All You Need to Know About IELTS Syllabus

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The International English Language Testing System, or IELTS, is jointly managed by the British Council, the University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations, and IDP Education Australia that tests your English competence. IELTS syllabus is usually offered in two formats:

 a) IELTS Academic: It tests whether students going for education or professional registration are ready to start training by reflecting some of the characteristics of academic language in an English-speaking country.

b) IELTS General Training: For people relocating to English-speaking nations such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, or the United Kingdom, as well as those seeking secondary school, training programmes, or job experience in an English-speaking setting. This focuses on essential survival abilities in a variety of social and professional settings.

 Both formats are based on the following four elements:





In a nutshell, here’s how the IELTS exam works.

When it comes to IELTS examinations, there are generally two paths:

·          Reading (General Training) -> Writing (General Training) -> Speaking (Common) (common)

·          Listening (universal) -> Reading (academic) -> Writing (academic) -> Speaking (universal) (common)

Format of the test

The Listening and Speaking tests are common for all, but the Reading and Writing tests are different for both the formats.

The Reading, Listening and Writing sections are completed on the same day, without any breaks in between.

However, the speaking component can be finished up to a week before or after the other tests.

Total time: 2 hours and 45 minutes

Test format – Listening (30 minutes)

There are four recordings of native English speakers and then comes a series of questions in writing. Evaluators check your capacity to comprehend primary ideas and detailed factual information, as well as viewpoints and attitudes of the speakers.

Format: There are four recordings, each with ten questions. The order of answers to the questions should be the same as in the audio.

The first two sections include scenarios in ordinary social settings.

Recording 1: a dialogue between two speakers (for example, a conversation about travel plans),

Recording 2: a monologue in the third person (for example, a speech about local facilities).

The next two sections have scenarios in educational and training settings.

Recording 3: speech on an academic subject,

Recording 4: conversation between two primary speakers (for example, two university students in discussion, potentially guided by a tutor).

 One can hear the recording only once. There are British, Australian, New Zealand, American, and Canadian accents among them.

Approximate time: 30 minutes (plus 10 minutes transfer time).

Total questions: 40.

Question types: Multiple choice, plan/map/diagram labelling, matching, sentence completion, and form/note/table/flow-chart/summary completion.

Answering: Test takers can note down their answers on the question paper, as they listen the recording and can transfer their answers to an answer sheet 10 minutes at the end of the test. When writing responses on the answer sheet, poor spelling and grammar will be penalised.

Marks: 1 mark per question.

Reading (60 minutes)

It contains 40 questions designed to assess a variety of reading abilities. Reading for understanding logical argument, skimming, key ideas, and recognising writers’ viewpoints, attitudes, and intent are all examples.

Format: Three reading passages with a range of questions employing a variety of task

Approximate time: 60-minute

Total questions: 40

Question types: Multiple choice, identifying information, identifying the writer’s views/claims, matching information, matching headings, matching features, matching sentence endings, sentence completion, summary completion, note completion, table completion, flow-chart completion, diagram label completion, and short-answer questions

Answering: test takers must transfer their answers to an answer sheet. There is no extra time for transfers. When writing responses on the answer sheet, poor spelling and grammar will be penalised.

Marks: 1 mark per question

IELTS Academic test:

It consists of three long texts ranging from descriptive and factual to argumentative and analytical in nature derived from journals, books, periodicals, and newspapers.

Sources: Texts are derived from non-specialist publications, journals, magazines, and newspapers covering topics that are interesting, relevant, and accessible to exam takers who are enrolling in undergraduate or postgraduate programmes or seeking professional certification. The paragraphs can be written in a number of different forms, such as narrative, descriptive, or discursive/argumentative. Non-verbal items such as diagrams, graphs, and drawings may be included in texts. A short glossary is supplied if the contents contain technical terms.

 IELTS General Training test

Extracts from books, magazines, newspapers, announcements, advertising, company handbooks, and rules are all examples of this. In an English-speaking environment, you are likely to come across these things on a daily basis.

Section 1: Two or three short texts, or multiple shorter texts

Section 2: Two texts.

Section 3: One large text.

Sources: The first section, ‘social survival,’ contains texts with activities mostly including accessing and giving generic factual information, such as notices, advertising, and timetables.

‘Workplace survival,’ the second component, focuses on the workplace context, such as job descriptions, contracts, and staff development and training resources.

The third section, referred to as ‘general reading,’ entails reading longer, more difficult language. The emphasis here is on descriptive and instructional texts rather than argumentative texts, such as newspapers, periodicals, and fictional and non-fictional book extracts.

Writing (60 minutes)

It includes topics of general interest and suitability.

Format: There are two tasks to complete.

Approximate time: 60-minute

Total questions: 2

Answering: All responses must be written in full on the answer sheet, notes or bullet points are not acceptable. Test takers can write anything on the question paper, but they are not permitted to take it out of the room.

 Academic Writing:

Question types: The first task requires test participants to write 150 words to describe some visual information (graph, table, chart, or diagram) in their own words in around 20 minutes. They express their reaction to an argument, point of view, or problem in Task 2. They have to write 250 words in roughly 40 minutes.

General Training Writing:

Question types: Test takers need to draft a letter requesting information or explaining a situation in Task 1. In Task 2, test takers write an essay showcasing their point of view, argument, or problem.

Speaking (11–14 minutes)

The speaking portion evaluates your ability to communicate in English and each test is recorded.

•         Part 1- The examiner asks questions about your personal life, likes and dislikes, work, studies, hobbies etc. for 4 to 5 minutes.

•         Part 2 – you will be handed a card which invites you to talk about a particular topic. Preparation Time: 1 minute, Speaking time: up to two minutes. One or two questions might be asked by the examiner on the same subject.

•         Part 3 – you’ll be asked more abstract concepts and issues about the topic you learned about in Part 2. Time allotted: 4 to 5 minutes.

Format: There is an oral interview between the test takers and an examiner and everything is recorded.

Approximate time: 11–14 minutes

Question types: The exam is divided into three sections, each of which serves a distinct purpose in terms of interaction pattern, task input, and test taker output.

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