IELTS Academic VS IELTS General

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IELTS offers two tests; IELTS Academic and IELTS General. And anyone who wishes to take part in the IELTS test must choose either one of the tests. In this Gurubaa blog, we will help you further to delve into the understanding of the difference between IELTS Academic and IELTS General.

The difference between these two tests provided by IELTS doesn’t have much impact on the Format of the test but the test makes much difference in the purpose of the test.

The format difference can only be seen in the writing and reading skill sections of the test. The rest of the total four skills i.e., Listening and Speaking sections of the test remain the same.

Both IELTS academic and general access all four language skills: IELTS Reading, IELTS Writing, IELTS Listening, and IELTS Speaking accurately and with fair evaluation.

What is IELTS Academic?

IELTS Academic is a test designed for test-takers who must be equipped with English language skills strong enough for academic and professional purposes.  Here, the content of the test would be relevant for professional and academic settings. IELTS Academic accesses the test taker’s level of comprehension.

Who should take the IELTS Academic test?

  • Anyone who intends to apply for higher education like for a graduate degree or levels higher than it.
  • Anyone seeking professional registration.

What is IELTS General?

IELTS General tests are for those who need to portray a language skill that will be useful for day-to-day context and general conversation purposes. Here, the context of the test would be everyday life and events. IELTS General test tests how well a person can use the English language.

Who should take the IELTS General test?

  • Anyone applying for secondary education.
  • Anyone applying for a training program or work experience.
  • Anyone applying for immigration.

What is the difference between IELTS Academic and General tests?

Including the differences in purpose and context of the test, IELTS Academic and IELTS General have differences in the test format and scoring guidelines as well.

The difference in test format:

Only the IELTS writing and IELTS reading parts of the test are different, the IELTS listening and the IELTS speaking module of the test will remain the same.

IELTS Reading test:

  • In the IELTS Reading test, the number of questions, scores attainment and time limit for the test will remain the same.
  • There won’t be any difference in question types as well.

The difference between IELTS Academic and IELTS General reading sections:

IELTS Academic Reading IELTS General Reading
The reading texts here will be of general interest but related to various academic or professional subjects. The texts will be related to everyday life, work, and general interest without complex vocabulary or technical terms.
The texts are comparatively difficult and are written in a variety of styles. The texts here are simple and easier to understand.


IELTS Writing test:

  • In the IELTS Writing test, the number of questions, scores attainment and time limit for the test will remain the same.

The difference between IELTS Academic and IELTS General reading sections:

IELTS Academic Writing IELTS General Writing
Task one of Academic writing will be to describe a visual chart or picture. Task one of General writing will be to write a letter.
In task 2 the test taker needs to write an essay on a topic related to an academic issue. In task 2 the test taker needs to write an essay on a topic related to the general interest.
The scoring difference in IELTS Academic and IELTS General:

Here is a Scoring chart of reading tasks for you to understand how the scoring will differ in IELTS Academic and IELTS General:

IELTS Academic Reading (Raw score)

Band Score IELTS General Reading (Raw score)


9 40


8.5 39
35-36 8






7 34-35


6.5 32-33
23-26 6



5.5 27-29
15-18 5



4.5 19-22
10-12 4


8-9 3.5


6-7 3


4-5 2.5



Which one is easier IELTS Academic or IELTS General?

Most test-takers would agree that IELTS General is much easier than IELTS Academic, although it depends on the language proficiency of each test taker. The IELTS test is a language proficiency test, not a knowledge test but the IELTS Academic test does contain more complicated terms and comparatively difficult tasks. Like it is certainly easier to a letter than describe a technical graph. The tests are developed to test your language proficiency not to know your opinions or to trick you.

However, even the ones who make the test agree that IELTS Academic is harder than the General test, it is the reason why to score a band 6, test-takers need to score 30 out of 40 in IELTS General Reading when 23 points are enough for IELTS Academic Reading for scoring the same band score.

So, even if the IELTS Academic test is more difficult than the General Test from the context point of view, both the test is at the same difficulty level if you consider the marking guidelines of the tests.

Which one should I Choose – IELTS Academic or IELTS General?

It is important for test-takers to take the correct test as per their goals. You cannot choose IELTS general if you are applying for a graduate degree at a University, the scores from the test won’t be valid. You are required to choose the test as per your purpose for giving the test. Every institution gives a specific qualification requirement for their applicants, they get to decide what test results they accept whether it is IELTS Academic or IELTS General. Thus, do check with your applying institution for the type of test you will need to take.

For example, a  person applying for migration, PR, or education below a degree level i.e., high school, is to take an IELTS general test. While a person who is applying for graduate degrees, postgraduate degrees, or jobs needs to take an IELTS Academic test.

So, the purpose of giving the test defines what test one should take.

If you wish to learn an overview of the IELTS test, then you can visit our blog on IELTS.

We hope our Gurubaa Blog ‘IELTS Academic VS IELTS General’ helped you grasp the differences between the two and helped you choose the test according to your goals. If you need more assistance on the IELTS test, feel free to comment on your queries or contact Gurubaa.

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