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Difference between IELTS Academic and IELTS

Right after you decide to sit for the IETLS test, an immediate question that you have to face is “Shall I take Academic or General IELTS, and what are the differences between the two?”

The very first difference is:

The Purpose

  1. The IELTS Academic test is suitable for those wanting to study in an English-speaking environment or university (higher education). You can also take IELTS Academic for professional registration purposes.

While, IELTS General Training test is suitable for those applying to study below degree level. This includes an English-speaking school or college. It can also be taken for work experience or other employment training.

IELTS General Training is also required for migration to Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the UK. The test features everyday English language skills that you will need in social and workplace environments.

Speaking interview and Listening is the same for both the tests, however, reading and writing are slightly different for Academic and General Training IELTS


The dissimilarities in Academic and General Training Reading modules:

  • Passages: In academic IELTS, all three passages are about 700 to 900 words long each but for general training IELTS, the first two passages are broken into parts. Hence, finding the answers is easier in General Training since the passages are short. The third passage is the same as that of the academic test.

Sometimes instead of the passage, you can also find a group of short notice boards to find the answers. The question set relating to notice boards are of least difficulty.

The third and the last passage in the general training reading module will be 800 to 900 words long and there will be 13 questions related to it.


Different Writing modules: (different task 1 in Academic and General Training IELTS)

This module contains two tasks to be completed in an hour. The second task (write an essay) is the same for academic and GT IELTS, but the first task is different for the two.


  • In Academic IELTS: you will be provided with pictures and data about a topic, and your task will be to prepare a brief but complete report about it.

Tasks you can find to write a report can be:

  1. A Graph( line graph, bar graph, pie chart)

  2. A flow chart or a process

  3. A diagram or a map

The picture for the task (in academic IELTS) will look something like this:
















While, in general training, you will have to write a letter for your task 1 in writing:

There are two types of letters you can expect: Formal letters and informal letters.




These are all the differences between Academic IELTS and General Training IELTS.

But, since it is slightly easier to score in reading and writing in General IELTS, it is safe to say that general training in IELTS is easier than Academic IELTS. As far as your understanding of English is enough for holding a quality conversation with an English speaker then you can ace IELTS whether it is an academic or GT IELTS test with a bit of practice.

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