Differences between the Academic and General Training IELTS test

The two types

Differences between the Academic and General Training IELTS test
There are two types of IELTS test – the Academic Module and the General Training Module. It is important when preparing and applying to sit the exam that you are clear on what test you should be taking.

Is the General Training IELTS test easier than the Academic Module?

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Many people believe that the General Training IELTS test is easier because the first two sections of the reading test use less complicated texts, and in Task I of the writing you need to write a letter (in the Academic Module, you need to describe a graph, chart, table or diagram). However, it is important to keep in mind that although the reading may be easier, you actually need more correct answers to get the same bandscore.

General Training reading Academic Module reading
Correct answers Score Correct answers Score
40 9 40 9
38 8.5 38 8.5
37 8 35 8
36 7.5 33 7.5
34 7 30 7
32 6.5 27 6.5
30 6 23 6
26 5.5 19 5.5
23 5 15 5
19 4.5 14 4.5
15 4 12 4
11 3.5 10 3.5
8 3 8 3

What’s the difference?

Both tests cover all four skills but there are a few important differences as shown in the table below.
General Training Module:

Listening

Speaking

Writing

Reading

4 sections, 40 questions, 4 recordings 3 parts, 11 to 14 minutes in length 2 tasks – a letter (150 words) and an essay (250 words). Both tasks must be completed within 60 minutes. 3 sections with up to 6 different texts. Section 1 focuses on ‘survival’ English, Section 2 on workplace situations and Section 3 is general reading. A total of 40 questions which must be completed within 60 minutes.

Academic Module

Listening

Speaking

Writing

Reading

[The same as the General Training] [The same as the General Training] 2 tasks – writing about a graph, chart, diagram or table (150 words) and an essay (250 words). Both tasks must be completed within 60 minutes. Each of the 3 sections has a single reading text of between 700 and 100 words. A total of 40 questions which must be completed within 60 minutes.

 

Which one should I take?

The Academic Module is taken by candidates

  • looking for professional registration (e.g. nurse, dentist, lawyer) in an English speaking country
  • aiming to study at university level in an English speaking country.

The General Training Module is taken by candidates

  • moving to live in an English speaking country
  • aiming to study at secondary school level in an English speaking country
  • doing non-academic work experience or training in an English speaking country.

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