ESOL vs IELTS: Difference and Comparison

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.

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.

Key Takeaways

  1. ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) courses aim to improve general English language skills, while IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is a standardized test that measures English proficiency.
  2. ESOL courses are designed for non-native speakers who want to improve their English for personal or professional reasons. At the same time, IELTS is required for immigration, work, or study purposes in English-speaking countries.
  3. IELTS scores are widely recognized by universities, employers, and immigration authorities, while ESOL course completion may not be accepted as proof of English proficiency in certain contexts.


English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) refers to programs designed to teach English to individuals who speak another language as their first language. International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is a test used to assess the language abilities of non-native English speakers.


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.

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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

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 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.

Thus, if the person once returned and again applied for the visa. He or she may not need to appear in the test again.

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Every profession has a different type of paper. 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 Listening section requires around 30 minutes to complete, and the reading section needs 15 minutes at most. In contrast, the speaking and writing sections take a maximum of 10 minutes.

The minimum score a student requires to clear the exam is 5.0. Yet, the score varies from university to university according to the rules of the university.


Main Differences Between ESOL and IELTS

  1. The duration of ESOL is three hours, but the IELTS can be attempted in half the time of ESOL.
  2. The ESOL Certificate has no expiry date, whereas the IELTS Certificate is valid for only two years.

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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7 thoughts on “ESOL vs IELTS: Difference and Comparison”

  1. The ESOL and IELTS play a crucial role in ensuring that those who are migrating to an English-speaking country have a grasp of the language that will allow them to communicate effectively and succeed in their endeavors abroad.

    • I think countries requiring these tests are making sure that those who settle there are fully integrated and contributing members of society.

  2. It’s very important for non-native speakers to have an internationally recognized test that proves they have the minimum proficiency required to study or work in an English-speaking country.

  3. It’s interesting that while ESOL and IELTS serve a similar purpose, they also have key differences, such as the validity of the certificates and the specific countries that require each.

  4. The details provided about the duration, minimum marks, and specific use cases for ESOL and IELTS are very informative and help clarify the distinctions between the two.

  5. Considering the differences between ESOL and IELTS, it’s evident that individuals need to be well-prepared and informed about the specific test requirements when planning to study or work in an English-speaking nation.

  6. It’s notable that the ESOL certificate has no expiry date, making it a valuable and long-lasting proof of language proficiency, unlike the IELTS certificate which has a limited validity.


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