IELTS Syllabus

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IELTS Syllabus

Considered an entry ticket to study abroad, IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is an English language proficiency exam for candidates who do not have English as their first language but are willing to attain overseas education. The test consists of 4 sections namely Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening. While the listening and the speaking sections remain the same for all, the reading and writing sections are different for the General Training and Academic papers. In this blog, we will provide you with a detailed IELTS syllabus to make your preparation easy. 

What is IELTS?

Types of IELTS

Before straight away diving into the IELTS syllabus and exam pattern, let’s briefly discuss the different types of IELTS exams too: 

IELTS Academic

Candidates who want to apply for higher education or professional registration in countries where English is the primary medium of communication should take IELTS Academic. The primary goal of the test is to determine whether an applicant is ready to begin learning or training in English. The United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand are among the countries that accept IELTS for academic purposes.

IELTS General Training

IELTS General Training is for people who want to migrate to New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the United States, or the United Kingdom, or who want to apply for secondary school, training programmes, or job experience in an English-speaking country. The focus of this examination is on a candidate’s basic survival skills in a broad social and workplace setting.

IELTS Syllabus & Exam Pattern 2023

There are two types of IELTS exams, i.e. IELTS Academic and IELTS General. The syllabus for these remains the same and only differs slightly. Before elaborating on the IELTS syllabus, let’s take a look at the exam pattern as well as the maximum duration allotted to each section:

Section Number of Questions & Duration Content Marks
Listening 4 Recordings
40 Questions

30 Minutes + 10 minutes transfer time

Four recorded monologues and conversations 1 mark per question
Reading 40 Questions 

60 minutes

3 Passages (can be descriptive, analytical, factual or discursive) 1 mark per question
Writing 2 Questions 

60 minutes

Writing task (Minimum 150 words)
Essay (minimum 250 words)
Each task is assessed independently. The assessment of Task 2 carries more weight in marking than Task 1.
Speaking 3 Questions 

11-14 minutes

Part 1: Q&A

Part 2: Speaking in detail on a familiar topic

Part 3: Structure Discussion

All about IELTS Exam Pattern & Test Format

IELTS Reading Section

This section comprises three general texts on topics relevant to the candidates who want to study undergraduate and postgraduate courses, work, or migrate to counties abroad.

  • The reading modules contain three sections with 40 questions which are majorly MCQs.
  • Identifying data for short answer questions, sentence or summary completion,  identifying writer’s attitudes/views and matching lists or phrases are some of the areas where the skills of candidates are examined.
  • Students will be provided 30 minutes and 10 minutes of transfer time to solve the section. Tabulated below are the major differences between the IELTS syllabus of the 2 types of Reading sections: 
IELTS Reading: Academic vs General
IELTS Syllabus-Academic IELTS Syllabus- General Training 
Three long paragraphs are given which could be factual, descriptive or analytical.

The probable source of the paragraphs are
newspapers, books, journals, research works,
etc. and aim to examine the English skills of
working professionals or students.

The three paragraphs are similar in
structure to the academic section
and can be extracted from the company
guidelines, advertisements, brochures, etc.     

Must Read: IELTS Reading – How to Improve Your Score!

IELTS Writing Section

In this section, the candidates will be evaluated on their skills to fluently write a general report or a short essay.

  • There are only two questions in the portion of the IELTS exam. In the first question, the candidates will be provided with a diagram, data, or a table and then they have to represent the information in their own words. The word limit of this question is 150 words.
  • In the second question, candidates are provided with an argument, or point of view problem. The objective is to assess the candidate on the opinion, justifications, ideas, and evidence they provide for the answer. In total, the candidates will be provided 60 minutes to solve this section.

Must Read: IELTS Writing Tips

IELTS Writing: Academic vs General
IELTS Syllabus-Academic IELTS Syllabus- General Training 
Number of Questions: 2

The candidate has to recapitulate and
define the provided diagram or data within
150 words essay based on the definition of 1st answer inclusive of the examples

Number of Questions: 2

Candidates have to write a letter as per the
given situation. It can be personal, formal,
or semi-formal depending on the questions.
The applicant will also be required to write an essay to support the letter, citing the relevant instances (if any)   

Know about How to Prepare for IELTS Online?

