Difference between IELTS Academic & General Training Tests

What to choose between IELTS Academic & General Training Tests?

November 26, 2021

IELTS test is conducted by professional bodies to know whether a person is proficient in the English language or not. The candidates who want to study appear for the IELTS Academic Test, for work and settle, they appear for IELTS General Training. So what is the difference between the two?

IELTS Test Format

The IELTS Test has two Types: IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. Each test consists of four modules: Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking Test.

Based on your requirement to travel overseas, you should choose the right IELTS test for you.

Module-Wise Difference between IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training 

Let us understand both the Tests in detail:

IELTS Academic:

Choose the IELTS Academic Test if you want to pursue your higher studies anywhere around the globe where English is the first language.

IELTS General Training Test:

Choose the IELTS General Training test if you want to immigrate to an English-speaking country or to get a better career opportunity.


Listening Test:

Understand that the IELTS Listening test is the same for both, IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. You will get four different recordings with a series of questions. The accents may vary, so be careful in the exam.

The time duration for the IELTS Listening test is of 40 minutes; 30 minutes to listen to the recording and extra 10 minutes to fill your answer sheet.

Note: You can hear the recording only once.

Speaking Test:

The IELTS Speaking test also remains the same for both the IELTS Academic and the IELTS General Training.

There are three sections in the IELTS Speaking test. It is a one-one session where a professional English speaker will ask several questions to the candidate.

This test lasts for 11-14 minutes on average. It is divided into three parts – Introduction, Cue Card, and Discussion. 

Introduction – The questions are general and basic. Mostly about your work, home, family, and interests. 

Cue Card – The examiner will give a topic to speak about for nearly 2 minutes. Remember to cover all the points mentioned in the topic. 

Discussion – The examiner asks questions based on the topic asked in Task 2 and discusses issues related to the same.

In most cases, the Speaking test is scheduled on a different date, while the rest of the exams are scheduled on the same date. For the Computer-based IELTS test, all four modules take place on the same day itself.


Reading Test:

IELTS Reading test will determine your reading skills. The test time is 60 minutes and there are 40 questions in the test.

IELTS Academic:

The entire test is divided into three sections has three long texts from newspapers, magazines, books, and journals. The questions are asked in the form of a multiple-choice question, matching information, headings, sentence endings, and much more.

IELTS General Training 

The test is divided into three sections. 

Section 1 – Short conversation between two people, also known as ‘Social Survival’. For example, Advertisement, Notice, and Library Membership.

Section 2 – This consists of two texts and is a bit longer than Section 1. It focuses on work-related passages, also known as ‘Workplace Survival’. For example, Job Description, Contract, and Training.

Section 3 – This consists of long and complex passages. It is more narrative and instructive, also known as ‘General Reading'. For example, Newspaper extract, magazine, and Seminar extract.

Mainly all the topics are passages extracted from newspapers, magazines, or lectures which you usually encounter in your daily life.


Focus on grammar and spelling because even a spelling mistake is counted as a wrong answer.

Writing Test:

IELTS Academic Writing Test and IELTS Writing General Training are divided into two tasks, i.e. Task 1 and Task 2. It takes 60 minutes to complete the Writing test. IELTS Writing test is assessed on four criteria: Task Response, Coherence, and Cohesion, Lexical Resource, Grammatical Range, and Accuracy.

IELTS Academic- Writing:

Task 1:

Task 1 is all about describing or summarising a diagram given in the question.

You may get a graph, a diagram, a table, or any pie chart you need to explain. The word limit is 150. You can't write less than the word limit as it will lead to low scores.

Task 2:

In this task, you will need to write an essay on a given topic. Make sure that you write at least 250 words with proper sentences and grammar and follow the essay structure.

IELTS General Training- Writing

Task 1:

Task 1 is all about writing a letter. It can be a formal letter, a semi-formal letter, or an informal letter. In this task, you will be asked to write a letter either requesting something or explaining an issue.

Write at least 150 words and try to complete it within 20 minutes, so that you can save the remaining 40 minutes for task 2.

Task 2:

In this task, you will be asked to write an essay on a given topic with at least 250 words. 

Make sure you cover all the points mentioned in the question. You will get fewer marks for not completing all the given tasks. Try dividing the essay into 4-5 paragraphs, start with an Introduction and end the essay with a suitable Conclusion.

To Summarise:

Differences between IELTS Academic Test and IELTS General Training Test

 Differences  IELTS Academic Test  IELTS General Training Test
1. Test Content The test is much difficult and suitable for those students who want to pursue higher studies in an English-Speaking country. The test is much easier, and the content is generally based on regular stuff taken from newspapers, magazines, etc.
2. Purpose This exam is for those who wish to pursue theirs under graduation or post-graduation from an English-Speaking country. This exam is for those who want to work or migrate to an English-Speaking country.
3. Writing Style You will need to maintain a formal writing style for IELTS Academic. However, in IELTS General Training, you will get different writing styles from formal to informal style.
Get prepared for achieving the desired band score in IELTS Exam. The best way to prepare yourself is by downloading the IELTS Mobile App or immediately start practicing with the IELTS Practice Tests.

Both, IELTS Mobile App and Sample Questions have more than 100 questions and model answers for each module.

Begin learning now!