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IELTS Academic vs IELTS General- Which is the Right Exam for You?

English language proficiency test is compulsory for individuals that are migrating abroad to pursue career or education in English speaking countries. Non-native English speakers have to prove their English language fluency by undertaking one of the many tests that specially focus on improving an individual’s English communication skills. International English Language Testing System alias IELTS is one most sought after English fluency exam, there are two types of IELTS tests – Academic and General.

IELTS Academic and General have different significance therefore, it is important that an individual identifies his purpose of migrating before undertaking the test. However, IELTS exam format is same for both the tests but the level of difficulty in terms of questions are quite different.

IELTS English proficiency test is categorized into four sections:

  • Listening
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Speaking

IELTS Academic

IELTS Academic is for students who are applying for higher education or are migrating for better professional opportunities. IELTS Academic questions are structured such that it indicates an individual’s academic capability. IELTS Academic has four sets of exams, there is no specific IELTS Academic listening and speaking, both the categories are common for academic and general.

IELTS Listening:

The listening section is generic for IELTS general and academic. Individuals have to listen to 4 recordings based on which they have to write their answers on the paper. Duration – 30 minutes.

IELTS Academic Reading:

The academic reading is structured with 40 questions and 3 passages that tests individual’s wide range of reading skills. IELTS Academic reading questions has many detailed, specific, analytical content based, basically academic studies related. Individuals must develop good reading skills. Duration – 60 minutes.

IELTS Academic Writing:

There are two academic writing tasks. In the first task, individuals have to describe the visual representation that is provided on the question sheet. In the second task, individuals have respond, solve or argue over a topic. Duration – 60 minutes.

IELTS Speaking:

The speaking section is generic for IELTS academic and general. Individuals have to speak on the topic provided by the examiner. Duration – 11 to 14 minutes.

The duration of IELTS Academic test is 2 hours, 45 minutes.

IELTS General

IELTS General is for students who are applying for secondary education or are migrating for work or training purposes. IELTS General Questions are comparatively structured with general value related questions. The sole purpose of IELTS general training is to improve an individual’s Basic English communication skills. IELTS General has four sets of exams, there is no specific IELTS General listening and speaking, both the categories are common for academic and general.

IELTS Listening:

The listening section is common for academic and general. Set of 4 recordings based on which individuals have to write their answers on the paper. Duration – 30 minutes.

IELTS General Reading / IELTS General Training Reading:

The general reading is structured with 40 questions. IELTS general reading has books, magazines, notices, advertisements, company handbooks, etc. content based on which questions are formulated.  Duration – 60 minutes.

IELTS General Writing / IELTS General Training Writing:

There are two general writing tasks. In first one, individuals have to compose letter based on the context provided. In the second one, compose an essay in the tone of argument or solving an issue or respond on the context provide. Duration – 60 minutes.

IELTS Speaking:

The speaking section is common for academic and general. Individuals have to speak on the topic provided by the examiner. Duration – 11 to 14 minutes.

The duration of IELTS General Exam is 2 hours, 45 minutes.

In conclusion, the difference between IELTS academic and general training:

IELTS Academic

IELTS General

For students willing to pursue higher education abroad.

For individuals migrating for training, work or secondary education purpose.

TEST - Listening, IELTS Academic Reading, IELTS Academic Writing, Speaking

TEST - Listening, IELTS general training reading, IELTS general training writing, Speaking

Requirement for university admissions.

Requirement for visa and entry in English speaking country.

Co-ordinate with the institution or company and enquire if you should be preparing for IELTS academic or general, understand the purpose of migrating abroad and train yourself accordingly.