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IELTS Academic Vs IELTS General: A Comprehensive Overview for Test-takers [Updated]

If taking up IELTS is on your bucket list, we would first suggest knowing this globally recognized English competency exam. There are two versions of this exam IELTS Academic & IELTS General and each serves different purposes.

Which version is suitable for you?

What are the differences between these two versions?

Figuring out the answers to these questions isn’t a tough task, as we’re presenting them right here.

IELTS Academic Vs IELTS General – Difference In the Scoring

This is the front where these IELTS versions differ the most.

The process of scoring and score requirements are different for both of these two versions. Speaking of scoring, the Reading section is scored differently in both these two versions. This section accounts for 25% of the total exam score.

Let’s understand the scoring difference in this section. If you’re taking up the IELTS Academic version, a 30 out of 40 score will account for a 6.0 band score. The same score will account for the 5.0 band score in the General IELTS version.

If an acceptable score is concerned, it’s hard to comment on this as each university, college, and country can decide the eligibility criteria. Generally, a band score of 5 is considered good for immigration purposes, while a band score of 7 or above is enough to grab a seat in the institute of repute. Still, we suggest referring to the related guidelines for the minimum score.

IELTS Academic Vs IELTS General – Difference in the Purpose

Academic IELTS

As the name suggests, Academic IELTS is designed for students willing to pursue an educational course in overseas universities and colleges where English is the medium of education. Non-native speakers take it up to prove their expertise in English and make their candidature strong.

Depending upon the university/college requirements, an Academic IELTS score can be needed for graduate and postgraduate courses. In countries like the UK, Ireland, the UK, Australia, and a few more, an Academic IELTS score is also needed for medical work.

A wide range of medical jobs requires a score of Academic IELTS.

General IELTS

General IELTS is for non-natives looking for immigration and occupational opportunities in a native country like Australia, New Zealand, the USA, Ireland, Canada, and many more.

Let’s understand the difference with the help of examples:

  • Sam is from a non-native country and has completed BBA back home. Now, he wants to study MBA in a US college/university. He has to take up Academic IELTS as a part of the admission process.
  • Maria was on a holiday visa in Canada and met the love of her life. They both decided to stay together. As Maria is not a native of Canada, she has to apply for Canadian immigration using IELTS General.
  • John is working In South Africa and has to stay in the UK for two years as a part of a project. He has to take up IELTS General to process the visa formalities.

IELTS Academic Vs IELTS General – Difference In the Format.

Speaking of the format of these two versions, there is not much of a difference. These two versions cover four skills: English reading, writing, speaking, and listening.

However, certain question types and their difficulty levels vary. We will explain them in detail.

The listening and speaking sections have no difference. All the question types and topics covered are the same.

Reading and writing sections are a bit different. These two sections of Academic IELTS are a bit tougher than General IELTS. Academic IELTS tests the examinee’s reading and writing skills beyond regular and common communication.

It’s a bit more detailed and demands a thorough understanding of grammar concepts, vocabulary, and sentence formation.

In the IELTS Academic Reading section, there are 40 questions, and candidates are granted 60 minutes for this. Question types involve reading passages and answering questions.

The passages would feature long paragraphs with complex English words. It would be more analytical and research-oriented. Mostly, these paragraphs’ sources are research papers, journals, magazines, and newspapers.

IELTS General Reading features the same number of questions. But, the passages that are easy to understand are picked from advertisements and brochures. Passages will feature commonly used words and simple English.

Similarly, the difficulty level of General IELTS writing and the  IELTS Academic writing section varies. In Academic IELTS, candidates are asked to write an essay about their undergraduate or postgraduate learning. The allotted duration is an hour for this.

The exam is divided into two tasks. The first task involves describing given data, graphs, and tables in their own words, while the second task demands writing down the essay on the data. The vocabulary used should be heavy and more on the technical side.

The IELTS General Writing section demands test-takers to write an essay on a topic of general interest. The tone could be semi-formal, formal, or personal. Words of common use can be used in the essay.

Ending Notes

Academic IELTS and General IELTS are here to help non-natives to be a part of the native world. However, they are used for different purposes. If studying and medical work is your dream, then Academic IELTS is the best choice. For immigration and occupational purposes, General IELTS will help you out.

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