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In order to chase your career and achieve your migration goals in English-speaking countries including the United States, Canada, and Australia, you need to showcase your proficiency in the English language. This means sitting for the IELTS General Training Test to prove your proficiency in listening, reading, writing, and speaking.  

The test specifically gauges your English-language capabilities in work and social environment, ensuring you are able to easily interact when you move abroad for work, enrol in vocational training, or when you are living in the country. While the traditional General Training test is done via paper and pencil you can also opt to take the IELTS on computer test. 

If you decide to choose the IELTS on computer General training test, you will do the Reading, Listening, and Writing parts of the test using a computer with all the answers being typed on the screen. However, the Speaking test will still be done face to face. 

There are several advantages to the IELTS on computer test including more booking slots available, faster results delivery as well as being better for candidates who are more comfortable typing in their answers as compared to writing. 

In this article, we will also take you through the difference between the various IELTS tests. 

IELTS General Training Vs Academic Vs Life Skills - What you must know

1. The General Training test is about your English capabilities in work or a social environment 

If you are planning to further your studies at a university or higher institution, the IELTS Academic is the test you will need to select. It is a more comprehensive assessment based on your seeking to pursue your degree. 

The General Training test, however, is an assessment of your English capabilities in social and work situations and is the right test to select if you are looking to migrate or work in an English-speaking country. 

2. The test format is different in the Writing and Reading tests

Although the Listening and Speaking parts of the General Training test are the same as that of the Academic test, the main differences lie in the Writing and Reading test. 

The context of the topics you will be writing as well as the dialogues you will be listening to will be different and suited to the purpose of the test. 

The General Training test focuses on topics based on general interest and every living while the Academic tests focuses on professional institutions and universities. 

3. That doesn’t mean it is easier, ample preparation is necessary 

While it might seem that the General Training test’s topics are more common knowledge and hence easier, you still want to cover your bases and put your best foot forward! 

You can start with some sample test questions here before moving on to taking full sample tests for free

And if you need a paid version to gain additional feedback, go for the progress check IELTS on computer test that is the closest you can get to the real deal. 

4. IELTS Life Skills is all about listening and speaking skills 

The IELTS Life Skills tests, whether it be A1 or B1, are totally different and focus only on your listening and speaking skills. 

The test will be done with another candidate and is highly conversational in nature. It will involve short discussions on everyday topics such as personal experiences, leisure, work, health and transport, among others. 

listening and speaking skills

Your questions answered

1.  Can I use Academic results in place of General Training? 

No, as the Academic test is meant for university and higher education, you will have to sit exclusively for the General Training test. 

There are situations where you can use your Academic results for General Training but those are on a case by case basis and you should double-check with your destination country and organisation as well. 

2. If I am a native speaker, must I still take the test? 

Yes, while you might be a native speaker, it is very likely that you will still have to take the IELTS General Training test as part of your application. 

However, you can always check with our education consultants at IDP for further clarification. 

3. What band score must I achieve? 

The minimum band score required to work or study at a specific organisation or migrate to a certain country varies.  

Ensure that you’re aware of the IELTS band score you need before taking the test by checking in advance. 

4. In what order must I complete the test? 

For the IELTS on computer test, your test will be done in the following order: Writing, Reading and Listening.  

Depending on the test centre, you’ll complete the Speaking component on the same day, either before or after the main test session. 

IELTS preparation

Prepare for the IELTS General Training test with IDP today

The IELTS on computer test is an excellent choice if you feel more comfortable on the computer or desire more flexibility in your test dates. 

Take the time to go through our resources and prepare yourself better with our wide range of sample tests at your disposal! 

And once you are ready, you can book your IELTS test with IDP!