Are you working in full swing to study or immigrate abroad? If you want to go overseas to build a better future, you have to prove your fluency in English and pass an English proficiency test. Depending on your purpose, you have to take a specific type of IELTS exam. If you want to know more, we are here to educate you about the types of IELTS exam.

This write-up elaborates on certain topics you need to know about the what is  IELTS exam format. Go through the article carefully to learn about the difference between academic and general IELTS.

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Different types of IELTS exam: IELTS academic and general training

IELTS uses two types of IELTS exam: IELTS academic exam and IELTS general training. These tests assess your English language skills in speaking, listening, reading, and writing.

If you plan to pursue higher education abroad, the IELTS academic test may be mandatory for you to prove your proficiency in English. Many universities demand that international students give proof of English proficiency to gain admission.

You can also opt for this test for professional purposes.

The test assesses your skills in English, featuring academic vocabulary.

The IELTS general training test is often demanded for those enrolling in below degree level courses at an English-speaking school or college. You can also opt for this test for work experience or other employment training too.

You need to clear the IELTS general test for migration purposes, especially to Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the UK. The test checks English language skills required for daily social and workplace interactions.


Types of IELTS exam

ielts exam eligibility

In both types of IELTS exam, you have to take four types of IELTS modules- the listening, reading, and writing tests one after the other. Usually, the speaking test takes place in the afternoon. However, the examiner can schedule it within seven days before or after. Your local IELTS test center will contact you and inform you of the date and location.

IELTS listening test:

The IELTS listening test takes about half an hour and extra 10 minutes to transfer attempted answers to the answer sheet. The test format of the listening test is the same for IELTS academic and IELTS general training modules.

Applicants have to listen to four recorded texts, conversations, and monologues by native speakers. They also have to write answers to a series of questions. The test includes the ability to comprehend main ideas, detailed factual information, decipher speakers’ opinions and attitudes, understand the purpose/context of what is said, and the ability to follow the progression of ideas.

In this test, there will be a variety of voices or accents in each section.

The IELTS listening test has four sections:

  1. Section 1 has an everyday conversation between two individuals set in a social context—for example, a conversation between two professionals.
  2. Section 2 consists of an everyday monologue set in a social context—for example, a speech about local facilities.
  3. Section 3 comprises a conversation with four people in an educational or training context. For instance, a university tutor explains an assignment to the students.
  4. Section 4 has a monologue on an academic topic, such as a university lecture.

IELTS reading test

The IELTS reading test lasts for about 60 minutes. It includes 40 questions and a variety of question types to test reading skills. The test consists of reading the gist, reading main ideas, reading detail, skimming, comprehending logical argument, identifying writers’ opinions, behavior, and purpose.

Reading tests for different types of IELTS exam

The two types of English language reading tests for IELTS are-

IELTS academic reading test:

The reading test contains three long texts ranging from discursive and analytical to descriptive and factual. The texts are complex and come from journals, books, magazines, and newspapers. These texts have been selected for a non-native English audience but are appropriate for anyone enrolling in undergraduate/postgraduate courses or looking for professional registration.

IELTS general training reading test:

This IELTS reading test includes three passages with tasks. It accesses your reading skills by making you read excerpts from magazines, newspapers, notices, books, advertisements, company handbooks, and guidelines. These passages assess English language proficiency in reading.

IELTS writing test

This IELTS writing test takes about one hour.

IELTS academic writing test:

This test includes two tasks: topics of general interest and suitable for anyone entering undergraduate/postgraduate courses.

In task 1, students will get a graph, table, chart, or diagram, and they have to describe, summarize or explain the information as per their English language skills. Students may have to define data, describe the stages of how something works or describe an object or event.

In task 2, candidates have to write an essay responding to the point of view, argument, or problem. Keep in mind that one has to formally write the responses to both tasks.

IELTS general training writing test:

The IELTS general training test writing includes two tasks based on topics of general interest.

In task 1, candidates will be presented with a situation and asked to write a letter requesting information or elaborating on the situation. The letter can be personal, semi-formal, and formal in style.

In task 2, students need to write an essay responding to the point of view, argument, or problem. The essay has to be slightly more personal in style than the academic writing task 2 essay.

IELTS speaking test

The speaking skills test takes about 11 to 14 minutes. Interestingly, the speaking test is the same for both IELTS academic and IELTS general training.

The IELTS speaking test is a face to face interview designed to assess your spoken English language skills.

Note: the examiner records this test.

The speaking test comprises three parts:

In task 1, students have to answer general questions about themselves and familiar topics like their family, home, work, studies, and interests. This part takes 4 to 5 minutes.

In task 2, students get a card and talk about a particular topic. They get one minute to prepare before speaking on the topic for two minutes. The examiner may also ask one or two questions on the same topic.

In task 3, students need to answer further questions connected to the topic. These questions allow students an opportunity to elaborate on more abstract issues and ideas. This part goes on for four to five minutes.

Note: the speaking test is taken to get enough time to rehearse set responses.