IELTS Listening Section

This section of the IELTS exam is divided into four parts where the candidates will be provided with audio clips. While the first would be about social needs, the other two would be related to situations regarding education. The audio clips could either be a dialogue or a monologue that will run for a duration of around three minutes and will be played once only. Based on these clips, short answers, note completion, MCQ and many other types of questions will be asked. The IELTS syllabus of this section consists of:

  • Audio 1- Dialogue based on social contexts
  • Audio 2- Monologue about the everyday social issues
  • Audio 3- Conversation between 4 people regarding education   
  • Audio 4- Monologue on an academic subject

Must Read: Become a Pro in IELTS Listening

Top 11 IELTS Listening Tips to Get 8+ Band Score

Latest & Best IELTS Preparation Tips & Tricks

IELTS Speaking Section

Conducted as an interview, this section examines the general communication skills of the candidates. It would ultimately lead to a complete analysis of whether the candidate can speak proficiently in English or not. A three-tier process, this section of the IELTS syllabus will start with a short introduction, an individual long-run, and a final in-depth discussion. Listed below are the components assessed in this section: 

Part 1 (Introduction Followed by an Interview)

In this task, the candidates have to introduce themselves talking about their family, hobbies, interests, educational background, etc in about 4-5 minutes.

Part 2 (Long Turn)

In this part of IELTS speaking, the candidates will be provided with a flashcard with a topic written on it. They can take a few minutes to think, familiarize themselves with the topic given, and then speak on it for 2-3 minutes. Afterwards, the interviewer might also have some questions to evaluate the candidate’s understanding of the topic.

Part 3 (Discussion)

There would be a detailed discussion on the topic given in Part 2 and the candidate’s speech as well as comprehension. You will get the chance to delve deeper into the topic and cover it in an elaborate manner. This task generally encompasses a duration of 5-6 minutes.

You can practice some sample test questions from the official website here

IELTS Syllabus PDF

To assist you with the entire syllabus, we have attached the PDF.

IELTS Syllabus in Detail

Now that you are familiar with the standard IELTS syllabus, let us now check out some details of it as per particular sections:

Must Read: IELTS Sample Test


  • Recording 1 –  A conversation (Two people set in an everyday social context)
  • Recording 2 – A monologue (An everyday social context, e.g. a speech about local government)
  • Recording 3 – A conversation (Set between up to four people in an educational or training context)
  • Recording 4 – A monologue (On an academic subject, e.g. a university lecture)


  • Task 1 – General questions about yourself on familiar topics, such as family, work, studies, home, and interests. The duration of his part is between 4-5 minutes
  • Part 2  – You will pick a card with a topic and you will talk about it. You will have one minute to prepare before speaking for up to two minutes. This will be followed by 2-3 questions by the examiner on the same topic.
  • Part 3 – More questions will be asked to you on the same topic as in task 2. These will give you the opportunity to discuss more abstract ideas and issues. The duration of this task is the same as the 1st one.

Reading (Academic and General Training)

  • Task Type 1 – Multiple Choice: The questions will involve completing a sentence by choosing the right option.
  • Task Type 2 – Identifying Information: You will be required to answer the question in ‘true’, ‘false’ or ‘not given. 
  • Task Type 3 – Identifying Writer’s Views/Claims: You will have to answer the questions in ‘yes’, ‘no’ or ‘not given. 
  • Task Type 4 – Matching Information: You will be asked to find specific details in the form of an example, reason, description, comparison, summary and explanation. 

Writing (Academic)

  • Task 1: You will be required to describe facts or figures presented in one or more graphs, charts or tables on a related topic; or they may be given a diagram of a machine, a device or a process and asked to explain how it works. 
  • Task 2: You will be given a topic to write about an academic or semi-formal/neutral style.

Writing (General Training)

  • Task 1 – You will be presented with a situation and asked to write a letter requesting information, or explaining the situation. The letter may be personal, semi-formal or formal in style.
  • Task 2 – You will be asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem.

How is the Marking Done in different Sections of IELTS?

The following is the marking scheme for different sections in the IELTS exam:


There are 40 questions on the IELTS Listening test. The candidate receives one mark for each correct response, and the results are translated to the IELTS scale’s nine bands.

Band Score Raw Score 0ut of 40
5 16
6 23
7 30
8 35


Each correct response earns a candidate one mark on the 40-question IELTS Reading test. The candidate’s score out of 40 is converted to the IELTS band scale, which has nine possible scores.
The two examinations that have questions from the same genre and type of literature are the Academic and General Training Reading tests. Academic reading assessments include questions with more challenging vocabulary or questions with more complicated question formats. A candidate must correctly answer more questions on the General Training Reading test in order to achieve a higher score on a given band score.

The tables below show the typical amount of marks a candidate must obtain in Listening, Academic Reading, and General Training Reading to receive a given band score.

