This is a question that all teachers are asked a lot by their students. "Which exam should I choose?" "Which one is better/easier/shorter/etc.?" No teacher will tell you right away which exam is better for you, but here's what you should keep in mind.
1.First of all, if you need the exam score for the college you are applying to, check its website for equirements (admissions section). Every college or university has their own admission policy and requirements for international students. Most colleges in the USA will prefer TOEFL score, but there are still those, which will only accept IELTS.
2.If the college you apply to accepts both exam scores, find out which one will be more convenient for you geographically speaking. In the US alone there are over 500 locations for TOEFL and around 50 for IELTS.
3.If you have locations for both exams nearby, take the next factor into consideration. Both of them have four basic sections, each of which tests a basic skill (reading, listening, writing, and speaking). However, TOEFL only examines academic subjects, whereas IELTS academic option will have academic reading and writing sections combined with general listening and speaking sections. Generally speaking, IELTS has more of a real-world feel than TOEFL. You should choose the exam based on your English language background.
4.If you are still hesitant, think whether it is more comfortable for you to write on paper or type, talk to a person or just into a microphone with no one listening. Do you prefer American English or other accents (British, Australian, etc.)? IELTS exam takes about 2.5 hours and is completed on paper. The speaking part is conducted by an examiner, who asks you questions and proposes topics for discussion. TOEFL exams takes about 4 hours and it is completed 100% on a computer. The only thing you need paper for is to take notes during listening and speaking sections.
5.Both exams check your ability to express yourself both orally and in writing and to understand written and spoken English. The results are valid for 2 years.
If you want to know more about IELTS or TOEFL, please feel free to comment below. Good luck with your exams!