IELTS Exam Syllabus

IELTS Exam Syllabus

The exam syllabus of the two types of IELTS, academic and general training is different in certain modules. Here, we are discussing in-depth the exam syllabus of Academic test type. This will provide you an idea of what to expect in the test during your first attempt. 

Modules of the IELTS Test in details.


The Listening module has four sections, each containing ten questions.

Time: 40 minutes (30 minutes for the test + 10 minutes for providing answers in the solution sheet).

Sections 1 and 2 are about everyday, social situations.

  • Section 1 and 2 have questions related to day-to-day social events. 
  • Sections 1 involves a dialogue of two people discussing a causal topic. For instance, about travel arrangements. 
  • Section 2 is a monologue such as an informal speech.

Sections 3 and 4 are about educational and training situations

  • Section 2 and 3 have questions involving academic topics. 
  • Section 2 is a discussion between two people for instance between two students. 
  • Section 3 is a monologue on an academic topic.

An introductory paragraph is added before each section to explain the situation and speakers. The candidates have some time to read through the questions. Each audio will only be played once. Once the audio finishes, candidates have 10 minutes time to write the answers. Marks will be deducted for spelling and grammatical errors.

Texts in IELTS Academic

  • IELTS academic: the texts in this type are taken from a variety of sources including newspapers, online blogs, magazines etc.  The texts are for a non-professional audience and hence, are related to common interests of people. 

Texts in IELTS General Training

  • Section 1 includes small texts. Typically two to three or more if shorter. These texts focus on concepts such as notices, timetables and more that a person will come across day to day in a english speaking country.
  • Section 2 has profession-specific material such as work description, training notes etc. Usually, there are two texts in this section. 
  • Section 3 has a long, elaborative and complicated text of any general concept. The text can be derived from any book, magazine, newspaper, or online article. 

Writing : As in the Reading test, the writing test of IELTS is also different in Academic and General Training. The Writing paper has two tasks which must both be completed. In task 1 test takers write at least 150 words in about 20 minutes. In task 2 test takers write at least 250 words in about 40 minutes. Test takers will be penalized if their answer is too short or does not relate to the topic.

IELTS Academic

  • Task 1 here is to analyze and explain a graph, chart or diagram in your own terms. 

IELTS General Training

  • Task 1:Task 1 in this type of test one has to write a letter on a provided situation. For instance, writing a letter to your employer about any issues you have come across while working
  • Task 2 

    In this task 2, the examinee has to write 250 words in 40 minutes. This activity includes writing a short essay on a causal topic such as what are the ways to resolve environmental issues. The question may require the test to present an opinion, contrast a statement, or evaluate ideas.

    oduces himself. He may be asked about his family, background, interests, spare time activities, and other general topics.. This introductory interview lasts for 4-5 minutes. 

Section 2: long turn (3–4 minutes).

  • In section 2, test takes are provided with a specific concept or topic and one minute to prepare to speak about the given topic. The task card will provide the details about the key point and explanation of a particular aspect of the topic that is expected from the test takers. The individual has to speak for two minutes which may be followed by cross-questioning by the examiner. 

  • Section 3: discussions (4–5 minutes).
  • This is a section involving discussion between the examiner and the test taker related to the topic covered in section 3. The discussion session lasts for 3-4 minutes.