Note: this post is about English test, so I appropriately wrote in English.
One important requirement in most scholarship applications is a valid and recent English test score. TOEFL and IELTS are two competing English test brands. Most scholarship provider will gladly accept any one result of the two. I will tell you how these two English tests compared to each other, boxing match style. Without further ado, on the red corner, we have TOEFL, a name that comes to mind when people in Indonesia speaks about English tests. Now on the blue corner, we have IELTS, an alternative English test that is also quite known especially for Indonesians who want to continue their study in Australia.
Round 0: Get the Official International Version
Before we begin, I must stress that for your scholarship applications always get the official international version of the English test. Do *not* get the institutional, mock-up, trial, prediction or anything else other than the internationally accepted English tests. If you don’t use the international versions, your chance of being awarded the scholarship will be next to zero. Get the international version of the tests from official test centres listed below.
Round 1: Test Format
In Indonesia, there is no Paper-based TOEFL or Computer-based TOEFL anymore. ETS only offers Internet-based TOEFL (iBT) on its official test centres. What does this mean? If you want to take TOEFL you’ll have to be accustomed to doing the test using a computer over the internet. The speaking section is done with you answering questions into a microphone. The recorded answers will be marked by up to 6 individual raters. You will also have to complete the writing section by typing your answers with a keyboard. IELTS still adopts the old-fashioned paper-and-pencil format. The test takers will have to use a pencil (or two, or a pen for that matter) to write the answers on an answering sheet. The speaking section is conducted by answering an actual interviewer face-to-face, while still being recorded.
Round 2: Fees
Straight to the point, in 2010, iBT TOEFL costs USD150 and IELTS costs
Round 3: Test Centres
You should choose the English test with test centres most convenient to you.
TOEFL is offered in various centres in Bandung, Batam, Denpasar, Jakarta, Malang, Medan, Pekanbaru, Salatiga, Samarinda, Semarang, Surabaya, Yogyakarta.
IELTS is offered in Bali, Balikpapan, Bandung, Batam, Surabaya, Jakarta, Makassar, Malang, Manado, Semarang, Solo, Medan, Yogyakarta.
Round 4: Scoring System
iBT TOEFL has a band score from 0 to 120, with total scores around 89 considered minimum for a scholarship application. IELTS has a slightly simpler scoring system ranging from 0 to 9, with average score of 6.5 as a minimum for a scholarship application.
If I were the judge of this match, I would declare IELTS as the winner of this match. Even though it is more expensive, the old fashioned paper-and-pencil format is more suitable for me. I also prefer doing the speaking section face-to-face with an actual living person. I also think that IELTS’ simpler scoring system may benefit test takers since the average score is rounded to the nearest 0.5 increment. TOEFL proponents will say that its speaking section is more objective (being graded by 3-6 independent raters) and it is more commonly accepted worldwide (which is technically not true since IELTS is also widely accepted). But I can’t decide for you. You should choose the most suitable test for yourself. I would say one thing though, be committed and put your efforts to be successful in any English test you take.