IELTS Academic vs General Which Is Easier (2023)

IELTS Academic vs General Which Is Easier

IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is a widely recognized test of English proficiency which is taken by a lot of people worldwide every year. 

It is one of the most popular English Proficiency Language Tests for those who want to study or work in foreign countries where English is the main language. 

There are two types of IELTS Exam;

  • IELTS Academic
  • IELTS General Training. 

That’s why many candidates are confused about which test is easy and which test they should take. That’s why they search on the internet for “IELTS Academic vs General which is easier” 

But you don’t have to worry about it because In this blog, I provide all the information about both tests in detail that can help you to take one test depending on your goals. 

So, let’s get started!

IELTS Academic vs General Which Is Easier

Here I will compare the both type of IELTS exam i.e. IELTS Academic and IELTS general. There will be different criteria for comparing the both exam types.

To get a proper answer that which exam you must choose you must read the complete blog, without missing any detail.

Let’s start with the definition of both test types.


IELTS Academic

IELTS Academic is a standardised test which is used to assess the English Proficiency Language of candidates who want to study at undergraduate or postgraduate levels in English-speaking countries. 

It has four module: 

  • Listening
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Speaking

11,000 organisations worldwide, including universities, employers, immigration authorities, and professional bodies recognize this test. 

IELTS General Training

This test is also used to assess the English Language proficiency of candidates. But this test is for those who want to migrate to an English-speaking country or seek employment or training opportunities in such countries. 

The test evaluates the language skills of candidates in four modules: Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking. The Listening and Speaking modules are the same as IELTS Academic in this test but the Reading and Writing module has some differences. 


To get the answer IELTS Academic vs General which is easier, after learning the definition you must also know the format of the both exams.

So let’s have a look at the format of both tests.

ModuleIELTS AcademicIELTS General
ListeningThis module lasts for 30 minutes and consists of 4 recordings, with 10 questions for each recording.This module is the same as in the Academic test, with 4 recordings and 40 questions.
ReadingThis module lasts for 60 minutes and consists of three reading passages with total of 40 questionsThis module lasts for 60 minutes and consists of 3-4 reading passages with a total of 40 questions
Writing This module lasts for 60 minutes and consists of two writing task. IELTS writing task 1 requires you to describe a graph or diagram, while task 2 requires you to write an essay on a given topicThis module also lasts for 60 minutes and consists of two writing task. In task 1, you have to write a letter in response to a given situation. In IELTS Writing task 2, you have to write an essay on a given topic.
Speaking This module lasts for 11-14 minutes and consists of three parts. Part 1 involves answering general questions about yourself, while part 2 requires you to speak about a given topic for two minutes. In part 3, you have to answer follow-up question related to part 2.This module is also the same as in the Academic test.

Reading Score Comparison

The reading score varies for both test types and you may not get equal band score for both test types. For example, if you score 30 correct answers in IELTS Academic and general then your band score in both test types will be different.

Let’s look at the table for better understanding of IELTS academic vs General which is easier.

Reading Band ScoreIELTS Academic Correct answersIELTS General Correct answers
0 – 40-120-18

Comparison Table: Key Differences

Here is a comparison table between IELTS Academic vs General Which is easier: 

FeatureIELTS AcademicIELTS General Training
PurposeFor those who want to study in abroad countries For those who want to migrate, work or training in English speaking countries
Listening SectionFour academic lectures, with questions that increase in difficultSame as IELTS Academics
Reading SectionThree long academic passages, with question that increase in difficultyShorter passages based on social and workplace scenarios
Writing SectionTwo tasks
Task 1: describe a graph, chart, or diagram
Task 2: Write an essay on the given topic
Two tasks: 
Task 1: write a letter (formal, semiformal, or informal)
Task 2: write an essay
Speaking SectionDiscusses academic topics, such as research project or presentationDiscusses general topics, such as work experience or hobbies
Test time2 hours and 45 minutes2 hours and 45 minutes
Score range0-90-9
Validity 2 years2 years
Recognition Recognized by universities and academic institutions worldwideRecognized by immigration authorities, employers, and professional bodies worldwide 

Comparing the Difficulty: IELTS Academic vs General Training

In this section, we will compare the IELTS Academic vs General Training difficulty level to help test-takers make an informed decision based on their individual goals and abilities.

Scoring Differences

The scoring system for both modules is the same, with scores ranging from 0 to 9 bands. However, the explanation of scores may vary based on the test-taker’s purpose.

Academic IELTS is typically required for university admissions, and certain institutions may have specific score requirements. General Training is often used for immigration and work purposes.

The criteria for scoring in each module differ slightly, reflecting the varied language needs in academic and everyday contexts.

