The IELTS examination has two variants – Academic and General Training. A student who wishes to study abroad in countries such as the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand or Canada among others is required to take the IELTS Academic exam. Someone who wishes to migrate from their home country to an English-speaking country to work is required to write the IELTS General Training.
The IELTS General Training is specifically designed for immigration purposes. On comparing IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training, it can be noted that the Reading and the Writing sections of the exam are set differently for the respective target audience. The IELTS Academic exam has questions and tasks that are more relevant to interactions that a student has and are more academic in nature, whereas the IELTS General Training Writing and Reading section have questions that pertain to everyday work and life.
The IELTS Academic exam for immigration purposes can only be taken by medical professionals who wish to apply under the skilled migrant visa category. This applies to doctors, nurses, nursing assistants, pharmacists, pathologists, lab technicians, etc. For all other professionals, IELTS General Training has to be taken for immigration purposes.
A student who wishes to stay back in a foreign country for work purposes after the completion of his/her study may have to take the IELTS General Training in order to apply for the work visa. But there are several countries who allow international students to pursue work after graduation, as an extension of their initial student visa. In such a case, the IELTS Academic that they have taken to secure admission in a foreign country is valid. The IELTS Academic becomes an indirect route to immigrate. This means that, if the IELTS Academic can help a student secure admission into an international school, they wouldn’t need the General Training for long-term immigration later. But since the immigration policies of every country are different, it is good to double-check. If a student is nearing his/her graduation, they must talk to the university’s International Education department to explore long term work and immigration options.
Professionals looking to migrate to countries such as Australia or Canada, have to write IELTS General Training. This cannot be replaced with an IELTS Academic score. But the IELTS Academic opens the door for those who are not sure if they should study or work. But since the IELTS Academic and the IELTS General Training exam are similar in many ways, it may not be a bad idea to write both the exams, since the preparation time for both will be the same. Depending on the score one gets in both the exams and their career interests, they can decide if studying further or migrating for career advancement is a better option.
Like it? In continuation, you should read some of our other articles, like this one on – Top Reading Strategies to ace the IELTS.