IELTS (International English Language Testing System)


If you are wondering what is IELTS and how is it useful for your career, you have come to the right place. The International English Language Testing System or IELTS is an established test for examining English proficiency. The test is structured to assess the linguistic skills of a candidate who is not a native English speaker. This test is given by those who wish to study, migrate or work in some of the countries. In this blog, we will discuss about IELTS, its importance, syllabus and helpful tips and tricks for carrying out your preparations for this exam.

What is IELTS?  

The IELTS is managed by IELTS, British Council and Cambridge Assessment English.  This exam is of two kinds depending on the purpose of the test. The IELTS Academic is the test for those planning to study abroad. If you want to migrate or shifting to another country for work, the exam you have to take is the General Training version. Irrespective of whichever form of the exam you appear for, the eligibility criteria remain the same. 

It is compulsory to give the IELTS exam if you want admission to the academic and training programs in Canada, New Zealand, UK and Australia. The score of this exam is accepted in more than 3000 US Universities and other such institutes around the world. Apart from the academics part, numerous MNC’s and organisations require your IELTS score, especially if one of the branches of the country is located in an English speaking country.

IELTS is considered as the only English Language Test that is secure enough to be officially be approved for UK Visa applicants by the UK Visas and Immigration. The immigration authorities of Australia, Canada, and New Zealand accept its score making it the best substitute for TOEFL.

Check Out Our Detailed Guide on Types of IELTS Exam

IELTS Eligibility

Although this test does not have strict rules like other examinations like GRE or GMAT, but it has certain rules that need to be adhered to. Some of the basic IELTS eligibility conditions are: 

  • You should be possessing a non-expired and valid passport.
  • Minimum 16 years of age is compulsory.
  • If you are planning to migrate or study in Canada, Australia, USA or New Zealand. 

IELTS Registration

IELTS registration process is quite simpler and can be done in both online and offline modes. In order to register for IELTS, you need to visit the official website and click on “book a test” option. Then, you will be required to select a country and nearest location after which you can choose your preferred type as well as the date you want to take the exam. Here are the major steps you need to follow to register for the exam. Then, you can fill the application form with required details, upload the documents and also pay the registration fee of 13,250 INR.

If you are unable to submit your IELTS application online, then you can simply download the registration form from the official website of the exam and fill at the British Council office. You can fill the application at the office in person and submit your payment fee of 13,250 INR through credit card, debit card, demand draft or ICICI bank deposit slip.

IELTS General vs IELTS Academic

Below given are the details of IELTS General vs IELTS Academic:

IELTS General IELTS Academic
This exam includes general writing and general reading. This exam includes academic writing and academic reading.
This exam is for individuals wanting to migrate, train, work or in case of secondary education. This exam is for students wishing to pursue their higher education. 
This exam is mostly attempted by those who want their visas for an English speaking country. This exam is mostly attempted by students wanting admission to foreign universities.

IELTS Exam Pattern

The IELTS exam pattern is divided into the following four sections: 

  1. Reading
  2. Writing
  3. Speaking 
  4. Listening

These sections are required to be taken on the same day. There is no break allowed in between them. However, the speaking section can be completed a week before or after the day you appear for the other 3 sections. This test lasts for 2 hours and 45 minutes

Section No. of questions Duration Details
Writing 2 60 minutes  There are 2 writing tasks that need to be
completed in the allotted time.
Listening 40 30 minutes
(excluding 10 minutes of transfer time)
There are 4 sections, each with 10 questions.
You are asked to listen to the recordings and then answer the questions.
Speaking 3 parts 11 to 14 minutes There is a round of oral interview
conducted for this section.
Reading 40 60 minutes  There are 3 passages in total and you are asked to answer all questions.
How to Ace IELTS Writing Test? IELTS Writing Tips
How to Ace IELTS Reading Section? IELTS Reading Tips
IELTS Speaking Topics IELTS Speaking Questions

IELTS Syllabus

The IELTS syllabus is based on the different sections of the exam. Here we have detailed the syllabus of the exam classified in the key sections.


