The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is designed to assess a student’s English language skills based on four test factors – listening, speaking, reading and writing. Candidates must achieve a minimum band score in IELTS prescribed by universities and colleges. IELTS offers two types of English proficiency tests: IELTS Academic & IELTS General Training. Confused about which one to take? This blog post will explain you the main differences between General IELTS and Academic IELTS. Check it out below!
IELTS Test Format
Both the general IELTS and the academic IELTS test consist of four parts in this order:
- Total questions: 40
- Processing time: 40
- Total questions: 40
- Processing time: 60
- Total writing tasks: 2 (one shorter and one longer)
- Processing time: 60 minutes
- Total sections: 3
- Total time: 10-15 minutes
Both General IELTS and Academic IELTS have absolutely no differences in Listening & Speaking. That’s a great relief. Both tests can be paper-based or computer-based.
Difference between General IELTS and Academic IELTS
- What is Academic IELTS?
International students wishing to study in an English-speaking environment are required to appear for the IELTS Academic Test. You can also come to this test for professional registration. Academic IELTS tests your ability to study in English. It also measures your strength in English vocabulary. A student can appear for this test in either offline (paper) mode or online (computer) mode. The topics are more oriented towards university studies or professional institutions.
- What is General IELTS?
The IELTS General Training Test is suitable for those students who wish to apply to courses below graduate level. This can be studying at an English-speaking school or university. General IELTS can also be taken for professional purposes or other employment-related training. The topics are based on broader interests such as Newspapers, Advertisements & Advertisements.
Note: differences can only be found in the read and write sections.
Differences between General IELTS and Academic IELTS in Reading Sections
Reading tests differ mainly in the number of reading passages and topics. There is also a very nominal experience in the nature of the questions asked.
- Differences in the number of reading passages
In the Academic IELTS test, the number of reading passages in each section remains the same.
- Section 1: A short article
- Section 2: A long article (longer compared to Section 1)
- Section 3: A longer article (roughly the same length as Section 2)
In the General IELTS reading tests, the number of reading passages in each section is different.
- Section 1: up to 3 shorter text articles
- Section 2: 2 shorter text articles
- Section 3: A longer text article
Differences in the subjects of the reading passages
In the IELTS academic test, all the topics of the reading passages relate to general interests only. These topics are only closely related to areas of academic interests and subjects. Such as:
- physics chemistry
- Space & Astronomy
- Computer Science & Mathematics
- Human/Animal & Plant Biology
- Scientific Inventions
- Art: Painting & Sculpture
- Linguistics & Languages
- Anthropology & History
- Business, Management, Marketing & Economics
In general IELTS topics
- Section 1: Up to 3 reading passages from everyday life (travel, classified ads, room lists, university bulletin boards, etc.)
- Section 2: Up to 2 topics related to work or other aspects of vocational training (job descriptions, manuals, policies and work guidelines)
- Section 3: A long topic of general interest (newspaper/magazine article or passage about economy, culture, history, transport or civilisation)
Differences in reading question types
Both General IELTS and Academic IELTS have the same 15 types of questions. However, only one additional type has been added to IELTS Academic – Global Multiple-Choice. See the following lists:
Types of questions in the Reading section
- sentence completion
- Sentence Completion (with box)
- Short Type Questions/Answers
- Completion of the flowchart
- Connect the following
- classifications of things
- chart label
- paragraph headings
- Search for information in the paragraph
- Complete the summary
- Complete the summary with a box
- True/False/Not given
- Yes/No/Not given
- Questions with multiple answers
- Choose the right one from a list
And the last other
- Global multiple choice selection (only for Academic IELTS)
Differences between General IELTS and Academic IELTS in Writing Sections
Both the General IELTS and Academic IELTS Writing Sections have two assignments and both must be completed. The completion requirements remain the same for both exams.
- Completion time: 60 minutes
- Tasks: Total 2
- Marking system: – Task 1: 33% of the total score for writing; Task 2: 66% of the total writing score
In these two types of IELTS general and IELTS academic writing tests, you must write the test with proper complete tests and cannot use incomplete tests or bulleted lists. You will receive answer sheets in which you have to enter the answer with a pen or pencil. You may not use a blank sheet of paper.
Academic IELTS writing
In task 1, you will get an image. You must describe the image in your own words. The visual material provided may be a chart, map, line graph, pie chart, or table. The word limit is between 150 and 250 words and the duration is approximately 20 minutes.
In Task 2, you have to write an essay related to a topic on a scientific question. You need to present your point of view or an argument or a solution to a problem that you will provide. The word limit is between 250 and 350 words. Estimated time is around 40 minutes.
General IELTS writing
In Task 1, you will be asked to write formal or informal letters. Examples such as explaining a situation or asking for information. The word limit is between 150 and 250 words and the estimated time to complete is around 20 minutes.
In Task 2, you will be asked to write an essay on a topic of general interest. You must present and discuss your point of view or argument on each topic. The word limit is between 250 and 350 words. Estimated processing time: 40 minutes.
Which IELTS test type is best for me?
A candidate wishing to study in an English speaking country should appear for the Academic IELTS test. General IELTS is recommended for work or immigration related purposes. Many IELTS students find General IELTS easier than Academic IELTS as the questions are of a general nature rather than specific and the scoring format is also slightly different.
With the right preparation and understanding, you can overcome any difficulties that may arise in your preparation for the IELTS exam. It is very important to get a good band score in the IELTS exam to secure admission to your dream universities. I hope this article has answered all your doubts regarding what is general IELTS, what is academic IELTS and the difference between general IELTS and academic study IELTS. If you found this blog post useful, leave a comment. Please share this post too!