One might ask the question: What is the difference between IELTS academic and general in both British Council and IDP. Well, they both are different for two sections in the exam that is reading and writing. The IELTS Reading and writing exam are divided into general and academic to know your formal and informal skills and understanding.

This article talks about General IELTS vs Academic IELTS and what the main differences are between them. Which one of the both is difficult and what is the level of difficulty. We will be covering all the aspects so that your doubts are cleared and you can appear for the exam without any queries in your mind. Stay tuned till the end.

Also Read: What is the difference between IELTS Academic and IELTS general?

Difference Between IELTS Academic and General? 

Academic  General 
This assesses your English for universities and institutions This assesses your English to help you reside and work
English will be assessed so that you can fluently write the college essays English will be assessed on general tasks for letter writing or basic essay writing
The difficulty level of academic is greater than general The difficulty level of general is greater than academic
The official IELTS agree that 23 out of 40 can be cracked The official IELTS agree that 30 out of 40 can be cracked

Similarities between IELTS Academic and General

Listening 40 questions

40 minutes

Reading 40 questions

60 minutes

Writing 2 writing tasks (one brief and one lengthy)

60 minutes

Speaking 3 sections

10-15 minutes

Also Read: What is the Difference between the PTE Academic and PTE General?

IELTS General vs Academic 

Sections  Academic  General 
Reading Task This version of the exam comprises three lengthy texts and which vary from exploratory to detailed texts where it is measured from as logical and analytical. These are authentic and are mainly taken from newspapers, books, journals and magazines. This version of the exam requires aspirants to examine and read some excerpts or paragraphs from books, notices, handbooks, guidelines and advertisements.  Materials or factors like these can be found on an everyday basis where English is spoken daily.
Writing Task 1 Aspirants are provided with a table, chart, graph or diagram. They are asked to interpret, describe, explain and summarize which has to written in their own words without plagiarism Aspirants are given a situation, hypothesis or dilemma and then are inquired to write a letter that will be explaining a theme or requesting the data. The letter will have three types: formal, informal and semi-formal
Writing Task 2 Aspirants will be asked to compose an essay in response to the questions, viewpoint, problem, topic, argument or dilemma. The answer or your response should be in a formal and narrative style Aspirants have to compose an essay in a viewpoint of their views, problems, arguments or views. The format of essay can be a little more personal than the academic writing task essay 2.

British Council vs IDP 

Nature of the Test

IELTS is an examination where both the questions of the British Council and  IDP are framed by the Cambridge English Language Assessment. There is no difference between both the nature of their tests.

IELTS Examiners

The examiners of both the departments will be trained and taught in a similar way. The reading and listening examinations are divided into wrong or right answers or explanations. Aspirants are evaluated and marked based on their ratio of right answers. There is also no special or unique role of examiners here.

In writing and speaking examinations, the examiners play an important role and they are crucial for this part. The British Council and IDP both have the same course and complete it with the marking scheme which is also the same. They are assessed regularly on how they evaluate the tests.

Accents Used

The name itself says British Council for British and IDP is for Australia, they are the same when it comes to IELTS. The examiner can be from any nation and can speak any accent of English and also the test taker or aspirant.

But one can ask, how can one choose between BC and IDP?


While choosing the test centre, one is required to choose the closest test centre. Aspirants can report in the test centre well in advance and focus on the main aspects rather than selecting the test centre which is difficult to travel to and can get tried when travelled too which is the same for both the tests

Availability of Equipment

There are various aspirants who choose to have headphones while attending the listening tests and which helps to focus more. One has to check the availability of the headphones before going for the exam and both the IDP and BC give the right to it.

Availability of Test Date

Aspirants can choose the test centre based on the dates of when the centre might be available. Only when you are through with your preparation and readiness for the exam, one must attempt it and so both of them provide this choice of choosing the dates.

Fee and Format

The fees of the IELTS exam is the same for both the British Council and IDP via registration. There is also no difference or variation between the academic and general tests in the examination or the pen and paper test or computerised one.

Also Read: How to Check IELTS Result? IDP and British Council Formats

How to Prepare for IELTS General and Academic? 

The scores are dependent on your language and terminology level and if you also have to pay attention to the time management of your test. You need to attempt as many mock tests as possible before the exam for adequate preparation. Using time wisely can make a difference.

If anyone’s level or status of the language is intermediate and their vocabulary is also on the same level then you need approximately three months to get used to the IELTS format. Other than the intermediate level other beginners have to prepare for about 6 months for the right preparation and format.

Prepare for the Reading Section

The reading section has one hour for reading all the excerpts and answering all the 40 questions. The texts which are used for the reading section are taken from books, newspapers, advertisements and magazines. For the academic reading sections, it can be in the form of graphs, illustrations and diagrams. The main point or aspect is to read the information and understand it correctly and as soon as possible. Practice and read as many extracts for this section as possible. As you read, learn to read it fastly and also you should understand the meaning in one go, so practise as much as possible.

Prepare for the Writing Section

This section will give you two tasks which you have to complete in an hour. For the general training, you will be asked to compose a letter of at least 150 words which is to be written in formal or informal type and then asked to compose an essay. The academic section comprises the table, diagram, chart and graph with again an essay of 250 words. While preparing you need to learn how your handwriting looks when you write a 150 and 250-word essay so that you don’t waste time counting the words in the exam. Divide the essay into paragraphs and focus on the topic sentences. Always give five minutes of your time reading the final result.

Prepare for the Listening Section 

This section has a total of 40 questions with 4 passages and you will be given 30 minutes time. Don’t lose your focus in the middle and don’t lose your confidence if you are not able to find a few and understand them. The listening flow is meant, so if you didn’t get one don’t stop and think about it, you need to go with the flow and have the exam clear. If you write incorrect answers, no one will penalise you so no need to worry. While listening you need to make the notes simultaneously.

Prepare for the Speaking Section

The speaking test might be on a different day than the other three versions of the test. This test is conducted with one-to-one interaction and also you need to speak about some daily topics. Speak in front of the mirror, family or friends and ask them to evaluate you or learn to evaluate yourself by looking at some videos. Talk in English every day and the people who know English around you, tell them to also speak in English. The main aspect is to speak fluently and you need to increase your knowledge, by reading and practising many cue cards.

Also Read: IELTS Exam Preparation Online: Checkout the Best Books, Preparation Tips, Exam Fee & More


Hopefully, this article provided you with the difference between the general and academic IELTS and also between the BC and IDP. Hope this article will also be effective for your preparation. Any queries please drop them down in the comments section below

Also Read: Is the IELTS Exam Postponed in India? Know the Expected Date and Rescheduling

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Amiksha Kantam

Amiksha is a budding Content Writer. A young writer who has written over 250 poems and quotes and also an author of a famous Wattpad novel named “Ma and the Magical Kingdom” and always sets her goals high with her determination like the sky. Her mother is her inspiration and her family is her biggest support. She has her interest in writing, reading novels and craft. She has developed her hardworking and disciplined persona from her mother. She is very out going and loves travelling, trekking and hiking. She believes in the quote “Creativity lies in actions not experience

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