Subject Matter Complexity

The Academic module focuses on topics found in academic affairs, such as lectures, research articles, and academic discussions. These topics may involve complex subject matter, terminology, and formal language.

General Training, on the other hand, covers everyday situations, including work-related issues, social interactions, and practical scenarios. The subjects are more familiar and do not require specialized knowledge.

Preparation Approaches

Test-takers aiming for the Academic module must be proficient in academic language and have a strong hold of academic vocabulary and concepts.

General Training candidates should focus on improving communication skills for daily life, including socializing, understanding workplace communication, and expressing ideas effectively.

IELTS Academics Vs IELTS General Training Which Exam To Choose

Some test-takers may find the Academic module more challenging due to the technical and specialized language used in academic contexts.

Others may perceive the General Training module as harder because of its reliance on practical language skills required in various real-life situations.

It is essential to remember that the difficulty of each module is subjective and depends on individual strengths and weaknesses. Choosing the right module should align with your specific goals. If you plan to pursue higher education, the Academic module may be the more suitable option, as it reflects the language demands of an academic environment. Conversely, if your intention is to migrate or work in an English-speaking country, the General Training module might better prepare you for everyday language use.

Regardless of the module chosen, consistent and targeted preparation, along with practice tests and professional guidance, can significantly enhance your performance in the IELTS exam. Remember, IELTS is a test of your English language proficiency, and with dedication and effort, you can excel in either module and achieve your desired band scores.

Common Challenges In Both Versions

Here are some common challenges that test-takers may face in both versions of the IELTS Exam:

Time management

  • Both versions of the IELTS Exam have strict time limits for each section.
  • Managing time effectively is crucial to complete all tasks within the allocated time.
  • Test-takers may struggle to pace themselves and may not be able to complete all questions if time is not managed well.
  • Developing time management strategies and practicing under timed conditions can help overcome this challenge.

Listening Section Challenges

  • The Listening Section in both versions presents challenges such as accents, fast-paced speech, and background noises.
  • Understanding and accurately capturing information while listening can be demanding, especially for non-native speakers.
  • Test-takers may find it challenging to maintain focus throughout the recording.
  • Regular practice with listening materials, including authentic recordings, can enhance listening skills and overcome these challenges.

Writing Section Challenges

  • Both versions include a writing section that requires test-takers to compose well-structured and coherent essays or responses within a limited time frame.
  • Time pressure can make it difficult to plan, organize thoughts, and proofread effectively.
  • Maintaining clarity, coherence, and cohesion in writing can be challenging for some.
  • Regular writing practice, learning essay structures, and enhancing vocabulary can help improve skills and address these challenges.

Reading Section Challenges

  • The Reading section in both versions consists of long passages with complex vocabulary and sentence structures.
  • Test-takers may find it challenging to skim for main ideas or scan for specific details within the given time frame.
  • Understanding and interpreting the writer’s opinions or arguments can be difficult.
  • Developing reading strategies, such as skimming, scanning, and practicing with a variety of texts, can improve reading speed and comprehension.

Speaking Section Challenges

  • The Speaking sections in both versions require test-takers to express themselves fluently and coherently on a variety of topics.
  • Some may feel nervous or lack confidence when speaking in a timed, evaluative setting.
  • Generating ideas and organizing them on the spot can be challenging for some individuals.
  • Regular speaking practice, engaging in discussions, and receiving feedback can help improve fluency and overcome these challenges.

IELTS Academic Vs General Which Exam To Choose?

It is not accurate to say which version of the IELTS exam is easier because it depends on your goals and skills. IELTS Academic is for those candidates who want to study at universities or institutions of higher education in English-speaking countries. It is also for those candidates who want to practice their profession in an English Speaking environment. 

This exam focuses on academic language skills, such as Writing, Reading, Listening and Speaking in an academic context. 

On the other hand, IELTS GT is for those candidates who want to migrate or work or undertake non-academic training in an English-Speaking country. This test focuses on more general language skills, such as workplace communication, everyday communication, and social situations. 

Both versions of the IELTS test have the same format and consist of four components: listening, Writing, Reading and Speaking. The level of difficulty and content of the test may vary depending on the version you choose. It is very important to choose the test version that aligns with goals and requirements. 

So it may be clear to you now IELTS Academic vs General which is easier or which one you must choose, now let’s understand which test is for Canada PR.

IELTS Academic vs General For Canada PR

If you want to get Canada PR, then you must take the IELTS GT version of the IELTS exam. Canadian govt. Accepts both test of IELTS, but for immigration purposes, they only accept IELTS GT. 

