IELTS Academic or IELTS General: Which One Should I Take?

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Are you interested in pursuing a college education in the UK? Or perhaps, you are thinking of migrating to Canada and are wondering if you can work there? Are you wondering which exam you should take to prove your proficiency in the English language when on a working holiday in Australia? If yes, then read on…

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is an English language test conducted by the ETS. It checks your understanding of the English language with the help of four test components – reading, writing, listening and speaking. Here is more about the IELTS:

  • The test lasts for 2 hours and 45 minutes.
  • The Listening, Reading and Writing parts of the test can be attempted on the same day while the Speaking section can be taken up to 1 week later.
  • IELTS is scored on a scale of 0 to 9.
  • Results are available online 13 days after taking the test.
  • There are two types of IELTS exam: IELTS Academic and IELTS General.
  • Test fees for both is INR 12,650.

Let’s take a look at both formats of the IELTS in detail:

  1. IELTS Academic


    IELTS Academic is the test that you should take if you are looking to pursue a bachelor’s or master’s degree in UK, Australia, NZ or Canada. You can also take the test if you are a medical, nursing, accounting or engineering professional and are about to join an organisation in the above countries.

    The test consists of 4 parts:

    • Reading

      This part of the test consists of 40 questions to be attempted within 60 minutes. Questions are designed to assess your reading skills with the help of 3 long texts taken from magazine articles, journals, handbooks, newspapers, etc.

    • Writing

      The Writing part of the test includes 2 tasks to be attempted within 60 minutes. Task 1 would require you to describe, summarize or explain information represented in the given graph, table, chart or diagram. Task 2 would need you to write an essay in response to an argument. You are expected to adopt a formal writing style while attempting both tasks.

    • Speaking

      This part tests your spoken English. It takes anywhere between 11 and 14 minutes to complete. Your answers will be recorded. It consists of 3 sections:

      • Section 1: This section is an introduction of sorts. You will be asked to answer general questions related to yourself, your family, work, studies, hobbies, etc. It would take you 4-5 minutes to complete this section.
      • Section 2: You would be assigned a topic and given a minute prepare your thoughts. You would then have to speak on the topic for 2 minutes. Once you are done, the examiner may ask you a few questions on the same topic.
      • Section 3: In this section, you will be asked further questions related to the topic on which you spoke in Section 2. It would take you 4-5 minutes to complete this section.
    • Listening

      This part tests your ability to understand main ideas, opinions, attitudes, etc. of the speakers. It is to be attempted within 30 minutes. You will be required to listen to recorded monologues and conversations in various accents and then write your answers to certain questions. It consists of 4 sections:

      • Section 1: A conversation between two native speakers in a social setting.
      • Section 2: A monologue describing an event in detail.
      • Section 3: A conversation between two or more people in an organizational setting.
      • Section 4: An academic monologue.

      There are 48 IELTS Academic test dates available in India on specific Thursdays and Saturdays of each month. Check out IELTS Academic test dates for 2018.

  2. IELTS General


    IELTS General should be your test of choice if you’re planning on migrating to an English-speaking country for secondary education, training or work experience. It may also be a visa requirement for settling in countries like Australia, UK, Canada and New Zealand. It measures your English language skills in a more practical, everyday context.

    IELTS General is similar to IELTS Academic in terms of its Listening and Speaking components. However, the Reading and Writing components are slightly different:

    • Reading

      This component requires you to answer 40 questions in 60 minutes. It is divided into 3 tasks:

      • Task 1: Questions based on 2 or 3 short factual passages
      • Task 2: In-context questions following 2 short passages based in organizational settings
      • Task 3: Questions following 1 long passage based on a topic of general interest
    • Writing

      This component requires you to perform 2 tasks in 60 minutes:

      • Task 1: Letter writing of at least 150 words
      • Task 2: Essay writing of at least 20 words

      IELTS General is available in India on 24 test dates that fall on specific Thursdays and Saturdays of each month.Check out IELTS General test dates for 2018.

The key difference between the two formats is that, the Reading and Writing sections of IELTS Academic are of a higher level than those of IELTS General. Ultimately, the organisation that you apply to will decide what level of English proficiency it expects of you and will specify which test is acceptable to it. Best of luck!

Thank you for reading, if you have any further queries on IELTS, please email us on jamboreeindia@jamboreeindia.com, you can also call our team on: +91-09582320407

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2 Comments

  1. Hi,
    I live in Chicago and wondering if you can only provide listening section coaching or tests online?

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