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IELTS Academic Vs General – Find The Difference Between Tests

Many people doing IELTS are confused about which one to take i.e the endless IELTS Academic vs General – What is the difference between IELTS Academic vs IELTS General confusion. Which exam to take? IELTS Academic Vs General for Canada PR? One can see lots of such questions in sites like Quora, but answers are either promotional or too generic.

So we decided to create this comprehensive resource to answer all the questions in your mind regarding which exam to take.

The main difference between IELTS academic and IELTS general is that Academic test will contain topics suitable for anyone entering university or professional institutions while General Training test will contain topics based on general interest.

IELTS academic test format is designed to examine your level of english language whether that suits for an academic environment. Students and professionals must be trained with english reading skills which would be strong for text in professional and academic journals, textbooks, magazines and newspapers.

IELTS academics use texts from these kinds of sources to test their skills. Writing task consists of simple topics that would be relevant in academic and professional. Writing tests are conducted to make sure they are strong enough to write college level essays.

IELTS general training examines english language in a practical and everyday context.Those taking the General Training IELTS, will have the taste of language that would appear in advertisements, guidebooks, magazines, notices etc. Written tests will be tested on general tasks such as letter writing or basic essay writing.

Which IELTS test is suitable for me?
It depends on why you are doing the IELTS. If you’re planning to do higher studies abroad (in colleges like Oxford) or professional registration, then you need to take IELTS Academic. If you’re desired-focused on migration purposes, then you need to do IELTS general.
So before booking the test, be sure to check which suits you i.e IELTS Academic or general training. The IELTS indicator has been introduced for those who’re unable to attend the exam due to Covid-19.

1. Undergraduate level IELTS Academic
2. Postgraduate level IELTS Academic
3. Doctorate ILETS Academic
4. Post Doctoral IELTS Academic
5. For Professional organization IELTS Academic
6. Below degree level IELTS General
7. Migration IELTS General
8. Work or training IELTS General
9. Another job in own country IELTS General
10. Permanent Residency IELTS General

What are the fees for IELTS Academic and IELTS General?
Why IELTS Academic and why IELTS General?
IELTS, the International English Language Testing System. It has been designed for the students to check the language ability. IELTS is required for entry to universities in the UK and other english speaking countries.
There are many things for the aspirants to do before writing the IELTS exam, searching for the format, syllabus, content of the test, communicating with others who have taken the exams, taking an online or face to face prep course and more. Another thing to take into account is which version of exam you need to take IELTS academic or IELTS general training.
Being a test taker you have the options to choose which exam to write on depending upon the needs like personal,educational and professional goals. Another option is for visa requirements for some english speaking countries.
The IELTS academic version assesses a student’s readiness for academic studying or training in English.
The IELTS general training is taken if you are migrating to an English speaking country, such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand or UK.
The Academic version of IELTS is harder than General training.

Also read latest IELTS syllabus 2023
4 Major difference between IELTS Academic and IELTS General
Both the academic and general training exams have four parts they are listening, speaking, reading and writing.


  1. The IELTS Academic and general training has the same listening part and duration would last for 30 mins.
  2. There are four recorded listening excerpts on both the exams each with 10 questions.
  3. Section 1 and Section 2 consist of everyday social contexts.
  4. Section 3 and section 4 consist of educational and training.


  1. The IELTS speaking test is the same for academic and general training and duration would last for 11-14 minutes.
  2. Both the versions have face to face interviews with the certified IELTS examiner.
  3. The module consist of short and long questions where students need to talk about the topic
  4. There is also a discussion round on the related topic.


  1. The reading section for the IELTS academic and IELTS general would last for 60 mins.
  2. Both academic and general training includes three sections.


  1. The writing section for IELTS Academic and IELTS General would last for 60 mins.
  2. Each includes two tasks. Task 1 is a minimum of 150 words and task 2 is a minimum of 250 words.

However, the difference lies in the reading and writing part of IELTS Academic and IELTS general training.

Major Differences in IELTS Academic and IELTS General(Reading and Writing)

  1. In IELTS academic reading part has a variety of text to read, the text might be descriptive, factual and analytical. It also includes charts, graphs and diagrams.
  2. The first section in IELTS general reading has two or three short texts. The second section has two short texts. And the last section includes a long text about a general topic.
  3. The IELTS Academic writing part includes a write up about a table, graph or chart. And an essay for task 2.
  4. The IELTS General training exam writing part has a letter writing for task 1 and an essay for task 2.

Q. What are the tips to help with IELTS writing tasks?
How IELTS test score is calculated for IELTS Academic and IELTS General
The test score for IELTS exam ranges from 1 to 9 for each part of the test – Listening, Reading, Writing and speaking. The overall band score is the average of the four component scores rounded to the nearest whole or half band.
If your average score ends in .25, the overall band score is rounded up to the next half band and if it ends in .75 the overall band score is rounded up to the next whole band.If the average of four components ends in a fraction the score is rounded down.

9 Band Scale
Both the IELTS Academic and general training IELTS test are subjected to a 9 band scale. For each section in writing, reading, speaking and listening the test has a band score from 1-9. The average score of the four sections will be your overall IELTS band score which ranges from whole numbers(e.g. 4,5) or half(e.g, 6.5,7.5). Here is the explanation of knowing the band scale for IELTS academic vs general scores.

The below table shows how your test is marked.

9 Expert You have full operational command of the language and excellent fluency with a complete understanding..
8 Very good You handle complex argumentation well and misunderstand some things in unfamiliar situations.
7 good You handle complex languages well and understand detailed reasoning.
6 competent You have effective command on language. You can use complex words.
5 modest You make many mistakes and could handle basic communication.
4 limited Difficulty in understanding and using complex words.
3 Extremely limited You have difficulty in communication
2 intermittent You have difficulty in understanding the words.
1 Denied You didn’t have the ability to use the new words.
0 Did not attend You did not answer the question.

