Compare the similarities and differences between IELTS Academic and IELTS General

Not everyone knows that there are actually two types of IELTS tests in the world, IELTS General and IELTS Academic. So how are these two types of IELTS test forms different and how they are aimed at? Let’s find out more below.

I. Definition of IELTS General and IELTS Academic

Firstly, let’s find out the definition and origin of the IELTS exam and why it is divided into two forms.

First, the definition of IELTS:

  • IELTS – short for International English Language Testing System – is a test of English proficiency recognized worldwide. IELTS is run by three Cambridge University ESOL organizations, the British Council and Australia’s IDP education organization, which has been in place since 1989.
  • Test takers choose between two types of examination: Academic (academic) and General (joint training)

Next, we will distinguish the purpose of the two IELTS test types:

  • IELTS academic (academic) is for students who intend to study abroad or participate in other academic programs that require an English language certificate. The test is open to assess whether students are eligible for language study and study at University or postgraduate English.
  • IELTS general (open general training) is open to English language learners for work or abroad, generally for those who serve social life.

II. The similarities and differences between the two types of IELTS test

We will analyze the similarities and differences through 4 skills offline!

1. IELTS Listening
Basically, the two forms of General and Academic exams are the same. With a time of 40 minutes, candidates will have to listen and practice in four sections of English speakers. Questions will be asked after each listening section.

► The structure of a listening test consists of:

  • Section 1: Conversation between two or three people in the context of everyday social interaction
  • Section 2: A person’s monologue about daily social topics
  • Section 3: A discussion of academic research issues between groups of 2-4 people
  • Section 4: Monologue section on an academic topic. Eg lectures, presentations …

ATTENTION: YOU ONLY LISTEN ONE TIME. Voice will diversify from England, USA, Australia. The listening will last 30 minutes, the remaining 10 minutes will be devoted to the test

2. IELTS Speaking
IELTS General and Academic Speaking are oral discussions, taking the form of teachers asking students to answer. The speaking test will consist of 3 parts, in order from easy to difficult to test the ability of the tester’s pronunciation, expression and communication.

► Part 1: Introduce yourself

  • In this section, the examiner will ask basic information related to the individual, then he or she will develop questions around the exam’s basic topics such as travel, family or routine. daily.
  • This section will examine the test taker’s basic daily communication skills, usually lasting only 4-5 minutes.

► Part 2: Description text

  • Upon completion of Part 1, the examiner will issue a paper card containing the specific test topic so that the contestant can present his or her opinion on that topic. Topics often revolve around telling a daily story or describing an event.
  • You will take a note for 1 -2 minutes, then you will finish the test based on that note within 2 minutes.
    This section tests the candidate’s ability to use vocabulary and the use of descriptive writing in everyday speech

► Part 3: Presentation

  • The last part is always the hardest. The examiner and the contestant will discuss and share ideas about a social issue related to the topic in part 2, but different from part 2 in that the contestant will have to present more intensive and academic ideas. .
  • You will need to complete the test within 4-5 minutes. During that time, candidates must use their social knowledge, clear and coherent personal presentation and use of academic vocabulary and grammar.

3. IELTS Reading
In Reading skills, the IELTS test organizers have categorized two types of tests for the two types of IELTS General and IELTS Academic.

IELTS General:

  • – The test lasts 60 minutes
  • – The test consists of 3 passages (Passage) and 40 questions are divided equally for each paragraph about 1500 words.
  • – The topics in the test will be more social in nature, including articles, magazines, daily advertisements in English-speaking countries.
  • – The examiners when giving this type of exam mainly test daily social knowledge and how to apply the language to those candidates’ knowledge.
  • – Types of questions used: multiple choice, identify information, identify writer’s claims, matching features, matching headings, matching information, sentence completion, match sentence endings, summary completion, notes completion, table completion, flow – chart completion , diagram label completion and short – answer questions.

Example of a Passage in the IELTS Academic Reading test:

Read the information below and answer Questions 9-14.
 CLASSIC TOURS — COACH BREAK INFORMATIONLuggageWe ask you to keep luggage down to one medium-sized suitcase per person, but a small holdall can also be taken on board the coach.
Seat Allocation

Requests for particular seats can be made on most coach breaks when booking, but since allocations are made on a first come first served basis, early booking is advisable. When bookings are made with us you will be offered the best seats that are available on the coach at that time.

Travel Documents

When you have paid your deposit we will send to you all the necessary documents and labels, so that you receive them in good time before the coach break departure date. Certain documents, for example, air or boat tickets, may have to be retained and your driver or courier will then issue them to you at the relevant point.

Special Diets

If you require a special diet you must inform us at the time of booking with a copy of the diet. This will be notified to the hotel or hotels on your coach break, but on certain coach breaks the hotels used are tourist class and whilst offering value for money within the price range, they may not have the full facilities to cope with special diets. Any extra costs incurred must be paid to the hotel by yourself before departure from the hotel.