Band score Academic Reading
(raw score out of 40)
General Training Reading
(raw score out of 40)
5 15 23
6 23 30
7 30 34
8 35 38


The 150-word summaries of visual information and the 250-word essays based on a point of view or argument are the two assignments in the IELTS Writing section. Examiners employ a variety of evaluation factors, which are all equally weighted, to assign a band score from zero to nine. The task score is the average of these scores.

  • Task Achievement (for Task 1), Task Response (for Task 2)
  • Coherence and Cohesion
  • Lexical Resource
  • Grammatical Range and Accuracy


In the IELTS Speaking test, a candidate’s speaking skills are evaluated on three tasks during a face-to-face interview with the examiner. Examiners assign a band score, which is the average of the points collected for each particular task, using evaluation criteria.

  • Fluency and Coherence
  • Lexical Resource
  • Grammatical Range and Accuracy
  • Pronunciation

IELTS Preparation Tips

IELTS Preparation tips

IELTS Coaching

The global pandemic has changed everything around us. Traditional coaching centres have now started offering online classes. Leverage Live is one of the best online learning platforms available out there for preparation. With well-versed faculty, well-structured study material, high-quality video content, doubt clarification sessions, personalized study plans, and motivating teachers, you will surely get a high score in each section.

Follow, like and subscribe to Leverage IELTS for more such information.

IELTS Preparation Books

In order to ace the IELTS exam, you need to prepare using the best notes and study resources possible. There are a plethora of high-quality books and audio recordings available to help you prepare for the IELTS exam. Here are some of the most popular IELTS preparation books that you should have in your library:

Books Link
Listening and Speaking Skills by Barry Cusack and Sam McCarter Click Here to Buy
IELTS General Training & Academic Study Guide Click Here to Buy
IELTS Preparation and Practice: Reading and Writing Academic Student Book Click Here to Buy
Success to IELTS: Tips and Techniques Click Here to Buy
IELTS Reading Tests by Sam McCarter Click Here to Buy
Check Your English Vocabulary for IELTS by Rawdon Wyatt Click Here to Buy
Improve Your IELTS Writing by Norman Whitby and Sam McCarter Click Here to Buy
Cambridge Grammar for IELTS  Click Here to Buy
Ace the IELTS: IELTS General Module – How to Maximize Your Score Click Here to Buy

Here’s all the IELTS Study Material for getting a High Score


Are there any pass marks for IELTS?

There are no pass marks, however, scores of all 4 sections are calculated on the 9-band range (0-9).

What is the syllabus of IELTS?

IELTS syllabus contains a total of four sections, i.e. Reading, Speaking, Writing and Listening. For the two types of IELTS tests, i.e. Academic and General, the sections of Reading and Writing are different while the Listening and Speaking sections remain the same for these two versions.

How can I prepare for the IELTS exam?

While preparing for the IELTS, you need to keep the following pointers in mind:

1. Familiarize yourself with the exam pattern of the IELTS test you are planning to take. Along with this, understand the type of questions as well as tasks you might get under each section of the IELTS syllabus.

2. While working on each section of the IELTS exam, make sure that you are practising through sample tests and mock tests to analyse what you have learned.

3. The official website has various IELTS practice materials for aspirants to practice in order to comprehend the format as well as the syllabus of IELTS.

4. You can also opt for an online preparation course and prepare for IELTS with the help of exam experts.

5. Once you find yourself geared up for IELTS, carry out the registration process at the earliest by visiting the official website.

What is the eligibility for the IELTS exam?

The basic IELTS eligibility requirements are:

1. The candidate must have a non-expired and valid passport.
2. The minimum age limit for IELTS is 16 years.
3. An individual is eligible for IELTS if you are planning to migrate or study in Canada, Australia, the USA or New Zealand.

How many times can I take IELTS?

There is no certain limit to taking IELTS. But British Council has specified 48 days in a year for IELTS General while 24 dates for IELTS academic exam. The specific date will usually differ depending upon your nearest test centre.

We hope that with this blog, you are now all clear about the IELTS syllabus. If you are preparing for the IELTS exam but are not sure about how to get started with it then the experts at Leverage Edu will lend you a helping hand. Sign up for our IELTS classes by expert trainers and make your test scores skyrocket with Leverage Live. Book your demo class right now!

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  1. hi,
    im divyta here.pls send me the required details of the ielts exams that are coming up.i would love to register myself for the next ielts exam taking place.

    1. Hi Shobhit!
      In relation to your query regarding Australian work and student visa, our blog Australian Visa Types might shed some light. If you are interested in knowing more about Australian visas and other study abroad related services call Leverage Edu anytime at 1800 572 000 for a free consultancy session.

    1. Hey Varsha,
      You can become an IELTS trainer by obtaining a CELTA/DELTA trainer certificate via TEFL/TESOL.

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