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 IELTS preparation. 

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 IELTS General Training. Irrespective of whichever form of the IELTS you appear for, the eligibility criteria remains 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 IELTS score 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 IELTS Score making it the best substitute for TOEFL

Eligibility Criteria for IELTS  

Although IELTS 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. 

Recommended Read: IELTS vs PTE

IELTS Registration Process

The registration process for IELTS is quite simpler and can be done in both online and offline modes. Here are the major steps you need to follow to register for IELTS:

  1. Go to the official IELTS website and click on “book a test” option.
  2. You will be required to select the “type of IELTS test” you want to give.
  3. Then select the country or territory you are from. This will open your list of IELTS test locations. Select the nearest location from your address and click on “book now”.
  4. You will be provided with the details of the test centre, along with the choice of registering for a “paper-based test” or “computer-delivered test”.
  5. You will be directed to the website of the test location or the sponsor, such as British Council, where you need to choose the type of test again, and the dates of IELTS exams will be provided.
  6. The next and concluding step is to fill the application form with personal and RO details and upload the required 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 IELTS 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.

Difference Between IELTS General and IELTS Academics

The two categories of IELTS are the IELTS General and IELTS Academics. There is a slight difference between these two categories. The speaking and listening section of both exams are the same regardless of the type of test. The difference between the two categories of IELTS lies mainly in the writing and reading sections. This is because the subject matter is different for both tests. For the writing section, the examiner expects a well-refined essay from test takers of the IELTS Academics. The reading section of the test includes 3 lengthy paragraphs taken from newspapers, books, magazines and articles. For students appearing for the IELTS Academics, these texts are considered appropriate and a bit advanced as compared to the texts of the IELTS General. In the general test, paragraphs are inspired by the type of daily reading material that you might encounter in an English-speaking country. 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 is subdivided into the following four sections: 

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Speaking 
  • Listening

When you appear for the IELTS exam, there are 3 sections, i.e. Reading, Listening and Writing, that are required to be taken on the same day. There is no break allowed in between these sections. 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

S.No.SectionNo. of questionsDurationDetails
1.Writing260 minutes There are 2 writing tasks that need to be completed in the allotted time.
2.Listening4030 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.
3.Speaking3 parts11 to 14 minutesThere is a round of oral interview conducted for this section.
4.Reading4060 minutes There are 3 passages in total and you are asked to answer all questions.

Getting Scholarships Through IELTS

If you appear for the IELTS exam, there is a good chance you can get a scholarship through your IELTS score. The British Council which sponsors the IELTS exam offers numerous scholarships. Apart from that, the British Council has given the British Council IELTS Awards to many international students with good scores in their respective IELTS 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. 

IELTS Exam Syllabus

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


  • There are 4 sections and 40 items in this section.
  • The first is an exchange between two people.
  • The second section is a speech by a person/monologue.
  • The third section is a discussion in an academic setting between a maximum of 4 people.
  • The last and final section of the listening section is 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

Reading (Difference between Academic and General Training)

  • This part of the IELTS exam includes 3 sections.
  • For this section, 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 consists 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 IELTS Academics and IELTS General are different-

IELTS Academics – Reading 

  • Reading syllabus of the IELTS Academics has 3 longer texts.
  • 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. 

IELTS General Training – Reading 

  • This section asks applicants 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. 

Writing (Difference between Academic and General Training)

  • This section has a total of two tasks.
  • The topics for this part are general topics of interest and candidates trying to pursue undergraduate and postgraduate degrees abroad or for professional registration will find them simple to do.  
  • In the first task, a graph will be presented with another graph, a table or diagram. You will have to describe or explain or summarize the information provided in your own manner.
  • In the second task, you are required to access an argument or a point of view or a problem and write an essay as a response to it. 


  • This is a three-part process.
  • This complete section 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.
  • In the first part, questions will be asked about you and a variety of questions on similar topics such as family, home, studies, work and other interests. This lasts for about 4-5 minutes.
  • In the second part, a card will be given to you regarding a specific topic. You are given a minute for preparation before speaking.
  • In the third part, the questions are related to the second part. 

The IELTS tests you on the basis of your performance in the above four sections. However, the process of selection through IELTS is different for each institution. It is advised that you familiarise yourself with the procedure of selection of each college by visiting their official website. 

Tips to Prepare for IELTS

There are numerous ways you can plan your preparation for the IELTS exam. It may seem a little daunting, but is possible using smarter techniques. Here are key helpful tips to assist you to prepare for IELTS:

  • Work on your core English skills. Many of us make the mistake of preparing only through mock tests. Those tests are not knowledge-based like other tests. But they are more skill-based and it’s not the number of mock tests you take but actually the quality of the mock tests. In order to be able to develop your language skills, enrol yourself in English courses or find a good English Teacher. Inculcate a habit of reading newspapers, books, movies, and music. 
  • Another thing to keep in mind is to learn from your mistakes. Being conscious of your habits will help you identify and rectify mistakes. Whether it is misspelt words or errors related to verbs or tenses, take these mistakes as chances to correct yourself. 
  • The next thing is to work on your writing skills. Learning how to correctly structure a paragraph or essay is a huge development skill. Practice as many essay questions as possible, especially sample questions and answers. Do not memorise questions or answers. Make sure to practice your writing skills in a timed duration to have a better understanding of the IELTS writing task.
  • Once you have mastered your writing skills, you can move on towards developing your speaking skills. Becoming comfortable in speaking about yourself and your experiences is a must for the IELTS exam. Practice sample speaking tests with friends to get a better understanding. It should appear spontaneous and natural to the examiner. Do not memorise any particular answer as the examiner can sense a memorised answer.  
  • Keep yourself updated with the latest news, current affairs, animals, economics, climate change, history, sociology, science, etc. This cannot be achieved in a fortnight and hence, it is advisable to start studying current affairs as early as possible. This will additionally help you in various passages of the IELTS Exam. 
  • Try to become comfortable with different kinds of pronunciations and accents through different media options. This will help you understand different accents while exposing you to new and interesting topics as well as new words to enhance your vocabulary. Once you are acquainted with the different topics and different kinds of accents, you will get more comfortable with the IELTS test sections. 
  • Practice as much as you can with sample tests. Polishing your language skills along with time management will help you ace your IELTS exam.  
  • Learn to tackle all the sections of the IELTS individually. Strengthen your writing and speaking skills in English. Increase your vocabulary through the habit of reading. 
  • Try to continuously practice with sample papers as well as adding English to your daily conversations with others.
  • Read the instructions as well as the questions thoroughly before you begin to answer. 

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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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