IELTS Syllabus and Exam Pattern

IELTS Syllabus and Exam Pattern 2022


17 March 2022



Considered a ticket to study abroad, the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is an English language proficiency exam for candidates who do not have English as their mother tongue but wish to take study abroad. The IELTS test consists of 4 main sections or skills, namely reading, writing, speaking and listening. While the listening and speaking sections remain the same for everyone, the reading and writing sections are different for the general education and academic tests. In this blog, we will provide you with a detailed IELTS syllabus to facilitate your IELTS preparation in best way. Also name of some books you should refer for IELTS preparation.

Types of IELTS

Before we dive straight into the IELTS exam syllabus and model, let's also briefly discuss the different types of IELTS exams:


Academic IELTS Training

Candidates who wish to apply for higher education or professional registration in countries where English is the primary means of communication must take the IELTS Academic. The main objective of the test is to determine if a candidate is ready to start learning or training in English. The United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand are among the countries that accept IELTS for academic purposes.


General IELTS Training

IELTS General Training is for people who want to migrate to New Zealand, Australia, Canada, USA or UK, or who want to apply for secondary school, training programs or experience professional in an English-speaking country. This exam emphasizes a candidate's basic survival skills in a broad social and work context.

IELTS Syllabus and Exam Pattern 2022

There are two types of IELTS exams, namely IELTS Academic and IELTS General. The program for these remains the same and differs only slightly. Before explaining the IELTS curriculum, we need to look at the test model and the minimum time allocated to each section:


IELTS Listening Skill Test

Number of Questions & Duration

  • 4 Recordings
  • 40 Questions
  • 30 Minutes + 10 minutes transfer time

Content - Four recorded monologues and conversations

Marks – 1 mark per question


IELTS Reading Skill Test

Number of Questions & Duration -  

  • 40 Questions
  • 60 minutes

Content - 3 Passages (can be descriptive, analytical, factual or discursive)
Marks - 1 mark per question


IELTS Writing Skill Test

Number of Questions & Duration -

  • 2 Questions
  • 60 minutes


  • Writing task (minimum 150 words)
  • Essay (minimum 250 words)

Marks - Each task is assessed independently. The IELTS Writing assessment of Task 2 carries more weight in marking than IELTS Writing Task 1.


IELTS Speaking Skill Test

Number of Questions & Duration

  • 3 Questions
  • 11-14 minutes


  • Part 1: Q&A
  • Part 2: Speaking in detail on a familiar topic
  • Part 3: Structure Discussion

IELTS Reading Syllabus: Academic vs. General

IELTS Syllabus-Academic Training

  • Three long paragraphs are given which can be factual, descriptive or analytical.

  • Likely sources for paragraphs are newspapers, books, journals, research papers, etc. and aim to check the English skills of practitioners or students.


IELTS Syllabus- General Training  

Three passages are similar in structure to the skill section, which can be taken from company guidelines, advertisements, branding, and so on.


IELTS Writing Section

In this section, applicants will be assessed on their ability to fluently write a general report or a short essay.

There are only two questions in the IELTS exam part. In the first question, candidates will be given a diagram, data, or table, and then they will have to represent the information in their own words. The word limit for this question is 150 words.

In the second question, candidates are given an argument or view of the issues. The objective is to evaluate the candidate on the opinion, justifications, ideas and evidence they provide for the answer. In total, candidates will have 60 minutes to solve this section.

IELTS Writing Syllabus: Academic vs General

IELTS Syllabus-Academic Training

Number of Questions: 2

The candidate should summarize and define the diagram or data provided in a 150-word essay based on the definition in the 1st answer, including examples.
IELTS Syllabus- General Training


Number of Questions: 2

Candidates should write a letter according to the given situation. It can be personal, formal, and semi-formal depending on the questions. The candidate will also be required to write an essay in support of the letter, citing relevant examples (if any).

