IELTS is an international English Language Testing System, that is specific for those who want to study, work or settle in English-speaking countries such as the UK, Canada, New Zealand, and America.

IELTS is required to check your English proficiency level so you can communicate there.

Types of IELTS

According to British Council, there are two types of IELTS tests recommended by the Government

  • IELTS Academics
  • IELTS General Training

IELTS Academics

IELTS academics is recommended to those who want to study abroad or go there for professional registration.

You can choose whether you want to give an online or paper exam, also you can choose a suitable location.

IELTS General Training

Those who want to go to work or immigrate to English-speaking countries are recommended to give IELTS General Training.

There are four sections in both exams i-e You have an option whether to give an online or paper exam.

Difference between IELTS academics and general training

  • Listening
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Speaking

Both tests have the same listening and speaking test while in reading and writing we find differences. Make sure you choose the right type.

There are three passages in IELTS Academics while five passages in General Training. Another difference in reading is the text type or the context. In Academics, it is academic text while in General Training it is related to everyday speech.

In writing, there is a difference in writing the first task. In academics, it is related to reports based on academic context, and in General training, the letter is asked to write.

Test format of IELTS


Listening is the first test from all sections. In listening, four audios played and you have to find answers according to the question paper.

Recording 1 _ a conversation between two people related to social context.

Recording 2 _ a monologue (speech of a single person) related to social or everyday context.

Recording 3 _ a conversation between two or more than two people related to academic’s context

Recording 4_ again a monologue related to the academic context.

Listening test description

There are four recordings and forty questions related to these audios. In each recording, there is a break except for the fourth.

In recording one, there is a conversation about everyday stuff. For example, two people are talking about how was the match yesterday. The second recording is a monologue, for example, a speech about teaching staff to pay more attention to students. In recording three, there is a conversation between two people related to academics, (for example, two students are discussing their assignment), and in recording four, there is a monologue about academics, For example (a lecture about the latest research of biology)

Difficulty level

The difficulty level increases with every section. The fourth section is the most difficult part of listening as you do not have any grip on the topic and there are many distractions in it.

Before playing any audio, there is a break also the break within the recordings also. But in the fourth audio, there is no break, you have to complete your exam in one go.


Almost 30 minutes to answer questions (10 minutes to transfer on the worksheet)

How to answer?

you have 30 minutes to answer on the question sheet while listening and after listening to the recordings you will be provided 10 minutes to transfer these answers to the answer sheet.

No. of Questions


Task Type

A variety of tasks are asked to complete such as multiple choice, fill in the blanks, sentence completion, labeling, note/diagram/flow charts, summary completion, and sentence completion.


Each question has a worth of 1 mark.


Recordings will be played only once. Be careful about spelling and grammar mistakes as marks will be deducted if it is written wrong.

How listening tests are marked?

The score out of 40 is converted into a band score which ranges from 1 to 9. The band score is awarded full band or half band.


The reading test is different for IELTS academics and IELTS General training. Here, is the description of IELTS academics.

IELTS academics for reading

There are three passages in IELTS academics. There are 40 questions in this test and test takers have to answer all these questions in the given time.

Reading test description

No. of passages

There are three passages in the academic test. These texts have different contexts but are related to academics. The written passages have different writing styles which may be persuasive, logical, argumentative, and descriptive. Pictures, diagrams, and charts may be used in passages.


These passages can be taken from magazines, journals, newspapers, or from academics text. The topics of these passages are interesting and recognizable. These academic texts are specialized for those who want to continue their graduation or post-graduation studies.

Task Type

There are different tasks that are asked to perform. For example, flow chart completion, table labeling, short question answers, diagram labeling, note completion, and matching information. They may ask to suggest an appropriate heading for the text.


Each question has a worth of 1 mark.


60 minutes are given to complete the tasks.

Reading test for General Training

Paper format

There are five passages for general training and three sections involved. In the first section, there may be two or three short texts or maybe many shorter texts. In section two, there are two shorter texts, while in section three one long text is involved.


The issues which are discussed in these passages are general and related to the workplace. In the first section, the text is related to basic linguistic study, advertisement, and timetables.

The second section deals with workplace-related questions. For example, how to deal with staff, job description, and environment related to the job.

The third section deals with general questions. Here, the main focus is on the descriptive form of writing rather than logical or argumentative. General information can be extracted from newspapers, magazines, or books.


Each question has 1 mark.


60 minutes

Task Type

The task type is the same as for academics.

IELTS Writing

In both academics and general training two tasks are involved with only a difference in task 1.

IELTS academics for writing

There are two tasks in the academic test, which are asked to write on the answers sheet. These are taken according to the interest of test takers who want to go abroad for graduation or post-graduation studies or seeking professional registration.


Task 1

You may ask to describe an event or situation. You may be given a flow chart, diagram, and graph and asked to describe them in your own words in formal language.

Task 2

You have to write an essay in response to the problem, or point of view and it must be in a formal style.


There are 60 minutes to complete both tasks. You have to write 150 words in task 1 in almost 20 minutes, while in task 2 you have to write 250 words in 40 minutes. This is not a fixed time for the completion of the task but the overall paper should be completed in 60 minutes.


Both questions have 20 marks.

IELTS writing for general training

Task 1

In task 1, test takers are asked to write a letter for a given condition in a formal style.

Task 2

In task 2, an essay is asked in argumentative or in response to a problem.

IELTS speaking test

This test consists of three tasks. Each part is recorded.

Paper format

Description of these tasks are

Task 1

The examiner will ask you about a general topic. For example, it is about you, your hobbies, your interest, and about your home. This section lasts for 4 to 5 minutes.

Task 2

In this section, the examiner will provide you with a card and asks you about a particular topic. The examiner provides you one minute, so you can concentrate on what you say. Then you will be asked to speak on this particular topic.

Task 3

In this task, the examiner further asks about task 2 so that you can deliver your abstract ideas.


14 to 15 minutes

Sub Editor: Rida Fatima