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Difference between IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training

by IDP IELTS India 23 Mar, 2021

Do you know there are two types of IELTS test - IELTS Academic (AC) and IELTS General Training (GT)? These are differentiated based upon the specific needs of the test takers.

Don’t worry, the format of both the test remains the same in terms of Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking modules. Although there are a few alterations in the content.

The first step to move ahead in IELTS is to figure out which one to select based upon the purpose of each test.

So, let’s study both in detail to identify which one is apt for your requirements.


  • IELTS Academic: If you wish to study abroad at an undergraduate or postgraduate level or are looking for professional registration like law, medical practice, etc., then IELTS Academic is the one you should choose. Rather than just your day-to-day communication, this test measures your language skills on an academic level and assess whether you are ready to begin your studying or training.
  • IELTS General Training: If you want to migrate to an English-speaking country or wish to study at a below degree level (secondary education), IELTS General Training is your perfect fit. Let’s understand with the help of an example. If you are living in the US, and your parents want to move with you, then they will have to take IELTS General Training.


Before starting with your IELTS preparation, it’s important to understand what it entails. Here is a quick preview to help you understand the test format of IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training:

The Reading Test

You will have 60 minutes to attempt 40 questions in multiple formats (Multiple Choice Questions, True/False, short-answer questions, etc.).

  • IELTS Academic: In this, you have out watch out for the author's voice, purpose, and key arguments. There will be three long academic-style texts (academic topic, from science to history) with different difficulty levels. A glossary will be provided for any term you might not know, so don't get panicked if you encounter any unfamiliar terms. The Academic test has 3 long texts which are usually taken from books, journals, magazines and newspapers. However, the entire test is designed keeping in mind the non-native speakers of the English language.
  • IELTS General Training: IELTS General Training tests your English- proficiency in a social setting. You can expect, four short passages with variable length and difficulty from a variety of everyday situations. These can be anything like from newspaper snippets to advertisements. Do remember that these everyday-style texts may seem simple but picking out the details from the chunk of information might be challenging. The topics usually revolve around notices or advertisements and are sometimes picked from company handbooks, official documents, books and newspapers

The Writing Test

  • IELTS Academic: you’d be required to describe a table/chart/diagram/graph etc. (in 100 words) followed by the second task to write a short essay (250 words).
  • IELTS General Training: you will have to write a letter (100 words) or an essay (250 words)

The Speaking and the Listening tests remain the same for both IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training.

You’ll be taking your Speaking test on a different day from your other tests, with a certified IELTS examiner. The test is approx. 13 minutes in all including Introduction and Interview, Long turn (discussing a particular topic) and Discussion (elaborating issues in the subject in greater depth).

We hope this helps you decide on which IELTS to take. Once you are ready to book, use our extensive range of free preparation material to get a higher band in your results.