IELTS is an interesting English language proficiency test that qualifies you to travel abroad for study, work, or migration. If you plan to attend a college/ university abroad, you must take the IELTS Academic test. If you are a working professional or an immigrant, write the IELTS General Training test. This exam is mainly for non-native English speakers.
The first step for taking the IELTS test is ensuring you can understand and communicate in English. IELTS acts as a language proficiency test and a life skill. In addition, the test is altered based on the situation you will be required to use the scores. Hence, having a thorough understanding of the IELTS exam syllabus and pattern is an absolute must.
Overview of the IELTS Exam and IELTS Exam Syllabus
The IELTS exam is of two types—Academic and General Training. The IELTS Academic and General Training exam evaluates a student’s English language skills regarding their reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills.
The IELTS Academic test is for those who want to opt for professional registration or higher education in countries where the English language is a native or fundamental language.
IELTS General Training Exam is for students who aspire to be admitted to countries like New Zealand, Canada, the US, Australia, or the UK for below-degree education and training programs.
Further, there are four sections under GRE academic and general training: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. While the IELTS syllabus for listening and speaking remains the same for all test takers, the reading and writing tests are distinct for academic and general training types. The duration of the examination is 2 hours and 45 minutes, and the score/band range is from 0 to 9. The IELTS test score is valid for 24 months, and the maximum attempt limit is once a week or four times a month.
With an overview of the IELTS exam pattern and IELTS exam syllabus, let’s explore the IELTS pattern in detail.
IELTS Paper Pattern
What is IELTS exam pattern? Before understanding the IELTS exam pattern in detail, let’s first look at the infographic below.
The IELTS exam structure includes 4 main sections. Each section has different types of questions to test your English language skills. Let’s check the IELTS General exam pattern and Academic pattern.
IELTS Academic Section
Number Of Questions/ Duration
40/ 30 minutes
IELTS Reading Academic and General
40/ 60 minutes
IELTS Writing Academic and General
2 Tasks/ 60 minutes
3 parts/ 11-14 minutes
Next, let’s explore the IELTS syllabus 2023.
IELTS Syllabus Update 2023
What is IELTS syllabus? Following is the syllabus to prepare for IELTS 2023.
Now you know what is the syllabus of IELTS exam. Next, let’s check out the syllabus based on the type of IELTS test, including detailed information on the types of questions, time duration, etc.
IELTS Academic Syllabus
As a study abroad aspirant, one pressing question you will have is, “What exactly do I prepare for the IELTS exam and is there a fixed IELTS exam syllabus 2023 I can refer to?”
The answer to this question lies in acquiring skills more than references to study. IELTS Academic or General tests do not have a predefined syllabus. What they do have is an expectation from you to acquire a skill set that will help you display your English language prowess, both during the exam and in the university you get admitted to for pursuing a course of your choice.
Therefore, it is of paramount importance that you acquaint yourself with each section and the criteria for testing for the same.
Let’s begin with the IELTS Academic or General Listening test syllabus!
What is the Syllabus for the IELTS Listening Test?
The IELTS Listening section ensures that you can understand English phrases in particular. Based on your exam type, you’re required to hear the audio and answer questions. So, there is no predefined syllabus but a range of listening skills you are expected to master. However, foremost among them is your ability to listen to 4 recordings or audio. But what do these audios include?
Four of the audios in IELTS Listening are monologues and dialogues.
- So, listen carefully.
- Develop a habit of listening and understanding various accents and dialects.
- One of the good ways to do it is by watching movies of the cross-cultural genre.
Note: Listen to these 4 audios to understand the IELTS Syllabus better!
A Note about the IELTS Answer Sheet
After you listen to the recordings, you will have to answer 40 questions based on them. The answers need to be transferred within 10 minutes after taking the test to the sheet that looks similar to the one below.
Since you are acquainted with the pattern and syllabus for the IELTS Listening test, you MUST stay aware of some effective tips and tricks for preparation:
Tips & Tricks for Preparing for the IELTS Listening Test
- One will get to hear the audio ONLY ONCE. So, pay attention!
- It is suggested that one glance at all the questions before listening to the audio.
- As for the test, one is given 10 minutes to transfer the answers into the answer script in case of the IELTS paper-delivered test.
- One can write their answers for the IELTS listening section in British or American English. Although, it is ideal for sticking to one style and maintaining the same throughout.
- Spellings are important. An error in writing or spelling mistakes are penalised.
- If one focuses on the questions, simple datelines, names, and setting-based questions are easily picked upon.
- As one listens to the audio, take quick notes or make easy-to-understand mind maps that remind them of the necessary details. This will help them ease their IELTS exam timing.
Next, let us move on to the IELTS Reading test syllabus.
What is the Syllabus for the IELTS Reading Test?
The IELTS Reading section has questions about reading comprehension to test. You are given passages to read and answer questions based on them. The academic IELTS Reading section has three long passages. These could be descriptive, factual, discursive or analytical. These passages are picked from books, magazines, journals, or newspapers.
The IELTS Academic Reading passages are apt for students entering a university or any educational program. While there is no fixed syllabus for this section, you are expected to develop a habit of voracious reading, understanding, interpreting, gauging essays, and building a good span of attention.
IELTS Reading Practice Questions
The best way to understand the IELTS Reading paper is by going through it systematically yourself. So refer to the paper below for decent clarity.
Sample Exam: IELTS Reading Sample
Since you are acquainted with the pattern and syllabus for the IELTS Reading test, you MUST stay aware of some effective tips and tricks for preparation.
Tips & Tricks for Preparing for the IELTS Reading Test
- One can write their answers for the IELTS Reading section in British-English or American-English. Although, one must stick to one style and maintain the same throughout.
