May 07, 2024

EasyUni Staff

When it comes to assessing English proficiency for academic or professional purposes, three of the most widely recognized tests are the Malaysian University English Test (MUET), the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), and the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

Each test has its own format, scoring system, and target audience. For instance, if you’re studying in a public university in Malaysia, taking the MUET is a good choice.

However, if you wish to study abroad in native English-speaking countries such as the US, Australia, or the UK, you would definitely need to take either the TOEFL or the IELTS exam.

Although most English-speaking universities generally accept both TOEFL and IELTS, you should still check the admission requirements of your preferred university.

In this article, we’ll break down the three most commonly required English certifications used not only in Malaysia but also around the world to help you determine which one best suits your needs.

What is MUET, TOEFL and IELTS? 

For those wondering about these three English proficiency tests - MUET, IELTS, and TOEFL, we'll do our best to answer your questions. Generally, it's important for you to know that all three tests are designed to assess the English language skills of non-native speakers.

These tests are important for students who want to pursue higher education and for professionals working in countries where English is used. They measure language competency and proficiency for individuals seeking educational and career opportunities worldwide.

Let's learn more about these tests below:

1. Malaysian University English Test (MUET)

If you're wondering whether MUET is recognized internationally, the answer is that MUET test results are only accepted in Malaysia and Singapore.

Candidates who need to take the MUET examination are those applying for admission to public and private higher institutions in both countries. In other words, both exams are among the admission requirements for both public and private universities in Malaysia and Singapore.

Each university has different English proficiency result requirements, so make sure to check beforehand what English score is needed for your application to be accepted at your preferred university. 

Another common question is whether you can graduate without taking MUET. To address this, some universities in Malaysia, such as UNITEN and UTAR, require their students to complete MUET during their course of study.

For those planning to take the MUET examination, you can register on the MPM website. The test is divided into two separate days. Below is the schedule for the MUET exam in 2024.

MUET 2024


Image source:

MUET result validity: 5 years

Cost: RM100 (Starting January 2022, you don't need to purchase MEC PIN at Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN)).

Test components

Paper Code Paper Duration Weighting
800/1 Listening 50 minutes 25%
800/2 Speaking 30 minutes 25%
800/3 Reading 75 minutes 25%
800/4 Writing 75 minutes 25%


Aggregated Score MUET Band Score User
331 - 360 5+ Proficient
294 - 330 5.0
258 - 293 4.5 Independent
211 - 257 4.0
164 - 210 3.5
123 - 163 3.0
82 - 122 2.5 Basic
36 - 81 2.0
1 - 35 1.0

Exam dates:

  • Speaking test: April, May, July, August and December 2024 (3 sessions)
  • Reading, Writing and Listening tests: April, August, and December 2024 (3 sessions)

2. Test of English as a Foreign Language (Internet-based Test) / TOEFL (iBT)

For students who are planning to study abroad in English-speaking countries like Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the US, or the UK, it is necessary for you to take the TOEFL test.

You can register and complete the test online at The date and time can be set via the website. You must complete the test in 4 and a half hours.

TOEFL website.

TOEFL iBT result validity: 2 years

Cost: About RM921 (USD 194) 

Tested section (Score scales):

  • Listening: 0 - 30
  • Speaking: 0 - 30
  • Reading: 0 - 30
  • Writing: 0 - 30
  • Total score: 0 - 120

TOEFL band score:

Test skill Level

Advanced (24-30)

High - intermediate (18 - 23)

Low - intermediate (4 - 17)

Below low - intermediate (0 - 3) 


Advanced (22 - 30)

High - intermediate (17 - 21)

Low - intermediate (9 - 16) 

Below low - intermediate (0 - 8) 


Advanced (25 - 30)

High - intermediate (20 - 24)

Low - intermediate (16 - 19) 

Basic (10 - 15)

Below basic (0 - 9) 


Advanced (24 - 30)

High - intermediate (17 - 23)

Low - intermediate (13 - 16) 

Basic (7 - 12)

Below basic (0 - 6) 

3. International English Language Testing System (Academic) / IELTS (Academic)

IELTS (Academic) is for students who wish to study at native English-speaking countries (USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, UK). The test is seperated to 2 days: 1 for speaking, and the other for the remaining tests, which must be completed within 7 days before or after the speaking test. You can book the test at

IELTS website.

Image source: IELTS website

IELTS (Academic) result validity: 2 years

Cost: RM 795

Tested section (Score scales):

  • Listening: Band 0 - 9
  • Speaking: Band 0 - 9
  • Reading: Band 0 - 9
  • Writing: Band 0 - 9
  • Band score: Band 0 - 9​​​​​​​


Band score Skill level
9 Expert 
8 Very good
7 Good
6 Competent
5 Modest
4 Limited
3 Extremely limited
2 Intermittent
1 Non-user
0 Did not attempt the test

Exam dates (depends on preference and availability):

  • Held all year long
  • You can check the full schedule on the IELTS website

Which one is better - taking IELTS or TOEFL? 

Now, since the purpose of both TOEFL and IELTS is nearly the same – for students who want to further their studies in native English-speaking countries – you might be wondering, "Is it better to take TOEFL or IELTS?"

The answer depends on several factors. Your choice should depend on your target country, the requirements of the institutions you are applying to, and your personal preferences regarding test format and structure.

We strongly recommend you to do researching the specific requirements of your chosen universities or organizations before making your decision.

It’s never too early to start planning on brushing up your English to acceptable university-entrance levels. Remember, if your score doesn’t quite make it first time around, you can always take these English exams more than once till you are satisfied with your results. Good luck!

Also read: Types of English Language Proficiency Tests in Malaysia


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