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IELTS General Training 2021: Exam Pattern, Syllabus, Score, Tips, Books, Practice Test

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Sayantani Barman

Study Abroad Expert | Updated On -Jun 10, 2021

IELTS General Training is accepted for visa and employment benefits for UK, US, Canada, Australia, Ireland, and New Zealand. If you are someone planning for permanent residency in any of these countries, taking the IELTS general training will be necessary. Predictions from IELTS experts have stated that the IELTS reading and listening sections will have a moderate level of difficulty, hence the basic IELTS general training exam pattern needs to be studied. IELTS Exam Pattern is different for both versions. On the other hand, IELTS Academic is designed for those who plan to pursue higher education abroad.

Check IELTS General Training vs Academic


Check IELTS Band Descriptors

IELTS Mean Performance

IELTS General Training: Mean Performance

As per available data of IELTS test-takers, it is noticed that the percentage of marks in IELTS General Training secured by test takers is comparatively higher than the marks secured in IELTS Academic. The reason behind the increase in the IELTS general training band score is, the academic reading passage is way more complex than that of the general training. IELTS general training test-takers need to correctly answer a higher number of questions to balance with the academic test-takers.


From the above graph, it is clear that the female test-takers have scored higher than the male.

Also Check   CEFR Level for IELTS

IELTS Exam Pattern

IELTS General Training Pattern

IELTS general training syllabus comprises four main skills: reading, listening, writing and speaking tests. The main differences between IELTS academic from general training are:

  1. IELTS general training reading section is different from academic;
  2. IELTS general training writing section is different from academic;
  3. IELTS academic section consists of academic/educational contexts, whereas general training consists of communicative and general-interest-based contexts.
  4. IELTS writing general training requires a semi-formal tone, whereas academic writing requires a formal tone.

Is IELTS general easier than academic?

When it comes to academic vs. general training IELTS, the latter one is considered comparatively easier than that of IELTS academic. Since IELTS general training focuses more on communication skills the concentration is more on speaking and listening skills and these two sections are stated to be the easiest of all four sections.

General Training: Listening

IELTS General Listening

IELTS general listening focuses on testing if the candidate who is planning to work abroad is able to understand the spoken language. IELTS online test general training guides in getting ideas about the different English accents.

Points to be noted about IELTS general training listening section:

  • Section 1: 10 questions (General conversation between 2 English natives)
  • Section 2: 10 questions (Monologue on a general topic)
  • Section 3: 10 questions (Conversation between 2-4 people around academics)
  • Section 4: 10 questions (Monologue on an academic topic)
  • 40 questions to be answered in 30 minutes

In the IELTS General Training Listening test takers have to listen to pre-recorded recordings to answer these sections. Questions can be MCQ type, fill in the blanks, flowcharts, or tables. In India, an individual is well acquainted with listening to English content.

IELTS General Listening Score

There are 40 questions in this section each carrying 1 mark. Therefore, IELTS Listening score out of 40 will be converted into IELTS 9 band scale. Test takers will be marked out of 9. Grammatical and spelling mistakes are penalized.

General Training: Speaking

IELTS General Speaking

IELTS General Speaking section of 11 - 14 minutes evaluates if the test-taker is proficient in speaking basic English required for residing abroad. Examiners measure the skills of candidates on four criteria- accuracy and usage of grammar, coherence and fluency, lexical resource, and pronunciation. Each criterion has a weightage value of 25%

  • There are 3 parts to this section
  • Part 1 - 4 to 5 minutes: Questions are asked on general introduction like family, home, studies, work
  • Part 2 - 3 to 4 minutes: Test takers have to talk about a topic given through a task card
  • Part 3 - 4 to 5 minutes: Examiner will discuss issues with test-taker related to Part 2

IELTS General Speaking Score

Examiners will mark the candidate’s ability to speak to. Each criterion carries 25% of the total mark. Test takers are marked on the basis of usage of vocabulary, correct grammar, coherence and fluency, lexical resource, and pronunciation.

Check IELTS Speaking Score

General Training: Writing

IELTS General Writing

The IELTS general training writing task concentrates on testing if the candidate is capable enough to write communicative English like essays and letters. IELTS general training writing provides questions taken from magazines, newspapers, journals, all of which are requirements while working abroad.

Points to be noted about IELTS general training writing:

  • 2 questions to be answered in 60 minutes
  • In IELTS writing task 1 general training, test takers have to write a letter in response to a situation given in either informal or semi-formal or formal way
  • 20 minutes are there to complete Task 1 in 150 words
  • In IELTS general training writing task 2, test takers have to write an essay in either a semi-formal or discursive manner in response to a problem or argument or a point of view
  • 40 minutes are there to complete Task 2 in 250 words

Also Read:

IELTS General Writing Score

In IELTS General Training Writing section, both tasks carry different weightage but the total score is marked on a scale of 1 - 9. Examiners mark the test takers after assessing responses given to questions. This section is marked on the basis of four criteria- task achievement, coherence and cohesion, lexical resources, and correct usage of grammar. Marks are given either in half bands or whole bands.

How is 8 bands scored in General Writing?

Step 1: Put only relevant facts and opinions as deviating from the topic will cost marks;

Step 2: Never leave any question unanswered;

Step 3: Put linking phrases while writing and connect each idea coherently

Step 4: Make paragraphs for all the essays;

Step 5: Make use of uncommon vocabulary and also spell it properly

Step 6: Study from authentic books like the bunch of Cambridge IELTS general training books.

