IELTS Academic vs. General Training
Which version is the right one for you?
Why are there two types of the IELTS test?
The IELTS Academic test is for people applying for higher education or professional registration in an English speaking environment. This version assesses if a candidate is prepared for academic studying or training in English.
The IELTS General Training test is for people who are going to an English speaking country for secondary education, work experience or training programs. It is also a requirement for those migrating to the UK, Australia, Canada or New Zealand. The test focuses on basic survival skills in broad social and workplace contexts.
What is the difference between IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training?
Both tests consist of four parts: Listening, Reading, Writing (task 1 & task 2) and Speaking. Listening, Speaking and Writing Task 2 are the same for both tests, while Reading and Writing Task 1 differ depending on which test you take.
- Part 1 (10 questions) – a conversation between two people set in an everyday social context, e.g. a conversation about a job application.
- Part 2 (10 questions) – a monologue set in an everyday social context, e.g. a training session for new employees.
- Part 3 (10 questions) – a conversation between two main speakers, e.g. a student consulting his tutor about a presentation.
- Part 4 (10 questions) – a monologue on an academic subject, e.g. a presentation.
- Three long texts which range from the descriptive and factual to the discursive and analytical.
- Texts related to academic topics such as science and history, taken from journals, magazines, books, and newspapers.
- Texts may contain graphs, diagrams or illustrations.
GENERAL TRAINING READING
- Section 1 (‘social survival’)- two or three short texts or several shorter texts, e.g. advertisements, notices, etc.
- Section 2 (‘workplace survival’) – two texts, e.g. job descriptions, employment contracts, etc.
- Section 3 (‘general reading’) – one long text, e.g. newspapers, book extracts, etc.
- Task 1 – describe and explain data in one of the following: graph/table/chart/diagram/map. Write at least 150 words in about 20 minutes.
Task 2 – write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem. Write at least 250 words in about 40 minutes.
GENERAL TRAINING WRITING
- Task 1 – write a letter (personal, semi-formal or formal). Write at least 150 words in about 20 minutes.
- Task 2 – write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem. Write at least 250 words in about 40 minutes.
- Part 1 – general questions about yourself and a range of familiar topics, such as home, family, job/studies, leisure time, etc. 4-5 minutes.
- Part 2 – you will be given a task card with a particular topic, e.g. ‘Describe an interesting hobby’. 3-4 minutes, including 1 minute preparation time.
- Part 3 – you will be asked a broader range of questions based on the topic in Part 2. You will have to explain your answers and give examples. 4-5 minutes.