IELTS Exam Syllabus

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IELTS Exam 2021: Syllabus

There are two formats of The International English Language Testing System (IELTS). As per your requirement, you can opt for either one of the two formats or the university/ course your willing to apply for going abroad. Both exam serves the same purpose of providing a valid and accurate assessment of individuals listening, reading, writing and speaking language skills.

Types of IELTS

Before you start with the preparation, you need to be clear in your head about the exam structure and syllabus. Many students fail to do this and end up spending a lot of time wandering away from the subjects. It is expected that UPSC aspirants must have a little knowledge on every topic rather than being an expert in one subject only. Each subject has a distinct element, and understanding that well will help you follow the right path.

IELTS General Training

Students who are interested in applying for higher education or professional registration in English speaking countries should take up IELTS Academic test. The primary purpose of the examination is to judge whether a candidate is ready to begin studying or training in the English language. UK, US, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand are some of the countries that widely recognize IELTS for studying purpose.

IELTS General Training Test

Aspirant looking to migrate to New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the US, and the UK or applying for training programs, secondary education, and work experience in an English-speaking country should take up IELTS General Training. Here the examination focusses on the necessary survival skills of a candidate in a broad social and workplace context.

IELTS Section-wise Syllabus

Practice makes a man perfect. Practice every day to polish your skills. This will help you leave no error on the test day. The more you practice, the more you will explore your strengths and weaknesses, which will help you prepare accordingly.


Candidates take an academic writing module. Responses to the academic writing module are short essays or general reports, addressed to an educated non-specialist audience. There are two compulsory tasks. Task 1 requires 150 words, and candidates are asked to look at a diagram, table or data and to present the information in their own words. Task 2 requires at least 250 words, and all candidates are presented with a point of view, argument or problem and asked to provide general factual information, present a solution, justify an opinion, evaluate ideas and evidence, etc.

Writing- IELTS Academic

IELTS Reading Section


The reading module consists of three texts of general interest dealing with issues which are appropriate for candidates entering postgraduate or undergraduate courses. Both reading modules consist of three passages or sections with forty questions. Question types include multiple-choice, sentence or summary completion, identifying data for short-answer questions, matching lists or phrases and identifying writers’ views/attitudes.

Reading - IELTS Academic

This includes three long paragraphs which can be either descriptive, factual or analytical. These paragraphs are basically excerpts taken from newspapers, research works, journals, books, or even magazines. Targeting a non-specialist audience, the texts are ideal for testing higher education aspirants or for professionals seeking work abroad.

Reading - IELTS General training

Similar to the academic format, here the excerpts can be passages from advertisements, company guidelines, brochures, and so on. This is relatively easier than the academic format as the selected text is generally something that one encounters on a day-to-day basis.

IELTS Listening Section


The Listening module is divided into four sections. The first two conversations are concerned with social needs, while the last two are concerned with situations more closely related to education. They will all be around three minutes long. The conversations could be both monologues and dialogues. These conversations can be heard once only. A variety of question types are asked, like multiple-choice, short-answer questions, note completion, sentence completion, labeling a diagram, etc.

Sections 1 and 2 are about every day, social situations.

Sections 3 and 4 are about every day, social situations.

IELTS Speaking Section


The Speaking section is like a structured interview with an emphasis on general speaking skills. It assesses whether candidates have the required knowledge and skills to communicate effectively with native speakers of English.

Part 1 introduction and interview (4–5 minutes)

For the first five minutes, you will be asked some mundane questions about yourself such as family, home, studies, hobbies and interests, and so on.

Part 2 long turn (2–3 minutes)

Next, the examiner will hand you a flashcard that would contain a certain topic. You will be given a minute or two to familiarize yourself with the topic as you would need to speak on that topic for about two minutes. Post your speech, the examiner might ask a few questions based on your understanding of the topic.

Part 3 discussions (5–6 minutes)

Deeper questions and abstract discussions would take place based on the given topic and your speech. You will get the opportunity to explore your given topic and delve into deeper issues. You can expect this part to last for five-six minutes.

There are two ways to prepare for IELTS: one was self-study, and another is attending coaching classes. Which means you will choose depends on your language proficiency and comfort level. If you are already fluent in English, you need not participate in coaching classes; you can prepare for the exam on your own. You just need to figure out when to start preparing for IELTS.

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