IELTS Exam Pattern and Syllabus | Subjects, Courses, Paper Patterns


IELTS Exam Pattern

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The International English Language Testing System, acronym as IELTS is the most popular test worldwide. It helps to check English language proficiency for higher education and global migration. You can make your dream come true if you’re looking to work, study or live in foreign countries by scoring a good score in the IELTS test. IELTS is one of the two main tests for knowing the proficiency in the English language, the other being the TOEFL.

IELTS Pattern

Here is more to know about IELTS Exam:

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IELTS Eligibility  IELTS Exam Registration


According to the current statistics reports, IELTS test scores are valid by over 10,000 organizations in the world, including schools, colleges, universities, immigration authorities, government departments, and professional bodies. The test is structured to cover the range of skills, fully from non-user to expert user. Even with a sound knowledge of English, it is important that one studies extensively to gain a high score.

Here are the tips to score well: 

There are two versions in the IELTS exam pattern:

  • Academic Training- For applicants taking the test for entry to undergraduate or postgraduate studies for proficient reasons.
  • General Training- For applicants entering into training or professional programs and not for any educational degree, or for admission in secondary schools and for immigration purposes.

IELTS exam pattern

The two major bodies responsible for formulating and designing the IELTS exam pattern are the Educational Testing Service (ETS) and the British Council. British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge English Language Assessment conduct the IELTS test to measure a candidate’s proficiency level in the English language. The IELTS exam Pattern is designed to reflect the daily life use of English in different walks of life; at the study, at work, at play, and at a social gathering.

Candidates have to start the preparation by understanding the IELTS exam pattern, in such a manner so as to achieve the desired result. Plenty of students faces difficulties while understanding accents and expressions used by British speakers when they appear for the TOEFL.  So it is better to interpret the IELTS exam pattern properly to gain a good score.

According to the IELTS exam pattern, the total time for the IELTS exam is 2 hours and 45 minutes. IELTS exam pattern contains  4 sections, Listening, Writing, Reading, and Speaking. Details about these sections are given below :

  • Listening: The total duration of this section is 30 minutes and it is divided into 4 sections. Candidates are expected to answer 40 questions of different types.
  • Writing: The length of this section is 60 minutes and it includes 2 questions where candidates are asked to write a short essay of a minimum of 250 words. Furthermore, students are given diagrams, data, or table, for which the appearing person have to explain it in their own words.
  • Reading: The reading section contains 3 sections of general interest that are related to the issues regarding candidates pursuing programs like the post-graduate or undergraduate program. The total time allotted for this section is 60 minutes and it includes almost 40 questions.
  • Speaking: The total time allotted for this section varies from 11 to 14 minutes and here candidates also have to give a face-to-face interview.

Here is a guide for you to manage time on the test day: 

The following table of the IELTS exam pattern can give you a bird's-eye view of all the sections:

IELTS Test Module

Time Duration

Brief Description


30 minutes

4 sections, 40 items


60 minutes

2 Writing tasks


60 minutes

3 sections, 40 questions


11-14 minutes

3 part one-on-one conversation

Some points to be noted regarding the IELTS exam pattern:

  • Candidates appear for the Listening, Reading, and Writing tests one after the other without any breaks in between the sections.
  • The IELTS Speaking test may be taken within the time of 7 days before or after the other Elements.
  • In both the versions - IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training, each candidate is required to take the same Listening and Speaking modules, whereas in reading and writing modules it differs.
  • The IELTS scores are marked on the unique IELTS 9-band scale for both versions.

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