- Spellings are important. An error in writing or spelling mistakes are penalised.
- Stick to answering the Reading questions with as many words as asked.
- In the IELTS Reading section, expect questions with charts, diagrams, sentence corrections, MCQs, etc.
- Do not make spelling mistakes.
- Recheck the essays when in doubt.
- Don’t misread the questions in haste.
- Write clearly.
- Don’t exceed the word limit (whenever mentioned) or write multiple answers.
Taking our discussion further, let’s explore the IELTS Writing section syllabus.
What are the two tasks of the IELTS Writing section?
As the writing section includes two tasks, it is essential to ace them both to achieve the desired band score.
- Task 1
You will be asked to describe a process, chart, graph, situation, or diagram in the first task.
For example: Describe the diagram below in about 150 words:
- Task 2
You will have to write an essay on a particular topic. You must collect your thoughts, organise, and write a good-quality essay.
For example: Write an essay on the ‘Shortage of water in about 250 words.’
Further, let’s explore the syllabus of IELTS Writing.
What is the Syllabus for the IELTS Writing Test?
The IELTS Writing task certifies your English writing proficiency. Your expertise in English is displayed when you’re efficient enough to deliver a message perfectly on paper. Therefore, you are expected to excel in presenting ideas, facts, assumptions, and arguments in a clear and understandable manner. Don’t get overwhelmed by the IELTS Writing Test. Just prepare for it well. Follow these tricks and tips:
Tips & Tricks for Preparing for the IELTS Writing Test
- Brushing up on grammar before taking the IELTS Writing test will help the test taker write correctly. This will help them compose proper, complete, and crisp sentences.
- Practice your essay writing skills. Learn to polish your writing with idioms, quotes, etc, making the essay an interesting read.
- We all are spoiled with auto-correct. With auto-correct constantly fixing our spelling mistakes, it wouldn’t be surprising if most of you find it difficult to remember the spellings of the most commonly used words too. Hence, work on your spelling. Use Yocket Flashcards and expand your vocabulary.
- Lengthy sentences or redundant words make your essay difficult to read and understand. Write crisp bite-sized sentences which are easy to understand.
- A good essay has an introduction, body, and conclusion. Make sure to include all three parts in your essay.
- Try taking an IELTS Writing practice test to assess your writing skills and prepare.
Finally, arriving at the syllabus of the last section of IELTS.
What is the Syllabus for the IELTS Speaking Test?
The IELTS Speaking section includes the following parts:
The IELTS Speaking test certifies your spoken English proficiency. You need to speak in English for the IELTS Speaking test. To prepare for the IELTS Speaking test, practice speaking in English with your peers. In the actual exam, you will be face-to-face with a qualified examiner. So, you will also be required to develop amazing confidence and self-esteem to perform in real-time to the best of your ability. Let us understand the preparation techniques for mastering this section.
Tips & Tricks for Preparing for the IELTS Speaking Test
- Practice speaking on various topics.
- Prepare yourself with a well-rounded introduction.
- Speak confidently on issues.
- Politely pose your opinions.
- Introduce yourself
- Speak about your family, friends, passions and more.
- Work: Define your occupation, your role, and your work-life.
- Goals and aspirations: Express your life goals, ambitions and aspirations.
- Describe a piece of art/book/movie.
- What is your usual day like?
- What’s your opinion about clothing?
- Should employees be encouraged to wear uniforms? Or identity tags?
- Talk about your favourite ad/marketing campaign that grabbed your attention.
- Discuss your views and express yourself well. To get a fair idea about the IELTS Speaking section, peek at the IELTS practice questions.
The good news about the IELTS test pattern is that you can prepare it yourself without attending coaching classes. All you need to do is thoroughly understand the IELTS syllabus and its sections. Read about the IELTS Reading, IELTS Writing, IELTS Listening, and IELTS Speaking sections to get a clear picture of the same.
Further, once you achieve your target band, connect with our expert and well-qualified counsellors by subscribing to Yocket premium. They will surely help you initiate your admissions process, visa application, scholarship/loan application procedure, etc.
Frequently Asked Questions on IELTS Exam Syllabus and Pattern 2023
Ques. What are the IELTS preparation tips?
Ans. A student can follow the given tips to ace their IELTS exam:
- Familiarise yourself with the exam pattern and syllabus
- Devise a preparation strategy
- Improve your vocabulary
- Work on your Writing skills
- Focus on fluency and pronunciation
Ques. Name a few IELTS preparation books.
Ans. A few top IELTS preparation books are:
- Barron's IELTS Superpack
- The Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS
- Cambridge IELTS 14 Academic Student's Book with Answers with Audio
- Official IELTS Practice Materials
- Road to IELTS
Ques. Are there any pass marks for IELTS?
Ans. No. there are no pass marks for IELTS; however, its scores are evaluated between 0-9. Your target scores must depend on the university/course requirements to ensure admission.
Ques. What are IELTS eligibility requirements?
Ans. The basic IELTS eligibility requirements are:
- The aspirant must have a non-expired and valid passport.
- The minimum age limit for IELTS is 16 years.
- An individual is eligible for IELTS if they plan to migrate or study in Canada, Australia, the USA, or New Zealand.
Ques. What is the IELTS question pattern?
Ans. IELTS includes a variety of question types: multiple choice, matching, plan/map/diagram labelling, form/note/table/flow-chart/summary completion, and sentence completion.
Ques. How many times can I take IELTS?
Ans. There is no specified no. of attempts to take the IELTS exam. However, every time a student takes the test, they will have to resubmit the fee. Thus, achieving your target scores on the first attempt is better.