In an increasingly interconnected world, proficiency in the English language has become a prized asset, opening doors to international education, career opportunities, and global communication. As a result, standardized English language proficiency tests have gained prominence as reliable indicators of one’s ability to understand, speak, read, and write in English. Among these assessments, two giants stand out: the TOEIC vs TOEFL.


1. Overview of the TOEIC test

The TOEIC, which stands for the Test of English for International Communication can be used by both executives and students. The test can be required as part of a student’s academic journey (for instance, applying for a Master’s degree) by an employer for recruitment purposes, or as part of the career of a potential employee. The TOEIC test gauges a candidate’s professional English level.


overview of toeic test
TOEIC Overview


The TOEIC test takers will be given a total of 120 minutes to complete the entire test. The TOEIC test only assesses examinees’ TOEIC listening and TOEIC reading skills. This is the main reason why the TOEIC is considered easier than the TOEFL. The final TOEIC score which ranges from 5 to 990 measures a candidate’s English language proficiency in the workplace environment. Unlike the TOEFL, the TOEIC only includes workplace topics. 


2. Overview of the TOEFL test

The TOEFL, which stands for the Test of English as a Foreign Language, is used mainly by students. Students who attend exchange programs or study abroad in English-speaking countries usually have to take the test. Mexican or Chinese universities also require the TOEFL to make sure that their future students possess sufficient English competence to enroll in degree courses. 


overview of toefl test
TOEFL Overview


The TOEFL test takes about 4 hours. On the test, your ability to understand, speak and write in academic English will be tested. The final score which ranges from 0 to 120 will decide whether an individual would be able to take English academic courses. Topics related to university life (sociology, sciences, history, etc.) and students’ daily lives are often contained on the TOEFL test. 


3. Reasons why you should take the TOEIC exam 


The TOEIC is one of the most popular English-language tests in the world. It measures a candidate’s English language level in the workplace. 


The TOEIC test comprises two sections: Listening and Reading. Other versions of the TOEIC exam, for instance, the TOEIC Bridge, are aimed at lower-level students. 


Now, let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of the TOEIC test.


When talking about the advantages and disadvantages of the TOEIC test, it’s essential to look at them from your point of view. You should ask yourself:

  • Is the TOEIC test the most suitable for your professional/ academic targets?
  • Is the TOEIC certificate accepted by your target companies/ institutions?
  • Can you access the TOEIC test at an appropriate site and time?


Once answering these questions, you will find it easier to deal with the TOEIC and TOEFL conundrum. 


If you are seeking a position in an international company, you will gain a lot of benefits from the TOEIC test since it concentrates on business and workplace English. Topics such as meetings, workplace conversations, and professional communications are often included on the TOEIC exam. Nevertheless, the TOEIC exam may be a disadvantage for those who want to study abroad in arts programs. 


A potential drawback of the TOEIC test is that compared to other English-language tests such as IELTS or TOEFL, it is not quite as widely accepted as proof of English competence. If you want to use the TOEIC certificate to apply to a degree program or university without a business focus, it’s recommended to check whether they would accept the TOEIC certificate. 


>>Read more: TOEIC vs IELTS


4. Reasons why you should take the TOEFL exam 


The TOEFL is another popular English-language test. The test is designed mainly for non-native speakers who desire to pursue university-level study. The TOEFL test has a quite different aim and format compared to the TOEIC. Here is the details about the format of the test:

  • Comprises 140 multiple-choice questions
  • Composed of three sections: Listening, Reading and Structure & Written Expression
  • The total time: 115 minutes
  • Scores ranging from 310 to 677 points 


Now, let’s consider the benefits and shortcomings of the TOEFL test:


Firstly, the TOEFL test is created to evaluate a candidate’s English language level in an academic context. The TOEFL is considered an ideal test demonstrating your ability to use English in academic programs. For those who wish to apply to university programs in an English-speaking country, the TOEFL will be the most suitable. This can be said that if you are looking for a position in an international company and want to use your English in the working environment, the TOEFL test is less appropriate. 


Another advantage of the TOEFL test is that in addition to testing examinees’ listening and reading skills, the test checks your written expression including grammar and structure. If you want to show your ability in this skill to your future university or employers, the TOEFL test may be an ideal choice. 


5. Differences between TOEIC and TOEFL test


If you are still wondering which test you should choose between TOEIC and TOEFL, consider the following two things:

  • Reasons why you want to sit for the test. If you want to seek a position in an international company, choose the TOEIC. If you want to open a few doors for yourself academically, opt for the TOEFL.
  • Your own preferences. The TOEIC and TOEFL are different. Choose the one that you feel more confident in, you will be more likely to attain higher scores. 


TOEIC vs TOEFL: Which Test Should You?
differnce between TOEIC vs TOEFL


The table below provides several main differences between TOEIC and TOEFL:

Who takes the test most often? Job applicants, employees, business and economics students Prospective students, students in academic programmes
What is the test most useful for? Evaluating English in the workplace  Evaluating English for academic study
What kind of language does the test focus on? Workplace and business vocabulary Language across multiple topics used in academic contexts
What kind of institutions ask for test scores? Recruiters, HR departments and international companies Colleges and universities 
What skills does the test focus on? Listening and Reading Listening, Reading and Writing.


The essay “TOEIC vs. TOEFL” delved into a comprehensive comparison between two prominent English language proficiency tests, the Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC) and the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). In today’s interconnected world, where English language proficiency is a vital asset, understanding the distinctions and similarities between these two assessments is crucial for individuals pursuing international education or career opportunities.

Ultimately, the essay aimed to provide individuals with a clear understanding of which test—TOEIC or TOEFL—aligns better with their academic or professional goals. By comparing these two tests comprehensively, the essay empowers test-takers to make informed decisions about which assessment best suits their unique needs and aspirations in the globalized world of English language proficiency. It’s a good time to start TOEIC practice test now to conquer this exam!