Difference between IELTS Academic & General Training Tests

What to choose between IELTS Academic & General Training Tests?

April 29, 2020

IELTS stands for International English Language Test System. You must be aware that the IELTS test is conducted by the professional bodies to know whether a person is proficient in the English language or not.

IELTS Test Format

The IELTS exam has two modules; IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training which is further classified into four parameters; IELTS Reading, IELTS Writing, IELTS Speaking and IELTS Listening.

Based on your requirement, you can choose any of these mentioned IELTS modules. Before taking the test, make sure to carry out proper research about both the IELTS modules.

Mainly, there is a vast difference between two exams; IELTS Reading and IELTS Writing for both the modules, where else the remaining two exams are the same.

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

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

IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training - Listening Test

Understand that the IELTS Listening test is the same for both the IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. There is no difference in the type of exams.

You will get four different recordings with ten questions each. The accents may vary, so be careful in the exam.

The time duration for the IELTS Listening test if 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.

IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training - Speaking Test

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

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

You will have a maximum of 15 minutes for this test. Questions will be mostly about your work, home, family and interests. Apart from Q&A rounds, there will also be a cue card session, where you will need to deliver a small speech over a topic.

In most of the cases, the Speaking test is scheduled on a different date, while rest exams are scheduled on the same date.

IELTS Academic - Reading Test

IELTS Academic Reading test is different from the IELTS Reading General Training.

This test will determine your reading and understanding skills. You have 60 minutes to solve 40 questions carrying one mark each.

The long reading passages could be from newspapers, magazines, course books and journals. Every passage has a certain number of questions in the form of 11 difference task types, including the multiple-choice question, matching information, headings, sentence endings, etc.

IELTS General Training - Reading Test

The task types remain the same for the IELTS Reading test. However, the questions will be different, and it will be much easy to solve and understand.

You will get passages from newspapers, magazines or anything which you usually encounter in your daily life.

The time limit is the same as IELTS academic, which is one hour to be exact for solving 40 questions, and each question carries one mark.

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

IELTS Academic - Writing Test

As mentioned, the IELTS Academic writing test is different from IELTS Writing General Training. It is divided into two tasks, i.e. Task 1 and Task 2.

It takes 60 minutes to complete both tasks. IELTS Writing exam is assessed on four criteria, task response, coherence, and cohesion, lexical resource, grammatical range, and accuracy.

IELTS Writing Task 1:

Task 1 of the IELTS Writing exam 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 where you will need to explain everything that is asked in the question.

For IELTS Writing task 1, the word limit is 150. You can't write less or exceed the word limit as it will lead to low scores.

IELTS Writing 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.

IELTS General Training - Writing Test

The time for completing both the tasks is 1 hour. However, it is advised to write task 1 first within 20 minutes.

IELTS 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 remaining 40 minutes for task 2.

IELTS Writing Task 2:

In this task, you will be asked to write an essay on a given topic within 250 words. The topic will be much easier as compared to the IELTS academic writing test.

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 the 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 the English speaking country.  This exam is for those who want to work or migrate to the 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.


Now, you know the difference between the two test modules of IELTS, decide which type you need for your requirements.

Get prepared with IELTS Tutorials for achieving the desired band score in IELTS Exam. Signup for free and get assured 20+ FREE Mock tests for your preparation. Get a lot more benefits with IELTS Tutorials.