General IELTS vs Academic IELTS



Updated On 17 September 2022


Read Time 7 minutes


The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is required by countries whose native language is English. People who wish to work and study in these countries must pass the IELTS exam. Mainly it is needed to study in UK, USA, New Zealand, Australia, and Canada. Though, UK has a different IELTS board, known as IELTS UKVI. The format of IELTS UKVI is the same as the IELTS exam.

There are 2 types of IELTS; General IELTS and Academic IELTS. People who wish to study abroad give Academic IELTS, whereas people who want to work overseas need to appear for General IELTS.

General IELTS

General IELTS can now be given as a substitute for Academic IELTS. Many countries accept it for education too. The majority of questions require less technical and professional English.

There are four modules in General IELTS; Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening. It examines one’s proficiency in English in a practical and everyday context. General IELTS is required when one wants to:

  1. Study below the undergraduate level or get trained in particular expertise.

  2. Work overseas (English speaking country) or get work training.

  3. Immigrate to English speaking country

Except for UK, various universities in English-speaking countries give admission on General IELTS too.

Students can give general IELTS on pen paper or on a computer. Remember, General IELTS has to be given at the examination centre, irrespective of the exam mode student chooses. The duration for both modes is 2 hours 45 minutes.

Four Modules in General IELTS are:

  1. IELTS Listening Module: In this module, students have to answer questions by listening to audio. A total of 4 audios are played in this module. The test duration is 30 mins (10 mins extra answer transfer time is given).

  2. IELTS Reading Module: This module consists of 40 questions designed to test one’s reading abilities. Various passages related to main ideas, logical arguments, and current affairs are given in this module. Based on these passages, one has to answer all the questions. The questions are related to the writer’s attitude, opinion or intentions.
    Questions of different types are asked in the IELTS reading module; complete the sentences, match the correct option and MCQs. The student needs to complete this module in an hour.

  3. IELTS Writing Module: This module consists of two tasks; one has to write on the topic of the module they have chosen. General IELTS topics are mostly based on current affairs. This module has to be completed in an hour.

  4. IELTS Speaking Module: This test examines student fluency while speaking English. If the student opts for a pen-paper test, they may have to appear before or after the other modules. This test is recorded and taken in three parts. In computer mode, the test is scheduled on a zoom meeting with the examiner.

Fees for General IELTS :

Pen and paper mode: INR 15,000-16,000 (varies yearly)

Computer mode: INR 15,000-16,000 (varies yearly)

Academic IELTS

Academic IELTS Academic IELTS is given by students who wish to study in English-speaking countries. Pursuing any undergraduate or postgraduate course in professional institutions requires Academic IELTS. Though many universities have started accepting General IELTS, some still mandate Academic IELTS.

Academic IELTS examines students’ English proficiency at the Academic level. Questions in Academic IELTS are of undergraduate and postgraduate entry levels. The band score of Academics IELTS helps determine whether the student can pursue any professional course from a certain country or not. Different universities have different criteria for admission. Many universities accept applications with a 5.5 band score, whereas some require an average score of 6.5.

Academic IELTS assesses students’ English proficiency through four modules; Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening. One can appear for Academic IELTS if they want to:

  • Study at the undergraduate or postgraduate level in any English-speaking country.

  • Study in UK under Tier 4 or Tier 5 (student visa), IELTS UKVI has to be given in this condition.

  • Work in a professional company in an English-speaking country.

Academic IELTS is tougher than General IELTS. Unlike General IELTS, Academic IELTS can be taken at home or at an examination centre. Reading, Writing, and Listening modules must be completed on the same day without any break, whereas speaking tests can be scheduled at other times. This can be scheduled a week before or after the other three modules. The total test is of 2 hours 45 minutes.

Four Modules in Academic IELTS are:

  1. IELTS Listening Module: This module has four parts; each part has 10 questions. Students have to answer the question based on the recording they are made to hear. This recording is only played once. After this, 10 minutes of answer transfer time is given to the students. The total test is of 30 minutes plus 10 minutes of answer transfer time.

  2. IELTS Reading Module: This module has three passages and questions based on those. Questions are of different types; MCQs, identifying information, matching information and sentence completion.
    All these passages are taken from books, journals, magazines, and newspapers. These passages can be written in descriptive, narrative, or argumentative styles. The module has 40 questions, which must be done in an hour.

  3. IELTS Writing Module: This module has two tasks that have to be completed within an hour.
    Task 1: The student has to describe visual information. This information can be based on graphs, tables, charts or diagrams.
    Task 2: The student has to write an essay in response to the point of view of a certain argument or problem.
    Both tasks have to be completed in an hour. One has to be careful while writing answers; no bullet points are accepted in this format. Professional English should be strictly used in this.

  4. IELTS Speaking Module: Speaking test is of 11-14 minutes and has 3 parts. All three parts of the speaking module are recorded.
    Part 1: The examiner asks the test taker about themselves in this part. General questions related to home, family, and aims are asked. This part generally lasts 4-5 minutes.
    Part 2: In this task, the test taker has to speak on a particular topic for 1-2 minutes. This topic is given on the spot, and preparation time is also given to the student. After the student has spoken, the examiner asks a few questions about their topic. In total, these tasks last 3-4 minutes.
    Part 3: This is a discussion part. Discussion of 3-4 minutes about the topic of part 2 is done between the examiner and test taker. This part lasts 3-4 minutes.

Fees for Academic IELTS

Pen and paper mode: 15,000-16,000 (varies yearly)

Computer mode: 15,000-16,000 (varies yearly)

General IELTS and Academic IELTS are both important, depending on what the test taker has to pursue. General IELTS is comparatively easy, and questions based on General topics are asked in it. In contrast, the difficulty level of Academics IELTS is higher than General IELTS. This is because the questions in Academic IELTS are based on a professional level. They assess whether a student can take a course in an English-speaking country. Reading and Writing modules in both Academic IELTS and General IELTS are different. In contrast, the other two modules (Speaking and Listening) are the same.

Though many universities require IELTS, very few people know that universities also give waivers on IELTS scores if students have more than 70% marks in English. Get in touch with experienced counsellors and know the appropriate IELTS exam for you. Furthermore, counsellors can help you get into universities without the IELTS exam too. Contact Meridean Overseas Education Consultants at 1800-1230-00011 (toll-free) or mail us at .

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