Differences between the Academic and General Training modules of the IELTS


Non-native students and professionals who want to study or work primarily in an English-speaking country should choose the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Most universities around the world consider an IELTS score to be the most precise and accurate. However, it becomes necessary for an individual to appear for an IELTS training test to pass.

IELTS offers two types of tests: academic and general. To find out which one is better for you, consult the best IELTS coaching in Delhi.


IELTS Academic Test:

IELTS Academic

The IELTS Academic test is for an individual who is planning to study in an English-speaking country at the undergraduate or postgraduate level. The main aim behind giving this test is to get into a university for academic purposes. You can appear for the IELTS Academic test from anywhere; there is no need to visit an exam centre for the same.

The format of the IELTS Academic Training test relates to academic or professional topics.

IELTS General Test:

IELTS General

The IELTS General Training test checks your English language skills, which we use on an everyday basis. This is a non-academic test that is widely accepted around the world for immigration. The IELTS General Test is accepted for secondary education and migration. Usually, secondary education includes opting out of studying at a lower level than a degree. You will find differences in the writing and reading sections of the academic training test.

The questions asked in the IELTS General Test are general questions relating to topics of general interest for an individual.

Academic and General Test—Similarities:

  • Sections in the test: Both the academic and general tests consist of four sections, including speaking, writing, reading, and listening.
  • Speaking and listening: The speaking and listening IELTS test is common for both. However, there is no difference between the set of questions asked for the IELTS academic and general training tests.
  • Duration: The duration of the IELTS Academic and General Training test is 2 hours and 45 minutes. Anyone who is appearing for the IELTS exam needs to dedicate only 2 hours and 45 minutes.

Format of Speaking Section:

The examiner evaluates the examinee’s spoken proficiency through the speaking section. There are three parts to the speaking sections.

Part 1: You need to speak about yourself or any other general topic about which the examiner is asking you a question. Usually, examiners choose topics like study, work, interest, family, and hobbies.

Part 2: A candidate receives a card with the topic on it. They have to speak on the given topic for 2 minutes. A minute will be given to each candidate to prepare themselves for the task.

Part 3: This is a two-way conversation, wherein the examiner will ask questions relating to the topic given in Part 2.

Format of the Listening Section:

There are four parts to assessing the listening abilities of an individual. An aspiring candidate should choose IELTS coaching in Delhi to excel in their listening abilities.

The first two recordings will be largely based on general or everyday topics. However, the last two recordings are about the educational scenarios.

Recordings 1 and 3 will be a conversation between two or more speakers. On the other hand, recordings 2 and 4 will be monologues.

Academic and General Test—Differences:

  • Writing and reading sections: First, the writing and reading tests are different in both the IELTS Academic and General Training tests.
  • Purpose: The main purpose of an academic test is to migrate to an English-speaking country for academic purposes. On the other hand, general training tests are just for migrants to an English-speaking country.
  • Place of examination: You can appear for IELTS Academic from anywhere, whereas for IELTS General, you need to visit the exam centre to appear for the exam.
  • Types of questions: In the writing and reading sections, such questions are put up according to different interests.

Differences in the writing and reading sections of the IELTS Academic and General Training test:

Below is a table to highlight differences in the writing and reading sections of the IELTS Academic and General Training tests.

SectionIELTS Academic TestIELTS General Test

Two Tasks

Task 1: A visual representation is shown, and the candidate will be asked to summarise, explain, or describe the visual representation.

Task 2: An argument, problem, or point of view will be presented, and a candidate might be asked to discuss their view, disagree with the statement, or agree with it.

Two Tasks:

Task 1: A candidate will be given a situation in which they have to explain the situation, write a letter, or request information.

Task 2: Unlike an academic training test, in a general training test, a candidate is required to write an essay in response to a point of view, an argument, or some other problem.

Reading Passage

One short question

Two Long Articles

3 short texts

2 texts

1 long text

Which IELTS test type is suitable for you?

Having a fair idea about both types of IELTS tests will help you decide which one is perfect for you. Both tests have different purposes, applicants can choose accordingly. Anyone visiting a country for academic purposes must appear for the IELTS Academic test. However, if you just want to migrate to an English-speaking country, then appear for IELTS general training test.

Further, you can consider the following table to check which IELTS training test is perfect for you.

PurposeTraining test type
Undergraduate levelIELTS Academic
Postgraduate levelIELTS Academic
Doctoral levelIELTS Academic
Post-doctoral levelIELTS Academic
Professional organisation (work)IELTS Academic
Secondary educationIELTS General
Work or trainingIELTS General
Permanent ResidencyIELTS General
MigrationIELTS General



The IELTS training test is to examine the English language proficiency of an individual. Usually, someone who is planning to migrate abroad for studies or work needs to appear for the IELTS test. If you are also one of the candidates aspiring to study abroad, then take guidance from the best study abroad consultants in India. A candidate appearing for IELTS should have a clear perception in mind as to which IELTS training test is suitable for them. Moreover, the slight difference between the IELTS Academic and General Training tests sometimes widens due to the kinds of questions asked. In the writing and reading sections of both the training tests, questions are asked according to their purpose. For more guidance about IELTS, anyone can contact the best IELTS coaching centre in Delhi.

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