IELTS Syllabus

IELTS or The International English Language Testing System is the language testing exam that assesses an individual’s proficiency in the English language. The exam takes into consideration the need for a student’s understanding of the English language in countries where English is the primary language. Countries like the US, the UK, New Zealand, Australia, and Canada rely on the IELTS scores to consider an applicant’s candidature for a job or higher education. The IELTS exam syllabus covers a wide array of criteria for assessing a student’s proficiency in the English language.

IELTS is the brainchild of IDP Education Australia, British Council, and Cambridge English Language Assessment, and they are jointly responsible for conducting the exam. IELTS scores are accepted by Australian and British Universities in totality, while more than 3000 institutions in the US accept the score for admissions and jobs. The IELTS test syllabus isn’t a tough nut to crack and can be aced with few months of dedicated preparation.

IELTS Test Formats

IELTS syllabus can be completed in a limited timeframe once an applicant gets hold of the test pattern. The IELTS syllabus pdf is available on the official website, and it includes the following:


This section comprises 40 questions and the time limit is 30 minutes.


There are 40 questions with a time limit of one hour.


It includes writing essays and expressing data in words.


Check the ability of a student to speak English.

Skills Tested in IELTS

IELTS exam syllabus 2023 has been kept the same, and this time, the onus is going to be on the student’s understanding of the language. The skill sets include every aspect of the language viz. Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening. Gaining proficiency in each element can help a student in getting good scores.

Syllabus of IELTS General Training

1. Writing Section

The IELTS exam syllabus is focused more on the qualitative aspect than the qualitative one. The written test includes drafting a letter which can be either a formal or an informal one. The nature of the letter depends on the situation presented to a student, but there is one common aspect that a student has to write an essay based on the content of the letter. It is always advised to have an own writing style since the situation can vary as there is no strict rule regarding the same in the IELTS syllabus.

2. Reading Section

In this section, the applicant is supposed to read a general section about something which can be from the day-to-day reading material. As per the IELTS syllabus pdf available on the website, it can be anything from an advertisement to a product brochure.

3. Listening Section

It touches a wide array of the situation, which does a holistic analysis of a student’s ability to understand the English language. There are four sections to assess a student’s ability to understand the language from a social as well as educational perspective. There is a total of 40 questions with a time limit of 30 minutes.

  • Section 1 and 2 - These are pivoted around social situations, and there will be two recordings that a student has to listen to and understand. The first recording is on a conversation between two people. The second recording is a monologue. Both are from a social perspective.
  • Section 3 and 4 - The first recording has a group of four people talking on an education-related topic, and the second recording is a monologue on an academic subject.

4. Speaking Section

This section is incorporated in the IELTS test syllabus to test a student’s ability to converse with native English speakers of the country. It is very important since this section can be a deciding factor in a student’s admission to the Universities. This section is of 10 to 15 minutes in duration.

It has been categorized into three categories:

  • Part 1 - Personal Interview : It includes the introductory part wherein questions related to personal life and details are put forward, and it is usually of four to five minutes duration.
  • Part 2 - Speech : - In this section, a topic is given to a student, and one to two minutes of time is given to get hold of the topic. After that, the student has to speak over the same topic for around two minutes, on which the examiner will pose questions based on your understanding of the topic.
  • Part 3 - Discussion : - This part of the interview will go a bit deeper, and questions will be asked on your understanding of the topic in part 2. This usually lasts for around five to six-minute, and students are advised to practice it as it has significant weightage in the IELTS exam syllabus.

Syllabus of IELTS Academics

  1. Writing Section - In this section, few sets of data and diagrams are given, which have to be written in your own words. Then there might be some questions to assess your understanding of the said data and diagrams. After that, there will be an essay on the basis of the same data and the way you put it in words.
  2. Reading Section - Three long paragraphs from articles, books, research papers, etc., are given to assess a student’s capability to understand and explain them.

As per the IELTS syllabus 2023, the other two sections are the same as explained above in the General section of IELTS.

Exam Pattern of IELTS

IELTS syllabus takes a comprehensive approach where all the elements of a language are tested, and scores are provided on the same.

  • Listening is a crucial element of the IELTS test syllabus, which uses recorded conversations to check students’ ability to understand the language.
  • Reading is assessed by giving long paragraphs wherein social and academic importance is given for the assessment.
  • Writing tests a student’s ability to comprehend complex things in understandable and straightforward terms.
  • The interview is pivoted around the requirement of a student to communicate well in social as well as academic setups of the country where he/she wants to take admission.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How much time is needed to finish the IELTS exam syllabus?

There is no such time limit per se as far as the IELTS Syllabus is concerned. A dedicated preparation of two to three months with proper guidance can easily get you a decent score. But the level of effort and preparation varies from one student to another and their basic understanding of the subjects of the exam.

Are there any crucial changes in the IELTS exam syllabus 2023?

As far as this year is concerned, there are no explicit changes mentioned in the IELTS Syllabus pdf available on the website. The syllabus is restricted to the same pattern as earlier, and there is no significant change whatsoever.

Which is the most important section in the IELTS test syllabus?

The importance of a section can’t be attributed in general, and it is largely pivoted on an individual’s understanding of the language. There can be certain things in the IELTS Syllabus which one may find difficult while others find it easy. It’s always better to go through the syllabus and assess on your own.

How difficult is the writing section in comparison to other sections?

In general, students find the writing section a bit more challenging than other sections of the IELTS exam syllabus. But again, it varies from one student to another, and if your understanding of the English language is good, the chances are very likely that you will not face much difficulty in any section of the IELTS test syllabus.
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