So, you are required to do an English language test for your visa or study application? That means you have a choice between IELTS Academic or General Training. But, which test you need depends on what you want to do. Usually, you can do the General Training test for migration purposes. Alternatively, most universities in Australia will ask you for the Academic IELTS test. The organisation where you plan to work or study sets the requirements. So, before you register for your test, it’s good to check which one is right for you.
Why IELTS Academic?
IELTS developed the Academic test if you wish to study at university or college as an undergraduate or postgraduate student. Or, if you want to join or gain entry into a professional institution.
- I'm going to... Study at a university or college at undergraduate or postgraduate level
I’m going to… Study at a university or college at undergraduate or postgraduate level
IELTS Academic is for people planning to study in higher education. Or, for example, if you seek professional registration. This test assesses if you’re ready to begin studying or training where English is the language used.
- I'm going to... get registered with a professional organisation or join an association
I’m going to… get registered with a professional organisation or join an association
Are you’re planning to move to an English speaking country? And, you’re seeking professional registration? So, as a result, it’s likely that the organisation you apply to asks for evidence of your English language ability. Many professional associations accept IELTS results when they have minimum language requirements. Most of these associations request an IELTS Academic result. But, it is a good idea to contact the organisation to confirm.
- I'm going to... Study in a secondary education or training program
I’m going to… Study in a secondary education or training program
IELTS General Training measures English language proficiency in a practical, everyday context. Now, because of this, it’s the IELTS test you can do if you plan to study in high school or a vocational training program.
- I'm going to... apply for a visa or migrate to Australia
I’m going to… apply for a visa or migrate to Australia
So, you plan on migrating to Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the UK? In that case, you’ll probably need to take the IELTS General Training test. Remember, always check with your immigration authorities, because requirements can change quickly.
IELTS Speaking test
The IELTS Speaking test is the same for Academic and General Training. It takes about 11-14 minutes. This part of the tests is a face-to-face interview without disruptions or distractions. It’s a structured discussion on a familiar topic.
IELTS Reading test
The General Training Reading test takes 60 minutes. It contains 3 sections. Section 1 may contain two or three short texts or several shorter texts. Then, section 2 comprises two texts. Finally, in Section 3, there is one long text. The texts usually come from notices or advertisements. Also, it may have texts from company handbooks, official documents, books and newspapers. The Academic test is also 60 minutes, but it contains 3 long texts. These are taken from books, journals, magazines and newspapers. Don’t worry, the texts are selected for a non-specialist audience.
IELTS Writing test
Similar to the Reading test, IELTS Writing test also takes 60 minutes. For the General Training Writing test, you need to write a letter (150 words) and a short Essay (250 words). The Academic Writing test is usually a bit more formal. For the first task, you are asked to describe a table, chart or diagram (150 words). For the second task you should write a short Essay (250 words).
IELTS Listening test
The Listening test takes approximately 30 mins. It’s the same for Academic and General Training. This part of the test has 4 sections, each with 10 questions. The first two deal with everyday social contexts. Section 3 and 4 deal with educational and training contexts.
Overall it was a really good experience. I had the computer based test and really happy with the way it was conducted. The staff were all nice and friendly and it helped relieve some of the pre exam stresses. I highly recommend this centre!
Sahel T, took computer-delivered IELTS at IDP Brisbane.