Are you planning to give IELTS test? If yes, you need to figure out which IELTS exam you should be giving. This depends on the purpose for which you are taking the exam. There are two versions of this test that are tailored to the needs of test takers; IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. Both Academic and General Training versions of the test are similar in format but differ in content. This also raises the question, which one is easier? Here I’ll discuss how they differ, and which one will be suitable for you.
Why are you taking the test?
Before you book the test, you should ask yourself this question. You should identify the purpose for which you are taking this test. Are you looking to immigrate or work in Australia, the UK, Ireland, Canada or New Zealand or are you planning to attend university in these countries? If your purpose is university education then you are required to take an IELTS Academic test. If you are looking to immigrate or work, then ideally you should be taking IELTS General Training. However, some fields of work may require you to take an Academic test to seek employment, one such field is medicine. So, it is recommended that you consult with your employer or agent before deciding.
What is the format?
In both versions of the test, the main format remains the same. Your skills assessed are Speaking, Listening, Writing and Reading. There is absolutely no difference in the Speaking and Listening sections of both versions. You can expect to receive the same questions for both modules. The format for Writing and Reading is also the same, you will be asked to attempt two writing tasks and in Reading, you will be asked to answer 40 questions from three passages. However, Writing and Reading modules vary in content. This is because Academic English is different from conversational English.
How does it differ in content?
As I already discussed, Speaking and Listening modules remain the same in both format and content however, Reading and Writing sections slightly vary. In IELTS Academic, students should expect reading excerpts that are directly taken from academic journals, textbooks, articles etc. You are expected to have the necessary skill to understand and comprehend complex academic texts whereas in IELTS General Training the language is similar to what we see in advertisements, magazines etc. Similarly, in the case of writing IELTS Academic test expects you to have university-level language proficiency. In task 1 writing, you may expect to write an analysis of graphs, diagrams, flowcharts etc while in case of General Training you will be given, for example, the task to write a letter.
How does it differ in scoring?
IELTS scoring criteria tells us that Academic is more challenging that General Training. In General Training, if you score a 30 in reading it will fetch you IELTS band 5 for reading, however, in Academic IELTS the same score will earn you band 6. Then again it is not to say that everyone should choose IELTS General Training, it depends on what your goal is. If you want to pursue higher education you have to take IELTS Academic. The reason they are scored differently is that both require a different level of proficiency in the language.
Now that you have a better understanding of both tests, it is time to choose. As I have discussed the choice comes down to your end goal. So, consider every aspect I have mentioned before you make a decision. For more information and to help in your preparation, come visit us at Wings Education. All the best for your test!