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Difference between General IELTS and Academic IELTS

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General IELTS and Academic IELTS

Difference between General IELTS and Academic IELTS

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is being developed to evaluate a student’s proficiency in the English language based on four examining factors – Listening, Speaking, Reading & Writing. Candidates have to achieve a minimum band score in IELTS as prescribed by universities & colleges. IELTS offers two types of English proficiency test options: IELTS Academic & IELTS General Training. Confused about which one to take? This Blog post will make you understand the key Differences between General IELTS and Academic IELTS. Check it out below!

IELTS Test Format

Both General IELTS and Academic IELTS tests have four parts in this order:

  • Listening
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Speaking
  1. Listening
    1. Total questions: 40
    2. Time to complete: 40
  2. Reading
    1. Total questions: 40
    2. Time to complete: 60
  3. Writing
    1. Total Writing tasks: 2 (one shorter and one longer one)
    2. Time to complete: 60 minutes
  4. Speaking
    1. Total sections: 3
    2. Total Time: 10-15 minutes

Both General IELTS and Academic IELTS have absolutely no differences in Listening & Speaking. This is a big relief. Both tests can be taken in paper-based or computer-based.

Difference between General IELTS and Academic IELTS

  1. What is Academic IELTS?

International students who want to study in an English-Speaking environment have to appear for the IELTS Academic test. You can also appear for this test for professional registration purposes. Academic IELTS checks your capability to study in English. It also measures your strength in English vocabulary. A Student can appear for this test either in offline mode (paper) or an online mode (computer). The topics are based more on university studies or professional institutions.

  1. What is General IELTS? 

The IELTS General Training test is suitable for those students who want to apply for courses below degree level. This can be studying in an English-speaking school or college. General IELTS can also be taken for work-experience based purposes or other employment-related training. The topics are based on more general interests such as newspapers, notices & advertisements.

Note- Differences can be found only in Reading & the Writing Sections.

Differences between General IELTS and Academic IELTS in Reading Sections

Reading Tests mainly differ in numbers of reading passages and topics. There is also a very nominal experience in the type of questions being asked.

  • Differences in Numbers of Reading Passages

In the Academic IELTS test, the number of reading passages in each section remains the same.

  • Section 1: One short article
  • Section 2: One long article (longer compared to Section 1)
  • Section 3: One longer article (around same length as Section 2)

In the Reading tests of General IELTS, the number of reading passages are different in each section.

  • Section 1: up to3 shorter text articles
  • Section 2: 2 shorter text articles
  • Section 3: One longer text article

Differences in Topics of Reading Passages

In the Academic IELTS test, all topics of Reading Passages are related to general interests only. These topics are closely related to areas of academic interests and subjects only. Such as:

  • Physics & Chemistry
  • Space & Astronomy
  • Computer Science & Math
  • Human/animal & plant biology
  • Scientific Inventions
  • Education
  • Arts: Painting & Sculpture
  • Architecture
  • Music
  • Crafts
  • Linguistics & Languages
  • Law
  • Environment
  • Anthropology & History
  • Business, management, marketing & economics
  • Medicine

In the General IELTS topics

  • Section 1: Up to 3 reading passages related to everyday life (travel, classified ads, accommodation lists, college notice boards etc.)
  • Section 2: Up to 2 topics related to work or other aspects of professional training (job descriptions, manuals, guidelines, & work policies)
  • Section 3: One long topic of general interests (newspaper/magazine article, or passage on business, culture, history, transport, or civilization)

Differences in Reading Types of Questions

Both General IELTS & Academic IELTS have the same 15 types of questions. However, only one additional type was added to IELTS Academic – Global multiple-choice. See the below lists:

Types of Questions in Reading section

  • Sentence completion
  • Sentence completion (with a box)
  • Short types questions/answers
  • Flow chart completion
  • Match the following
  • Classifications of things
  • Diagram Labeling
  • Paragraph headings
  • Search for information in paragraph
  • Complete the summary
  • Complete the summary with a box
  • True/False/Not Given
  • Yes/No/Not Given
  • Multiple choice questions
  • Pick correct one from a list

And the last different one,

  • Global multiple-choice (Only for Academic IELTS)

Differences between General IELTS and Academic IELTS in Writing Sections

Both in General IELTS and Academic IELTS Writing Sections, two tasks are given and both must be completed. The conditions of completion remain the same for both two exams. 

  • Completion Time: 60 minutes
  • Tasks: Total 2
  • Marking System:Task 1: 33% of the Total Writing Score; Task 2: 66% of the Total Writing Score

In both these types of General IELTS and Academic IELTS Writing tests, you’ve to write the test with proper complete tests and can’t use incomplete tests or bullet lists. You will be provided with answer sheets in which you have to write the answer using a pen or pencil. You are not allowed to use a blank sheet of paper.

Academic IELTS Writing

In Task 1, you’ll be provided with a visual. You’ve to describe the visual in your own words. The visual provided can be a diagram, map, line graph, pie chart, or a table. Word limit is between 150 to 250 words and the time duration is about 20 minutes .

In Task 2, you have to write an essay related to a topic on an academic issue. You have to present your point of view, or an argument or solution to a problem which you will provide. Word limit is between 250 words and 350 words. Estimated time duration is about 40 minutes.

General IELTS Writing

In Task 1, you’ll be asked to write format or informal letters. Examples such as explaining a situation or asking for information. Word limit is between 150 to 250 words and time estimated to complete is about 20 minutes.

In Task 2, you’ll be asked to write an essay on a subject of general interest. You have to present your point of view or argument to any topic and discuss it also. Word limit is between 250 to 350 words. Estimated time of completion: 40 minutes.

Which IELTS Test type is best for me?

A candidate who wants to study in an English-Speaking country should appear for the Academic IELTS test. For work or immigration-related purposes, General IELTS is recommended. Many IELTS students find General IELTS easier than Academic IELTS, since questions are more of generic type, rather than specific type and the scoring format is also slightly different.

Last Thoughts!

With the right amount of preparation and understanding, you can overcome all the difficulties arising in your IELTS exam preparation. It’s very important to score a good band score in IELTS exam to secure admissions in your dream universities.Hope this article have answered all the doubts coming in your mind regarding What is general IELTS, what is Academic IELTS & the Difference between General IELTS and Academic IELTS. If you have found this blog post useful, drop a comment. Please share this post also!



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