Difference Between IELTS Academic And IELTS General Training 

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IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training 

IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training – What is the difference?

The IELTS General Training is intended for individuals planning to live and work in an English-speaking country. It primarily evaluates a person’s proficiency, confidence, and comfort in using English in everyday situations commonly encountered in a native English-speaking environment. On the other hand, the IELTS Academic test is tailored for students aspiring to pursue higher education abroad. It aims to determine if a test taker is prepared and capable of using English as a medium of instruction in academic settings.

IELTS Academic vs IELTS General Training

The key distinction between the IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training exams lies in their intended purposes. IELTS Academic is designed for students aiming to pursue higher education at universities abroad. In contrast, the IELTS General Training exam is tailored for individuals seeking to immigrate or work in countries where English is the primary language of communication. This detailed guide unpacks the complexities of both IELTS Academic and General Training tests, helping test takers make informed decisions aligned with their academic or professional goals overseas. The IELTS exam, known in full as the International English Language Testing System, is a highly regarded English proficiency test for those wishing to study or work abroad. Administered by IDP IELTS India, the IELTS is available in two formats, each serving distinct purposes. IELTS Academic targets students aspiring to higher education in foreign countries. Meanwhile, IELTS General Training caters to those planning to migrate or seek employment in English-speaking nations. This fundamental difference distinguishes the two formats. The IELTS test evaluates the English language skills of individuals who intend to study or work in environments where English is the main language. Test takers are scored on a nine-band scale, which ranges from non-users (band score 1) to experts (band score 9). This article aims to elucidate the differences between IELTS Academic and General Training exams.

Eligibility for IELTS Academic Exam

Below are the eligibility criteria for students planning to take the IELTS Academic exam:  
  • Minimum Age Requirement:

    Candidates must be at least 16 years old to take the IELTS exam.
  • Passport Requirement:

    Candidates must hold a valid passport, which will be used for both writing the test and registration purposes.
  • Score Limits:

    There are no specific score limits in IELTS Academic, as the required scores vary from university to university. Achieving a high score increases the chances of admission to top institutes.

Eligibility for IELTS General Training

The IELTS General Training test is often used for immigration visa purposes in various countries. Below are the eligibility criteria for different visa types: Tier 1 General Visa: Applicants must achieve a band score of 7.0 overall, with at least 7.0 in each section.   Other Tier 1 Visas (e.g., Exceptional Talent, Entrepreneur): A minimum score of 4.0 is required in each section. Federal Skilled Worker Program: A Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) score of band 7 in either English or French is required. For applicants choosing English, a score of 6.0 or higher in each section is necessary. The English benchmark for the Canadian Federal Skilled Trades Program is 5, equivalent to an IELTS score of 5 in each section. General Skilled Migration Visas: The minimum score required depends on the applicant’s profession. Competent English skills require an IELTS score of 6.0 or higher, while Vocational English skills require a score of 5.0 or higher in each section. Skilled Migrant Visas: Applicants need to secure an IELTS score band of 6.5.

IELTS Academic vs IELTS General Training: Differences

In this section, we will explore the key differences between the IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training exams.


IELTS Academic: This test is designed for those who want to attend university, pursue higher education, or register professionally. IELTS General Training: This test is aimed at individuals who are planning to immigrate, gain work experience, undergo training, or attend school.

Reading Section

IELTS Academic: Includes 3 long academic passages. IELTS General Training: Includes 4-6 passages, which are a mix of short factual texts and one long factual or descriptive text.

Writing Section

IELTS Academic: Task 1: Summarize information from a graph, chart, or diagram. Task 2: Write an analytical or argumentative essay. IELTS General Training: Task 1: Write a letter, such as applying for a job or accommodation. Task 2: Write a report describing an experience or event.

Difficulty Level

IELTS Academic: This test is more challenging as it focuses on the English used in educational contexts. IELTS General Training: This test is considered easier because it focuses on everyday English usage.

IELTS Academic vs. IELTS General Training: Similarities

Both the IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training tests are conducted by IDP IELTS India and cost INR 17,000 each. They are available at test centers across India and both exams last for a total of 2 hours and 45 minutes. Let’s explore the common features of these two exams:

Common Features of IELTS Academic and General Training Tests

  • Test Format: Both exams include four sections: Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking.
  • Test Duration: Each test has a total duration of 2 hours and 45 minutes.
  • Listening Section: Both tests have the same format and level of difficulty. You will listen to recordings and answer related questions.
  • Speaking Section: The format and difficulty level are identical in both tests. You will engage in a conversation with an examiner on various topics.
  • IELTS Results: Both tests use the same 9-band scoring system to evaluate your English language proficiency.
  • Test Day Experience: The Listening, Reading, and Writing sections are conducted on the same day for both tests. The Speaking section might be scheduled on a different day.
These similarities ensure that regardless of which test you choose, the structure and assessment method will be familiar and consistent.

Difference Between Academic and General IELTS: Detailed Test Pattern

The main objective of the IELTS test is to evaluate a candidate’s ability to read, write, listen, and speak English in less than three hours. There are four sections to either the IELTS Academic and General Training exams. The structure of the Speaking and Listening portions is the same for both exams, but the Reading and Writing sections vary according to the test that is selected. The reading, writing, and listening portions of both exams are given all on the same day, with no breaks in between. However, depending on the test center’s slot availability, the Speaking section may be scheduled up to one week prior to or following the other sections. The IELTS exam lasts for two hours and forty-five minutes in total.

