IELTS General Exam Syllabus

Modules of the IELTS General Test in details


The Reading test of IELTS is different in Academic and General Training. It has three sections. There will be a variety of question types, such as multiple choice, short-answer questions, identifying information, identifying writer’s views, labeling diagrams, completing a summary using words taken from the text and matching information/headings/features in the text/sentence endings


The module comprises four sections, with ten questions in each section. The total time allotted for this section is 40 minutes: 30 mins for listening to the audios and 10mins for transferring the answers to an answer sheet.

Sections 1 has a conversation between two speakers (for example, a conversation about travel arrangements).
Section 2 is a monologue which has one person speaking about everyday social situations (for example, a speech about local facilities).
Section 3 is a conversation between upto four speakers (for example, a discussion between two university students, perhaps guided by a tutor).
Section 4 is a monologue has one person speaking about an academic subject (mainly a university lecture).

Each section begins with a short introduction telling the test taker about the situation and the speakers. Then they have some time to look through the questions. All recordings will be played only once . At the end of the test students are given 10 minutes to transfer their answers to an answer sheet. Test takers will lose marks for incorrect spelling and grammar.

Texts in IELTS General Training

 Section 1 contains two or three short texts which deal with everyday topics. For example, timetables or notices – things a person would need to understand when living in an English-speaking country.

 Section 2 contains two texts, which deal with work. For example, job descriptions, contracts, training materials.

 Section 3 contains one long text about a topic of general interest. The text is generally descriptive, longer and more complex than the texts in Sections 1 and 2. The text will be taken from a newspaper, magazine, book or online resource.

IELTS reading has a total of 40 questions that are to be answered.


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 General Training

 Task 1: test takers write a letter in response to a given everyday situation. For example, writing to an accommodation officer about problems with your accommodation, writing to a new employer about problems managing your time, writing to a local newspaper about a plan to develop a local airport. There are 3 types of letters: Formal, Semi-formal, Informal letters.

 Task 2: In this task, test takers need to write an essay about a topic of general interests. For example, whether smoking should be banned in public places, whether children’s leisure activities should be educational, how environmental problems can be solved. Other topics such as discussing a point of view, argument or problem may also be asked. Depending on the task, test takers may be required to present a solution to a problem, present and justify an opinion, compare and contrast evidence, opinions and implications, and evaluate and challenge ideas, evidence or an argument.


The speaking test is a face-to-face interview between the test taker and an examiner. It has three sections.

Section 1: introduction and interview (4–5 minutes).

Test takers may be asked about their home, family, work, studies, hobbies, interests, reasons for taking IELTS exam as well as other general topics such as clothing, free time, computers and the internet.

Section 2: long turn (3–4 minutes).

Test takers are given a task card about a particular topic. Test takers have one minute to prepare to talk about this topic. The task card states the points that should be included in the talk and one aspect of the topic which must be explained during the talk. Test takers are then expected to talk about the topic for 2 minutes, after which the examiner may ask one or two questions called rounding-off questions.

Section 3: discussions (4–5 minutes).

The third section involves a discussion between the examiner and the test taker, generally on questions relating to the theme which they have already spoken about in Section 2.