Both these exams have different applications. IELTS Academic is for the ones who want to study abroad. IELTS General Training is for those who want to apply for permanent immigration or for work opportunities. Now obvious to their applicability, IELTS General Training is easier than IELTS Academic.

The whole point behind the English proficiency exam is to check if the person in context can understand and converse in the language of the country they are applying to. Now if you want to study in English your level of understanding of the language has to be better than the one who is just going to need working knowledge of the language. They are not going to write research papers or write exams in English. All they need is basic understanding to be able to live and work and do things like – follow maps, write emails, write reports, and so on. 

The different sections are designed keeping this in prospective. Now the, Listening and Speaking test is same in both the IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training versions. But Writing and Reading sections are different for both. The time allotted to finish the test is the same. The number of questions is also the same in both. The difference is in the content.

In this post, we will only talk about the differences in the IELTS Reading section.

IELTS General Training:

It consists of three sub sections:

  • Sub-section 1 contains two to three or many short texts based on social skills such as advertisements, notices, etc.
  • Sub-section 2 contains two texts based on workplace-related such as the job description, employee training, employee/staff development, staff contracts, etc.
  • Sub-section 3 contains one long text, which is argumentative/descriptive in language.

The texts are procured from various company handbooks, company guidelines, newspapers, notices, magazines, advertisements, etc.

IELTS Academic Reading:

It consists of three sub-sections:

Sub-sections 1, 2 and 3 carry one long passage each and the passages are factual/graphical/narrative/analytical in nature. They may include a diagram that may represent a process/manufacturing, flow chart, table an illustration or a graph. You have to understand and comprehend what it means. The passages are procured from different academic journals, newspapers, textbooks, magazines, etc.

What is the difference? 

The major difference is in the General Training category, they test your working knowledge of English, which is, as much as required to converse and understand.

For academic, they test your level of comprehension, and your ability to present complex ideas clearly.

That’s why IELTS General Training Reading is easier than the IELTS Academic.

Besides the difference in the language in both the exams, the scoring format is different as well. There is a difference of one band. 

If you have a score of 37-38 out of 40, you get 8.5 bands in IELTS General reading.

If you have a score of 37-38 out of 40, you get 8 bands in IELTS Academic reading.

Which means with the same number of correct answers, you get a higher band in IELTS General Training Reading as compared to IELTS Academic Reading. 

If you are looking for comprehensive IELTS preparation course or just want to work on a particular section, get in touch with us at You can also find free practise tests for self-study.