Check IELTS Writing Score

General Training: Reading

IELTS General Reading

IELTS general reading evaluates the test taker's reading ability through different question types. The extracts for testing are derived from advertisements, guidelines, company handbooks, magazines, notices, books and more. IELTS general training reading practises test provides a comprehensive idea about the question types.

Points to be noted about IELTS general reading:

  • 40 questions to be answered from 3 reading sections in 60 minutes
  • Section 1 contains either 2 or 3 short texts
  • Section 2 consists of 2 texts
  • Section 3 consists of 1 long complex text
  • There are around 11 question types- MCQ, Identifying information, Identifying writer’s opinions, Matching information, Matching heading, Matching features, Matching sentence endings, Sentence completion, Summary or flow chart completion, Diagram label completion, and short answer questions.
  • IELTS general training reading practises test pdf with answers is a good way to practice numerous reading questions and improve the score.

Check out: IELTS Reading

IELTS General Reading Score

Examiners measure the analytical, logical, and deductive skills of the test takers. After marking, Cambridge Assessment English further analyzes the scoring band. IELTS Reading Scores are given out of 40 which is later converted to an IELTS score band of 9.

Sample Papers

IELTS General Training Sample Papers

IELTS General Training requires rigorous practice to secure good marks in overall band score. For this, test takers require to practice study materials available online other than books available. Practice IELTS exam sample papers to get an overall idea of the exam.

Also Read

Preparation Tips

IELTS General Preparation

The IELTS general preparation tips are listed below:

  1. Take a diagnostic test before starting your preparation as it will determine your strength and weaknesses;
  2. Make an IELTS general training study plan according to your schedule;
  3. The study from IELTS general training books like Cambridge IELTS general training book, Barron’s, Target Band 7, and more;
  4. IELTS is a time-bound exam, therefore take your practice tests under time pressure;
  5. Study IELTS vocabulary from flashcards and PDFs;
  6. You should at least devote 6 - 8 weeks as IELTS preparation time

Check out: IELTS Preparation Tips

IELTS general training exams are conducted many times in a year. Candidates planning to take the general training exam should register at least 2 months before.

As per available data of IELTS test-takers, it is noticed that percentage of marks in IELTS General Training secured by test takers is comparatively higher than marks secured in IELTS Academic. Such a change in marks is because IELTS Academic is taken by those who want to pursue higher education in English speaking nations. Whereas IELTS General Training is for those who want to pursue secondary education or migration or employment opportunities. 

IELTS Preparation Books

From the wide range of books, candidates need to find out the best possible books for IELTS General Training. Unlike IELTS Academic, candidates have to score well in IELTS listening and speaking section mainly for general training. Few IELTS preparation books that help the aspirants in mending the path to success are as follows 

  • Cambridge IELTS 13 General Training Student's Book with Answers with Audio
  • IELTS General Training Book 2018 
  • IELTS 14 General Training Student's Book with Answers with Audio
  • IELTS GT Essays and Letters from the Past Exams - IELTS GT Essays and Letters From The Past Exams Paperback – 2017
  • Cambridge IELTS 12 General Training Student's Book with Answers

*The article might have information for the previous academic years, which will be updated soon subject to the notification issued by the University/College.


kashish tomar
How shall I prepare for General training?
diya suresh

General Training exam is given by those candidates who wish to work or migrate to foreign countries. There will be 4 sections of reading, writing, speaking and listening all of which must be given equal importance. Try to practise with mock test papers and previous year question papers to improve your scores. Find details at IELTS General Training 2021.

sheetal chib
What are the important topics of General Training?
priya negi

These are the topics that are covered in General Training Reading.

  • Multiple choice
  • Identifying information
  • Identifying the writer’s views/claims
  • Matching information
  • Matching headings
  • Matching features
  • Matching sentence endings
  • Sentence completion
  • Summary, note, table, flow-chart completion
  • Diagram label completion
  • Short-answer questions

In  General Training writing, the exam is held in two tasks.

The first task covers:- the test is of a minimum of 20 minutes. The word limit for the complete Task 1 is 150 words.

For Task 2, the test is of a minimum of40 minutes. The word limit for the 2nd task is 250 words. 

sandesh kumar
How should I prepare for General training?
diya suresh

If you few days left for preparation then before preparation you must collect following:

  • Computer with internet connectivity
  • Cambridge Official IELTS Preparation Guide
  • Flashcards
  • IELTS Practice Papers

Apart from these there are several official mock test series, previous year question papers and reference books available that can used for preparation purpose. Check details at IELTS 1 month study plan.

jatin sharma
What is the difference between general training and academic in ielts?
devnath tiwary

Dear Jatin Sharma

Greetings from Collegedunia. Those who want to go pursuing higher education in Foreign Nations are given IELTS Academic Training. Those who wish to go for work in other countries are given General IELTS Training. IELTS is to check English Spoken Proficiency. For more information, kindly go through this link – IELTS General Training 2020

uma goenka
Is 6.5 A good score in ielts for Canada?
devnath tiwary

Dear Uma Goenka

Greetings from Collegedunia. Yes, 6.5 is a good score for English Speaking Nations like Canada, USA, Australia, England, etc. A candidate should score 6.5 to secure good marks after IELTS training whether General or Academic Training. For more information, kindly go through this link – IELTS Results