There are 4 sections with 10 questions in each section of IELTS Listening. It aims to evaluate your ability to comprehend the core ideas and detailed factual information, the opinions and approach of the speakers, the objective of an utterance and how well you can follow the progression of ideas. Each question is of one mark and there are different types of questions like multiple-choice, sentence completion, form/note/table/flowchart/summary completion, matching or plan/map diagram labelling. There are four types of recordings that are played which are as follows:

Recording 1: An conversation between two people [in everyday social context]

Recording 2: A speech by a person/monologue.

Recording 3: A discussion in an academic context between a maximum of 4 people.

Recording 4: A monologue that is based on an academic subject. 

Note: Remember that every question in the listening can only be heard once. That’s why you need to take this test in a peaceful environment.

Academic & General Reading

The IELTS Reading includes 3 sections and you are required to read the passage and answer the questions, which may include multiple-choice questions, summary writing, information matching, short answers and sentence completion. All the passages of this section consist of a maximum of 13-14 questions. The reading part of this module consists of a total of 40 questions. However, the reading passages and questions of the Academic and General exams are different and are given in detail below.

Must Read: IELTS Reading Tips

IELTS Academic: Reading (40 Questions in 60 Minutes)

The reading section of the IELTS Academic has 3 reading passages. The matter of the subject may vary from factual and descriptive to analytical and discursive. All the texts are selected from journals, magazines, newspapers and books and are exclusively selected for an audience that does not belong to any specialist group. Those of you looking for professional registration or trying to enter a university course abroad, this is the best choice for you. Every question is of one mark each with types of tasks ranging from

  • Multiple-choice
  • Identifying Information
  • Identifying Writer’s Views/Claims
  • Matching Information
  • Matching Headings
  • Matching Features
  • Matching Sentence Endings
  • Sentence Completion
  • Summary, Note, Table, Flow-chart Completion
  • Diagram Label Completion
  • Short-answer Questions
How to Get a High Band Score in IELTS Reading?

IELTS General Training: Reading (40 Questions in 60 Minutes)

The IELTS General Training Reading consists of three sections. Applicants need to read excerpts taken from magazines, notices, handbooks of companies and guidelines, books, newspapers and advertisements. The excerpt materials are taken from daily written materials of an English speaking country. The three sections contain the following types of questions:

Section 1: Two or Three Short Texts or Several Texts

Section 2: Two Texts

Section 3: One Long Text

Academic & General Writing

The writing section for IELTS Academic and General is quite similar in its structure but differs in terms of content. Both the Academic and General Test’s writing sections have 2 tasks/questions with a total duration of 60 minutes. Take a look at the types of tasks these two have:

IELTS Academic Writing

Task 1: Comprises of a graph, table, chart or diagram, the test-taker needs to describe the visual information in their own words.

Word Limit: 150 Words
Duration: 20 Minutes

Task 2: The test-taker needs to write an essay in response to an argument, a point of view or a problem.

Word Limit: 250 Words
Duration: 40 Minutes

IELTS General Writing

Task 1: The test-taker needs to respond to a situation, for instance, they might be asked to write a letter requesting information or elaborating a situation.

Word Limit: 150 Words
Duration (Advised): 20 Minutes

Task 2: The test-taker needs to write an essay in response to an argument, a point of view or a problem.

Word Limit: 250 Words
Duration (Advised): 40 Minutes

Must Read: IELTS Writing Tips


This is a three-part process. This is an oral interview which is recorded in order to further evaluate the applicant. It will finally lead to a face-to-face interview with an examiner. It takes about 11-14 minutes to complete and evaluates the candidate’s spoken English skills.

Part 1: Introduction & Interview

The examiner introduces him/herself and then asks the test-taker various general questions about themselves and a variety of questions on similar topics such as family, home, studies, work and other interests. This lasts for about 4-5 minutes.

Part 2: Long Turn

A card will be given to you regarding a specific topic. The duration of this part is 3-4 minutes including the preparation time of a minute which given before speaking.

Part 3: Discussion

An abstract or general discussion takes places on the topic given in the part 2 and this part lasts for 4-5 minutes.

Phrases to Use in IELTS Speaking


IELTS Results and Score

Band Score Skill Level Details
9 Expert Fully operational command over the English language.

The test-taker can use it an appropriate,
accurate and fluent manner thus
showing complete understanding.

8 Very Good Fully operational command over the English
with only infrequent and occasional unsystematic
mistakes and inaccuracies and inappropriate use.

