The Future of IELTS & TOEFL

Posted by John Kor

Jan 17, 2013 6:31:00 AM

Often times we hear students asking "Which is easier, IELTS or TOEFL?", "Whats the difference between these two tests?", or "What English exam should I take to get into University?", but the one question no one seems to have looked closely at is, "What's in store for the future of these two English proficiency exams?"

By looking into the patterns of previous students, and by identifying trends, we can follow changes in the global interest across these tests. This allows us to make predictions about which courses students will want to take in the future. By better predicting which courses students will be interested in later this year we are able to provide lower prices to students through Last Minute Promotions, while also ensuring we offer enough exam prep courses in cities popular with English language students.

What we discovered was that more and more students are choosing IELTS as their standardized English proficiency test. Not only are more students siding with the IELTS test, the overall number of students taking these two tests has remained consistent year after year. This means that students that would of been taking a TOEFL exam, are now instead taking an IELTS exam. The following graphic helps explain this interesting trend.

The Future of IELTS and TOEFL Infographic

The question to ask now is "What could change this trend?"

  • If we started seeing North American universities no longer accept IELTS scores as a measure of English competency it would sway popularity back towards the TOEFL exam. Presently we are seeing the opposite of this, as more and more American universities have been accepting both IELTS and TOEFL exam scores to satisfy their admittance requirements for foreign language students.
  • If the general structure of one of these tests changed in such a way that it would cause students to perceive one test as being "harder" than the other, given the choice between the two tests students will side with the easier one.
  • If a new English proficiency testing standard emerged, this would act as competition between the current tests, as the overall number of students interested in these two exams is remaining the same.

Why do you think students are preferring the IELTS exam over the TOEFL exam? What are your reasons for choosing one exam over the other? Are there any other industry trends you would be interested in learning more about? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Topics: Exam preparation, TOEFL, IELTS

    

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