Difference Between Academic And General IELTS: You Need To Know

Jul 28, 2023 | IELTS

Difference between academic and general IELTS

Difference between academic and general IELTS

  • The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) offers two main versions of the test: Academic IELTS and General Training IELTS. 
  • While both versions assess English language proficiency, they differ in terms of their purpose and the individuals for whom they are intended. Here are the key differences between Academic IELTS and General Training IELTS:
  • The General Training version of the IELTS exam assesses your English language skills in everyday situations.
  • This type of test is required for individuals who are planning to immigrate or work in an English-speaking country, and it is also applicable for those seeking citizenship in particular countries, such as Canada and New Zealand.
  • IELTS Academic evaluates your English language proficiency in an academic setting to determine if your skills are suitable for higher education.
  • If your goal is to pursue studies at a college or university, including bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral programs, in an English-speaking country, you will be required to take the IELTS Academic test.
  • It is specifically designed to assess your readiness for academic studies and ensure that you have the necessary language abilities to succeed in an academic environment.


Academic IELTS 

  • This version is primarily designed for individuals who plan to pursue higher education in an English-speaking country or seek professional registration in fields such as medicine or engineering. 
  • Academic IELTS assesses a candidate’s readiness to undertake academic studies and includes topics and tasks related to an academic context.

General Training IELTS

  • This version is typically taken by individuals who plan to migrate to an English-speaking country for work or training purposes, or for those who wish to pursue secondary education or undertake non-academic training programs.
  • General Training IELTS focuses on assessing practical, everyday language skills required for social and workplace contexts.

Reading and Writing Modules

Academic IELTS

  • The reading and writing tasks in Academic IELTS are more academically oriented. 
  • The reading passages are typically more complex, resembling texts found in academic journals, books, and research papers. 
  • The writing tasks require candidates to analyze, describe, and summarize information, as well as present arguments or opinions based on given data.

General Training IELTS 

  • The reading and writing tasks in General Training IELTS are designed to assess candidates’ ability to understand practical, everyday texts and communicate in common workplace or social situations. 
  • The reading passages may include advertisements, job descriptions, or general interest articles. The writing tasks focus on writing letters, expressing opinions, or providing general responses to familiar situations.

Listening and Speaking Modules

  • Both versions of IELTS have the same Listening module. It consists of four sections, with each section containing different types of questions and recordings. 
  • The content and difficulty level of the Listening module are the same for both Academic and General Training IELTS.
  • Both versions also share the same Speaking module. It assesses candidates’ ability to engage in a conversation, express opinions, and communicate effectively.
  • The topics covered in the Speaking module can vary and are not limited to academic or work-related subjects.
  • It is important to determine which version of IELTS (Academic or General Training) is required for your specific purpose, as the score requirements and the skills assessed may differ. 
  • Carefully review the requirements of the institutions or organizations you are applying to in order to ensure you choose the appropriate version and adequately prepare for the test.


The primary distinction between the Writing and Reading tests in the Academic and General Training versions of IELTS lies in the choice of topics. In the General Training test, the subjects revolve around common areas of interest, such as newspapers, advertisements, and notices.

 On the other hand, the Academic test includes topics that are more appropriate for university-level studies or professional settings, such as academic journals.

Many students perceive the General Training exam as being slightly easier compared to the Academic version.