Similarities between IELTS academic and general training tests- Parts common for different types of IELTS exam

types of examination

Both IELTS academic and general training tests focus on similar matters, contexts, and themes such as university lectures, classroom conversations, and course material.

All students have to apply for both tests. There will be similar listening and speaking tests and different reading and writing tests.

An aspirant won’t get any break between listening, reading, and writing tests. On the other hand, one can finish the speaking section one week before or after the other tests.

Fortunately, both tests have more similarities than differences. There will be a similar time frame and test format such as 4 sections, evaluating speaking skills, listening, reading, and writing for 45 minutes. The registration procedure of both tests is similar.


Differences between academic and general IELTS – Different types of IELTS exam

what is ielts exam

Speaking test

The speaking test is the same for IELTS academic or general training. However, the timing of the test may change from 11 to 14 minutes. It has a face to face discussion on a familiar topic where a certified examiner interviews the applicant.

Writing test

The writing test differs from both IELTS general training and IELTS academic exam.

IELTS general training lasts for one hour.

In task 1, candidates have to write a letter requesting information or describing a particular situation. The letter could be personal, semi-formal, or formal in style.

In task 2, applicants have to write an essay responding to a different point of view argument or problem. One needs to write this essay in a somewhat personal style.

The IELTS academic exam has a duration of one hour. Candidates have to finish two tasks in this test.

In task 1, candidates should describe some visual information in 150 words within 20 minutes.

In task 2, candidates must respond to an argument in 250 words within 40 minutes.

IELTS listening test

This IELTS section lasts approximately half an hour. Students get ten minutes extra for transferring their answer sheets. This section contains 4 sub-sections; each section comprises 10 questions related to educational, social, and training contexts.

In this section, an applicant has to choose one of the sections given in the test. One needs to play the audio, listen carefully, and answer the questions.

Reading test

The reading test differs from the IELTS academic and general training tests.

The IELTS general training test lasts for 1 hour, in which candidates have to complete 3 sections of 40 questions.

  1. Section 1 has 2-3 factual topics most spoken in English-speaking countries.
  2. Section 2 contains two factual tests related to work (for example, workplace facilities and company policies)
  3. Section 3 includes a large section of complex texts related to general interest topics.

In the IELTS academic reading test, candidates must complete three sections (40 questions) in one hour. The texts in the academic test can be more challenging than the general test. These texts come from newspapers, magazines, books, and academic topics.


Conclusion : Why knowing about different types of IELTS exam matters

To acquire a good score in IELTS academic or general exams, you need to improve your grammar, vocabulary, speaking abilities, and listening skills. We have an excellent track record of our students who passed two types of IELTS exam.

At Mindmine Global, we have professionals who help you pass this exam with flying colors. We offer top-notch coaching facilities in Delhi for students and familiarize you with the difference between academic and general IELTS.

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Which IELTS should I Take?

The IELTS is a widely recognized and standardized English language assessment test for international students and global migration. It accesses the English language proficiency of non-native speakers who want to study in or migrate to English-speaking countries.

Depending on your goal, you have to choose the right type of IELTS test. If you want to study abroad in an university, you have to go for the IELTS Academic test. If you want to immigrate abroad, you have to go for the general IELTS test which tests your proficiency in English for social and professional interactions.

What is the difference between academic and general IELTS?

The IELTS academic module is usually for people who have high proficiency in English. These students aim to study at colleges or universities that require a student’s IELTS report for enrollment. Most countries these days demand an excellent IELTS band score for admission in their universities or colleges like Australia, the UK, the USA, etc.

This way, they can check whether students are suitable for the English atmosphere at their campus or not before enrolling them in their institution. We must mention that some universities in some countries do not require IELTS reports for enrollment- like some institutes in Afghanistan, Brazil, Canada and Japan.

The IELTS general training test evaluates a person’s level of English for use in all fields. It deals with four areas: speaking, listening, writing, and reading skills. The entire test takes about 3 hours 30 minutes with 4 parts.

What is IELTS academic test?

The IELTS test helps universities get an accurate reflection on how well applicants communicate in English. Most universities abroad will demand a certain band score in the IELTS academic test to allow admission in their programs. The IELTS academic test may feature questions that test your academic vocabulary.
Talk to our trainers in Mindmine Global to prepare for the IELTS academic test, so that you can reach the band score required to get admitted in your dream course.a

Will Mindmine Global professionals help me with the IELTS academic training test?

Our teachers can give more time to teaching vocabulary, which requires a higher understanding of academic context such as idioms, phrasal verbs, etc. We also may not wholly focus on developing students’ reading abilities through direct/indirect approaches but adopt strategies that focus on comprehension skills like predicting, summarizing, and inferring. We provide more opportunities to develop writing skills using journal entries and class discussions to give students more practice.

How can Mindmine Global professionals help me with the IELTS general training test?

Teachers will help you develop a helpful vocabulary for everyday situations for the IELTS general training test. They provide students with more opportunities to develop their speaking skills through role-play, class discussion, etc. Our teachers also make sure that students understand the difference between formal and informal English.

Our teachers are aware of the difference between academic and general IELTS. We will prepare students accordingly, which will help them score high marks.

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