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What Is the Difference Between General and Academic IELTS?

Difference Between General and Academic IELTS

Need to take an IELTS exam soon? Did you know that there are two different formats for this test?  You have the option of taking either: 

  1. IELTS General
  2. IELTS Academic

These two exam formats are actually 70% the same. On both exams you will be tested on the same four skills:

The Speaking and Listening Sections Are The Same

The Speaking and Listening sections in both exams are given and scored the same and have the same level of difficulty- the changes come in the Reading and Writing sections.  Let’s explore the differences….

IELTS General Reading  vs. IELTS Academic Reading

Even though the format of these two exam sections are the same (40 questions, 50 minutes of reading time and 10 minutes to mark your answer sheet), the types of reading texts you will see are actually quite different.

For example, on the General IELTS Reading section, you will see four shorter texts containing:

  • Everyday, general topics – magazines, newspapers, brochures
  • Social topics – notices, advertisements
  • Workplace topics- job ads, job descriptions, contracts

In contrast, on the Academic IELTS Reading section, you will find three longer passages containing:

  • Texts on Academic topics- History, Science, Sociology
  • Academic Journal extracts
  • Textbook extracts

The Two Reading Sections Are Scored Differently
 For example, If you score 30/40 questions correct on General IELTS Reading, you’ll get a raw score of 30, giving you an IELTS Band score of 5.0.  
But, on Academic IELTS Reading, your band score will be 6.0 if you answer the same 30 out of 40 questions correctly- that one point can make a really big difference on your overall band score… and on your university or job application!

IELTS General Writing vs. IELTS Academic Writing. 

The writing sections in both exams are exactly the same with only one major difference: Task 1.  
In General IELTS Writing Task 1, you have to write a  formal, semi-formal, or informal letter.  However, in Academic IELTS Writing Task 1, you must describe and analyse data from a table, graph, bar chart, pie chart, or diagram.  All other tasks, as well as scoring, is the same on both versions of the exam. 


So Which  IELTS Test Is The Right One For Me?

Well, it depends on what your goals are and why you need English.  Let’s look at some situations….

It’s your dream to study abroad in America, UK, or Canada for years. Your university needs proof of your English level– you should take the Academic IELTS.

You fall in love while on holiday in Australia and now you want to move to Australia to be with them– you should take the General IELTS.

A great company just offered you a really good job the job of a lifetime in London, however your new employer wants proof of your English ability– you should complete the Academic IELTS.

If you still aren’t sure which test is right for you, please contact us at MyTestHero. If you want expert advice on which IELTS test is right for you, just send us an e-mail here.

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