IELTS General Training Test Writing

Task 1 from the Writing Module of the General Training Test is different from that of the Academic Test.

Task 1 of the General Training Test requires a letter to be written. The letter must be no fewer than 150 words in length. 20 minutes is the recommended amount of time to be spent on this task. The essay should consist of minimum three, maximum four paragraphs.

Task 2 of the General Training Test and Academic Test are the same. The essay must be a minimum of 250 words. It is recommended that approximately 40 minutes be spent writing the essay. The minimum number of paragraphs should ideally be four, maximum five.


The IELTS Speaking module may be done on the day before, the day of, or the day after the test itself. It is approximately 10-14 minutes in length and, unlike such tests as the TOEFL, which is done while talking into a computer microphone, the IELTS Speaking is done one-on-one with a trained IELTS examiner.

The test is comprised of three tasks.

Task one is made up of a series of general questions on various topics such as where you are from, what your favorite televion series/movie/music is, what kinds of food you like, etc. The logic behind these questions is that each student who takes the test will have a background in and idea about the topic. Example questions include “Do you live in a house or in an apartment?”, “Have you ever had a pet?” and “Which colors have special importance in your culture?”

Task two is called the Long Turn. In this task, students must speak for 1-2 mintues without stopping. Before speaking, test takers are given a card. On the card are a series of prompts (sentences that tell you which topics to talk about). The test taker has one minute to read the prompts, organize a speech, and must then speak for 1-2 minutes. This task emphasizes organization, clarity of speech, and time management.

Task three contains questions which are related thematically to the topic in Task 2. For instance, if in Task 2 you are prompted to speak about a gift you have received, Task 3 will ask you about presents, gift giving and receiving, and perhaps special days on which gifts are exchanged. Task 3 can be the most difficult because it is often not as straightforward ask Task 1. For example, ”Tell me about a special day on which gifts are exchanged.” Answers for this task should be thoroughly answered with relevant examples and experiences from your life.


The IELTS Reading Academic and General Tests are the same in that they have 40 questions each and last one hour.

However, the content and vocabulary of the General Test is easier. The General Test includes topics and vocabulary from social, work and academic subjects whereas the Academic Test focuses on topics that are commonly found in undergraduate university courses.

The General Test consists of four to five short passages and one long passage, in contrast to the three long passages of the Academic Test.

The General Test is generally taken by people who want to use their Band Score to prove their English proficiency for work reasons. For example, some employees in job sectors such as banking may get a raise or promotion upon achieving a certain score on the IELTS.


The Listening module of the General and Academic Tests are the same. The listening module is done first and consists of 4 sections with 10 questions in each section, which means there are 40 questions total. Students can read the questions and highlight key words before listening. The students must fill in blanks and circle answers audio while the audio is being played. The audio is played only once and is not repeated a second time.