I recently took an IELTS test (basically a test of English). These English tests are required sometimes for a visa/immigration or higher studies, etc. By the way, running these standardised tests is very lucrative and they do not distinguish among countries based on purchasing power :). So, everyone ends up paying in dollars or pounds globally.
Now, coming back to this discussion of which is better: IELTS or TOEFL. Based on my experience, I would say TOEFL is a lot better than IELTS because it is conducted more professionally and offers you all the facilities online after you have written the test. Because writing test is one thing, sending those scores to others who evaluate you is another. With respect to the pattern of these two exams, they both test the same skills viz Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. The only difference is that in IELTS, you get to write on a piece of paper and speak to a human being face to face. Whereas in TOEFL, you write on a computer and also speak to a computer. What matters is the score and I think computers can be more unbiased. I had a perfect score in IELTS listening and reading which were the objective parts of the examination whereas my writing and speaking scores were not so good because of the inherent subjectivity of the examiners. I wrote IELTS in India and the examiners were also from India. At the time of writing this article, I had not yet received the reviewed scores. Yes, there is an option to get your scores reviewed but you need to pay 🙂 They however refund your amount if there is a change in the score.
Probably, it is not the money that bothers so much but the process itself. Requesting additional score reports, getting your scores reviewed, etc all need to be done in a very archaic manner. You need to get demand drafts from bank, print and fill an application form, then post it to the British Council. After it reaches them, they then take their own jolly time to do the needful. This can be very excruciating for the candidates. Compare it with TOEFL which is run by ETS. All these things can be done online including the payment. So, it is a quick and hassle free.
Also, the British Council online application for IELTS is a kind of sham I believe. You can actually send your IELTS scores to 4 recipients but during the application, this step is hidden deep beneath and appears only when you tick a particular option. This is a kind of fraud. I thought that they would give me this option to select the score recipients during or after the exam. But, NO! Once the application if filled online and paid for (They somehow accept online payment during application though), you cannot go back and select your score recipients for free. You now have to pay for every score recipient.
In all, I think TOEFL is better for the standardised English test especially for candidates writing it from India.