(IELTS): English Language Testing System

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is a globally recognized test designed to assess the English language proficiency of non-native English speakers who wish to study, work, or migrate to English-speaking countries.

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) offers two test versions to cater to different needs: IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training.


  • IELTS Academic is designed for individuals applying for higher education or professional registration in an English-speaking environment. It assesses whether you are ready to begin studying or training in an environment where English is the language used.
  • IELTS General Training is aimed at those who are going to English-speaking countries for secondary education, work experience, or training programs. It is also required for migration to Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the UK. The test focuses on basic survival skills in broad social and workplace contexts.

Test Content and Format

The IELTS test assesses your abilities in listening, reading, writing, and speaking in less than three hours. Here’s a brief overview of each section of the IELTS test structure:

1. Listening (30 minutes)

  • Format: Consists of four recorded monologues and conversations.
  • Tasks: You will answer 40 questions spread over four sections, ranging from multiple choice to matching information, plan/map/diagram labeling, form/note/table/flow-chart/summary completion, and sentence completion.
  • Scoring: Each correct answer receives one mark.

2. Reading (60 minutes)

  • The Reading component differs between the Academic and General Training versions of IELTS:
    • Academic Reading: Includes three long texts which range from descriptive and factual to the discursive and analytical. These are taken from books, journals, magazines, and newspapers, suitable for those entering university courses or seeking professional registration.
    • General Training Reading: Features extracts from books, magazines, newspapers, notices, advertisements, company handbooks, and guidelines. These are materials you are likely to encounter daily in an English-speaking environment.
  • Tasks: Both versions have 40 questions, including multiple choice, identifying information, identifying the writer’s views/claims, matching information, matching headings, matching features, matching sentence endings, sentence completion, summary completion, note completion, table completion, flow-chart completion, diagram label completion, and short-answer questions.
  • Scoring: Each correct answer receives one mark.

3. Writing (60 minutes)

  • The Writing component also differs between the Academic and General Training versions:
    • Academic Writing: Includes two tasks. Task 1 asks you to describe a chart, graph, diagram, or table. Task 2 requires you to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument, or problem.
    • General Training Writing: Task 1 involves writing a letter requesting information or explaining a situation. Task 2 is an essay based on a point of view, argument, or problem.
  • Scoring: Tasks are assessed based on task achievement/response, coherence and cohesion, lexical resource, and grammatical range and accuracy.

4. Speaking (11–14 minutes)

  • Format: A face-to-face interview with an examiner, which includes a short introduction, a long turn where you speak about a particular topic, and a two-way discussion loosely related to the topic in the long turn.
  • Parts: The Speaking test is divided into three parts: Introduction and interview, long turn, and two-way discussion.
  • Scoring: Assessed based on fluency and coherence, lexical resource, grammatical range and accuracy, and pronunciation.


Both versions provide scores on a scale from 1 to 9 for each part of the test (Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking), and an overall band score. The scoring criteria are the same, but the Academic version may have more challenging content, reflecting the higher level of language ability expected for university study or professional registration.

What should you choose?

The choice between IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training depends on your goals. If you aim to study at a university or work in a professional role, the Academic version is appropriate. If you’re looking to immigrate or engage in work experience, training programs, or secondary education in an English-speaking country, the General Training version is suitable.

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