< Study in Germany guide

Toefl vs IELTS vs Duolingo

November 18, 2023

When the path to higher education leads to Germany, one of the pivotal decisions you'll face is choosing the right English proficiency test: TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo English Test .

This choice carries considerable weight, as it not only needs to align with your intended universities but also take into account test acceptance and evaluation methods. In this blog post, we'll delve into the factors surrounding these tests to empower you to make a well-informed decision.

University Acceptance in Germany: It's essential to highlight that not all universities in Germany accept the Duolingo English Test (See https://englishtest.duolingo.com/institutions). On the other hand, both IELTS and TOEFL hold a prominent place in the realm of German universities, making them the more reliable options for prospective students.

The Global Perspective: While both IELTS and TOEFL are recognized across German institutions, their recognition extends far beyond these borders. However, it's important to note some distinct differences:

  • UK Universities and TOEFL: UK universities generally lean towards IELTS as their preferred English proficiency assessment. If your academic ambitions lead you to the United Kingdom, it's advisable to opt for the IELTS.
  • US Universities and IELTS: Conversely, quite a few US universities do not accept IELTS scores, favoring TOEFL instead. Therefore, if you're considering pursuing higher education in the United States, prioritizing TOEFL might be the more strategic choice.

Test Format and Evaluation: The test format and evaluation process can significantly impact your decision:

  • IELTS: This test entails a face-to-face interaction with a human examiner, providing a real-time assessment of your speaking skills. If you're at ease with verbal communication, this could be a favorable format for you.
  • TOEFL: On the contrary, TOEFL requires recording spoken responses via a computer, which are later evaluated by human examiners. This format may resonate with individuals who prefer a controlled environment for their speaking assessment.


  1. Applying to German Universities: If your primary focus is on Germany, opting for either IELTS or TOEFL is a valid choice given their wide acceptance. IELTS is emerging as the more preferred option in the recent times.
    Nevertheless, it's imperative to ensure that your chosen universities explicitly recognize these test results.
  2. Applications extending to US Universities: Should your academic aspirations extend to the US, giving preference to TOEFL is prudent due to its prominence among many American universities.
  3. Applications extending to UK Universities: For those pursuing educational avenues in the UK, IELTS is generally the preferred English proficiency assessment.

⚡️Try out the AI profile evaluator, LOR and SOP Writer powered by ChatGPT!

Want expert guidance on higher studies in Germany? Get in touch with us.