Academic or General Training IELTS

Academic IELTS or General Training (GT) IELTS - Which one should you take?

Before you start your preparation or register for the IELTS test, you have to be sure which module you need to take - Academic IELTS or General Training IELTS. The simplest answer to this question is:

Register for Academic IELTS if your purpose is to get admitted to a college or university. For migration, training or vocational education purpose, go for the General Training module of IELTS.

It's always a wise idea to check with the immigration/ university and IELTS authority. Why don't you give a call to the immigration office / your university & then British Council and say your purpose and ask which module is required for you. The answer would eliminate any doubt you have.

Still not convinced? Then dig further!

IELTS is the most popular & widely accepted English language proficiency test for those who want to fulfil qualifications requested by most of the colleges and universities of Canada, Singapore, New Zealand, England, Australia, Ireland etc. and by the immigration authorities. IELTS is also used to demonstrate someone's English language proficiency when registering as a professional overseas coming to work or to be trained in the countries like UK, Australia, Canada etc. More than 2.5 million candidates now take part in the IELTS test each year for the higher study or immigration purposes.

IELTS conforms to the highest international standards of language assessment and has become the most popular English language proficiency testing exam. IELTS is also becoming acceptable to American and other international establishments of further and higher education.

The first thing to do is finding out which module of IELTS you are required to take: Academic or General Training. You should not assume - check and double-check which one you really need to take. Contact to the immigration authority or to the University/ college you are intending to get admitted before registering for the IELTS exam. 

IELTS test is available in two formats – Academic IELTS test and General Training IELTS test.

Academic Module is suitable for those who are going to apply for further studies and professional registration. Academic module mainly focuses on the candidates' ability to continue their education in an English speaking university or a professional place.

General Training module is appropriate for those who are going to English-speaking countries to complete work experience and training programs or for immigration purposes. General Training IELTS format mainly focuses on general communication skills of the candidates they will need in the workplace and society in an English speaking country.

A score of at least 6.5 in the Academic Module is usually needed for  an academic course at a UK university. 7.0 or 7.5 may be needed for  subjects which require a lot of reading and writing  (for example, linguistics or medicine) and for those wishing to  be doctors or dentists in the UK.  A score of at least 5.5 in the General Training Module is usually needed for non-academic training courses in the UK. A score of 6.0 or 6.5 may be needed for subjects which require greater language skills.

It is a candidate's responsibility to inform the IELTS test centre whether they wish to take the Academic or General Training Module of IELTS test. Confirm which module you are required to and sit for the appropriate IELTS exam. On your IETLS registration form, you would need to mention if you are going to take the Academic module or the GT module.

Download the IELTS Application Form and notice the serial 6 that asks you whether you want to register for the Academic or General Training IETLS.

Academic or GT IELTS?

All candidates take the same Listening and Speaking tests, but Reading and Writing tests vary depending on whether a candidate is taking the Academic IELTS test or the General Training IELTS test.

Difference between Academic IELTS and General Training IELTS Exam format: 

The IELTS Listening and Speaking modules are exactly the same for Academic and GT IELTS candidates. Therefore you won't find any differences in Listening and Speaking modules no matter which exam (academic or GT) you take.  

However, Reading and Writing sections differ for the academic and GT IELTS test takers.

Which IELTS version to take?

The academic reading comprises three long reading passages with around 40 questions. Each passage would have approximately 12-14 questions. The candidate will have 1 hour in total to read and answer the questions of these three passages in the academic module. The passages are mainly related to the study materials found on different academic books in the university or college level.

The General Training reading module has three sections and lasts for one hour. Section one has 2 or 3 texts that are smaller and easier than the academic reading passages. Those texts are usually aimed to test the candidates' ability to survive and communicate in an English speaking environment. Section 2 has one or 2 texts relates to work or training topics. Section three has one long passage, much like the academic module. There would be around 40 questions in total in GT reading module.

The Academic writing module has two tasks and has 1 hour to complete these 2 tasks. Task one requires a candidate to describe a graph, process or image and to write minimum 150 words and task two requires a candidate to write an essay on a topic of minimum 250 words. The essays are usually of general interest and carry more weight that the task one. It is advisable to spend 20 minutes on task 1 and remaining 40 minutes on task 2.

The General Training writing module has 2 tasks as well. The task one is a letter writing task and task 2 is an essay writing task. Essay writing is similar to the academic writing task 2 and carries more weights than the letter writing task. It's advisable to spend 20 minutes on letter writing tasks and remaining 40 minutes on essay writing task.

Alem Abrha
I look forward to enhancing my English proficiency level.
Gurmeet Singh Sandhu
It is a good tutor.
Hi, I am pursuing my PhD right now and I might teach in a university in Canada. Should I go for GT or Academic IELTS? Regards -
Kusal Dhananjaya
Replying after 4 years.

It depends on your university's requirements. But if I were you, I'd choose the "Academic" IELTS as it also covers major parts of "GT IELTS".

Payel Das
Hi Team, I want to start my preparation for IELTS. Please guide me and allow me to join this website.
Reji Mohan
Hello, I am starting my preparations for the IELTS - General Training Module. Looking forward to being a part of this website to hone my skills in all the four sections.
IELTS Mentor
Welcome to your website. You can find many helpful resources on different pages. Take advantages of those resources to further your preparation. Best of luck.
I would like to join this website to improve my IELTS skills. I will take the academic exam. I need it to further my studies and registration in the medical council, UK.
Adone bruno
Hello guys. I am a licensed teacher in the USA and for those who are planning to take the IELTS exam, please don’t hesitate to send me an email to I am willing to help you anytime. We can do our classes through SKYPE or ZOOM! add me on Skype Adone.bruno21. Also, my WhatsApp contact is +18045851547.
Droff Jangra
Hello sir, thanks a lot for giving this very useful Knowledge about IELTS. I am a web designer. I want to continue further study in Web designing in Canada or Australia. After getting Diploma or Degree, I want to work there. Please tell me which module is the best for me?
Simran Kaur
I'm Simran Kaur from Dharamkot, near Moga. I'm an academic student of IELTS.
I want to study in the UK in engineering. What is the better exam module for me?
Naran Paudel
I need at least 6 in each module, either academic or general. Which one do you prefer?
I've two years IT job experience. I want to pursue M.S/MBA. What exam should I take? And what opportunities I get after completing my study?
I am going to study Diploma of leadership and management in Charlton brown. What module do I need to take? Thank you.
I want to migrate to the USA and I have completed M.Sc in Nursing. Please help me which one to take - academic or general training IELTS? Sometimes I may study further or stick with my job which is not decided yet. Please, advise me.
IELTS Mentor
As many times as you wish. There is no restriction on the number of times someone can take IELTS.
Please take the Academic test for that.
Salote Veisamasama
Just a question - so how many times can a person take the IELTS test?
Al Amin
I am wishing that I will go to Australia for higher study in Engineering section. How many credits or points do I have to carry for me? Inform me, please.
Thank you so much for the explanation. But I still have this problem which module to choose. Maybe you can help me... I need to prove my English language skills to study in France. But on the other hand, I'll participate in a contest to become a language assistant in the UK. So I need the Academic module to continue my education, though not in an English speaking country. But to be accepted to the foreign language assistants program I need to take the General exam as far as I understand. What could you advise me? Thanks a lot in advance!
Jithu Poothottal Joseph
I am Jithu. I am interested in taking IELTS in the next 3 months. So please notify me if you are interested in practising with me.
Kulwinder Singh
Kulwinder Singh