IELTS GT measures candidates’ English Proficiency in everyday contexts, such as workplace and social situations. It includes topics like workplace communication, and everyday conversations. 

On the other hand, IELTS Academic measures candidates English proficiency in an academic context and includes topics such as research papers, academic lectures, and essays. 

Therefore, if you are applying for Canada PR, then you should take IELTS GT to fulfil the English proficiency requirements.

IELTS Academic and General Score Chart

As I told you above IELTS is a standardized test which is used to assess English language proficiency of Non-Native English speakers. It has two types: IELTS Academic, and General Training. 

After learning about IELTS Academic vs General which is easier and learning all its differences you must also need to know about the score chart with level of proficiency of user of both test types.

The score chart of IELTS ranges from 0 to 9, with 0 indicating that the candidate did not attempt the test and 9 indicating expert lever proficiency. 

Both tests have the same scoring system. Each module of the test is scored individually and then combined to calculate the overall band score. 

Here are below table that shows the IELTS band score chart for both IELTS Academic and General Training:

Band ScoreLevel Of Proficiency Description
9Expert Very advanced level of English proficiency 
8.5Very GoodVery good user with only occasional inaccuracies
8Very GoodGood user with a strong command of English but some inaccuracies
7.5Good Competent user with occasional inaccuracies and misunderstandings
7GoodGood user with an effective command of English despite some errors
6.5competentCompetent user with occasional inaccuracies and misunderstandings
6  competentCompetent with some errors and misunderstandings
5.5modestLimited user who can communicate in familiar situations but with many errors
5modestLimited user who can understand basic English but with frequent errors
4.5limitedLimited limited user who struggles to understand and use English
4limitedVery limited user with frequent breakdowns in communication
3.5limitedExtremely user with great difficulty in understanding spoken
3Extremely limited Almost no ability to use English
0-2Did not attemptNo ability to use English

Best Books For Preparation

Here are below some of the best IELTS book for self study that can help you prepare for IELTS Exam:

Best Books For IELTS Academic

  1. The Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS
  2. Barron’s IELTS Superpack
  3. Simone Braverman’s Target Band 7
  4. IELTS Practice Tests Plus 2 with Key and CD Pack
  5. Cambridge IELTS 15 Academic Student’s Book with Answers
  6. Road to IELTS

Best Books For IELTS General Training

  1. The Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS
  2. Cambridge IELTS 10 to 16
  3. English Collocations in Use: Advanced
  4. English Vocabulary in Use: Upper-intermediate
  5. Barron’s IELTS Superpack
  6. Official IELTS Practice Materials Vol. 1 & 2


In this blog, we have discussed IELTS Academic vs General which is easier. I hope you like my blog. 

Both test are designed to measure your proficiency in English language skills in different contexts, and both require a similar level of English proficiency. 

The decision of which test to take depends on your individual strengths and goals. It’s important to note that both tests are challenging in their own way, and there is no “easy” option. 

If you like this blog about IELTS Academic vs General which is easier, then share it with your friends and family. If you have any query related to this blog, then you can comment to me. I will reply to you as soon as possible.


Is 8777 necessary for Canada PR?

No, it is not necessary to get a score of 8777 in IELTS exam to get a PR for Canada. Your required band score depends upon your overall points you get from other criteria.

Can I apply for Canada PR with 6.5 bands?

Yes, you can apply PR for Canada if you get a score of 6.5 in IELTS General Training. As I mentioned your required score depends upon the points you got from other criteria.

Is one version of the IELTS easier than the other?

The difficulty level of IELTS Academic and IELTS GT is subjective and depends on your individual strengths and goals. Both versions assess different skills and have unique question types, so what may be easier for one person could be challenging for another.

Which version should I choose: IETLS Academic or IELTS General?

Choose the version that aligns with your specific goals. If you are applying for higher education or professional registration, IETLS Academic is suitable. If you plan to work or immigrate, IELTS General is the appropriate choice.

Are the Listening and Speaking sections the same for both versions?

The Listening and Speaking sections of the IETLS test are the same for both academic and General Versions. These sections assess your ability to understand spoken English and communicate effectively.

5 thoughts on “IELTS Academic vs General Which Is Easier (2023)”

    1. Hi Kyei Samuel Boafo,
      The primary difference between the IELTS UKVI General Training and IELTS General Training exams is their intended audience. The IELTS General Training exam is intended for individuals who plan to immigrate to an English-speaking country, while the IELTS UKVI General Training exam is designed for those who wish to work or settle in the United Kingdom.

      The content of both exams is similar, but the IELTS UKVI General Training exam has some additional security measures in place to verify the identity of the test-taker, such as taking fingerprints and a photograph. This added security is necessary to meet the UK’s immigration requirements.

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