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IELTS exam information


Academic and General

The IELTS exam is divided into Academic and General. Students wanting to use the IELTS exam to help them enter University are likely to take the academic exam whereas students who are using the exam for a visa are more likely to take the general exam. If you have any doubts about which test would be best for you please don't hesitate to get in touch to discuss this.

The exam is broken down into 4 separate sections.

1 Listening

2 Reading

3 Writing

4 Speaking


The Listening and Speaking exams are the same for both IELTS Academic and IELTS General. The Reading and Writing tests are different.


In the Academic Reading test, you will have:

  • 3 long passages increasing in difficulty

  • Academic style texts (journal articles, textbook extracts)

  • Texts related to academic topics such as science, history, sociology.


In the General Reading test you will have:

  • 4 short passages increasing in length and difficulty

  • More general /everyday style texts

  • Texts related to social survival (advertisements, notices etc.); workplace survival (job descriptions, employment contracts etc.); general texts (newspapers, magazines, travel brochures etc.)


The first task of the Writing test will also be different. In the Academic test, you will have to describe a graph, chart, table, process, or diagram whereas in the General test you will have to write a letter. In task 2 you will have to write an essay.


Listening, Reading and writing are all taken on the same day. Your Speaking test will be held either on the same day or seven days before or after that, depending on local arrangements.

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