International English Language Testing System

Eligibility | Dates | Pattern | Syllabus

Last Updated on 12th October, 2021
IELTS

IELTS, the International English Language Testing System, is designed to assess the language ability of people who want to study or work where English is the language of communication.

IELTS is available in two modules.
a)IELTS Academic is for test takers wishing to study at undergraduate or postgraduate levels, and for those seeking professional registration, and
b) IELTS General Training for those migrating to Australia, Canada and the UK, or applying for secondary education, training programmes and work experience in an English-speaking environment.

Both versions provide a valid and accurate assessment of the four language skills: listening, reading, writing and speaking.

Exam Highlights

Level of Exam Under Graduate, International Level
Exam Medium English
Exam Frequency 4 times in a month
Purpose of the Exam To assess the English language proficiency of non-native English speakers.
Conducting Body British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge Assessment English
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IELTS Exam Eligibity Criteria

  1. Nationality
  2. IELTS is conducted globally in more than 140 countries. Anybody can appear in the exam. There is no such nationality criterion.

  3. Educational Qualification
  4. There is no specific educational qualification required to appear in the IELTS examination. The primary thing to take on the exam is that the candidate should be of 16 years of age and must have a valid passport.

    However, to be eligible to appear in the undergraduate or postgraduate courses of the universities, a student has to fulfil the basic academic requirements to take on the course.

  5. Age Limit
  6. The minimum age to appear in the IELTS examination is 16 years.

  7. Restrictions on Attempts
  8. There are no restrictions on re-taking IELTS exam. A candidate can register for a test as soon as he/she feels ready to do so.

IELTS Exam Important Dates

Event Date
Starting Date of Application To be notified
Last Date of Application To be notified
  • The IELTS exam is conducted up to 4 times in a month i.e. up to 48 times in a year.
  • A person can register for the Exam as and when he/she feels ready to take on the exam.
  • The results are available 13 days after the test.
  • Results remain online for 28 days.

IELTS Exam Pattern

The IELTS exam comprises of four sections: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking for both Academic and General Training exam formats. Listening and Speaking are the same for both tests, but the subject matter of the Reading and Writing sections differs depending on the test.

Pattern for IELTS Written Examination

The Listening, Reading and Writing sections of all IELTS tests are completed on the same day, with no breaks in between them. The Speaking section, however, can be completed up to a week before or after the other tests. The total test time is 2 hours and 45 minutes.

Sl. No. Name of the Paper/Section Nature Nos. of Questions Question Type Duration Negative Marking Marks
1 Listening Test (Common)

Comprises four recordings of native English speakers and then to write answers to a series of questions.

Merit Ranking Nature 40 Both Objective & Descriptive 30 mins 40
2 Reading Test (Academic)

Three reading passages with a variety of questions using a number of task types designed to test a wide range of reading skills.

Merit Ranking Nature 40 Both Objective & Descriptive 60 mins 40
3 Reading (General Training)

There are three sections. Section 1 may contain two or three short texts or several shorter texts. Section 2 comprises two texts. In Section 3, there is one long text.

Merit Ranking Nature 40 Both Objective & Descriptive 60 mins 40
4 Writing Test (Academic)

Topics are of general interest to, and suitable for, test takers entering undergraduate and postgraduate studies or seeking professional registration.

Merit Ranking Nature 2 Descriptive 60 mins
5 Writing Test (General Training)

The topics are of general interest.

Merit Ranking Nature 2 Descriptive 60 mins

Pattern for IELTS Speaking Test

The Speaking test consists of an oral interview between the test takers and an examiner. All Speaking tests are recorded. This test is common for both the test takers, Academic and General Training.

The test is segregated into three parts to assesses the use of spoken English of the candidates within a time frame of 11-14 minutes.

IELTS Exam Syllabus

Syllabus for IELTS Written Examination

1 Listening Test (Common)

It consists of four recordings:

  • Recording 1 – a conversation between two people set in an everyday social context.
  • Recording 2 – a monologue set in an everyday social context, e.g. a speech about local facilities.
  • Recording 3 – a conversation between up to four people set in an educational or training context, e.g. a university tutor and a student discussing an assignment.
  • Recording 4 – a monologue on an academic subject, e.g. a university lecture.

Each section is heard once only. A variety of voices and native-speaker accents are used including British, Australian, New Zealand, American and Canadian. A variety of question types are used, chosen from the following: multiple choice, matching, plan/ map/diagram labelling, form completion, note completion, table completion, flow-chart completion, summary completion, sentence completion, short-answer questions.

2 Reading Test (Academic)

It consists of:

  • Texts are taken from books, journals, magazines and newspapers, and have been written for a non-specialist audience.
  • All the topics are of general interest. They deal with issues which are interesting, recognisably appropriate and accessible to test takers entering undergraduate or postgraduate courses or seeking professional registration.
  • The passages may be written in a variety of styles, for example narrative, descriptive or discursive/argumentative. At least one text contains detailed logical argument.
  • Texts may contain non-verbal materials such as diagrams, graphs or illustrations. If texts contain technical terms a simple glossary is provided.

A variety of question types are used, chosen from the following; 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.

3 Reading (General Training)

It consists of:

  • The first section, ‘social survival’, contains texts relevant to basic linguistic survival in English with tasks mainly about retrieving and providing general factual information, for example, notices, advertisements and timetables.
  • The second section, ‘Workplace survival’, focuses on the workplace context, for example, job descriptions, contracts and staff development and training materials.
  • The third section, ‘general reading’, involves reading more extended prose with a more complex structure. Here, the emphasis is on descriptive and instructive rather than argumentative texts, in a general context relevant to the wide range of test takers involved, for example, newspapers, magazines and fictional and non-fictional book extracts.

A variety of question types are used, chosen from the following: multiple choice, identifying information, identifying 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, short-answer questions.

4 Writing Test (Academic)

There are two tasks:

  • Task 1- The candidate will be presented with a graph, table, chart or diagram and asked to describe, summarise or explain the information in his/her own words. He/She may be asked to describe and explain data, describe the stages of a process, how something works or describe an object or event. The test takers are asked to describe some visual information (graph/table/chart/diagram) in their own words. They need to write 150 words in about 20 minutes.
  • Task 2- The candidate will be asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem. Responses to both tasks must be in a formal style. The candidates have to respond to a point of view or argument or problem. They need to write 250 words in about 40 minutes.

5 Writing Test (General Training)

There are two tasks:

  • Task 1- The test taker will be presented with a situation and asked to write a letter requesting information, or explaining the situation. The letter may be personal, semi-formal or formal in style.
  • Task 2- The Test taker will be asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem. The essay can be fairly personal in style.

Syllabus for IELTS Speaking Test

There are three parts to the test and each part fulfils a specific function in terms of interaction pattern, task input and test takers output. The segregates are given below:

  • Part 1 Introduction and interview (4-5 minutes)
    The examiner introduces him/herself and asks the candidate to introduce himself/herself and confirm his/her identity. The examiner asks general questions on familiar topics, e.g. home, family, work, studies and interests.
  • Part 2 Individual long turn (3-4 minutes)
    The examiner gives the candidate a task card which asks him/her to talk about a particular topic and which includes points he/she can cover in his/her talk. He/She is given 1 minute to prepare the talk, and are given a pencil and paper to make notes. The candidate have to talk for 1-2 minutes on the topic. The examiner may then ask one or two questions on the same topic.
  • Part 3 Two-way discussion (4-5 minutes)
    The examiner asks further questions which are connected to the topic of Part 2. These questions give the candidate an opportunity to discuss more abstract issues and ideas.

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