IELTS (the International English Language Testing System) is the most popular English language proficiency test in the world, with the purpose of assessing the language ability of applicants wishing to migrate to a foreign country where English is the main language of communication.
Based on the purpose of migration, the IELTS test is of two types: IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. The Speaking and Listening sections are the same for both the tests, but the subject topic for the Reading and Writing sections will differ.
Since you all have an idea that the IELTS General Training is for those migrating for the sake of getting a job or emigration; let’s look at what IELTS Academic is all about.
IELTS Academic Test
The IELTS Academic is for applicants who wish to migrate for academic purposes, like pursuing their degree or a higher level of education, or for professionals such as medical doctors, and nurses who wish to study or practice in an English-speaking environment. The test assesses whether you’re ready or will be comfortable to begin studying or training in a place where English is the major language.
So in short, the IELTS Academic Test is for those who plan to migrate to a foreign country for:
- Studying at an undergraduate or postgraduate level anywhere in the world.
- Applying for Tier 4 Student Visa at a university that is a Tier 4 Sponsor in the UK
- Working in an English-speaking country for a professional organisation.
Academic Test Duration
The test duration for the IELTS Academic, same as the IELTS General, is 2 hours and 45 minutes.
IELTS General Test Format
As mentioned above, the Listening and Speaking sections for both the tests are the same, while the topic subject in the Reading and Writing sections will differ.
The Listening, Reading and Writing sections of all IELTS tests are completed on the same day, with no breaks in between them.
Both General Training and Academic Reading Tests take 60 minutes. But while the General test contains 3 sections with the subject material mostly taken from advertisements, guidebooks or notices, the Academic test contains 3 long texts that are mostly taken from books, journals or newspapers. There will be 40 questions in total.
Both the Academic and General Writing tests take 60 minutes, with both the tests containing 2 tasks, where task 2 is an essay of at least 250 words. The difference comes in task 1, where in the Academic test you will have to describe, summarise or explain the data information given in a table, chart or diagram.
The Listening test takes 30 minutes, where there will be 4 sections with 10 questions in each section. Each section is heard only once.
Section 1: a conversation between two people
Section 2: a monologue set in an everyday social context
Section 3: a conversation between up to four people set in an educational or training context
Section 4: a monologue on an academic subject (e.g. a university lecture)
The Speaking test takes 12-14 minutes and comprises of 3 parts
Part 1: Introduction (questions about your background)
Part 2: Individual talk (based on topic given on a cue card)
Part 3: Two-way discussion (The examiner asks further questions which are connected to the topic of Part 2).