Difference Between ESOL and IELTS

Many students have a dream to pursue their studies in other countries. But the financial status is not the only thing that would be required while pursuing studies in another country. The person should be able to communicate with others. Thus, the English test took place before giving the person an official document to pursue studies in another country.

English is known to be the most common language around the globe. Thus the students need to clear the test with minimum marks that confirm that the person would be able to communicate if he or she migrates for studies. The test that takes place during the study visa for the Proper understanding of English is the ESOL and IELTS.


The main difference between ESOL and IELTS is that one is for the English test taken for the working visa while the other is for the study visa, respectively. The IELTS is the test that is taken by the students belonging to countries with non-native English Language. The ESOL is the test which person clears if he or she are applying for a job and going to another country for some working purposes.


The ESOL is the test that is given by the person who wants to apply for a work visa. The test confirms that while working in another country. The ESOL is taken if a person is migrating to any part of the country for work. The ESOL certificate does not come with an expiry date. Therefore, the certificate can be used again, and the person does not need to appear in the exam again.

The IELTS is the test that is given by the person who wants to pursue studies in a foreign country. The students need to clear the IELTS exam if they are going to pursue their further studies in New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the US, and Australia. The students who clear the exam get a certificate that is valid for only two years. After two years, if the student again wants to go to a foreign country via a study visa.

Comparison Table Between ESOL and IELTS

Parameters of ComparisonESOLIELTS
Full-FormThe full form of ESOL is English to Speakers of Other Languages.The full form of IELTS is International English Language Testing System.
ValidityThe Certificate of the ESOL does not come with an expiry date.The Certificate of the IELTS is valid for two years.
VisaThe working visa needs the ESOL certificate.The study visa mainly requires an IELTS certificate. But in some cases, even the work visa also requires the IELTS.
CountriesThe ESOL is required where the English language is native.The IELTS is required mainly by New Zealand, US, UK, and Australia.
Number of QuestionsThere are 150 questions approximately.The paper consists of four sections: Reading Writing, Speaking, and Listening.
DurationThe duration of the exam is 3 hours.The duration of the exam is around one hour thirty minutes.
Minimum MarksA minimum score of 220 is required to clear the ESOL test.Some universities even consider a 5.0 score sufficient for admission while it depends from university to university.

What is ESOL?

The ESOL stands for the English to Speakers of Other Languages. The ESOL paper is mainly required by a person when he or she is applying for a job in another country. ESOL certificate required from the candidate who belongs to non-native English-speaking countries. The ESOL is the most important need in the countries where English is the native language. This test ensures that the person would be able to communicate if they migrate to their country.

The ESOL test has around 150 questions in the exam, and the person needs to attempt them in three hours. The certificate the person gains from the ESOL has a long validity. Thus, if the person once returned and again applies for the visa. He or she may not need to appear in the test again.

The ESOL is a tailor-made test. The test is set up in different ways. Therefore, specifically made for the industries. This gives the assurance that the candidate can present and communicate on a professional level. Every profession has a different type of paper. Like an English teacher appears for the TESOL. That is only prepared for the teaching profession.

What is IELTS?

The IELTS stands for the International English Language Testing System. The students who want to apply for the study visa appear in the IELTS exam. The IELTS paper is mainly needed by the students who want to apply to native English companies like the US, New Zealand, Australia, and the UK.

The IELTS paper includes four sections in the paper: Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking. The Listening section requires around 30 minutes to complete, the reading section needs 15 minutes at most. While the speaking and writing sections take a maximum of 10 minutes.

The minimum score a student requires to clear the exam is a 5.0 score. Yet, the score varies from university to university according to the rules of the university. But a maximum 7.5 score is enough for one to get admission to the recognized universities. Whereas the IELTS is also required in working visas in some cases.

Main Differences Between ESOL and IELTS

  1. The ESOL stands for the English to Speakers of Other Languages, while IELTS stands for International English Language Testing System.
  2. The ESOL is a tailor-made test thus different for every profession, while the IELTS is the same for every student before their field of study.
  3. The ESOL is needed for the work visa, while the IELTS is required for the study visa.
  4. The minimum score of ESOL is 220, but in IELTS, it is 5.0 as the minimum score.
  5. The duration of ESOL is three hours, but the IELTS can be attempted in half the time of ESOL.
  6. The ESOL Certificate has no expiry date, whereas the IELTS Certificate is valid for only two years.


The ESOL and IELTS test which is taken by the person to confirm the native English-speaking countries that they can communicate after the migration. The only difference that is seen between them is that the ESOL is for work purposes while the IELTS is for study. Yet, in some industries, the company requires the IELTS score before providing a job to the candidate.

The Certificate of both the exams and grading system differs. The ESOL Certificate has lifelong validity while the IELTS has inky two years of validity. Rest the grading system is seen in the ESOL, whereas the Cgpa marking system is present in the IELTS. Rest even after the differences, both the tests still hold many similarities too. 


  1. http://www.tesl-ej.org/ej35/r2.pdf
  2. https://www.britishcouncil.or.th/sites/default/files/ielts-brochure-online.pdf
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