Home » IELTS Academic Vs General Tests: Everything To Know

IELTS Academic Vs General Tests: Everything To Know

IELTS Academic Vs General Tests: Everything To Know
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Established in 1989, IELTS is one of the major English language tests worldwide. IELTS is an acronym that stands for International English Language Testing System. Its purpose is to provide a reasonable and accurate English language proficiency assessment. The British Council jointly manages it with IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge Assessment English. Here we discuss the major difference between IELTS academic and general tests

It has two modules academic and general tests.

What is IELTS Academic Test?

It assesses English language proficiency at an academic level that checks your eligibility to study at an undergraduate or postgraduate level or work for a professional organization as a doctor, nurse, teacher, etc.

What Are IELTS General Tests?

It determines English language proficiency in a practical everyday context. The tests consider workplace and social situations.

Similarities Between IELTS Academic and General Tests:

Both the Academic and general tests include four sections: listening, speaking, reading, and writing.

  •  Listening

    • It goes for a duration of 30 minutes.
    • You have to listen to four English recordings, each containing ten questions.
    • The purpose of this test is to check the understanding skills.
  •  Speaking

    • This test goes for about 14 minutes.
    • It consists of an interview between you and the trained, certified examiner.
    • This test is conducted in three parts.
    • In part 1, questions are asked on common topics related to family, work, and studies.
    • In part 2, you are made to speak on a given topic within a given time frame, and the examiner again questions on the same issue discussed by you.
    • In part 3, you have to discuss the ideas and challenges related to the topic you have spoken about in part 2.

Differences Between IELTS Academic and General Tests

IELTS academic vs general tests: Everything to know

There are some differences between the IELTS academic and general tests concerning reading and writing segments:

  • Reading

Academic Test:

The IELTS Academic test determines the reading capabilities. It should be completed within 60 minutes, wherein 40 questions are to be answered.  If you want to study abroad for higher education or a working profession, this test applies to you. This test will make you read three lengthy paragraphs, which can be factual, descriptive, or analytical. The reading matter is about general issues that are relevant to a variety of academic areas or topics. After reading the paragraphs, questions are to be answered.

General Test:

Similar to an academic test, an IELTS general test also gives you 40 questions to answer within 60 minutes. Here the reading matter is related to everyday life, professional training, and general interests. This test is more accessible than the academic test, wherein the words in the passages are the ones used daily.

  • Writing

Here you need to tackle two tasks within 60 minutes.

For the academic test in task 1, you are asked to write on different topics based on your studies. In a formal style, you have to write and explain in your own words the visual information about the tables, graphs, or diagrams supplied to you. In task 2, you have to write an essay based on the data provided with solid examples.

For the general test in task 1, you must write a letter on a given issue, which can be written in a formal, semi-formal, or informal style. In task 2, you have to write an assay of general interest.

Read to know: Improve Your IELTS Reading and Writing Skills with this Guide

Band score

The score of language proficiency is measured against the band score in IELTS. This band score ranges from band 0 to band 9. You will be given a band score from 1 to 9 based on your performance in the four tests of reading, writing, listening, and speaking.

The four tests’ average score shall be considered your final band score. This band score ranges from whole numbers (e.g., 7,8) and a half (e.g. 6.5,8.5.).

The minimum band score required to pass the IELTS test is 6.5, whereas the score required in each category is 6.0. This requirement may vary to different institution requirements.

IELTS band scoring is the same for academic and general writing, listening, and speaking tests. However, it is different for reading, i.e., the evaluation of raw score is different for the reading category for academic and general tests.


Active preparation is required to achieve the best results in IELTS exams. One of the best ways to do this is taking coaching before the test. IELTS classes in  Kuwait can help you pass this test with flying colors. The choice to take the academic or general test depends on your requirement and preference.

Read, How to Get a Good Score in IELTS Exam?

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