IELTS Academic vs General: Everything You Need to Know About the 2 Test Types

I know you might be confused about what IELTS is and the best choice that suits your desired dreams, but I can assure you that going through this article will give you a perfect answer to whatever decision you need to make when it comes to IELTS Academic vs General.

IELTS is an international exam body trusted by several schools and training bodies, which helps determine the fate of the students.

There are two different IELTS tests available which are:

  1. IELTS Academic
  2. IELTS General Training
IELTS Academic vs General

Your choice of IELTS is based on what you want to use the exam for, but before you book your IELTS Examination, be sure which one best suits your plans.

IELTS Academic

IELTS academic is used to investigate your level of knowledge of the English language. This is essential for those relocating to an English-Speaking country or environment.

IELTS academic is used to determine if you are ready to study English and understand the register of academics in the English Language. Also, for people entering higher institutions of learning or professional purposes.

You should take IELTS academic if you want to do one of these things:

  • Study at an undergraduate or postgraduate level anywhere in the world.
  • If you’re going to work in any English-Speaking environmental country for a professional exam.

If you would like to advance your studies in a European country, you will need to take the IELTS academic test, otherwise, you won’t be allowed to study in a credible university in the country.

Nevertheless, if your intention is just to migrate into the country, without having to study, you don’t need to take the IELTS academics.

If you would like to take the IELTS academic test, it usually costs around $245. Bear in mind that the exam is a professional one, you must give the exam all it takes to ensure you have an outstanding result.

Also, you should acknowledge that any score below 7 is considered poor and will hardly be accepted by any institution, hence it’s germane that you work towards having above this mark.

Having a minimum score of 9.0 goes a long way, for you to be considered for admission to any institution that you might have chosen.

To have an outstanding score in your IELTS academic exam, it’s important that you read enough of past questions and study them, as most of the questions you might be tested with are picked from past questions.

Hence studying most of the past questions that have been asked, goes a long way in helping you have an outstanding score.

Also, you can enroll in online courses or training for IELTS academics, to make yourself fully prepared for the exam. In addition to this, you can find a lot of helpful materials on youtube, which will prepare you for the exam ahead of you.

Now that you know you can’t go for the IELTS without praying for it, consider all the above information, before you finally go in for the IELTS academic exam.

IELTS General

The general training test contains topics generally (it can be about anything) and also about our everyday life. The test includes both pleasant and workplace situations.

Take this test if you want to:

  • Work in your home country
  • Emigrate and work in an English-speaking country
  • Study/train below degree level(high school)
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There are some certain countries that the IELTS general is important like Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the U.K, and so on.

If you would like to work in an area where it’s a must for you to be able to communicate in the English language, you will need to take the IELTS general exam. It will be used to assess your capability when it comes to speaking English.

These books will assist you to prepare well for the exam, and you can as well take advantage of paid courses that can assist to prepare for the exam, youtube could as well help with tips on how to maximize your chances for the exam.

Book Your IELTS General Training Test

Depending on individual choices, IELTS can either be a paper-based or an online test in several locations around your home country.

Nevertheless, if you would like to take the test online, it will be at an accredited center, ensuring you meet up with the time.

IELTS Indicator

The IELTS indicator was introduced during the Covid-19 period to measure English language level and keep your Educational goal on track.

 Details of IELTS Exam


IELTS is divided into four main sections which are:

  • Writing
  • Listening
  • Speaking
  • Reading

IELTS Listening and Speaking tests are the same whether in Academic or General tests.

IELTS Reading and writing tests are different in both Academic and General tests.

The IELTS Academic test contains academic questions suitable for anyone entering a university or college undergraduate or postgraduate study.

The IELTS General test contains our everyday life; the question can be asked from anywhere but not academics.

Which IELTS Test Type is the Best For Me?

Read to know which IELTS test type suits your reasons for writing the exams.

  • Thinking of relocating to an English-Speaking country to further your studies, then IELTS Academic is best for you.
  • Thinking of relocating abroad for greener pastures or getting a better job, then IELTS General is right for you.
  • Thinking of going to any of the countries mentioned (Australia, the Uk, Canada, New Zealand, e.t.c), the IELTS General test is the right type for you.
  • If you are studying in a high school, a college, training Center, or secondary school, the IELTS General test is good for you.
  • If you are going to further your studies as undergraduate or postgraduate studies, then IELTS Academic is the best type for you.
  • Thinking of moving permanently or you want to have a permanent residency, IELTS General is the best option for you.
  • You want to get another job in your hometown or home country; the IELTS General is the best option for you.
  •  You want to go to a postdoctoral program abroad, then IELTS Academic is the right option for you.
  • You want to work with a professional organization, IELTS Academic is the best option for you.

Please take note of the requirements of any organization or school before booking your test type and writing the exams.

Similarities IELTS Academic vs General

There are some similarities both IELTS General and Academic both have. Which are:

  1. Listening
  2. The IELTS Academic and General training has a listening test duration of 30 mins.
  3. The IELTS listening test is both divided into four sections each.
  4. Section 1 and section 2 for both IELTS Academic and General tests consist of social activities or everyday life.
  5. Section 3 and section 4 of both IELTS Academic and generally consist of Academic training.
  6. Reading
  7. The exam duration for both IELTS general and academic is 60 minutes for both exams.
  8. They both have three sections each
  9.  Speaking
  10. Both exams will require you to have a face-to-face interview with a certified IELTS examiner.
  11. The speaking test for Academic training and General training is the same, and both have a duration of 11-14 minutes.
  12. Their section consists of short and long questions where certified IELTS examiners will examine students’ knowledge.
  13. Writing
  14. Both IELTS Academic and General test sections last for 60 mins each
  15. Both IELTS Academic and General tests have two tasks. Task 1 is 150 words, while Task 2 is a minimum of 250 words.
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Differences in IELTS Academic and IELTS General-Reading and Writing Test

The significant differences in IELTS Academics and General test are in the reading test and the writing aspect.

