Taking up an IELTS test can create a significant impact on your career path in countries abroad. It gives the resume that extra shine it needs with several opportunities waiting for you at your doorstep. As you know, IELTS is the most popular English language proficiency exam that is a mandatory requisite for educational or career opportunities abroad and for global migration. Different people have different reasons for taking up the test and that’s why there are two versions of the IELTS Test: Academic Training and General Training. So, now you have made up your mind to take up IELTS to expand your career horizons but, which IELTS should you take? What’s the difference between the two? Well, you’re in the right place!
For those of you who wish to pursue an undergraduate or a postgraduate course, you can take up the IELTS Academic version. Your IELTS Academic test score is a basic requirement if you plan on joining a professional organization in any English speaking country.
If you plan on migrating to an English speaking country, you will be required to take up the IELTS General. This test mainly focuses on your general survival skills in various workplace and social contexts.
Academic vs General
The IELTS Academic and General tests not only vary in their purposes but also have a slightly different test pattern than each other.
The IELTS commonly comprises of four major sections,
You don’t have to worry about the listening and speaking sections because they are both the same irrespective of whether you take up IELTS Academic or General.
The Listening section consists of four audio recordings based on which you will be needed to answer 40 questions.
In the Speaking section, you will be facing an examiner who will assess your speaking skills by interacting with you or giving you a random topic to talk about.
But, the only striking difference between the two versions of IELTS is the Writing and the Reading sections.
The Writing section has two major parts : Writing Task 1 and Writing Task 2.
IELTS Academic: Writing Task 1
You will be provided with one of the following,
- Bar graph
- Line graph
- Pie chart
Based on the given visual representation of data, you will be required to write a summary in at least 150 words. The main idea of this task is to test your ability to find significant facts, comparing and reporting them.
IELTS General: Writing Task 1
In Writing Task 1 of the IELTS General, you will be required to write a letter requesting some information or explaining a situation in at least 150 words. You may be asked to write the letter with either a formal, semi-formal or informal tone.
IELTS Academic & General: Writing Task 2
The Writing Task 2 is same for both Academic and General where you will be given a topic and you need to draft an essay in about 250 words discussing the topic, summarizing and justifying and supporting your opinions with relevant reasons or examples from real life experiences.
IELTS Academic: Reading
This section includes three long passages with increasing difficulty taken from textbooks, articles or journals, mostly academic topics related to science, technology etc.
IELTS General: Reading
This section includes four passages related to general topics of increasing length and difficulty. After reading the passages, you will have 40 questions to answer in one hour.
Now that you have a clear view of how the Academic and General IELTS differ from each other, you won’t have problems or confusions in choosing the appropriate one for you.