Many of our coach-breaks now include, within the price, accommodation with private facilities, and this will be indicated on the coach break page. Other coach breaks have a limited number of rooms with private facilities which, subject to availability, can be reserved and guaranteed at the time of booking – the supplementary charge shown in the price panel will be added to your account.
On any coach break, there are only a limited number of single rooms. When a single room is available it may be subject to a supplementary charge and this will be shown on the brochure page.


Some of our hotels arrange additional entertainment which could include music, dancing, film shows, etc. The nature and frequency of the entertainment presented is at the discretion of the hotel and therefore not guaranteed and could be withdrawn if there is a lack of demand or insufficient numbers in the hotel.

Questions 9-14:

Choose the appropriate letters A-D and write them in boxes 9-14 on your answer sheet.

9.  If you want to sit at the front of the coach –

A. ask when you get on the coach.
B. arrive early on the departure date.
C. book your seat well in advance.
D. avoid travelling at peak times.

10. Your air tickets –

A. will be sent to your departure point.
B. must be collected before leaving.
C. will be enclosed with other documents.
D. may be held by your coach driver.

11.  If you need a special diet you should –

A. inform the hotel when you arrive.
B. pay extra with the booking.
C. tell the coach company.
D. book tourist class.

12.  It may be necessary to pay extra for –

A. a bathroom.
B. boat tickets.
C. additional luggage.
D. entertainment.

13.  Entertainment is available –
A. at all hotels.
B. if there is the demand.
C. upon request.
D. for an additional cost.

14.  With every booking, Classic Tours guarantee you will be able to –

A. request high-quality meals.
B. take hand luggage on the coach.
C. use your own personal bathroom.
D. see a film if you want to.

IELTS Academic

  • – Similar to IELTS General: 60-minute exam time with 40 questions divided into 3 fairly long paragraphs.
  • – However, IELTS Academic Reading will have more topics in the exam than the General IELTS. The languages in the test are more academic, in particular, the IELTS Academic Reading also has a topic for discussing an academic research project.
  • – The questions will not be arranged sequentially according to each idea in the reading so the test requires the ability to read and understand the candidate’s details.
  • – Types of questions used: multiple choice, identifying information, matching headings, matching information, sentence completion, matching sentence endings, summary completion, notes completion, table completion, flow – chart completion, short – answer questions.

       Example of Passage 01 – IELTS Academic:



If you took off your skin and laid it flat, it would cover an area of about twenty-one square feet, making it by far the body’s largest organ. Draped in place over our bodies, skin forms the barrier between what’s inside us and what’s outside. It protects us from a multitude of external forces. It serves as an avenue to our most intimate physical and psychological selves.


This impervious yet permeable barrier, less than a millimetre thick in places, is composed of three layers. The outermost layer is the bloodless epidermis. The dermis includes collagen, elastin, and nerve endings. The innermost layer, subcutaneous fat, contains tissue that acts as an energy source, cushion and insulator for the body.


From these familiar characteristics of skin emerge the profound mysteries of touch, arguably our most essential source of sensory stimulation. We can live without seeing or hearing – in fact, without any of our other senses. But babies born without effective nerve connections between skin and brain can fail to thrive and may even die.


Laboratory experiments decades ago, now considered unethical and inhumane, kept baby monkeys from being touched by their mothers. It made no difference that the babies could see, hear and smell their mothers; without touching, the babies became apathetic, and failed to progress.


For humans, insufficient touching in early years can have lifelong results. “In touching cultures, adult aggression is low, whereas in cultures where touch is limited, adult aggression is high,” writes Tiffany Field, director of the Touch Research Institutes at the University of Miami School of Medicine. Studies of a variety of cultures show a correspondence between high rates of physical affection in childhood and low rates of adult physical violence.


While the effects of touching are easy to understand, the mechanics of it are less so. “Your skin has millions of nerve cells of various shapes at different depths,” explains Stanley Bolanowski, a neuroscientist and associate director of the Institute for Sensory Research at Syracuse University. “When the nerve cells are stimulated, physical energy is transformed into energy used by the nervous system and passed from the skin to the spinal cord and brain. It’s called transduction, and no one knows exactly how it takes place.” Suffice it to say that the process involves the intricate, splitsecond operation of a complex system of signals between neurons in the skin and brain.


This is starting to sound very confusing until Bolanowski says: “In simple terms people perceive three basic things via skin: pressure, temperature, and pain.” And then I’m sure he’s wrong. “When I get wet, my skin feels wet,” I protest. “Close your eyes and lean back,” says Bolanowski.


Something cold and wet is on my forehead – so wet, in fact, that I wait for water to start dripping down my cheeks. “Open your eyes.” Bolanowski says, showing me that the sensation comes from a chilled, but dry, metal cylinder. The combination of pressure and cold, he explains, is what makes my skin perceive wetness. He gives me a surgical glove to put on and has me put a finger in a glass of cold water. My finger feels wet, even though I have visual proof that it’s not touching water. My skin, which seemed so reliable, has been deceiving me my entire life. When I shower or wash my hands, I now realize, my skin feels pressure and temperature. It’s my brain that says I feel wet.


