Everything you need to know about IELTS modules


IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is designed to assess the language ability of the candidates whose primary language is not English but who wish to study or work abroad, where English is the standard language of communication. IELTS is accepted by over 6,000 institutions worldwide, including universities, employers, professional bodies and immigration authorities. This takes into account educational institution in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, USA and the UK and Immigration agencies and specialists in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK.

If you are appearing in IELTS for the purpose of Immigration, please note that your test result may determine your Immigration destination! Many destinations require quite an average IELTS score and only after obtaining that score, the candidate is permitted to apply for immigration.

It is a good idea to get your IELTS test score reviewed by an immigration specialist. They will advise you the most appropriate immigration destination for you and your family, based on your IELTS score.

Who manages IELTS?

IELTS is jointly managed by British Council, University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations (Cambridge ESOL) and IDP Australia. The IELTS test is designed and set by some of the world’s leading experts in language assessment to get a true picture of language skills of a candidate.

What are the IELTS modules?

IELTS comes in two modules – Academic and General Training. Candidates can choose whichever module they wish to take up, according to their specific needs. This makes the test relevant to everyone, whether they plan to study, migrate or work abroad. Both modules are graded using exactly the same criteria, so there is no difference in the level of English. The distinction lies in the subject matter and the type of vocabulary used.

The General Training module is not designed to test the full range of formal language skills required for academic purposes. The General Training module is generally for candidates wishing to migrate to an English-speaking country (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, UK), and for those wishing to train or study at below degree level. On the other hand, the Academic module is for candidates wishing to study at undergraduate or postgraduate levels, and for those seeking professional registration.

Both the Academic and General Training modules cover the four language skills – listening, reading, writing and speaking. All candidates undergo almost the same kind of test for Listening and speaking components. However, the Reading and the Writing components differ for the Academic and General Training modules.

Nature of different language module tests and their duration

  • Speaking – 11–14 minutes – This test is a face-to-face interview. Candidates are assessed on their use of spoken English as they are asked several on-the-spot short questions. They are also required to speak at length on a familiar topic. Their assessment is also based on their interaction with the examiner.
  • Academic Reading- 60 minutes – There are three reading passages. Texts are taken from publications – books, magazines, journals, newspapers- that are written for a non-specialist audience.
  • General Training Reading- 60 minutes – Texts provided are based on the type of material candidates would be expected to encounter on a daily basis in an English speaking country.
  • Listening- 30 minutes – Candidates are made to listen to a number of recorded tests that increases in their difficulty level with the progress of the candidate in the test. The test is an amalgamation of several monologues, conversations and features a variety of English accents. The recoding is heard only once but the candidates are given time to read questions and write their answers.
  • Academic Writing- 60 minutes – There are two tasks in this module. The first task requires candidates to write a description of at least 150 words. The second task requires him to write a short essay of at least 250 words in response to a statement or question.
  • General Training Writing- 60 minutes – This module also involve two tasks. The first task requires the candidates to write a letter of at least 150 words, either asking for information or explaining a situation. The second task requires the candidate to write a short essay of at least 250 words in response to a statement or question.


IELTS is always evolving and consultation with an experienced immigration expert provides you updated knowledge of the amendments in the IELTS test that can be of great help to you in cracking the test.

It proves to be of great help to take this coaching at official IELTS centres. Since these centres are run by the testing agency only, the content and training techniques are expected to be latest. Also, personally imparted training is expected to be tailor-made to suit the specific testing requirements of every candidate. Ielts.org is the official site that you can browse through to find the latest information and changes in the IELTS test pattern.



  • Nikhl

    I have taken my Ielts test in General Module and scored 6.5 band/ Can i apply for a Post graduation course in New zealand with the same or should i take up ielts Academic again ?Please help

    • sanam

      Dear Nikhil,

      Please note that “We are an Immigration Consultant and do not provide services for student visas/job placements or work permits for any country.”

  • yogesh


    as I have already sent the form and draft on 6th oct for the exam to be held on 30th oct 2010 and by mistake i have filled the acedemic module instead of general.Is there any option to get it changed.if yes than how and to whom should i contact.


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