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IELTS General Training is for people who wish to study, live or work abroad in an English-speaking country. It focuses mainly on assessing a person’s proficiency, confidence and comfort when communicating in English in daily situations that you are likely to encounter in a native English-speaking environment.

Take this test if you would like to:

  • Migrate to English-speaking countries, such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand or the UK

  • Study or train below degree level (read about IELTS Academic here)

  • Work in an English-speaking country or get another job in your own country

  • Open doors to a new future

What is the IELTS General Training test?

The General Training test looks at your English-language capabilities in a work or social environment. If you plan to study in secondary education, enrol in vocational training, move abroad for work, or migrate to Canada, Australia, New Zealand or the UK, you might need to take an IELTS General Training test.

The test assesses your English-language proficiency across four language skills: listening, reading, writing and speaking. While the Listening and Speaking parts of the IELTS General Training test are the same as the IELTS Academic test, the Reading and Writing parts differ.

The IELTS General Training test uses the types of English you come across daily. It will measure English language proficiency in a practical, everyday context. The tasks and different components of the test reflect both workplace and social situations. For example:

  • In the Speaking part of the test, you will be face-to-face with an examiner, in a private and quiet room. It is an informal conversation, and your examiner can slow down, repeat and clarify questions - and won’t ‘time out’ on you!

  • In the Writing part of the IELTS General Training test, you will have to write a letter, perhaps to a friend or family member regarding a particular social situation or occasion. You will also need to respond to a topic and justify your position on that topic.

  • An IELTS General Training Reading section may have up to four short passages from everyday texts, like adverts or news articles.

  • In the Listening part of the IELTS General Training test, you will hear from a person discussing an everyday topic.

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IELTS General Training Reading

The General Training Reading test consists of three sections and 40 questions. It focuses on situations you might face in everyday life, work-related issues such as applying for a job and topics of general interest. The extracts in each section are taken from books, magazines, newspapers, notices, advertisements, company handbooks and guidelines.

Section 1 looks at your social survival skills. The questions relate back to short texts that are relevant to everyday life in an English-speaking country. These might be notices, advertisements or timetables.

Section 2 takes a closer look at your workplace survival skills. The texts here are taken from job descriptions, contracts, staff development and training manuals, as well as pay and workplace condition documents.

Section 3 contains a long and more complex text on a topic of general interest. Texts could be taken from newspapers, magazines or books.

IELTS General Training Writing

The General Training Writing test is made up of two tasks, Writing Task 1 and Writing Task 2. The topics in each task are of general interest.

In Writing Task 1, you will be given a situation where you will need to write a letter to request information or explain a situation. You might be asked to write a letter to suggest how to improve the facilities at a library. Examiners will look at your ability to provide general, factual information in relation to the task, express needs, wants, likes and dislikes, as well as opinions, views and complaints.

Writing Task 2 is a little different. You will be asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem. You will be assessed on whether you can provide general, factual information, outline a problem, present a solution, justify an opinion or evaluate and challenge ideas, evidence or an argument.

IELTS General Training for UKVI

If you want to work, study, migrate or seek vocational training in the UK, you might need to take the IELTS for UKVI test. It is a Secure English Language Test (SELT) approved by the UK home office for visa applications to the United Kingdom.

The IELTS General Training for UKVI test is the same as the IELTS General Training test in terms of content, format, scoring and level of difficulty. However, the IELTS for UKVI test is only available at test centres that meet the administrative requirements outlined by the UK Home Office. Your Test Report Form (TRF) will also look slightly different if you take an IELTS for UKVI test.

IELTS General Training for migration

You may also need IELTS General Training for migration to Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the UK. Why? Because the test features everyday English language skills that you will need in social and workplace environments.

Many visa options are available If you would like to live, study or work in Australia, Canada, the UK or New Zealand. These may include skilled or sponsored work visas or business visas. Some of these may lead to Permanent Residency (PR) in Australia.

IELTS is the most widely accepted proof of English language proficiency for study, work and migration in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK. By choosing IELTS, you will establish yourself with an English language test that sets you up to succeed from day one in your study, work and migration goals.

IELTS General Training for school or college

The IELTS General Training test is suitable for those applying to study below degree level, including an English-speaking school or college, or even work experience or other employment training.

Why would I not take IELTS Academic?

IELTS offers two test options: IELTS Academic test and IELTS General Training test. The General Training test isn’t “easier.” It has a different focus. With the IELTS Academic test, you can demonstrate the proficiency you need for academic English study. The test measures if you are ready to begin studying in English. Therefore, it features vocabulary that is familiar to that found in an academic setting. But, if you're not going to university, you might be able to do the General Training test.

Always check with your migration agent, education consultant or workplace to find out which IELTS test you need.

What’s the difference between IELTS General Training and Academic?

IELTS General Training for work

If you are looking for a job, you can use IELTS to show your employer you have the English language skills they need. Many employers accept IELTS General Training. That's because it tests your everyday English skills.

As the world’s most popular English language test, more than 11,500 organisations in 140 countries trust your IELTS results. So, if you want to work for a top multinational company in the finance/accounting industry, like Ernst and Young Australia, Deloitte, and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), you can use IELTS. Also, if you want to score a job in high demand in Canada, show them your IELTS results.

Whether you are looking for work in hospitality, retail, education or government, a good IELTS certificate result can help you achieve your career aspirations!

Which industries ask for IELTS?

Many registration bodies that accept IELTS represent the healthcare professions, including industries such as nursing, medicine and pharmacy, where English language competence is of critical importance.

Other professional bodies that may require an IELTS result include accounting, engineering, law and veterinary practice. In addition, many other employers from finance, government, construction, energy, aviation and tourism also require IELTS.

Professional registration

In most countries where English is the main language of communication, evidence of acceptable English language skills is required for applicants and international graduates seeking professional registration.

Required proficiency levels vary between organisations and professions, and by country and jurisdiction. It is up to individual professional registration bodies to determine the IELTS band score and test type (Academic or General Training) they require.

IELTS for vocational training

IELTS General Training measures English language proficiency in a practical, everyday context and the tasks and texts reflect both workplace and social situations.

This is why an IELTS test score is often a prerequisite for vocational training in the construction, hospitality and leisure and tourism industries.

Check out the organisations that accept IELTS

IELTS Preparation material

With IDP, you can access a wealth of IELTS training resources that no one else provides. So prepare your way using a range of videos, articles, practice tests and the new IELTS by IDP app. Whether you’re using your laptop, phone or paper and pen, IDP gives you all the tools you need to put your best foot forward in your test and beyond.

Free IELTS General Training practice material

  • We have the most extensive range of IELTS General Training test preparation online. Access a free IELTS General Training online module when you book your test. Find out how.

  • Practice completing IELTS General Training tasks under test conditions. Review your answers to model answers and gain valuable test practice experience with these free practice tests.

Download a sample test paper:

  1. Writing Task: You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.

  2. Reading Task: General Training Reading sample task – Sentence completion.

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