Updated on - November 12th 2019 by Piyush Bhartiya

Syllabus

IELTS Syllabus

The IELTS is an exam that is meant to test the English language proficiency of a candidate. It is divided into four modules, namely listening, reading, writing and speaking. It is compulsory for the candidate to obtain the band score, which is shown on the IELTS Test Report Form. The listening and speaking module of the test is the same for all candidates. The reading and writing modules vary, depending on whether the candidate is taking the academic of general training versions of the test.

The listening module comprises of four sections with increasing difficulty. Each section starts with the introduction of the situation and the speakers. The candidates hear about each section, only once during this task. The reading module of the academic section comprises of three sections, with 3 texts. The reading module of the general section comprises of 5 texts. For the writing module, in the academic section, it consists of two tasks. In the first task, the candidate has to describe a diagram, graph, process or chart and in the second task, the candidate has to respond to an argument.

The general section of the writing module also consists of two tasks, the first task requires the candidate to write a letter or explain a situation whereas, in the second task, the candidate has to write an essay. The speaking section consists of 3 tasks. In the first task, the candidate may be asked about his/her hobbies, interests; in the second task, the candidate is given a topic to prepare and it is followed by the third task, where an abstract discussion takes place between the candidate and the examiner.

 

IELTS 2019 Syllabus: Section-wise

Serial No.

IELTS Test

Description

1

Listening

The listening section comprises of four sections. The candidates have a break in the middle of the sections. Each section starts with the introduction of the situation and the speakers. The difficulty increases with each section. Each section is heard only once.

2

Reading

The academic module reading section comprises of 3 texts with a total of 40 questions overall. The general module reading section comprises of 5 texts.

3

Writing

The academic module comprises of two tasks. The first task requires the candidate to describe a diagram, graph, process or chart. The second task requires the candidate to respond to an argument. Similarly, the general module comprises of two tasks. The first task requires the candidate to write a letter to explain a situation and the second task requires the candidate to write an essay.

4

Speaking

The speaking test comprises of 3 sections. The first task is basically an interview where the candidate is asked basic questions like his/her hobbies, interests. For the second task, the candidate is given some time to prepare on a topic and speak on it. It is followed by the third task where an abstract discussion takes place between the candidate and the examiner, on the given topic.

 

IELTS Reading

The IELTS is an exam which tests the English speaking proficiency of a candidate. The reading section is an important part of the test. The reading section varies from candidate-to-candidate. The candidate is given an hour to complete the task. The reading section varies according to the academic module and the general module. There are several purposes of the IELTS reading test. A candidate is supposed to read for the general purpose of the passage. A candidate’s sense of judging for details is evaluated. A candidate is supposed to understand inferences and implied meanings. By the reading section of this test, the candidate is supposed to recognize a writer’s opinions, attitudes, and purpose and also follow the course of an argument.

Academic Reading test

The IELTS Reading test consists of 3 texts. There are three sections to the IELTS Academic Reading test. Each section consists of one long text. These texts are taken from books, journals, magazines, and newspapers. They are written for a non-specialist audience. They are generally on academic topics of general interest. These texts range from descriptive and factual to the discursive and analytical. The texts are often accompanied by diagrams, graphs or illustrations. The candidate is expected to show their understanding of these pictorial representations too. A candidate will be provided with a simple glossary if the texts have technical terms.

General Training Reading Test

There are three sections to the IELTS General Training Reading test. The texts used in these sections are taken from notices and advertisements. These are also taken from company handbooks and official documents. The texts of these three sections are also taken from various books, magazines, and newspapers. The first section contains two or three short factual texts. These are made up of 6-8 short texts related by topic. The topics are generally of everyday life in an English-speaking country. The second section consists of two short factual texts, focusing on work-related issues. The texts are generally based on topics like applying for a job, company policies, pay, and conditions, workplace facilities, staff development and training. The third section consists of a longer, more complex text on a topic of general interest.

 

IELTS Writing

The IELTS is an exam which tests the English speaking proficiency of a candidate. The writing section is an important part of the test. The writing section varies from candidate-to-candidate. The candidate is given an hour to complete the task. The writing section varies according to the academic module and the general module. There are several purposes of the IELTS writing test. It is designed well to assess a wide range of writing skills of a candidate. The IELTS writing test evaluates how appropriately a candidate can frame a response. It also checks how well a candidate can organize his/her ideas and frame it into an answer. It also checks the vocabulary and grammar of a candidate.

Academic Writing test

A candidate is expected to write formally in the IELTS academic writing test. It consists of two tasks which need to be completed in a span of 60 minutes. The first task presents the candidate with a graph, table, chart or diagram. The candidate is required to describe, summarize or explain the graph, table, chart or the diagram in his own words. This task involves describing and explaining the data. It also involves describing the stages of a process. The candidate is also evaluated on the basis of how properly he/she is able to describe an object or event. The candidate is required to write an essay, for the second task. This essay is expected to be written in response to a point of view, argument or problem. The issues on which essays are to be constructed are generally interesting and easy to understand.

General Training Writing test

The topics used in the IELTS General Training Writing test are of general interest. In this module, the candidate can write in a personal, semi-formal or formal style.

Task 1 requires the candidates to write a letter requesting information or explaining the presented situation. In this task, the letter can be written in a personal, semi-formal or formal style.

Task 2 requires the candidate to write an essay. This essay is expected to be written in response to a point of view, argument or problem. The issues on which essays are to be constructed are generally interesting and easy to understand.

The candidate can use a fairly personal style to write the essay. Both tasks are equally important. This test is marked by a certificated IELTS examiner.