IELTS Listening Syllabus

This section of the IELTS exam is divided into four parts where candidates will receive audio clips. While the first would relate to social needs, the other two would be related to educational situations. Audio clips can be either a dialogue or a monologue which will be around three minutes long and will only play once. Based on these clips, short answers, grade completion, MCQ and many other types of questions will be asked. The IELTS syllabus in this section includes-

  • Recording Task 1- Dialogue based on social contexts

  • Recording Task 2- Monologue about the everyday social issues

  • Recording Task 3- Conversation between 4 people regarding education   

  • Recording Task 4- Monologue on an academic subject

IELTS Speaking Syllabus

Conducted in the form of an interview, this section examines the candidates' general communication skills. This would ultimately lead to a comprehensive analysis of whether the candidate can be fluent in English or not. A three-tier process, this section of the IELTS syllabus will begin with a short introduction, an individual long term and an in-depth final discussion. Items assessed in this section are listed below:


Part 1 (Introduction Followed by an Interview)
In this task, candidates should introduce themselves by talking about their family, hobbies, interests, education, etc. in about 4 to 5 minutes.

Part 2 (Long Turn)
In this part of IELTS speaking, test takers will be given a flashcard with a topic written on it. They can take a few minutes to think, familiarize themselves with the proposed topic, and then talk about it for 2-3 minutes. Subsequently, the interviewer may also ask questions to gauge the candidate's understanding of the topic.


Part 3 (Discussion)
A discussion of the topic will take place in Part 2 with the candidate’s presentation and understanding. You will have the chance to delve deeper into the subject and cover it in an elaborate way. This task 3 part generally encompasses the time duration of 5-6 minutes.


IELTS Syllabus in Detail

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


IELTS - Listening Skill 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)


IELTS - Speaking Skill Test

Section 1 - General questions about you on familiar topics, such as family, work, studies, home and interests. The duration of his game is between 4 and 5 minutes
Section 2 - You will choose a card with a topic and 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 from the examiner on the same topic.
Section 3 - You will be asked more questions on the same topic as in Task 2. These will give you the opportunity to discuss ideas and more complex issues. The duration of this task is the same as the 1st.


IELTS - Reading Skill Test (Academic and General Training)

Task Type 1 – Multiple choices: The questions will consist of completing a sentence by choosing the correct option.
Task Type 2 - Credentials: You will be required to answer the question with "true", "false", or "not provided".
Task Type 3 - Identify Author's Views/Claims: You will need to answer the questions with "yes", "no" or "not given".
Task Type 4 – Matching Information: You will be asked to find specific details in the form of example, reason, description, comparison, summary and explanation.


IELTS - Writing Skill Test Academic and General Training

IELTS - Writing Skill Test (Academic)

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


IELTS - Writing Skill Test (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 can be personal, semi-formal or formal.
Task 2 - You will be asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, an argument or an issue.

The global pandemic has changed everything around us. Traditional Coaching institute centers have now started offering online courses. Leverage Live is one of the best online learning platforms available for preparation. With experienced teachers, well-structured study materials, high-quality video content, doubt-clarifying sessions, personalized study plans, and motivating teachers, you will surely score high in every section.


IELTS Preparation Books

In order to pass the IELTS exam, you need to prepare using the best possible study notes and resources. 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 you should have in your library:


Books for IELTS Preparation


Name - Book for IELTS Preparation


Listening and Speaking Skills by Barry Cusack and Sam McCarter


IELTS General Training & Academic Study Guide


IELTS Preparation and Practice: Reading and Writing Academic Student Book


Success to IELTS: Tips and Techniques


IELTS Reading Tests by Sam McCarter


Check Your English Vocabulary for IELTS by Rawdon Wyatt


Improve Your IELTS Writing by Norman Whitby and Sam McCarter


Cambridge Grammar for IELTS


Ace the IELTS: IELTS General Module – How to Maximize Your Score

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