The difference between Academic and General IELTS exam

What’s the difference between the Academic and General IELTS examinations?


You might be thinking about taking the IELTS exam, but when it comes to the test module, you get confused. Should you take the academic or the general test? What is the difference?

The IELTS examination is available in two different versions:

  • IELTS Academic
  • IELTS General Training

IELTS Academic is required for candidates who plan to apply for higher education or professional registration in countries in which English is the official language. This is due to the fact that the candidate should show that he/she is able to begin studying in an academic environment in English.

On the other hand, IELTS General Training is designed for candidates who intend to apply for secondary education, training programs, or work experience in an English-speaking nation. Plus, those who are interested in migrating to New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the US, and the UK are also required to take this version of the test. The purpose of the General training, unlike the academic module, is to evaluate the candidate’s everyday English in society.


The point is that both modules are to assess the candidate’s reading, listening, writing, and speaking skills. Nevertheless, as they are designed for different purposes, there should be some differences between the details of the skills. Both formats are divided into 4 parts:

  • Reading
  • Listening
  • Writing
  • Speaking


The Listening and Speaking sections are similar in both formats but the Reading and Writing sections are different. In order to take your test, you should check the exam centers which are close to where you live to find the available spots. Based on that, you can book your test. Accordingly, the Reading, Writing and Listening sections of the test will be held on the same day but the Speaking section can take place a week before to or after the other tests. The entire test will take 2 hours and 45 minutes.


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