IELTS Speaking

The IELTS is an exam which tests the English speaking proficiency of a candidate. The speaking section is an important part of the test. The speaking test is described as an exam that gets close to a real-life situation. The candidate will talk to a certified examiner in the IELTS Speaking test. The candidate has the freedom to speak in any accent. The IELTS Speaking test is recorded. The IELTS Speaking test is not divided into the two basic modules, i.e.; the IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training tests. The candidate is expected to communicate opinions and information on everyday topics and common experiences. The candidate should speak properly at length on a given topic using appropriate languages. The candidate needs to make sure to relax and talk fluently and naturally.

Part 1:

The examiner will introduce him and will ask the candidate to introduce himself/herself. In this part, the candidate will be asked to speak on general and casual topics like hobbies, interests of the candidate.

Part 2:

The candidate will be given a topic to prepare. He will be given a minute to prepare for it, and then, he will be asked to speak on that topic for about 1-2 minutes.

Part 3:

The examiner will ask the candidate to speak further on the topic, which he/she was given in part 2. An abstract session will be held between the candidate and examiner where s/he would be able to discuss further on the topic.

IELTS Listening

The IELTS is an exam which tests the English speaking proficiency of a candidate. The writing section is an important part of the test. The IELTS Listening test may be done in a variety of accents ranging from Australian, British, and New-Zealand to North American accents. The passages are pre-recorded and candidates listen to a pre-recorded CD-ROM. As one proceeds through the test, the difficulty level keeps on increasing. The IELTS Listening test is not divided into the two basic modules, i.e.; the IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training tests. The purpose of the listening test is to evaluate candidates on the basis of how properly a candidate understands the main ideas and specific factual information. The candidate needs to properly recognize the opinions, attitudes, and purpose of a speaker. The candidate will also be evaluated on the basis of how s/he follows the development of an argument. The timing of the test is 30 minutes and extra 10 minutes are provided for filling in the answers in the answer sheet.

 

FAQs

1. What is the general syllabus of the test?

 The tests are divided into 4 sections of Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. Each task has a few subtasks.

2. Does the syllabus of the test vary every year?

 No. the syllabus of the test remains the same every year.

3. What are the two different versions of the test?

 The two variations of tests are Academic; aimed at aspirants wishing to pursue further education from English speaking region and General Training; aimed for aspirants wishing to migrate to an English speaking region for work.

4. Are both versions of the test graded exactly in the same way?

Yes, despite the variation they are graded in the same way.

5. What are the different sections of the test?

 The tests are divided into 4 sections of Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking.        

6. Are the tests held in a particular order?

On the test, day candidates appear for the Listening, Reading and Writing tests one after the other in the same sequence, whereas the Speaking module can be scheduled either after the break on the same test day or within seven days before or after the registered date of the test.

7.  Are there any breaks in between?

There are no breaks during the Listening, Reading and Writing section. The Speaking module can be scheduled either after break on the same day as the other three tests or within seven days before or after the registered date of the test.

8. Are all the sections of the test held on the same day?

The Listening, Reading and Writing tests are scheduled one after the other on the same day, whereas the Speaking module can be scheduled either after the break on the same test day or within seven days before or after the registered date of the test.

9. Are different accents used in the listening test?

 There are around 10 different accents used for the listening test. Different accents from the UK, North America and South Hemisphere are used to name broadly.

10. Are different accents of English acceptable in the speaking test?

You can answer in the accent of your choice as accent is not a criterion for scoring.

11. What are some differences between the academic and the general training modules of the IELTS test?

The Academic module is aimed at aspirants wishing to pursue further education from English speaking region and General Training; aimed for aspirants wishing to migrate to an English speaking region for work. Listening Speaking and Writing Task 2 remains the same for both the modules, whereas the reading and Writing task 1 differ for both the module. Grading remains the same.

12. Are the listening and speaking sections same for both the modules?

Yes the Listening and Speaking section remains the same for both the modules

13. Are the reading and writing sections different for both the modules?

 No. The Reading task and the Writing task 1 differ for both the module. The Writing task for academic is to describe a graphic presentation like a diagram, bar chart or table whereas for general training it to write a short letter on given topic. The writing task 2 remains the same for both the modules.

 For the Reading module for Academic, there are a variety of texts to read, such as descriptive, factual, and analytical; whereas for the General training, in the first section, there are two or three short texts. In the second section, there are two short, work-related texts. In the final section, there is one long text about a general interest topic.

14. What are the differences between the reading and writing sections of the respective modules?

The Writing task for academic is to describe a graphic presentation like a diagram, bar chart or table whereas for general training it to write a short letter on the given topic. The writing task 2 remains the same for both the modules. For the Reading module for Academic, there are a variety of texts to read, such as descriptive, factual, and analytical; whereas for the General training, in the first section, there are two or three short texts. In the second section, there are two short, work-related texts. In the final section, there is one long text about a general interest topic.

15. What is the grading system?
All IELTS scores are between 0 and 9. You can also get .5 scores as well (for example, 6.5 or 7.5). You will get a band score for each skill (listening, reading, writing and speaking) and also an overview band score. The overall band score is the average score of all the skills.

16. Who grades the candidate in the IELTS exam?
 The Speaking test is graded by an examiner

17. What is the duration allowed for the reading section?
The time duration for the listening section is 60 minutes.

18. What is the duration allowed for the writing section?
The time duration for the listening section is 60 minutes.

19. What is the duration allowed for the speaking section?
The time duration for the listening section is 11-14 minutes.

20. What is the duration allowed for the listening section?
 The time duration for the listening section is 30 min.

 


Study Abroad Expert & Co-Founder @ AdmitKard

Piyush values education and has studied from the top institutes of IIT Roorkee, IIM Bangalore, KTH Sweden and Tsinghua University in China. Post completing his MBA, he has worked with the world's # 1 consulting firm, The Boston Consulting Group and focused on building sales and marketing vertical for top MNCs and Indian business houses.

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