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In order to successfully migrate to Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the UK or the USA, you’re required to be proficient in English. 

Hence, you have to sit for an IELTS General Training test to prove your English-language capabilities across listening, reading, writing and speaking. 

When you choose to sit for your IELTS, you’ll get to pick either the IELTS on paper or IELTS on computer version.  

Regardless of which version you pick, the test format, question types, time allocated to each test part and content remains the same – the only difference being your test day experience. 

If you opt for the IELTS on paper test, you’ll complete the reading, listening and writing parts of your test on paper instead of using a computer.  

The Speaking test will be done via a face-to-face interview with an IELTS examiner one week before or after your test date. 

IELTS General Training vs Academic vs Life Skills (What you must know)

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

If you’re planning to further your studies at a higher education level or seek professional registration in an English-speaking country, then the Academic test is more suitable. 

However, if this isn’t the case and you’re looking to move abroad for work, migrate, study in secondary education or enrol in vocational training, then the General Training test is a better choice. This is because it measures your English capabilities in your everyday, non-academic situations. 

2. The test format is different in the writing and reading parts

Although the Listening and Speaking parts of the General Training test overlap with the Academic test, their Reading and Writing parts are different. 

This is because the Academic test focuses on topics that are suitable for those entering professional institutions or universities. On the other hand, the General Training test covers topics based on general interest. 

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

The biggest feature of IELTS Life Skills is that it purely focuses on English speaking and listening skills. 

Depending on the requirements of your visa, you’ll be tested at A1, A2 or B1 level

The test will be done with an examiner and one other candidate, and it involves short discussions on everyday topics such as personal experiences, leisure, work, health and transport, among others. 

4. Here’s how to prepare for your General Training test

Now that you have a clearer understanding about what the General Training test is about, it helps to take a closer look at the test format and get familiar with the test content as well as each section’s question and task types. 

On top of that, you can try sample test questions and take the official practice test.   

Female IELTS Test takers

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

As the Academic and General Training tests exist for different purposes, they are considered two separate types of tests. 

Hence, being able to use Academic results in place of General Training is completely dependent on the organisation you’re applying to. Some places may accept it, however, it helps to double check with your specific organisation beforehand. 

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

Depending on the requirements of entering your desired course in an educational institution or the country you’re planning to move to, IELTS may be a requirement even for native speakers. This is because it is used in many countries as a part of their migration assessment. 

If you have any other questions about the score you need or IELTS requirements, it helps to contact the organisation that you’re applying to for more answers. 

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 paper, your test will be done in the following order: Writing, Reading and Listening. Depending on the test centre, you’ll complete the Speaking test either on the same day or up to 7 days before or after your test date. 

IELTS Test taker preparing for the test

Ready to take the next step towards your goals?

If you’re planning to take your General Training test, we’ve got a range of tools and resources to help you prepare – from practice tests to online courses. 

At IDP, we strive to support and help you through every step of your test preparation so that you’ll feel confident on test day and pass with flying colours. 

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