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So, you are required to do an English language test for your visa or study application? That means you have a choice between IELTS Academic or IELTS General Training. But, which test you need depends on what you want to do.

Usually, you can do the General Training test for migration purposes. Alternatively, most universities in Australia will ask you to do the Academic IELTS test.

The organisation where you plan to work or study sets the requirements. So, before you register for your test, it’s good to check which one is right for you.

Difference between IELTS Academic and General Training

Book IELTS General Training

1. Choose IELTS General Training if you're moving to Australia, Canada, or New Zealand

IELTS is the only test approved by four countries: Australia, Canada, the UK and New Zealand. So, if you want to move to another English-speaking country, chances are that you need to show evidence of English language proficiency. There are lots of English tests available. But, only IELTS is trusted and accepted by all four immigration authorities of Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and New Zealand. Usually, you can use the General Training test. As a result, if you’re thinking about moving: make sure you book IELTS. That way, you’re sure it’s accepted around the world.

IELTS General Training for Australia

If you like the opportunity to live, study or work in Australia, there are many visa options available to you. There is a study visa, skilled, sponsored work visa and business visa. Some of these may lead to Permanent Residency (PR) in New Zealand. Many of these visas only require you to show evidence with a General English test, like IELTS General Training.

IELTS for Migration

2. Get IELTS General Training for work

If you are looking for a job, you can use IELTS to show to your employer that you have the English language skills they need. Many employers accept IELTS General Training. That's because it tests your everyday English skills.

Being the world’s most popular English language test, more than 12,000 organisations in 140 countries trust your IELTS results. So, if you want to work for a top multi-national company in the finance/accounting industry, like Ernst and Young AustraliaDeloitte, and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), you can use IELTS. Or, if you want to score a job that’s in high demand in Canada, show them your IELTS results.

If you are looking for a job in hospitality or retail, education or government, a good result on your IELTS certificate can help you achieve your career aspirations!

Check which employers accept IELTS

IELTS General Training measures English language proficiency in a practical, everyday context. So, the tasks reflect both workplace and social situations.

3. Don't want complex Academic English? Choose IELTS General Training

Sometimes you need the IELTS Academic test. That's because this test is for people who want to study in an English-speaking environment. Naturally, it's important to have the right English language skills to succeed at University.

With IELTS Academic, you can show you have the academic English proficiency you need. The test measures if you are ready to begin studying in English. Therefore, it features vocabulary that is familiar within an academic setting. But, if you're not going to university, you might be able to do the General Training test.

So, what's the benefit of doing General Training over Academic?

  • With the Writing part in General Training, you write a letter to someone. But, with IELTS Academic, you need to describe and analyse data in a bar/pie chart, graphs, tables or diagrams. With General Training, you write a letter.

  • In the Reading part of the test, the GT test has 4 short passages from general/everyday style texts. The Academic test has 3 long passages from academic journal articles or textbook extracts.

What is IELTS General Training?

IELTS General Training measures English language proficiency in a practical, everyday context. The tasks and tests reflect both workplace and social situations.

Take this test if you would like to:

  • study or train below degree level

  • work or undertake work related training in an English-speaking country

  • emigrate to an English-speaking country

  • get another job in your own country

The IELTS General Training test is suitable for those applying to study below degree level. This includes an English-speaking school or college. It can also be taken for work experience or other employment training.

You may also need IELTS General Training for migration to Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK. Why? Because the test features everyday English language skills that you will need in social and workplace environments.

Which one is easier: Academic IELTS vs General Training IELTS?

IELTS offers two different tests: Academic and General Training (sometimes called IELTS GT). But it's a bit hard to say which one is easier. After all, different people find certain things easier or harder. For example, some people find maths easier than learning languages. Or, they find French easier to learn than English.

So, how come people think IELTS General Training is the easier test? Let's take a look at the key differences between IELTS Academic and IELTS GT. For Academic Writing task 1, you need to describe and analyse data in a bar/pie chart, graphs, tables or diagrams. On the other hand, for GT Writing task 1 you should write a letter. Sometimes, this letter could be to someone you know (an informal letter). Or, it could be a more formal letter to someone you don't know. Check more differences between the two tests.

Because of the different tasks, some blog posts say IELTS General Training is easier.

But, be careful: you shouldn't choose IELTS General Training because you think it's easier. Ultimately, you should select the test that is right for you. Are you doing the test for entry into University? Then, you should probably do the Academic test. But, if you need an English test for work or migration? The General Training test is an option.

Unlike other providers, the IELTS General Training test is the only non-academic test available for migration to New Zealand.

Who needs IELTS General Training?

Which industries ask for IELTS?

Many of the registration bodies that accept IELTS represent the health care professions. This includes industries such as nursing, medicine and pharmacy, where English language competence is of critical importance. Other professional bodies in particular countries requiring an IELTS result include accounting, engineering, law and veterinary practice. A wide range of other employers from sectors such as finance, government, construction, energy, aviation and tourism also require IELTS.

Professional registration

In most countries where English is the main language of communication, evidence of acceptable English language skills is required for applicants and international graduates seeking professional registration. Required proficiency levels vary between organisations, professions, by country and by jurisdiction. It is up to individual professional registration bodies to determine the IELTS band score and test type (Academic or General Training) they require.

IELTS for vocational training

IELTS General Training measures English language proficiency in a practical, everyday context and the tasks and texts reflect both workplace and social situations.

This test is usually required for vocational training, for example in the construction, hospitality and leisure, and tourism industries.

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