Academic IELTS vs General Training IELTS: Difference Explained! Which one to Chose?

Difference between IELTS General Training (IELTS GT) and IELTS Academic

IELTS test is actually available for two different purposes in two separate IELTS exam formats known as IELTS general training and IELTS academic. It is the point of confusion for many IELTS test-takers on making a decision about which IELTS exam is a good fit for their needs and this article is all about explaining the difference and purpose of both the IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training.

Yes, this true. These two exams are known as IELTS General Training and IELTS Academic. The reason the IELTS provides two types of exams is because of their purpose and not because of the format. As both of the exams have a similar format. However, the IELTS Academic and IELTS General training has different content in the reading and writing sections. So, in order to know more about the differences and similarities between the two exams continue reading this article. As we have also provided the score comparison between the two exams and have also provided you the answer to the question that which exam is easier? 

IELTS Academic vs. IELTS General Training

The two IELTS exams vary in purpose than the actual format in the following two formats:

  1. IELTS academic
  2. IELTS general training

Purpose of Academic and General Training IELTS

Academic IELTS Definition and Purpose:

It is obvious that you have to provide the IELTS Academic for the purpose of entering into the university to gain your academic degree where the mode of instruction is English. Here you need to show your proficiency in the English Language in order to get admission in your desired program. Anyhow, this is not only the purpose of IELTS Academic as sometimes people also have to provide IELTS Academic with job applications in the country where the native language is English. 

For example, if you want to apply in Ireland as a medical professional or in Australia, UK, Canada or New Zealand then you have to provide IELTS Academic for showing your proficiency in English. Apart from this, a variety of medical jobs need IELTS Academic exam including a nurse, doctor, lab technician and pharmacist. 

In comparison to the IELTS general training exam, the IELTS academic requires the candidates to show the writing and reading skills which are usually not needed in daily life. As they are a different kind of writing and reading skills needed for the general purpose. 

General Training IELTS Definition and Purpose:

The general training version of IELTS is used for the purpose of employment and immigration in countries such as the USA, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, etc. For example, if you are deciding to live in Australia with your grandchildren then you have to take the General Version of IELTS as it suits best with your needs. 

However, this can not only be the purpose of the General IELTS exam. In some cases, Multinational corporations need the scores of the IELTS General training exam to check the English level skills of their workers. So, sometimes you can use this exam module for getting a job. 

Format of IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training 

The purpose of the IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training of IELTS is the same but may have a slightly different format or questions based on the candidate’s purpose of taking the IELTS exam. Both exams assess your English reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills. In fact, both of the exams are not very different. They have the same speaking and listening section and you can expect the same type of questions in both IELTS General and IELTS Academic exam. 

Additionally, the format of the reading and writing section is the same. As both tests involve the writing of two tasks in 60 minutes and both have the reading section which contains 40 questions from the given passages. However, the differences between the two exams start when it comes to the types of tasks and the type of content. 

Content of IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training

People who want to take admission to universities need to be well equipped with strong skills to read professional texts, academic journals, magazines, newspapers, and textbooks. The IELTS Academic exam take passages from these type of sources to assess the comprehension skills. Similarly, the tasks in the writing section involve the topics which are relevant to the professional and academic settings. However, these English Writing skills are tested to know if you can write essays about college-level or not. 

On the other hand, people who are taking the IELTS General exam will encounter the passages that normally come in guidebooks, advertisements, notices, magazines or passages written in the employee manuals. Moreover, in IELTS General training the writing skills are tested on basic tasks such as writing a letter or writing a basic essay. 

Score Comparison of IELTS General and Academic 

The major difference between the two exams of IELTS is the ways in which they are scored. The three sections of the IELTS exam such as Speaking, Writing and Listening are marked in the same way in both of the exams. However, the IELTS reading section is marked in a different way in IELTS general training and IELTS academic. 

For example, in a situation in which you get 30 correct answers out of 40 in the reading section, this will be your raw score. In the General module, you will be marked as a 5.0 IELTS band based on 30 raw scores. However, if you get the same score in the IELTS Academic then you will be marked as 6.0 band. So, the raw scores you achieve have a different meaning in both of the IELTS exams. 

Score Comparison Chart of IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training 

In order to have a comparison between the scores of IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training, you can always have a look at the second chart on the official website of IELTS. The conversions in that chart will help you greatly in knowing the score comparison between the two exams. 

Moreover, there are also different websites which show a difference between the Reading and listening scores in both General and Academic IELTS test. However, the chart present on Wikipedia explains the differences more efficiently than the official chart. It is a reliable chart and has calculated the scores from an unofficial online score calculator. The chart is as follows

Which IELTS Exam is easier: between IELTS Academic VS IELTS General Training?

The two IELTS exams test the English language skills and it is not easy to say which one is easy and which one is not. As it all depends upon the students as they find somethings hard and somethings easy. 

However, the probable answer to this question would be that the General training module is easy than the Academic module of IELTS. According to the survey, people say that the general module is far less challenging. Writing a letter is easy than expanding a table or graph. 

Moreover, the test maker also agrees on this. As in General reading, it is similarly hard to get 30 out of 40 than gaining 23 out of 40 in IELTS academic reading. This is the reason that 23/40 in academic reading and 30/40 in general reading are both marked the band 6. 

On the other hand, just don’t assume that IELTS Speaking and Listening is easier in General than IELTS academic. As they are the same in both of the exams and have the same level of difficulty.

But it certainly does not mean that you have to choose IELTS General over IELTS Training. It totally depends upon the purpose for which you need the IELTS exam. Moreover, they are 70% similar which does not make a great difference. So, make sure you know everything about the difficulty of both exams before you sit in the test. 

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