IELTS test format: General, Academic and UKVI

You can choose an IELTS test format that will help you study, work or migrate abroad. You can book a computer-delivered or paper-based test.

If you wish to study abroad at a university or a college as an undergraduate or postgraduate student, you can take up the IELTS Academic test. This test can also help if you want to enter or register in a professional institution.

On the other hand, you can choose the IELTS General Training test if you wish to migrate to an English-speaking country.

The organisation where you plan to work or study sets the requirements. So, before you register for your test, it’s good to check which one is right for you.


If you plan to study in higher education or seek professional registration in an English-speaking country, you might need to take an IELTS Academic.

The General Training test looks at your English-language capabilities in a work or social environment. If you plan to study in secondary education, enroll in vocational training, move abroad for work or migrate to Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the UK or the USA, you might need to take an IELTS General Training.

IELTS and IELTS for UKVI are the exact same test in terms of format, content, scoring and level of difficulty. The only difference is an IELTS for UKVI test is approved by the UK Home Office for work, study and migration purposes.

If you take an IELTS for UKVI test, your test report form will be a little different to show you have taken an IELTS for UKVI test at an approved test centre.

If you choose to take IELTS on computer, you will take the Listening, Reading and Writing test parts using a computer.

If you choose to take the  IELTS on paper,  you will complete the Listening, Reading and Writing test parts on paper.

The Speaking test for both paper and computer  are  face to face with an examiner. This is the best way  to measure  your  speaking skills  as it takes a more  realistic  approach: a life-like conversation with an examiner.

You do not need your own computer or laptop to sit a computer-delivered IELTS test.

All equipment, including computers and headphones will be available at the test centre where you booked your computer-delivered IELTS test.

The test format, question types, time allocated to each test part and content is the same for both computer-delivered test and the paper-based test.

And because the content for both the paper-based and computer-delivered IELTS test is the same, the level of difficulty is also same. The only difference might be your level of confidence in sitting your IELTS test on a computer. If you are tech savvy, you might prefer to take IELTS on a computer.