Which IELTS Should you Take, General or Academic?

Which IELTS test? Academic or General IELTS?

Don’t know which IELTS to take? There are several key differences between the two, and these will impact your decision. Studying for the Academic or General IELTS depends on what you want to do with it afterwards.

We have created an infographic answering these questions for you.  The IELTS allows you to either travel or study abroad and is the most versatile English language test in the world.

Why take Academic IELTS?

The Academic IELTS is the most popular IELTS type, as it is the most versatile. You can use the Academic IELTS for applications to universities all over the world and it is widely-recognised as the most thorough preparation for university level courses.

However, this means that it is significantly different from English you may have encountered in daily life or in your average General English class. The language in the Reading and Listening texts may include scientific or academic vocabulary and may be at a ‘higher’ level.

Fortunately, the IELTS Pass Academic Writing Course focuses on the strategies you will need to answer the questions effectively, and the IELTS Reading and IELTS Listening courses are designed for both the Academic and General IELTS tests.

Why take General IELTS?

The General IELTS is most commonly used for immigration purposes or for students who are going to another country for courses below university level (i.e. secondary school). It is recognised by the Australian, New Zealand, British and Canadian immigration agencies, although they each have their individual requirements.

You may need to take additional material for immigration purposes but please contact your local embassy for more information.

How do I prepare for the IELTS?

How should I study for the IELTS? Tips to Study for the IELTS.

  1. Start studying English – this will help you learn the fundamentals needed for the IELTS test, you should aim to start studying at at B2 level least 3 months before the test itself, at the latest. If you wait any longer you may not be at a high enough level on test day to perform at your best.

  2. Learn about the IELTS test from the IELTS Pass blog – use our informative infographics and blog posts to learn more about skills and strategies about how to get a good score on your IELTS.

  3. Buy an IELTS Pass course to get  useful information about the IELTS – our one-time membership fee gives you unlimited access to all courses and information on IELTS Pass. This will help you study useful task type skills and strategies for the test.

  4. Study IELTS skills and strategies needed with IELTS Pass online courses – view our individual skills courses to learn specific skills for each part of the IELTS.

  5. Take IELTS practice tests included in the course to perfect your new test-taking skills and strategies – take the official IELTS practice tests once you have learnt all the skills needed. Learn from our useful worksheets and e-books included in your course.

  6. Practise your Speaking and Writing skills and get feedback with IELTS Pass online classes – our experienced Cambridge-qualified IELTS trainers will guide you through the IELTS process in our online classes.

  7. Learn from your mistakes and improve your English – learn from the feedback given by our IELTS trainers and learn from where you can improve.

  8. Take the IELTS and get your perfect score – take the IELTS after you have studied the test-taking skills and strategies, and get your perfect score!

Top 10 IELTS Reading and Listening Skills

Top IELTS Reading and Listening Skills

General information

Part of Speech – a word that falls into the one of the following categories: verb, noun, pronoun, determiner, adjective, adverb, conjunction or interjection.
Key word – an important word in the task, this could be a missing word you have predicted, or word you will look for in the text.


Skills before Reading/Listening

Pre-reading – the time you have before reading the main text when you can implement test-taking skills.
Pre-listening – the time you have before you listen when you can implement test-taking skills.
Prediction – making an educated guess based on the context or task before reading/listening to information.


Test-taking skills

Skimming – reading a text quickly to get a general idea of the meaning.
Scanning – looking for specific information in a text.
Reading for detail – reading a text in-depth to understand both the meaning and language on a sentence-level.
Gist listening – listening to understand the general meaning rather than trying to listen for specific information.


In-Text Skills

Detecting signposts – noticing important cohesive structures in a listening or reading that indicate a change (e.g. however, even though, despite).
Noticing linkers – identifying cohesive structures that provide organisation to a text (e.g. firstly, in addition, until).
Note-taking – recording information beside the text or on a piece of paper for reference at a later point.