Sample calculation of your IELTS academic and general score.

Example 1

Sections Score
Listening 6.5
Reading 6.5
Writing 5
Speaking 7
Average 6.25
Overall 6.5

Ends in .25 so round up to the next half band. Overall band score =6.5

Example 2

Sections Score
Listening 6.5
Reading 6.5
Writing 5.5
Speaking 6
Average 6.125
Overall 6.0

Ends with a fraction below .25 so round down to the next whole band. Overall band score =6.0

Example 3

Sections Score
Listening 3.5
Reading 4.0
Writing 4.0
Speaking 4.0
Average 3.875
Overall 4.0

Ends with a fraction above .75 so round up to the next whole band. Overall band score =4.0

To pass the IELTS exam you need a minimum overall score of 6.5 and minimum score of 6.0 in each category. The scores varied according to the institution requirements.

IELTS speaking, listening and writing are scored in the same way for both the versions.But IELTS reading, which occupies a full 25% of your score, is rated very differently on IELTS academic vs IELTS general training.

For example, if you have secured 30 out of 40 in the reading section in general training reading, the IELTS band is 6.0. But in academic reading if you score 30 out of 40 it’s 7.0

Chart for IELTS Academic Reading

Raw Score Band Score
39-40 9
37-38 8.5
35-36 8
33-34 7.5.
30-32 7
27-29 6.5
23-26 6
19-22 5.5
15-18 5
13-14 4.5
10-12 4
8-9 3.5
6-7 3

Chart for IELTS General Training Reading

Raw Score Band Score
40 9
39 8.5
37-38 8
36 7.5.
34-35 7
32-33 6.5
30-31 6
27-29 5.5
23-26 5
19-22 4.5
15-18 4
12-14 3.5
9-11 3

Q. How to score top in IELTS?
What are the exam fees for IELTS Academic and IELTS General?

  • The exam fees for IELTS Academic and IELTS General are the same. Inorder to complete your IELTS test registration you need to pay 14,000rs.
  • The IELTS test fee in India differs as per the test type.And the payment can be made by credit card/Debit card or through demand draft or direct cash deposit at an authorised bank.

Which is easier to crack? IELTS Academic or IELTS General
Generally IELTS is the easiest exam than any other. The questions are designed to examine how well you can use your english. There is no pass or fail in IELTS. You can write the exam as many times as you can till you reach your dream score. High number of scores you get, you’ll get placed in a top university. All you need is a thorough preparation.

Academic version is conducted to test your level of comprehension. When coming to IELTS Academic vs General difficulty. Compared to IELTS academic IELTS general training reading is quite easier. Even the scoring format is different as well.

Exam dates for IELTS General and IELTS Academic
Both the IELTS exams general and academic are conducted by the british council, cambridge and IDP IELTS India across major cities in India. Those who are in need of writing the exams can check out the official websites for the exam dates and can book the IELTS test on your convenient date with preferred location.

IELTS exam dates are available throughout the year according to your convenient dates. IELTS test dates are available up to 4 times a month which is 48 times across the year. The IELTS exam dates vary for the IELTS academic and IELTS general training exams.

IELTS exams are usually held on Thursdays and saturdays.IELTS test date may not be the same near your IELTS test location as it is in another city.

The IELTS reading, writing and listening test take place on the same day whereas either the IELTS speaking test is conducted 7 days before or 7 days after your IELTStest date.During the peak, tests can fill up one month in advance. So registering for the IELTS date early is a very important task.

Computer delivered IELTS test is available three times a day in all days a week. And a paper based IELTS test is available four times a month.

Steps to book IELTS exam date and location

  1. Visit the british council official website and click on register.
  2. Click on ‘Find Test Date’ and enter the month city and module of your choice.
  3. You’ll be redirected to the IELTS application- check test availability page.
  4. Candidates are required to select the convenient date and click apply.

For Engineering what exam should I take? IELTS General or IELTS Academic?
Writing the IELTS exam plays an important role in your study opportunities, career success and the likelihood of getting a permit to work and settle in Britain or an English speaking country like New Zealand, Australia, Canada or USA.

Securing high scores will help in making you get admission into a top university. This exam will also help you to build your resume if you’re looking for a job in a multicultural environment.

There are two versions of IELTS, one is IELTS Academic and other one is IELTS General. Many get confused on taking up the versions according to their need i.e IELTS Academic or IELTS General.

IELTS academic would be the perfect one if you want to pursue a degree programme or seek professional registration in the UK. Professional registration means you will gain certified recognition for your profession. Once done, you can use qualification titles such as engineer or technician.

For a Job , what exam should I take? IELTS General or IELTS Academic?
Having a proof of your ability in language skills is an important step in obtaining a visa so that you can work abroad. Language skills play an important role for career success and are meant to be an asset in addition to all the other requirements of any job. If you’re a work visa applicant, you have to be prepared for more than basic conversational english.

  • To work in UK, applicant must score 6.5 in each sections(Reading, speaking, writing and listening)
  • To work in Australia, a test score of 5 is considered to be a vocational english level. A person can be a competent english speaker on a score of 6.
  • If you need to work in New Zealand you must gain a score of 4 or higher in the IELTS General or academic.
  • In Canada, applicants should check with the organisation they want to apply to for an IELTS score. Employers and institutions have their own requirements.

The General training version of IELTS examines english language proficiency in a practical, everyday context and the tasks and texts which reflect both workplace and social situations.

Your score depends upon your chosen occupation. For some professions, applicants must achieve score 6, whereas for teachers you need a minimum of score 7. IELTS not required countries for jobs are more in number than IELTS requiring countries.

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