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Find out the differences between IELTS Academic and General Training so you can choose which one is best for you.

Benefits of using IELTS sample tests

Gaining confidence: When it comes to the IELTS exam, confidence is key. The online sample tests are your steppingstones to a confident test day. By practising with these samples, you can reduce anxiety and build self-assurance.

Identifying areas of strength and improvement: Your journey to IELTS success is unique. These sample tests help you pinpoint your areas of strength and those that need improvement. This personalised insight allows you to tailor your preparation.

Time management: Time management during the IELTS test is vital. With the sample tests, you can practice pacing yourself, ensuring you can complete each section within the allocated time.

Accessing the IELTS sample test online

To get started with your IELTS sample tests, follow these simple steps:

Visit the IDP website: Go to our website where you'll find a dedicated section for IELTS preparation.

Select sample tests: Choose the IELTS sample tests section. Here, you'll find various practice materials to enhance your preparation.

Check your computer’s technical requirements: Ensure your computer or device meets the technical requirements for a smooth experience. You want to focus on your practice, not technical glitches.

A comprehensive breakdown of IELTS exam samples


Format and question types: 

The IELTS listening test on the computer maintains the same question types as IELTS on Paper including multiple choice, matching, plan/map/diagram labelling, form completion, note completion, table completion, flow-chart completion, summary completion, sentence completion, short-answer questions. Also, the IELTS General Training test and the IELTS Academic test are exactly the same, consisting of four recorded monologues and conversations that will provide the answers for these questions.


  • Listen attentively to an extract and practice answering sample questions.

  • Practise listening to a variety of English accents.


IELTS Academic reading

The question types and passages for IELTS Academic reading in the computer-based IELTS test  mirror those in the paper-based IELTS exam. They encompass a range of tasks, such as multiple-choice questions, the identification of information (True/False/Not Given), identifying a writer's views/claims (Yes/No/Not Given), matching information, matching headings, matching features, matching sentence endings, summary completion, note completion, table completion, flow-chart completion, diagram label completion, and short-answer questions.

IELTS General Training Reading

In the case of IELTS General Training reading, similar formats and passages are employed, which includes multiple-choice questions, identifying information,  identifying writer's views/claims, matching information, matching headings, matching features, matching sentence endings, sentence completion, summary completion, note completion, table completion, flow-chart completion, diagram label completion, and short-answer questions.


  • Read widely to familiarise yourself with a range of different texts.

  • Time yourself as you read and answer questions


IELTS Academic writing

The question types for Academic Writing in the IELTS on Computer exam align with those in the traditional IELTS on Paper test.

In Part 1, you are presented with a graph, table, chart, or diagram and tasked with describing, summarising, or explaining the presented information in your own words. This may involve explaining data, outlining the stages of a process, elucidating how something functions, or describing an object or event.

In Part 2, your assignment is to craft an essay in response to a particular point of view, argument, or problem.

IELTS General Training writing

The IELTS General Training Writing assessment comprises two writing tasks with word limits of 150 and 250 words, respectively.

For Task 1, candidates are required to respond to a given situation by composing a letter. This letter could involve requesting information or elucidating a particular circumstance.

Task 2, on the other hand, necessitates that test takers write an essay in response to a specific point of view, argument, or problem.

Scoring criteria:

Examiners utilise the same assessment criteria for IELTS Academic and General Training tests to assign scores in each of the following four categories:

  • Task achievement (for task 1) and task response (for task 2)

  • Coherence and cohesion

  • Lexical resource

  • Grammatical range and accuracy

The cumulative score across all these four criteria determines the IELTS Writing score. For more information, check out our guide about how the IELTS is marked .


During the Speaking test, you engage in a conversation with a certified examiner. This conversation is interactive and mirrors a real-life scenario as closely as possible within a testing context.

The Speaking test comprises three segments, each with a distinct purpose concerning interaction patterns, task input, and the candidate's verbal output.

Part 1 involves answering questions about yourself and your family. Part 2 requires you to speak on a given topic. In Part 3, you engage in a more extensive discussion on that topic.

It's important to note that the Speaking test is consistent across both IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. Each of the three parts aims to assess different aspects of your communication skills.


  • Practise speaking to a friend about a wide range of topics.

  • Practise introducing your family and answering questions about them.

IELTS Academic vs. IELTS General Training

The IELTS General Training and Academic tests share the same formats for listening and speaking. However, there are different tests for reading and writing, aligning with each type of IELTS exam.

Choosing the right IELTS practice test

Choosing the right IELTS test  is pivotal in aligning your preparation with your specific study or migration goals. 

The Academic IELTS test is ideal for those pursuing undergraduate or postgraduate education, focusing on academic language and skills. 

Conversely, the General Training IELTS test caters to individuals seeking work experience, migration, or vocational training, emphasising everyday language skills. 

Factors influencing your choice include your educational objectives, destination country's requirements, specific course prerequisites, and the need for comprehensive preparation across all test sections. Ultimately, selecting the most suitable sample test is a crucial step toward achieving your IELTS goals. 

Simulating real exam conditions with IELTS online exam practice test

To effectively simulate real exam conditions during IELTS practice, follow these tips:

  1. Time yourself: Set a strict time limit for each section of the sample test. This mirrors the time constraints of the actual IELTS exam and helps you improve your time management skills.

  2. Eliminate distractions: Find a quiet place to practise where you won't be interrupted. This replicates the focused environment of the test centre and helps you concentrate better.

  3. Take full-length tests: Instead of breaking the practice into separate sections, try to complete full-length tests in one sitting. This mimics the endurance required for the actual exam. For effective time management and reviewing model answers, consider these strategies:

  4. Track your progress: After each practice test, analyse your performance. Identify which sections or question types need improvement and allocate more practice time to those areas.

  5. Review model answers: Compare your responses to model answers provided in practice materials. Understand the key differences and learn from them. This helps you grasp the expected level of detail and language used in your responses.

  6. Set a study schedule: Create a study schedule that allocates sufficient time for practice and review. Consistent, structured study routines can enhance your overall preparation and time management skills.

Explore additional IELTS preparation resources and materials

Your journey to IELTS success doesn't end with the sample tests. IDP offers an IELTS  masterclass  and materials. Explore these to further elevate your readiness for the IELTS exam.

Get started on your path to IELTS excellence with IDP's IELTS sample tests today. The world of opportunities awaits, and we're here to guide you every step of the way.

Visit IDP for more information and to begin your IELTS journey.