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Educational Goals

Which Test is Best for Your Educational Goals?

How should you decide which English test is best for your future plans?

In this article we look at which test will help you meet your educational goals. when looking to studying abroad. 

We offer 5 ways the 3 popular English based standardized tests – IELTS, TOEFL, SAT – may provide the best return on investment (ROI) for the person taking the test. 

At the end of this article we provide your with a free copy of a comparison chart between the GMAT and GRE for future reference​

Before we get into the specifics of these tests, let’s consider the grammar needed for each tests, and how best we can build our grammar as a means to prepare.

Building Grammar for the English Language Tests

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Grammarly Writing Support

Consider using grammarly  for understanding the important role grammar (and commas) play in everyday language, and just how much of an impact it makes with communicating with others.  Click here to get all the grammar help you will need. 

Now that you have a full grasp on all the grammar you will ever need to find success on any of these English language tests, we can continue.

Watch our video below as we present a look at the following categories to help you decide, which test is best for you. After watching the video, you should hopefully be able to answer the question as to which test is better (for you) TOEFL or IELTS or SAT? 

Note: This article will focus on the 3 popular tests known to international and local students looking to study in English speaking countries. For people looking to gain employment  or entrance (through visa) to English speaking countries without the intent to first study, the IELTS general or life skills tests are the more appropriate choice)

Educational Goals

This table below shows the 5 categories to consider when choosing which test is best for you and your educational goals. The 5 categories are : location, finance, use of English language, transferable skills, and success rate in passing the test, 

Table of Contents


Some students know early on where they would like to continue their studies. If one of the main educational goals is choosing a university based on geographical location, then it is best to be aware of the required test.

educational goals


The iBT TOEFL test is known internationally and is the most widely accepted test in all countries for both undergraduate and post-graduate studies for students looking to study at an English based university.


The IELTS (academic) test is required for studying in the United Kingdom and Europe. However, recently a greater number of universities in the United States, Canada, and Australia are beginning to accept IELTS scores for undergraduate and postgraduate studies.


The SAT 1 test is for both local and international students to gain admissions into American  university settings. It is also accepted in Canadian universities, as well as a handful of international universities. The SAT 2 (or SAT subject tests) are also required for admission by international students to universities and colleges in the United States.

Note: The college board will no longer offer SAT 2 (subject tests) after June 2021.

For more information on this change click here.


If  your educational goals are to study in a specific university or country when on a budget, then it is best to do some research.

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The SAT 1 test is free for students studying in American high schools (or international students studying at high schools abroad that have received American accreditation). 

It is the cheapest of the three  tests international students can take. While the most prestige universities in America rank the importance of SAT scores above TOEFL scores, most international students cannot gain admission based on SAT scores alone. They must also take the TOEFL test as part of the admissions processes.


The costs associated with  taking the TOEFL test varies from country to country, but is generally thought to be less expensive than the IELTS test.

Use Of The English Language

Most students approach taking these English tests  with the single educational goal of achieving that all important high score. One of the down sides to standardized testing is that actual learning is lost and the main focus is a score. 

connection to real world

Students do not prepare for a test like the TOEFL with the mindset of how can I improve my English skills, but with the mindset, I need to reach this score!

When students shift their focus on how the test will benefit their learning of English language skills instead of focusing just on a number, then they may score higher on tests such as TOEFL and IELTS.


Both these tests are formatted in similar structures. The focus is on the 4 language skills of Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing. The formats vary in purpose and the way in which the semantics of the language are presented.

homework reflection

Students have stated that the IELTS test is generally easier to take than the TOEFL test. Generally this statement of the IELTS being easier is on the assumption that you can score higher on the IELTS test than on the TOEFL test. 

The TOEFL test does put the emphasis on how the English language is used instead of mainly focusing on the semantics of the English language like students are used to seeing in the classroom. Perhaps then this is why students claim that the TOEFL test is harder than the IELTS


Currently the SAT test is all multiple choice and there is no opportunity for students to express thought now considering that the SAT Essay, which was optional in the past, will also become unavailable after June 2021.

Transferable Skills

What are some examples of transferable skills that relate to taking standardized tests? Some examples include; verbal and written communication as well as creativity, adaptability, and time management.

your new recipe for learning


With the format of both TOEFL and IELTS there are room for improving all these above mentioned transferable skills especially with the active skills of speaking and writing. 

Both the IELTS and TOEFL afford test takers the opportunity to be creative with their verbal and written communication skills when answering the “independent” or “open-ended” questions in both speaking and writing parts of the test. 

Since the SAT is strictly multiple choice, the adaptability, and creativity will be hidden from actual site, but will need to be in the form of how to approach choosing the correct answer.

Success In Passing The Test

Why should students look at the success rate of others when it comes to passing these tests? How is this information relevant to the individual test taker? 

When considering which test is best, it is good to gain some perspective on how others view these tests. The general perception among test takers is that the IETLS is easier because of the format of each section, plus it is a shorter test than the TOEFL.

However, It is more important to consider which format you feel more comfortable with. It starts with understanding the different formats of each test, and what you can expect from questions on the test. Recognize how to approach answering different kinds of questions to improve your success rate in passing the test.

The changing times have allowed for a rise in other English tests available for international persons (Duolingo) as a means to enter colleges or universities worldwide.

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Final Thoughts...

Test preparation  and time are important when preparing to take the test. Practice answering sample questions from each section of the test, and learn important tips and strategies needed when answering the different kinds of questions. 


Download your free copy of our comparison chart of these three popular and internationally known English tests

Most important however is how you have benefited from preparing to take one of these tests, because in the end what really matters is not the score, but you.

Share Your Thoughts

Let us hear your thoughts which test is best for you  and whether you agree or disagree with our choices. 

Danya Khelfa
Danya Khelfa

Founder of EduKitchen

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