IELTS Academic vs IELTS General: What’s the Difference?

By Cyril Zachariah Updated On - Jan 19, 2021 03:44 PM

Confused between IELTS Academic and IELTS General? In this article, you can learn about the differences between IELTS Academic and General along with learning about the similarities between the test and know which one is best for you.

If you've decided to pursue higher education abroad then you must also have decided upon the standardised tests that you're going to appear for. Most likely you have decided to go for IELTS and are preparing to attempt the test and get ready for your adventure abroad. But wait! You find out that there are two types of IELTS tests that you can attempt and are confused between the two.

Worry no more! In this article, we shall discuss the difference between the two IELTS tests, viz. IELTS General and IELTS Academic, and which you should take for your higher education prospects.

What is the IELTS Academic?

As can be perceived from the name itself, IELTS academic has been designed primarily for aspirants who wish to pursue higher education different study abroad destinations like the United States of America, Canada, United Kingdom, etc. Including a more technical and professional syllabus, IELTS Academic is accepted worldwide and can be a preferred choice for many institutions. IELTS Academic provides the institution with the knowledge that you possess the needed knowledge and skills to move forward in the country under an academic and professional environment.

What is the IELTS General?

Similar to IELTS Academic, IELTS General has been designed for all aspirants travelling or migrating to other destinations like Australia, New Zealand, Germany, etc for secondary education, training or work experience, among others. IELTS General is highly recommended and accepted the world over and in many countries, a mandatory requirement. IELTS General evaluates your potential to basically survive in an English-speaking society and assess your survival skills in a broad workplace and social situations.

IELTS Academic vs General: What’s the Difference?

From what can be seen in the definitions for IELTS Academic and IELTS General, it is clear that both tests, even though are similar, have different uses. In fact, the tests more or less are similar as well, with most of the topics and duration being similar with a little twist here and there. The major difference between the two tests arises in the applications of these tests and their scores.

However, there are certain differences in the test as well. Since both tests are applicable in different scenarios, both tests need to be devised to assess different aspects of the candidate, to find them eligible for their respective ventures. Let’s check out what differences in tests are for IELTS Academic vs General.

Differences in IELTS Academic Test vs IELTS General Test

Both the tests, i.e. IELTS Academic and IELTS General consists of four distinct sections, viz. Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. These sections have been designed carefully to assess the different parameters of a candidate and define their potential. Primarily, the Listening and Speaking sections in both IELTS Academic and IELTS General will be similar with little to no changes. The major differences are seen in the Reading and Writing sections of both the tests, where the topics of concern change as well as the question-type changes.

Also Read: IELTS or TOEFL? Which Exam Should You Take to Study Abroad?

IELTS Academic vs General Differences: Reading & Writing Sections

The major differences between IELTS Academic and General Test lie in the Reading and Writing sections of the test, which have defined below.

Reading

Category

IELTS Academic

IELTS General

Format

  • Candidates will be required to read three reading passages, which will carry different types of questions with different types of tasks, that need to be completed.

  • Candidates will be asked to attempt three sections, the first containing a couple or few short texts, the second containing 2 texts, meanwhile, the third section will contain 1 long text.

Number of Questions

  • 40

  • 40

Type of Questions

  • MCQ

  • Information Matching

  • Identifying Information and author’s views and claims

  • Table, flow-chart, diagram label completion

  • Sentence completion

  • Short Answer Questions

  • MCQ

  • Information Matching

  • Identifying Information and author’s views and claims

  • Table, flow-chart, diagram label completion

  • Sentence completion

  • Short Answer Questions

Topics/Sources for Questions

  • Snippets from books, journals, newspapers and magazines will be the focus, however, the texts will be directed towards a non-specialist audience.

  • Topics used will be from General Interests

  • Issues that are accessible, appropriate and interesting will be a key focus.

  • One text will contain a logical argument.

  • Diagrams, graphs and other infographic information may be included in the texts.

  • The first section of the test will contain texts appropriate for the basic linguistic survival in English. Students will need to complete tasks that concern with retrieving and providing factual information.

  • The second section will contain tasks that concern itself with the workplace context.

  • The third section of the test will contain the “General Reading” aspect, such as reading extended prose with a complex structure.

  • This section will provide emphasis on descriptive and instructive instead of argumentative texts.

  • All texts will consist of information at a general level, for example, snippets from newspapers, magazines, or fictional and non-fictional books may be used.

Duration

  • 60 Minutes

  • 60 Minutes

Marks

  • Each question will carry 1 mark.

  • Each question will carry 1 mark.

These are the major differences that are seen between either IELTS Academic and IELTS General Reading section. In the following table, you will find the differences in the Writing section of the IELTS Academic and IELTS General tests.

Writing

Category

IELTS Academic

IELTS General

Format

  • This section includes two writing tasks which must be completed within the given time frame.

  • The section also includes 2 tasks which need to be attempted within the given time frame.

Number of Questions

  • 2

  • 2

Question Types

  • Ques 1 - Candidates must describe information gathered from an infographic like graphs, tables or charts, etc.

