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The IELTS Academic test assesses your English-language proficiency at an academic level to determine whether you are ready to study at an undergraduate or postgraduate level, or work in a professional setting, such as a doctor, nurse, teacher or lawyer.
The Academic test looks at your English-language proficiency across the four skillsets, Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. The Listening and Speaking parts of the test are the same for both Academic and General Training, while the Reading and Writing parts are different.
Who takes the IELTS Academic test?
If you plan to study in higher education or seek professional registration in an English-speaking country, you might need to take an IELTS Academic test.
How can I take the IELTS Academic test?
You can choose to take IELTS on computer or IELTS on paper for both the General Training and Academic tests.
The test format, question types, time allocated to each test part and content is the same for both IELTS on computer and IELTS on paper tests. The only difference is in your test day experience and the delivery method.
IELTS Academic test format
For Academic and General Training, you take the same Listening and Speaking tests but different Reading and Writing tests. Make sure you prepare for the correct test type.
The Listening, Reading and Writing parts of all IELTS tests are completed on the same day, with no breaks in between them.
The Speaking test, however, may be scheduled up to a week before or after the other parts of the test. If you booked the IELTS Online test, your Speaking test will usually take place before you sit the other test components. The total test time for the Listening, Reading and Writing is 2 hours and 45 minutes.
IELTS Academic: Listening part
The IELTS Academic Listening test is identical to that of the IELTS General Training test. The Listening test will evaluate your capacity to comprehend key points, specific details, opinions, goals and attitudes of the speakers, as well as your capacity to follow the development of ideas in a discussion.
IELTS Academic: Reading part
The IELTS Academic Reading test assesses a wide range of reading skills including your ability to follow an argument, and recognise a writer’s opinion, attitude or purpose. It looks at how well you can read to understand main ideas, details, opinions and implied meanings. Your reading comprehension skills are tested, covering skimming, scanning and reading for detail.
The Academic Reading test is made up of 3 long texts which are taken from current books, journals, magazines and newspapers. The texts are related to topics you might encounter if you were to study at an undergraduate or postgraduate level or apply for professional registration in an English-speaking environment.
IELTS Academic: Writing part
The IELTS Academic Writing test is made up of two tasks, Writing Task 1 and Writing Task 2. The questions in the Academic Writing test are different from those in the General Training Writing test.
IELTS Academic: Speaking part
The IELTS Speaking test is the same for both the General Training test and the Academic test and assesses your use of spoken English. Each speaking test is face-to-face with an IELTS-certified examiner, and each one is recorded in case further review is necessary.
The Speaking test takes between 11 to 14 minutes and consists of 3 parts where you will discuss a variety of topics with an IELTS examiner.
How is the IELTS Academic test marked?
Your results are presented as band scores, with each band reflecting a different level of English language proficiency, ranging from 1 to 9. You will receive a band score for each section of the test—Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking—as well as an overall band score.
IELTS scores are made to be simple and easy to understand. IELTS results are on a 9-band scale; they are known as band scores on a scale from 1 to 9, with 1 being the lowest and 9 being the highest. All formats of IELTS use the same scoring system.
Prepare for the IELTS Academic Exam
We created IELTS Prepare – a one-stop shop for all official IDP IELTS preparation materials.
In this new hub, IELTS test takers will be able to access all the resources they need in one place. From articles, videos and webinars to expert assessments, online courses and practice tests; there's learning content on IELTS Prepare for every type of preparation.
Take a closer look at our IELTS Academic practice test sample questions and get a better idea of the questions you might encounter on test day.
IELTS Academic and General Training are two wholly separate types of test, for two different purposes. While some individual organisations may accept an Academic result in the place of General Training, this decision is up to them. You will need to contact your specific organisation to learn more.
IELTS Academic or General Training: Which do you need?
Find out the differences between IELTS Academic and General Training so you can choose which one is best for you.