Difference Between IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training

The International English Language Testing System, or IELTS is of two types; IELTS Academic and IELTS General. The choice between the two largely comes down to purpose and maybe the format.

Both the IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training versions are similar in format but differ in content in the Writing and Reading section. So, in this post, you’ll learn the major difference between IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training.


IELTS Academic

IELTS Academic as the name implies is designed for people who plan to study in higher education (university, college etc) or those seeking professional registration. The test access whether you’re ready to begin studying or training in an environment where the English language is the medium of instruction.

Non-native English speakers who are planning to move to an English speaking country and seeking professional registration may likely be asked to provide evidence of proficiency in the English language.

The IELTS results are accepted by many professional associations that have set minimum language requirements. Most of these associations request an IELTS Academic result, but it is a good idea to contact the organisation to confirm.


IELTS General Training

For all other immigration and employment, the IELTS General Training is required to enter Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK.

The IELTS General Training measures English language proficiency in a practical, everyday context. It is appropriate for those planning to study in high school or a vocational training program.

Similarities Between IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training

Both the Academic and General Training exam have four parts – listening, speaking, reading and writing. They both share some similarities in the listening and speaking section of the test.


  • The total time for the Listening module is 30 minutes for both the IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training exams.
  • There are four recorded listening excerpts on both exams.


  • For both exams, there is a face-to-face interview with a certified IELTS Speaking Examiner.
  • The Speaking module is 11-14 minutes for both the IELTS Academic and General Training exam.
  • The Speaking module includes short questions and longer questions where the candidate speaks about a familiar topic. There is also a structured discussion.

READ ALSO: How to Prepare Effectively for the IELTS Test.

IELTS Academic Vs IELTS General Training

Apart from their usage, they both differ in the reading and writing section.



  • The Reading portion is 60 minutes long for both the IELTS Academic and General Training exams.
  • For both exams, there are three readings with questions about each reading.
  • For the IELTS Academic exam, there are a variety of texts to read, such as descriptive, factual, and analytical. The reading module also includes diagrams, graphs or illustrations.
  • There are three sections on reading part of the General Training exam. In the first section, there are two or three short texts. In the second section, there are two short, work-related texts. While in the final section, there is one long text about a general interest topic.
  • For both the Academic and General Training exam, the texts are authentic; texts come from books, newspapers, journals, etc. (for the Academic exam), and books, newspapers, company handbooks, etc. (for the General Training exam).


  • The Writing section is 60 minutes for both the IELTS Academic and General Training exams.
  • Each includes two tasks: Task 1 is a minimum 150 words and Task 2 is a minimum 250 words.
  • For the IELTS Academic exam, Task 1 is writing about a table, graph, chart or diagram. Task 2 is an essay.
  • For the General Training exam, Task 1 is writing a letter, and Task 2 is an essay.


Before considering which of the IELTS test to take, you need to spend some time to research and understand what you need the test for. If you’re taking the test solely for professional and educational goals, then you need the IELTS Academic.

However, if you’re seeking an immigration plan to work or train in an English-speaking country then the IELTS General Training is best for you. By knowing the requirements, you can take the necessary steps towards reaching your goals.


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