This might be because misunderstandings in peculiar
and unfamiliar circumstances. But the test-taker is
very good at tackling complex and detailed argumentation.

7 Good Operational command over the English language
with infrequent inaccuracies, inappropriate use and
misunderstandings in a few situations.

The test-taker is good at handling complex language
and understand detailed reasoning.

6 Competent Effective command over the English language
though there are some inaccuracies, inappropriate
use and misunderstandings. 

The test-taker can use and comprehend
fairly complex language, especially in familiar situations.

5 Modest Partial command over the English language.

The test-taker generally copes well with overall meaning
in most situations, but they are likely to make some mistakes.
The test-taker should be able to tackle basic communication
in their own field.

4 Limited Basic competence of the test-taker is
limited to familiar incidents. 

They are like to face problems in understanding and
expression but they are unable to use complex language.

3 Extremely Limited Understanding of only general meanings in
highly familiar situations.

But there are more frequent
breakdowns in communication.

2 Intermittent User Represents difficulty in understanding spoken
as well as written English.
1 Non-user Shows no ability to use the language except
only a few isolated words.
0 Test not attempted Questions not answered.

How to Crack IELTS in 3 Months?

If you are aiming to crack your IELTS exam in 3 months, the most important thing is to begin with devising a study plan and preparation strategy to work on each section of the exam. Make a study schedule to cover the syllabus of the exam for the first one and a half months and then spend the rest of the preparation period working on your strong and weak points as well as practising as many sample tests as possible.

Here’s a detailed preparation strategy on How to Crack IELTS in 3 Months!

IELTS Preparation Tips

IELTS Preparation Tips
Best IELTS Preparation Tips

Top Universities Accepting IELTS Scores

IELTS is a widely accepted language proficiency test whether you are applying to a study programme or a visa application. It is commonly accepted by British, Canadian, Irish, Australian, European, American and New Zealand academic institutions. Moreover, many universities in Germany also take IELTS scores for their English-taught programmes and some of these academic institutions include, University of Bonn, University of Marburg, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Hamburg University of Technology, to name a few.

To know more, take a look at our comprehensive list of top universities accepting IELTS scores!


What is IELTS?

IELTS or International English Language Testing System is the most popular of English language proficiency test taken by those wanting to study, work and migrate abroad. It can be taken as either paper or computer-based based on your convenience.

What is a good score for IELTS?

As per British Council, scoring a 9 in the exam means that you are an “expert” in English while getting an 8 shows that you are “very good” and so on. Generally, the IELTS score varies from 1 to 9, i.e. non-user to expert and 0 for “did not attempt”.

How much does it cost to take the IELTS?

In order to apply for this, you need to generally pay 13,250 INR for a single attempt and if you retake the exam, then you need to submit the fee again. Also, the fee might vary as per the test type, here are the fee details for different tests:

Computer-delivered IELTS: 13,250 INR
IELTS for UKVI: 18,500 INR
Life Skills: 13,850 INR
Pen and paper-based IELTS: 13250 INR

What is the use of IELTS exam?

IELTS aims to analyse the language proficiency and ability of the aspirants who are aspiring to study or work to a country where English is used as the language of communication. It is frequently accepted as the language proficiency test in the US, UK, Canada, and various other countries.

How long is IELTS valid for?

IELTS results are valid for two years from the date of result declaration but it also depends on the organisation to set their own validity for different purposes.

How many times can you take IELTS?

There is no certain time limit to retaking IELTS and it can be given as many times as candidates want to get the right score.

Where can I book my IELTS slot?

IELTS slot booking can be carried out online or in-person. You can visit an IELTS centre affiliated with any of its organisations like the British Council or you can visit the official website of the exam and book your test.

Can I get scholarship through IELTS?

If you appear for this exam, there is a good chance you can get a scholarship through your IELTS score. The British Council has given the British Council IELTS Awards to many international students with good scores in their respective exam as well as brilliant academic scores. These scholarships provide financial assistance for students to study in their university of choice given that IELTS score is accepted at their chosen university. 

We hope that this comprehensive guide about IELTS helped you understand all the details about this pivotal exam for those planning to study abroad. If you are preparing for IELTS and want to know the essential things to keep in mind, our Leverage Edu experts can guide you throughout the exam preparation mentoring you to successfully ace this exam.

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