IELTS General or IELTS Academic: Which one is right for you?

Established in 1989 and recognised internationally, The International English Language Testing System is a standardized English language test for non-native English language speakers. It is jointly managed by the British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge Assessment English.

The IELTS is designed to help those looking to work, study or migrate to another country where English is the native language. Popular countries people choose to travel to include Australia, Canada, New Zealand, UK and USA.

There are a number of professional bodies that require an IELTS score for registration in the industry. These professions include teaching, medicine, law, or engineering. If you are considering working in one of these fields in an English-speaking country but English is not your first language, it will be helpful to learn more about the IELTS exam.

The test can be taken in two formats:

  • IELTS Academic
  • IELTS General Training

Although there are alternatives available, the IELTS exam is one of the most commonly used and well recognised exams. Wondering which one to take? Find out more about each course and see which one is most suitable for you.

What is the difference between IELTS General and IELTS Academic?      

IELTS Academic

If you wish to study at university or college or enter a professional institution that requires an IELTS certificate, you will likely need to take the IELTS Academic.

Whether you aim to study an undergraduate or postgraduate course, if your university requires a certificate to validate your English language proficiency then you will need to get this booked and get studying!

The Language Gallery offers training that is suitable for both courses

IELTS General Training

Some people would rather not take an academic test. If you are not officially required to take the academic test – there is a less formal version of the IELTS available. The IELTS General Training test has been developed to test your every-day, non-academic English.

The IELTS General Training test is often required for entry into secondary education, a college or education training centre, or to move to an English-speaking country.

What’s involved in the IELTS test?

There are four sections which make up the IELTS exam:

The IELTS writing and reading tests differ in the Academic and General Training tests. The academic test usually contains topics suitable for anyone entering university or professional institutions. The General Training test will contain topics based on general interest.

The IELTS listening and speaking tests are the same, regardless of whether you choose to sit IELTS Academic or IELTS General Training test.

Which one is easier: the IELTS General or the IELTS Academic?  

The IELTS is designed to examine how well you can use the English language and with the right support and guidance, you should be able to achieve a high score that will serve you well in your university or job applications.

There is no pass or fail in the IELTS exam so you can sit the exam as many times as you like until you achieve your dream score. The academic test is designed to test your comprehension level and is generally more difficult than the general. For example, the reading paper will include a more straightforward passage and the scoring format is different for the tests too.  

What are the benefits of taking IELTS Academic?           

  • Improve your English language skills: As well as helping you achieve your career or academic goals, taking the IELTS will help you improve your English skills overall. When preparing yourself for the test, you will need to ensure your writing, reading, listening and speaking skills are up to scratch.
  • Increase your career opportunities: When you pass your IELTS exam, you receive a certification that is recognized worldwide. Whether you are learning English for academic, professional or personal purposes, the IELTS certificate is accepted by many government agencies, universities, employers, and other institutions.
  • Can help with VISA applications: The IELTS is commonly used to help individuals who require the certificate to prove their English skills for studies or work. However, an IELTS certificate is sometimes required for visa applications, job applications and immigration forms.
  • Assess your English level: If you can speak English well in conversation or understand it when you watch TV but lack confidence in terms of writing and reading, sitting the exam could give you that confidence boost. Sitting the IELTS will allow you to find out how strong your English knowledge is using globally recognised standards. This means you can also see which areas you need to improve in.
  • Increase your study motivation: With so many distractions today, its hard to stay motivated and focussed on one task. This makes studying extremely difficult, especially for those with a tendency to procrastinate! If you have a date in mind for your IELTS test, signing up to a course where you will be supported by expert tutors and classmates is one way to ensure you will be as well prepared as possible for your test.

How can you prepare for the IELTS test?

So, you’ve registered for your IELTS test, you know what’s going to be included and you know what parts of your English skills you need to improve. But where do you get started?!

There is a lot of ground to cover when it comes to IELTS preparation, and it can be overwhelming knowing where to get started. This is one of the reasons it is extremely helpful to enrol in an IELTS preparation course. However, there are some tips that can help you:

  • Make sure your aware of the test format e.g., the four sections of the test and the questions and tasks included in each section.
  • Make a note of the exam time constraints to ensure you plan and effectively manage your time correctly during the examination.
  • Enhance your reading skills by reading a variety of different types of writing on different topics. Practise reading to identify themes, details, skim reading, understanding logical arguments, and identifying writers’ opinions, attitudes and goals.
  • Expose yourself to as much English as you can while preparing for your test. Talk to people in English, listen to conversations in English, read and watch films to familiarise yourself with different accents.

Get ready for your IELTS with The Language Gallery

The IELTS preparation course is designed to help you improve the key English language skills including writing, reading, listening and speaking.

You will learn the best way to ace the exam, with a focus on special techniques to help you reach the score you need, whatever your motivations for taking the test may be. The right IELTS English course is essential to your success in the exam and The Language Gallery is experienced in teaching you the IELTS study skills you need to succeed.

Why study for your IELTS in London?

London is an extremely popular city for students and is home to many exceptional education institutions. As well as a high standard of education, people flock to the capital for the mass of employment opportunities, vibrant cultural life and global atmosphere. Everyone is welcome here - international students make up 41% of the city’s student population.

London is one of the best places in the world to study an English course and you will not only improve your language skills but you will be able to gain an education on English history and culture, experience life in the dynamic capital and make life-long memories. The Language Gallery also offers courses in Birmingham and Nottingham.

Find out more about The Language Gallery’s IELTS preparation course here and let us help you get the highest grade you can!

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