There are two versions of the IELTS test: IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. The purpose of both tests is different and the one you take will depend on the requirements of the academic institution you plan to study in, your work/professional or visa requirements.
IELTS Academic: This test is meant for students wishing to study at universities and institutes of higher education in countries where English is the medium of instruction in the classroom. Many professions, like, medical, nursing, engineering etc., also require an IELTS Academic result for registration. The Academic test is designed to assess the proficiency in English required in an academic and higher learning environment.
IELTS General Training: This test is usually a visa requirement for those applying for permanent residency to English speaking countries, such as, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Persons going to these countries for training programmes, employment or secondary education, are required to take this test. IELTS General Training is intended to test the English skills that an immigrant or a worker would need for communication in the workplace and in an everyday environment.
SCORING SYSTEM :
The IELTS test does not pass or fail a student, instead, the IELTS scoring system uses a band scale of 0 – 9 to assess the proficiency of the candidate.
There are different band requirements for each country, institution, organization, and candidates will need to score accordingly.
Sometimes the band requirements differ for visa and your chosen institution/organization/profession/employer.
The IELTS test results have a validity of two years and you will be required to retake the test beyond that time period.