IELTS Syllabus

IELTS Syllabus 2020


IELTS Syllabus 2021

The IELTS is conducted and administered by the British Council, IDP and Cambridge ESOL Examinations for both IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training formats of the Exam. The IELTS is an English Language Proficiency exam that tests the English language ability of people who intend to study or work where English is the language of communication. The exam is a test of Listening, Reading, Writing and speaking skills of the exam taker.

 It is to be noted that the Listening and Speaking sections would be the same for IELTS academic and IELTS General Training modules, however, Reading and Writing are different in structure for IELTS Academic and General Training Modules.


Exam Pattern of IELTS 2021

The IELTS exam has two test taking variants from which the students can choose depending on their comfortability. As a student, it is important to know the structure and pattern of each variant to help one prepare better.


Exam Variant Total Duration ( min ) Listening Reading Writing Speaking Conducting Bodies Score Pattern and range
Paper Based IELTS 174 30 +10 = 40            (Answer Transfer Time) 60 60 11 to 14 British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and the University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations (Cambridge ESOL). 0 – 9 Bands with a possibility of 0.5 band intervals.
Computer Based IELTS  164  30  60 60 11 to 14


IELTS Test Component

1. IELTS Academic and General Listening

General Rules and Guidelines

  • At the end, Candidates will be given 10 minutes to copy the answers onto the answer sheet  ( Only in the case of Paper Based IELTS test )
  • Spelling is important –can use both British and American spelling but should stick to one type.
  • Answer sheet has two sides One for the Listening test / One for the Reading test
  • 04 Sections/ 40 Questions

IELTS Listening Components

  • Section 2: Monologue (A talk by a single speaker based on a non-academic situation, e.g. in a film, play etc.)
  • Section 3: Conversation (Four Speakers -based on academic topics or course-related situations)
  • Section 4: Academic Lecture ( Monologue)


2. IELTS Reading (Different for Academic and General Training Modules)

General Rules and Guideline

  • All candidates are required to read three texts of between 2,150-2,750 words
  • The texts and questions increase in difficulty 
  • All answers should be recorded on the answer sheet within 60 minutes. (ZERO score)
  • Each question is worth one mark
  • No penalty for wrong answers
  • Spelling is important -can use both British and American spelling
  • No Transfer time is Given

 IELTS Reading Components

  • Texts are taken from books, magazines, journals, newspapers, notices, advertisements, company handbooks, and guidelines.
  • All written for a non-specialist audience
  • At least one of the text contains a detailed argument
  • 3 sections
  • Text range from descriptive and factual to discursive and analytical
  • May contain non-verbal materials such as diagrams
  • Length and Difficulty level of reading passages increase with each passage.
  •  Passages are different and shorter for General Training IELTS
  • Questions Vary from Summary Completion, Matching Heading to Paragraphs, Yes/ no /not given, True/ False/ Not Given, Multiple Choice questions, Table completion, Matching Information, Sentence completion and short Answers. 

3. Writing (Different for Academic and General Training Modules)

General Rules and Guideline 

  • Allocate about 20 minutes Task 1
  • Allocate about 40 minutes Task 2
  • Task 2 is worth more marks

IELTS Writing Components 

  • Task 1 (IELTS ACADEMIC) Presents a table, graph, chart or diagram. Candidate must describe and explain data, describe the stages of a process, describe an event or an object. (150 words approx.)
  • Task 1 (IELTS GENERAL TRAINING) Presents a letter to be written. The content required in the letter can be either 
  1. Informal (To a friend, Family member etc.) 
  2. Semi-Formal (To a colleague, Teacher etc.)
  3. Formal (Professional announcements, Letters of recommendation etc.)
  • Task 2 (Same for IELTS ACADEMIC and GENERAL TRAINING IELTS) Write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem (250 words approx.)


4. IELTS Speaking (Same for Academic and General Training)

General Rules and Guidelines

  • When the student enters the exam room:
  • Smile and act confident
  • Look at the examiner in the eyes
  • Confidently introduce oneself 
  • Eliminate nervous gestures
  • Wear smart clothing
  • Speak clearly
  • Project your voice
  •  Avoid repeating phrases
  • Always say more than Yes or No 
  • Time: 11 –14 minutes
  • All Speaking tests are recorded 

IELTS Speaking Components

  • Part 1 (Introduction): This section of the test lasts 4-5 minutes and in it the student may need to give longer answers to questions to ensure they show their best ability. Part 1 will see the examiner ask questions which will require the exam taker to talk about themselves, about their likes and dislikes etc.
  • Part 2 (Individual Talk): The Candidate is given a verbal prompt on a card and is asked to talk on a particular topic. 1 minute preparation time before being asked to speak at length for up to 2 minutes. The examiner then asks 1 or 2 rounding-off questions.
  • Part 3 (Discussion Topics): The examiner and candidate engage in a discussion of more abstract issues and concepts which are linked to the topic in Part 2. The discussion lasts between 4 and 5 minutes. The examiner will ask questions that will reveal the Opinions and views of the test taker. Answers In part 3 will be longer and more detailed that those in part 1.

As per the IELTS guidelines, there are no eligibility criteria for IELTS. It tests you on the basis of four skill sets which we have discussed above. 

The minimum IELTS requirement for admission/ migration to a country where English is the medium of communication is dependent on the institution and program of study being chosen for study abroad aspirants. In the case of migration, the IELTS requirement is set out by the immigration laws of the destination country. 

It is suggested that IELTS aspirants keep themselves updated on the selection procedures of the college/university/ Country being applied to.

Score 7+ on IELTS
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