A lot of people doing the IELTS aren’t sure of which one to take: IELTS Academic or IELTS General.
Well, it depends on why you are doing the IELTS.
If you are doing it to get into an English-speaking university or professional registration, then you will need to do the IELTS Academic. If you are doing it for migration purposes, then you will need to do the IELTS General.
The IELTS test has 4 parts:
- Writing (task 1 & 2)
Writing Task 2, Listening and Speaking are the same for both IELTS Academic and IELTS general.
Writing task 2 is an essay. You will be given an essay question to answer in 40 minutes by writing at least 250 words.
In the Listening test, you will hear 4 audio recordings and have to answer 40 questions. It lasts between 30-40 minutes.
In the Speaking test, you will be interviewed by an examiner. This test includes 3 parts: the interview, the short presentation and the discussion. It last between 11-14 minutes.
The only difference between the two tests is Writing Task 1 and Reading.
So, how are they different? I’ll start off with writing task 1 and then move onto the reading.
IELTS Academic VS IELTS General: Writing Task 1
Describe and analyse data in one of the following:
- Bar chart
- Line graph
- Pie chart
Write a letter in one of the following styles:
- Formal (to someone you do not know)
- Semi-formal (to someone you know formally)
- Informal (to friend or family)
You get 20 minutes to complete both of these tasks and must write at least 150 words for each.
IELTS Academic VS IELTS General: Reading
- 3 long passages increasing in difficulty
- Academic style texts (journal articles, text-book extracts)
- Texts related to academic topics such as science, history, sociology
- 4 short passages increasing in length and difficulty
- More general /everyday style texts
- Texts related to social survival (advertisements, notices etc.); workplace survival (job descriptions, employment contracts etc.); general texts (newspapers, magazines, travel brochures etc.)
You get an hour to complete both of these reading tasks (50 minutes of reading time and 10 minutes to transfer your answers onto your answer sheet). Both tests include 40 questions in total.
Which IELTS is for you?
Ahmad is applying to get into university in Australia. He wants to study a Master of Business at the University of Melbourne. Although he has graduated from an English-speaking university in Egypt, the University of Melbourne has requested an IELTS test. To be considered for acceptance into the Master’s program, Ahmad will need to complete the Academic IELTS.
Jaspreet is on a Working Holiday visa from India. She has applied for a job with an IT company in London. The company has asked for evidence of Jaspreet’s English ability. Jaspreet should complete the IELTS Academic.
Gabriela is a dentist from Brazil. She now lives in Sydney and wants to apply for registration with the Dental Board of Australia. In order to do so, Gabriela will need to complete the IELTS Academic.
Juan visited Ontario last year and met the love of his life. He now wants to migrate to Canada to be with her. As part of his application for immigration, Juan will need to complete the IELTS General.
If you aren’t sure which one to take, ask the organisation that has requested the IELTS. From there, you can sign up to one of our flexible, online IELTS courses to learn the strategies and methods you’ll need to succeed on the Academic or General IELTS!
Written by Jamal Abilmona.