IELTS Exam Pattern

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IELTS Exam Pattern

IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is amongst the major English proficiency tests and is undertaken by those planning to study or work abroad. Comprising of four main sections, the IELTS exam evaluates a candidate on four basic parameters, i.e. listening, reading, writing and speaking. Further, there are two types of IELTS exam, i.e IELTS General and IELTS Academic which vary as per their pattern as well as syllabus. Understanding the format and structure of an exam must be the beginning step of your preparation. This blog brings you a comprehensive guide on IELTS exam pattern for General and Academic tests as well as the type of questions they contain.

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Also Read: IELTS Syllabus 2021

Exam Highlights

Exam Name International English Language Testing System
Major IELTS-Accepting Countries  Australia, New Zealand, UK, Canada and the USA, etc.
Mode Both Paper and Computer-based
Score Range 1 to 9
Main sections Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking

Must Read: IELTS Preparation Tips

IELTS Exam Pattern for General & Academic

There are two main types of IELTS exams which are conducted for different purposes. IELTS Academic is opted by those planning to pursue their education in an English-speaking country while IELTS General is mainly for those who aim to migrate to an English-speaking country to seek employment opportunities. The following sections elaborate upon the IELTS exam pattern for these two types of tests:

IELTS Academic Exam Pattern

The IELTS Academic exam pattern has four sections, i.e. Listening, Reading, Speaking and Writing. The duration of the exam is 2 hours 45 minutes. Here is the exam format for IELTS Academic:

Section Number of Questions Duration Details
Writing 2 60 minutes 2 writing tasks
Reading 40 60 minutes 3 Reading Passages
Listening 40 30 minutes 4 recorded monologues
and conversations
Speaking 3 parts 11-14 minutes Oral Interview

Now, let’s take a look at the type of questions in each of these questions:

Writing Questions related to visuals graphics, tables etc.
Task 1: Candidates have to write 150 words in 20 minutes.
Task 2: 40 minutes will be given to candidates for writing 250 words. 
Reading Multiple-choice, identifying information, identifying the writer’s views/claims, matching information, headings, features, sentence endings,
sentence completion, summary completion, note completion, table completion,
flow-chart completion, diagram label completion and short-answer questions.
Listening Multiple-choice, matching, plan, map, diagram labelling, form, note,
table, flow-chart, summary completion and sentence completion.
Speaking There are basically 3 parts under this section of the
IELTS exam pattern for Academic Test:

Part 1: Candidates have to answer a range of questions related to the family, work, studies and interests, home etc. The duration of the section is 4-5 minutes. 
Part 2: A particular topic is written on a card, on which
candidates have to speak on up to 2 minutes. 
Part 3: This part extends for four to five minutes, where
abstract ideas and issues are to be discussed.

Quick Read: IELTS Writing Tips

IELTS General Exam Pattern

The IELTS Exam Pattern for the General version is quite similar to IELTS Academic except that the reading and writing sections comprise different types of questions. The duration of the General version is the same as the IELTS Academic, i.e. 2 hours 45 minutes. Take a look at the IELTS exam pattern for the General Test:

Sections  Number of Questions  Duration Details 
Writing  2 60 minutes 2 writing tasks 
Reading 40 60 minutes 3 sections: 2 or 3 short texts,
two texts and one long text
Listening 40 30 minutes  4 recorded monologues and conversations
Speaking 3 parts  11–14 minutes Oral interview

Now, let’s understand the various type of questions in these four sections of the IELTS General Exam Pattern:

Writing Candidates have to write letters and essays. The letter should be of 150 words, while as the essay should not be less than 250 words. 
Reading This section contains 3 main sections; Multiple-choice, identifying information, identifying the writer’s views/claims, matching information, matching headings, matching features, matching sentence endings, sentence completion, summary completion, note completion, table completion, flow-chart completion, diagram label completion and short-answer questions.
Listening Multiple-choice, matching, plan, map, diagram labelling, form, note, table, flow-chart, summary completion and sentence completion.
Speaking Three parts:
Part 1: Different questions related to the family, work, studies and interests, home etc. The duration of the section is 4-5 minutes. 
Part 2: A particular topic is given on which candidates have to speak on up to 2 minutes. 
Part 3: Extending for four to five minutes, abstract ideas and issues are discussed related to the topic given in Part 2.

Also Read: IELTS Study Material

FAQs

What is the pattern of the IELTS exam?

IELTS constitutes four main sections, i.e. Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking. The types of questions asked in Writing and Reading differ for IELTS Academic and General while the remaining two sections are the same.

What is the passing score of IELTS?

There is no certain passing or failing score in the IELTS. IELTS is scored on a nine-band scale and each band represents a specified competency in English. A 9 band score shows that the test-taker is an expert user while 0 corresponds to no attempt.

What is the IELTS exam fee?

The IELTS exam fee in India is 14,700 INR and varies with domestic currencies.

Check Out: IELTS Exam Dates

Hopefully, this blog has helped you understand the IELTS exam pattern for both IELTS Academic and General. Preparing for the IELTS exam? Sign up for an online demo session with our Leverage Edu experts and we will guide you through your IELTS preparation, from drafting the right strategy to providing you with the best study resources to help you ace your exam with a higher score.

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