  1. The IELTS General reading test has 2 to 3 short the intent in the first section, two quick content in the second section, and an extended essay in the third section about a general topic. In contrast, in IELTS Academics, the reading aspects have a variety of ranges to read. Note content might contain graphs,  diagrams, and so on in the IELTS Academic test.
  2. The IELTS General test has two different tasks, which are:
    1.  Letter writing for task 1
    2. Essay writing for task 2

In contrast, IELTS Academic test also has two tasks which are:

  • An essay for task 1
  • A write-up about a graph for task 2.

How IELTS Exam is Calculated-IELTS General and IELTS Academics Test.

Both IELTS test scores range from 1-9. The 1-9 is for each part of the test – Writing, reading, speaking, and listening

The overall score is calculated by adding up all your band scores and dividing it by four or getting the average of all the band scores.

E.g., {7.50 +4.50  +6.0  +2.50} >?:”} ÷ 4 = 5.125

The 5.125 will be the overall band score.

Note– If your band score ends in .25 in any of the tests, it will be rounded up to .50, and if it ends in .75, it will be rounded up to the following whole number.

More explanation on Bands(1-9 bands of IELTS)

0) You didn’t attend-You didn’t try any questions at all

l.) Denied-Your capacity to use current words is poor

2.) Intermittent – Your ability in understanding new words is low

3.) Extremely limited- There is a problem in fundamental communications

4.) Limited- Difficulty in comprehending simple comprehension.

5.)Modest -You can handle essential communications but often make many mistakes.

6.)  Competent-You can use complicated words well and have a good understanding of complicated words.

7.) Good -You are perfect and have an excellent reasoning level

8.)  Very good- You are perfect in complicated argumentation but misunderstand some words in foreign circumstances.

9.) Expert- You are perfect, competently eloquent with utilizing new terms, and have a very significant level of understanding of new words.


The minimum requirement to scale through IELTS exams, whether Academic or General best Is 6.0/6.5 in each category – Writing, Reading, Speaking, Listening.

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Both exams are rated the same way except for reading which is 25% of the whole exams.

Discover Everything You Need to Have a Band Score of 7+ In Your IELTS Exam

How to grade your IELTS Academic Exams- Reading test only

S/NRaw TestBand Score
16 -73
28 – 93.5
310 – 124
413 – 144.5
515 -165
619 – 225.5
723 – 266
827 – 296.5
930 – 327
1033 – 347.5
1135 – 368
1237 – 388.5
1339 – 409

How to grade IELTS General Exam-Reading Test only

S/NAverage ScoreBand Score
19 – 113
212 – 143.5
315 – 184
419 – 224.5
523 – 265
627 – 295.5
730 – 316
832 – 336.5
934 -357
1137 – 388

Fees For IELTS Exams

Please note that IELTS Academics and general test exam fee is the same everywhere except India, and also check the official webpage for the required fee.

  • Find out the exam fees for your home country
  • Payment can be made through debit or credit cards.
  • Payment also can be made through deposit at any authorized bank

Which is the Easiest – IELTS Academic or IELTS, General

IELTS General is the easier exam between the two, and most questions are from our society and our everyday lives.

The IELTS General question is used to examine your level of knowledge in the English Language.

There is no pass or fail in IELTS exams. If you get a high score, you will be placed in a high-class university.

Exams can be done as many times as possible, but thorough preparation is required to get a high score that will place you in your dream school or get you your dream job.

Academics IELTS is conducted to know your level of comprehension. The scoring band is also different from each other, but both have been compared with each other, IELTS General is more accessible than IELTS Academics.

Nevertheless, there are no criteria that can be used to judge which one is easy or not, the goal is for you to put your mind to whichever of the exams you’ve chosen to write.

Also, you should bear in mind that these two exams have different objectives, hence you should aim at going for the one that best suits your purpose of immigrating abroad.

When/Where is the Exam Conducted- IELTS General and IELTS Academics

Both tests are conducted by the British Council, Cambridge, and IDP IELTS India, across India.

Anyone interested in the exams should visit the official webpage of the council, book the exam date and also get an exam Center around you.

IELTS exams are conducted 4 times a month, 48 times a year. So you choose whichever time is convenient for you in any period of the year and write your exams.


  • IELTS Exams are usually held on Thursdays and Saturdays.
  • There are also different IELTS dates for different locations.
  • The IELTS reading, writing, and listening test are done on the same day but the speaking test is usually 7 days before or 7 days after the main exam date.
  • IELTS Exam is available 3 times a day and throughout the days of the week for computer-based test paper-based test is available for  4 times a month.


In this article, we have carefully examined the difference between IELTS academics and IELTS general. If you were confused about these two before, we believe these articles would have been able to provide clarification.

Let’s know in the comment box if there is any question you would like to ask. We would like to hear from you.

Musa Abiodun
Musa Abiodun
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