IELTS General vs Academic: Speaking Section (Common to Both)

About the Test

The Speaking section comprises a verbal interview between the candidate and an examiner, with all interviews being recorded. This section spans from 11 to 14 minutes and is segmented into three parts, each serving a distinct purpose in terms of interaction, task input, and candidate output. The main objective of this section is to assess the candidate’s proficiency in spoken English. Format Part 1: The examiner poses general questions to the candidates regarding themselves and familiar topics like interests, family, studies, and work. This segment lasts approximately 4-5 minutes. Part 2: The candidate is given a card with a topic and has one minute to prepare. Subsequently, the candidate speaks on the topic for two minutes, followed by questions from the examiner. Part 3: The examiner initiates a more in-depth discussion with the candidate about the topic from Part 2, lasting 4-5 minutes. This part enables the candidate to delve into abstract ideas and issues. Recording 1: A dialogue between two individuals in a social setting. Recording 2: A solo speech taking place in a social environment. Recording 3: A discussion involving four individuals in an educational or training setting. Recording 4: A solo presentation on an academic topic.

Distinction Between IELTS General and Academic: Academic Reading

Overview of the Examination

The examinee’s reading abilities are evaluated in the Academic Reading component by presenting 40 questions within a 60-minute timeframe. Various passages are read, and related inquiries are responded to by participants. This section is specifically tailored for individuals aspiring to pursue higher education or engage in professional endeavors overseas. Format The Reading section consists of three lengthy passages that may be descriptive, factual, or analytical in nature. These passages are obtained from various sources such as newspapers, research papers, journals, books, or magazines. Candidates are required to answer questions based on these readings. Preparation Tips To excel in both the Speaking and Listening sections, it is highly recommended to practice with authentic materials and engage in English conversations. Becoming familiar with different accents and enhancing listening skills through a variety of audio resources can greatly enhance performance in the Listening section. As for the Reading section, regularly reading academic texts and practicing comprehension questions can contribute to improving reading speed and accuracy.

Difference Between IELTS General and Academic: General Training Reading

About the Test The General Training Reading section is designed to evaluate the candidate’s reading skills. This section includes 40 questions and the total duration is 60 minutes. Format Unlike the Academic Reading section, the passages in the General Training Reading section come from everyday materials such as advertisements, company guidelines, brochures, and other common documents. This makes the General Training Reading section generally easier than the Academic Reading section, as it features texts that candidates are likely to encounter in daily life.

Difference Between IELTS General and Academic: Academic Writing

About the Test In the Academic Writing section, candidates are asked to write about topics related to undergraduate and postgraduate studies. This section includes two tasks to be completed in 60 minutes. Format Task 1: Candidates receive a paper with a diagram, table, or graph. They must summarize and describe the data in their own words. This may involve explaining specific data points, interpreting information, or describing a process or flowchart. Task 2: Candidates write an essay based on the information from Task 1, supporting their arguments with relevant examples. The writing style must be formal.

Difference Between IELTS General and Academic: General Training Writing

About the Test The General Training Writing section involves writing on topics of general interest. Like the Academic Writing section, it includes two tasks to be completed in 60 minutes. Format Task 1: Candidates write a letter based on a given situation. The letter may be formal, semi-formal, or personal, depending on the context. The task might involve explaining a situation, requesting information, or presenting an argument. Task 2: Candidates write an essay on a related topic, supporting their opinions with relevant examples. The writing style can be more personal compared to the formal style required in the Academic Writing section.

How IELTS Test Scores Are Calculated

IELTS scores are reported on a 9-band scale, each representing a different level of English language proficiency. Here is a detailed description of each band score:

IELTS Band Score Level Description

  • Expert You have full operational command of the language with excellent fluency and complete understanding.
  • Very Good You handle complex argumentation well, though you may misunderstand some things in unfamiliar situations.
  • Good You can use complex language effectively and understand detailed reasoning.
  • Competent You have an effective command of the language, including the use of complex words.
  • Modest You make many mistakes but can handle basic communication.
  • Limited You have difficulty understanding and using complex words.
  • Extremely Limited You struggle with communication.
  • Intermittent You have significant difficulty understanding words.
  • Non-User You have virtually no ability to use the language beyond a few isolated words.
  • Did Not Attempt You did not answer any questions.

Which IELTS Test Should I Take?

Choosing between the IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training tests depends on your goals and the specific requirements of the institution or organization you are applying to. Here’s how you can decide which version of the IELTS is suitable for you:

Choose IELTS Academic if you:

  • Plan to study at an undergraduate or postgraduate level in an English-speaking country where English is the medium of instruction.
  • Need to apply for a Student Route visa (Tier 4) to study at a UK university that is a Student Route (Tier 4) Sponsor.
  • Are a professional (like a doctor or nurse) seeking to get licensed or certified in an English-speaking country.
  • Want to work for a professional organization in an English-speaking country, particularly in professions with regulatory requirements for English proficiency.

Choose IELTS General Training if you:

  • Training or studying below the degree level, such as for vocational training or other non-academic educational pursuits, is planned.
  • Working or undertaking work-related training in an English-speaking environment, suited for gaining practical work experience or developing skills, is needed.
  • Emigrating to an English-speaking country like Australia, Canada, New Zealand, or the UK is planned, as IELTS General Training is often required for immigration purposes.
  • English proficiency is required for certain visa categories in these countries or for obtaining a job in one’s own country where recognized proficiency in English is needed.


In conclusion, when it comes to seeking the Best training for IELTS exams in Dehradun, Eduquest Global LLP stands out as a reliable choice. With their dedicated approach and expertise in exam preparation, they offer a promising pathway for individuals aiming to excel in these crucial assessments. By choosing Eduquest Global LLP, students can access effective resources and guidance, increasing their chances of success in clearing the IELTS and PTE exams with flying colors.

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