Perceptions of pressure, temperature and pain manifest themselves in many different ways. Gentle stimulation of pressure receptors can result in ticklishness; gentle stimulation of pain receptors, in itching. Both sensations arise from a neurological transmission, not from something that physically exists. Skin, I’m realizing, is under constant assault, both from within the body and from forces outside. Repairs occur with varying success.


Take the spot where I nicked myself with a knife while slicing fruit. I have a crusty scab surrounded by pink tissue about a quarter inch long on my right palm. Under the scab, epidermal cells are migrating into the wound to close it up. When the process is complete, the scab will fall off to reveal new epidermis. It’s only been a few days, but my little self-repair is almost complete. Likewise, we recover quickly from slight burns. If you ever happen to touch a hot burner, just put your finger in cold water. The chances are you will have no blister, little pain and no scar. Severe burns, though, are a different matter.

Questions 1-4

The passage has 10 paragraphs A–J.

Which paragraph contains the following information?

Answer the questions below by writing the correct letters, A-J, in boxes 1-4 on your answer sheet.

1) the features of human skin, on and below the surface

2) an experiment in which the writer can see what is happening

3) advice on how you can avoid damage to the skin

4) cruel research methods used in the past

Questions 5 and 6

Choose the correct letter, A, B, C or D.

5) How does a lack of affectionate touching affect children?

A It makes them apathetic.
B They are more likely to become violent adults.
C They will be less aggressive when they grow up.
D We do not really know.

6) After the ‘wetness’ experiments, the writer says that

A his skin is not normal.
B his skin was wet when it felt wet.
C he knew why it felt wet when it was dry.
D the experiments taught him nothing new.

Questions 7–11

Complete each sentence with the correct ending A–I from the box below.

Write the correct letter A–I in boxes 7–11 on your answer sheet.

A  because it is both cold and painful.

В  because the outer layer of the skin can mend itself.

С  because it can be extremely thin.

D  because there is light pressure on the skin.

E  because we do not need the others to survive.

F  because there is a good blood supply to the skin.

G  because of a small amount of pain.

H  because there is a low temperature and pressure.

I  because it is hurting a lot.

J  because all humans are capable of experiencing it.


7) Touch is unique among the five senses

8) A substance may feel wet

9) Something may tickle

10) The skin may itch

11) A small cut heals up quickly


Questions 12–14

Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 1?

In boxes 12-14 on your answer sheet, write

TRUE    if the statement is true according to the passage

FALSE    if the statement is false according to the passage

NOT GIVEN    if the information is not given in the passage

12) Even scientists have difficulty understanding how our sense of touch works.

13) The skin is more sensitive to pressure than to temperature or pain.

14) The human skin is always good at repairing itself.

4. IELTS Writing
This is also the skill that distinguishes most clearly between the two types of General and Academic exams. Both types of exam are divided into two parts task 1 and task 2, the first part writes no more than 150 words and the second part writes in about 250 words, especially not shorter.

IELTS General:

  • – In Task 1, contestants are asked to answer how to handle a given situation, mainly in the form of writing letters to relatives about a problem or writing to a company or an organization. Something to do. For example: Write a letter to a relative about your trip, write a letter to the company asking for a proposal to supplement your marketing budget, or write to the government to resolve a land complaint.
  • – In task 2, candidates must write essays on social issues such as environment, people or entertainment. The test requires candidates to give their opinions and present them according to the question posed.

Task 1 example:

You have seen an advertisement for a community college that needs teachers for night classes.

Write a letter to the community college. In your letter:

• say which advertisement you are answering

• describe which course (s) you want to teach, and what it / they would be about

• explain why you would be a suitable teacher

Write at least 150 words.

You do NOT need to write any addresses

IELTS Academic:

  • – Even in task 1, there is a clear difference between Academic and General. In the Task 1 Academic section, the contestant must describe the chart or describe a production process. The information given in the main topic is in the form of a chart or a table for candidates to analyze.
  • – Task 2 Academic is similar to General, candidates are required to present their opinions in accordance with the topic of the essay in the form of academic essays.

Example of task 1

1. You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.

The chart below gives information about Someland’s main exports in 2005, 2015, and future projections for 2025.

Summarize the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.

Write at least 150 words.

III. When to choose IELTS Academic or IELTS General?
Basically, apart from the differences in Reading and Task 1 Writing, these two forms are relatively similar. However, IELTS Academic will be a bit more difficult because this test is designed to review candidates towards academic specialization.

So many of you are probably wondering whether to choose IELTS Academic or General? For those who want to study abroad or participate in international academic programs, you need an IELTS Academic certificate. In case you want English for work and social interaction, you should take the IELTS General test.

One advantage of taking the IELTS Academic test is that when you have an Academic degree, you don’t need to take the General exam.

Thus Wiki Study English analyzes the similarities and differences of IELTS General and Academic. After referencing the article of us, hope you choose the test format that suits you.

Good luck!