  • Here candidates will be asked to write a total of 150 words in 20 minutes

  • Ques 2 - Candidates will be asked to reply to an argument, point of view or a problem in 250 words within the remaining time.

  • Ques 1 - Candidates will be asked to provide their opinion on a situation by writing a letter, either asking for information or explaining the situation given to them.

  • Ques 2 - Candidates will be asked to provide their opinion on an argument, problem or a point of view through an essay.

Duration

  • 60 Minutes

  • 60 Minutes

Note: Under the writing section of both IELTS Academic and IELTS General, candidates will not be allowed to write the passages using Notes or Bullet points.

Mentioned in the table above are the major points of differences that are commonly seen between the two IELTS tests. However, these differences make the candidate eligible for different reasons to travel abroad and pursue their ambitions.

Now let’s look into the similarities that are found between the two IELTS.

Also Read: 10 Mistakes You Should Avoid Making on Tests like GRE and GMAT

IELTS Academic & General Similarities: Listening and Speaking

The other two sections in both the IELTS tests are Listening and Speaking section of the tests. Candidates appearing for either IELTS Academic or IELTS General will be required to attempt the Listening and Speaking sections as well. In both the tests, Listening and Speaking sections will contain similar questions based on similar topics. Here is what you can expect from the Speaking and Listening sections under the IELTS Academic and IELTS General Tests.

IELTS Academic & General Similarities

Category

Listening

Speaking

Format

  • The question paper will contain 4 parts which will consist of 10 questions.

  • Part 1 & 2 is designed with a common social context, with Part one including two main speakers and Part 2 containing a monologue.

  • Part 3 & 4 is designed in the context of education and training purposes. Part 3 will consist of a conversation between 2 speakers and Part 4 will consist of a monologue, all on topics of education and training.

  • Here, candidates will be seated personally with an examiner and asked to attempt an oral interview.

  • The speaking tests will be recorded.

Number of Questions

  • 40

  • NA

Question Types

Different types of questions such as:

  • MCQ

  • Table/Flowchart/Infographic Completion

  • Note/Summary/Note Completion

  • Information Matching

  • Labelling of Diagrams, Maps or Plans

  • Completion of Sentences

  • The test will include three parts which have been designed to assess different aspects of a candidate, with regards to the pattern of interaction, task input and the output of the candidate.

Duration

  • Approx 30 Minutes. Additional 10 minutes may be offered to the students to transfer the answers.

  • 11 - 14 Minutes.

Thus, apart from the Reading and Writing sections of the tests and the applications of the test scores, IELTS Academic and IELTS General are similar in nature. However, if you are travelling abroad for higher education purposes, one of the better options for you will be to attempt IELTS Academic as most universities prefer IELTS Academic scores. Before applying to a university or college, go through the respective admissions requirements for international students and attempt the tests recommended by the University of your choice.

Both Speaking and Listening sections under IELTS Academic and IELTS General are important sections and many students struggle to clear these sections. Therefore, ensure that you are prepared for the tests with as much practice as possible.

Top Universities for You in the World

Here is a list of some of the top universities in the world that offer academic programmes that are globally recognised and reputed.

University Name

Disciplines Offered

Location

University of California - Riverside Campus

Bachelors:

  • Business & Management

  • Engineering

Masters:

  • Engineering

  • Commerce

  • Business & Management

  • Hospitality & Leisure

Riverside, USA

Northwestern University

Bachelors:

  • Applied and Pure Sciences

  • Engineering

  • Business and Management

Masters:

  • Computer Science and IT

  • Journalism and Mass Media

  • Engineering

  • Business and Management

  • Applied and Pure Sciences

Evanston, USA

University of Oxford

Bachelors:

  • Social Sciences

  • Business and Management

  • Humanities and Liberal Arts

  • Engineering

Masters:

  • Commerce

  • Business Management

  • Engineering

  • Social Sciences

Oxford, UK

Liverpool Hope University

Bachelors:

  • Applied and Pure Sciences

  • Computer Science and IT

  • Business and Management

  • Hospitality & Leisure

  • Humanities and Liberal Arts

Masters:

  • Business and Management

  • Engineering

  • Humanities and Liberal Arts

  • Computer Science & IT

Liverpool, UK

Victoria University

Bachelors:

  • Commerce

  • Computer Science & IT

  • Business & Management

  • Engineering

  • Architecture

Masters:

  • Business and Management

  • Vocational

  • Computer Science & IT

  • Commerce

  • Applied and Pure Sciences

Melbourne, Australia

Box Hill Institute of TAFE

Bachelors:

  • Engineering

  • Applied and Pure Sciences

Melbourne, Australia

Also Read: Everything You Should Know About GRE General Test at Home

These are just a few of the universities and colleges that you can apply to pursue your higher education aspirations. Across the world, you will find thousands of globally competitive universities that offer unique student experiences and help build career opportunities and paths that one dreams of.

If you are interested in checking out the different colleges and universities on offer across the world, then check out our website and browse through the sea of options in universities, colleges and institutions.

You can also clear out your doubts regarding international admissions and education by reaching out to us at 785-9990-990 or at abroad@collegedekho.com.

All the Best!

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