Types of the IELTS Exam : IELTS Academic & IELTS General

Video Ielts exam types

IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is the most popular English proficiency test among non-native English speakers who want to study, work, or migrate to English speaking countries. Scoring well in the IELTS is very important if you are planning to go for abroad education. A good band score in the IELTS test can help you in pursuing higher studies from the best international universities or working in English-speaking countries after completing your graduation or post-graduation degrees.

IELTS is recognized as a standardized and most reliable test of English language proficiency for non-native English speakers. Introduced in the year 1989, the IELTS examination is accepted universally and acknowledged by many universities, companies across the globe. The testing method of IELTS focuses on a candidate’s capabilities to use and comprehend English in real-life situations swiftly. Thus, a good score in the IELTS test acts as a medium for aspirants to fulfil their dreams to study in a foreign language.

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The IELTS test can be categorized into two – i) Academic IELTS and ii) General Training IELTS. Candidates are often confused about choosing the right type of IELTS test that can meet their requirements regarding their education or job. In this article, we will give a detailed explanation of both types of IELTS test so that you can make the right choice.

Here’s a quick understanding of both types of IELTS test

IELTS Academic

This test is suitable for students who want to pursue a graduation/post-graduation degree from a renowned international university or want to start their career in a foreign country. This test is designed to assess the English language proficiency of a candidate who wants to pursue higher education in English speaking country. The IELTS academic test is supposed to be more difficult than the IELTS General Training test.

IELTS General Training

This test is suitable for candidates who want to apply to study below degree level. It can also be taken up for work purposes or other employment training. The test features everyday English language skills that a person needs in a social and workplace environment.

Test format

There are four parts of the IELTS test: reading, writing, speaking and reading. Candidates appearing for both Academic and General Training tests take the same speaking and listening tests but different reading and writing tests. The IELTS Academic test is for students who want to pursue higher education at overseas universities where English is the primary language while the IELTS General Training test is for those who want to apply to study below degree level. It can also be taken up for work purposes or other employment training.

Listening, Reading and Writing sections of all IELTS tests are completed on the same day while the speaking section can be completed up to a week before or after the other sections.

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The difference in the academic and general training tests of IELTS

Speaking test

The speaking test of IELTS is the same for both academic and general training. However, the timing of the test may vary from 11-14 minutes as it requires a face-to-face discussion on a familiar topic. In this test, an applicant is interviewed by a certified examiner

Writing test

The IELTS writing test is different for both IELTS General Training and IELTS Academic candidates.

1) IELTS General Training: The duration of this test is one hour.

a) In task 1, candidates are presented with a situation and asked to write a letter requesting information or explaining the situation. The letter may be personal, semi-formal or formal in style.

b) In task 2, candidates will be asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem. The essay can be fairly personal in style.

2) IELTS Academic: The duration of this test is one hour. Two tasks need to be completed by candidates.

a) In task 1, candidates are asked to describe some visual information in 150 works in about 20 minutes.

b) In task 2: Candidates are asked to respond to a point of view or argument in 250 words in about 40 minutes.

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Listening test

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The duration of the listening test IELTS is approximately half an hour and ten minutes are provided extra for transferring your answer sheets. This section compromises 4 sub-sections, each section includes 10 questions related to social, educational, and training contexts. In this section, you need to choose one of the sections given in the test. Then you can play the audio and answer the questions accordingly. After completing the test, you can check your answers.

Reading test

The reading test is different for the IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training tests.

1) General Training test: The duration of the test is 1 hour in which candidates need to complete 3 sections consisting of 40 questions.

a) Section 1 consists of 2-3 factual topics that are most spoken in English-speaking countries.

b) Section 2 consists of two factual tests that are related to work (e.g workplace facilities, company policies)

c) Section 3 is a large section that compromises complex texts related to general interest topics.

2) Academic test:

In this test, candidates are required to complete three sections (40 questions) in 1 hour. The texts in the academic test are supposed to be more challenging than the general test. Texts are taken from magazines, books, newspapers and are related to academic topics.

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Similarities between academic and general training tests of IELTS

All aspirants applying for both tests need to take the same Listening and Speaking tests but different writing and reading tests. There is no break between the sections of listening, writing, and reading tests while the speaking section can be completed up to one week before or after the rest of the tests.

Both tests have more similarities than differences. Both tests have a similar time frame and structure like 4 sections, evaluate speaking, writing, reading, and listening for 45 minutes. The registration procedure of both tests is also the same.

About the band scores of general training and academic tests of IELTS

80% of candidates prefer to take the IELTS academic test while the remaining 20% prefer to take a general training test. All IELTS scores are between 0 to 9, you will get a band score for each skill (listening, writing, reading and speaking) and also an overview band score. However, band score requirements for both Academic and General Training tests vary as per the organization, university or country.

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