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The difference between IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is an English test designed to help you work, study or migrate to a country where English is the first language. IELTS is the only English proficiency test that allows candidates to choose between an academic test and a general test. More than 11,500 employers, universities, schools and immigration organizations worldwide, including 3,400 in the United States, recognize IELTS as evidence of English proficiency.

What is the difference between IELTS Academic vs IELTS General Training?

General IELTS training is for people who want to live and work abroad in an English-speaking country. It mainly focuses on assessing a person’s competence, confidence and fluency when communicating in English in everyday situations they are likely to encounter in a native English speaking environment.

For its part, the IELTS Academic test is aimed at students who want to continue their higher education abroad. Therefore, it is designed to assess whether the candidate is ready and able to use English as a language of study.

Now that you know why people take IELTS Academic or IELTS General Training, let’s look at the differences in content between the two tests.


The Reading and Writing sections are different in the IELTS General Training test and the IELTS Academic test, so here’s what’s different:

IELTS Academic

There are 3 sections in the IELTS Academic Reading test, and each section contains one long passage. These passages are taken from books, magazines, and journals.  

IELTS General Training

In the IELTS General Training Reading test, passages are taken from brochures, advertisements and documents you might find in the workplace. Part 1 contains several short texts, part 2 contains two longer texts, and part 3 contains one long paragraph.


In the Writing test, there are two tasks that the test taker has to complete.

IELTS Academic

IELTS Writing Task 1:

You are provided with visual information, which can be in the form of tables, graphs, diagrams, maps or procedures. You are required to write a short report describing this visual information in at least 150 words. A formal writing style is needed here.

IELTS General Training

In this test, you also have to complete two tasks, however the topics are more general in nature: 

IELTS Writing Task 1:

You are asked to write a letter about a certain situation. The letter may have a formal tone and may be a request, complaint, explanation or recommendation. Additionally, you may be asked to write an informal letter to a friend, such as inviting them to visit you and suggesting activities you can do together.

IELTS Writing Task 2:

As mentioned above, Task 2 is the same for Academic and General Training as it is required to answer a statement or premise in a formal essay. However, in the general education essay test, the essay topic is more general.

You can also prepare for the IELTS exam with Divine Trainings practice test, for the General Training and Academic tests. Take this authorized simulation test to achieve an assigned score and authorized feedback report. The official feedback report provides scores for each component of the test as well as an indicative total score.

Additionally, certified IELTS examiners will provide you with personalized feedback in each area of ​​your speaking and writing test. You can choose from 4 different academic tests and 4 different general education tests. No matter what you want to achieve, there is an IELTS test to help you achieve your goals. Knowing the difference between the two types of tests makes it easier for you to choose the type of test that best suits what you want to achieve.

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