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The IELTS test has two forms: the Academic test (or module) and the General Training test (or module).
The module that you take depends on the reason that you are taking it for.
Generally speaking, the Academic Module is for those people who are trying to gain entry onto undergraduate or postgraduate education courses or for professional reasons.
The General Training Module is for those people who wish to join some kinds of vocational or training courses, secondary schools or for immigration purposes.
Both Academic and General Training modules try and reflect real life situations to test whether a candidate would survive in English speaking social and academic environments.
For example, the Part 2 section of the speaking asks candidates to talk, after 1 minute’s preparation, for 1 to 2 minutes on a given general topic.
This would be test General Training candidates to see if they could give a “work related presentation” to fellow work colleagues and would test Academic candidates if they can give a “university style presentation” to fellow students.
It tests whether candidates have the English language capability to perform these tasks under some kind of pressure.
The IELTS test (both Academic and General Training modules) is divided into four parts: reading, writing, listening and speaking.
The listening and speaking tests are exactly the same for the Academic and General Training modules but the reading and writing tests are different.