Saturday, June 6, 2009


I got another email from a reader asking several questions about the IELTS and TOEFL. Here's her letter:

Hi again Miracel,

Thanks a lot for your reply. I cannot describe how much I am happy for coming across with you.
First of all, I have no idea about Ielts however, I have to pass it in a very short time let's say in a month. Until now, I have been studying for the toefl test. Unfortunately I got 88 from the toefl test.

My first question is do you think both tests are similar to each other? In the toefl test, reading and listening sections were multiple selection questions. Speaking includes six questions. The first two were independent questions. Questions 3 and 4 were related to both a reading and listening passages and the final two questions were related to only listening passages. Writing part includes both independent and integrated parts. Integrated part includes both a reading and a listening passage. Do you think the content of the ielts test is similar to the toefl?

Secondly, are there two types of ielts tests one of which is "general training" and the other one is "academic module"? If yes, what are the differences between the two?

Thirdly, your suggestions about which book to study will highly be appreciated. Could you please suggest me a book to study in a short time. I do not want to take the real exam without any practice.

Finally, could you please give a subject to write my essay? Once you write me the topic, I will forward you my essay as soon as possible.
Thanks in advance for your great help.

Best Regards,


Dear Bahar,

Thanks for the kind words and for taking on the challenge. Regarding your first question about the similarity between IELTS or TOEFL, you can check out my post "TOEFL or IELTS" where I outline the differences between the two exams.

On academic vs. general training, the general training is for candidates who plan to migrate to the different English speaking countries namely: Australia, Canada, New Zealand and UK. It is also for people who plan to work as skilled workers and for potential students who will take vocational courses. The general training has lower band score requirements and the tasks are more practical in nature. On the other hand, the academic module is for people who plan to study in these English speaking countries and for those who intend to work in highly skilled positions such as engineers, doctors, nurses, teachers, etc.

For the books that I recommend, I have written an earlier post "The Best Books in IELTS Ever". Lastly, here's an easy topic that you can practice on.

Studying the English language in an English-speaking country is the best but not the only one way to learn the language.

Do you agree or disagree with this statement?

I look forward to hearing from you again. Good luck!

Best regards,


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For Further Reading,
IELTS, TOEFL, writing



Woman Behind A Teacher's Odyssey

My name is Miracel Juanta and I write ATeachersOdyssey to help students and teachers create better English. I have been in the teaching profession for more than 10 years. My field of expertise includes ESL,IELTS,TOEFL,Business English etc. If you have questions about English, feel free to email me at or add my twitter @msjuanta.