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Should I take IELTS Academic or IELTS General Training?

The word 'IELTS' is written across wooden blocks in front of the flags of the UK, Ireland, Australia, the USA, New Zealand and Cananda

If you want to travel to an English-speaking country for work, study or permanent residency, you may be asked to complete an IELTS exam.

IELTS stands for International English Language Testing System and is an international standardised assessment of English language proficiency. Employers, universities and immigration bodies in the UK, Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand and the USA will require you to take the exam before you are accepted.

Each organisation will ask for at least a specified minimum score in the exam, ranging from 1 to a top score of 9.

The IELTS exam comes in two forms, namely IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. The two routes are mostly similar, although their differences are what makes them each suited for specific purposes. Read more about their structures here.

So how do you know which exam you need to study for and sit? Read our guide and decide whether you should take IELTS Academic or IELTS General Training.

IELTS Academic

Gaining degrees from English-speaking countries such as the UK and USA will see you achieve a reputable education, recognised all around the world as being of a high standard.

However, to study at universities in these countries or to complete online courses with them, you will probably be asked to prove your English language proficiency with an IELTS score.

For this purpose, you will want to take an IELTS Academic exam. This will allow you to study at undergraduate and at postgraduate level in locations across the globe.

Different universities will ask for a particular minimum IELTS Academic score, and it is important to check the website page of the programme you wish to study to find out what it is. Then you will have in mind the score you need to aim for and can approximate how much time it will take you to successfully achieve this score.

IELTS General Training

The IELTS General Training exam covers most other purposes.

Whilst the Academic exam is suitable for applying to a higher education institution, you may need to take the General Training one for certain other study purposes. If you are wishing to study in secondary education (for example enrol at a high school or on a vocational programme), General Training is accepted as proof of English proficiency. Again, your particular organisation will specify which score you are required to have.

General Training is also the exam to take if you want to work in an English-speaking country or permanently move there.

Each country that accepts IELTS as its English language test will have a particular score you must achieve to move there. The scores might even be broken down further. For instance, a country might require you to have a higher score in the listening section in the exam than in the speaking section.

Be ready to take the IELTS exam for your needs with the IELTS Preparation course at Think English.

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