries may only accept IELTS for testing English for Immigration Purposes under professional or general migration schemes.
IELTS is considered by many as the easier option as it is well structured and the questions are geared towards relevant applications e.g. the Academic Stream listening paper might include a university lecture where the question the candidate has to answer is take notes.
English Exams for Studying Overseas
It is becoming increasingly more common for students to head to other parts of the world so that they can study at some of the world’s finest universities. There is no denying that this is a great way to expand your cultural and educational horizons, but getting into these schools of higher learning is not as simple as just having a good transcript. As much as these universities want to welcome foreign students, they have requirements in place that help ensure that only the very best of the best get in. Students from Honk Kong are going to have to choose between IELTS and TOEFL English exams if they want to study abroad, but which one should they choose?
Language Test Options
There is no easy answer to that question, as the best option really depends on where it is you would like to go to study. Different countries have a different opinion on which of the two they would prefer student’s to be in possession of. For example, if you plan on staying in Hong Kong to study, you will find that most major universities will accept both IELTS and TOEFL, although they will have certain scores that have to be achieved in each in order for your application to be seriously considered.
Where both of these exams are really put to the test, though, is when applying to schools overseas, particularly those in the United States. The IELTS English exam is the most commonly accepted test worldwide, and is also used as a barometer when applying for immigration or jobs that are available overseas. It is particularly popular in the UK, perhaps because the exam is put conducted by such esteemed organisations as the University of Cambridge. It is also written in UK English, which may also explain why it is so highly regarded in that part of the world.
TOEFL for USA & IELTS for Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand
While the IELTS English exam will be accepted at universities in Canada and the United States, the fact that it is in UK English means that the TOEFL exam is the one that is preferred by institutions in North America. Because of the minor differences between the two exams, some students consider it to be a good idea to take both, so that they can increase the number of overseas schools that they can apply to. What is a little off putting to students in Hong Kong is that the TOEFL English exam is done online, which means having to talk to a computer when sitting the test. That is a stigma that has to be overcome if your goal is to study in the United States.
All of that said, though, universities don’t really consider one exam to be more prestigious or relevant than the other, and they are not likely to deny your application based on which test you have passed. You can give yourself a little leg up, though, by taking the exam that is most widely accepted in the country you wish to study in. better yet, take both, and really allow the educational world to become your oyster.
You should always check the specific entry requirements with your chosen educational institution or, for immigration, with the country’s embassy or consulate before choosing to study and take either of these exams.