IELTS Exam Pattern and 5 tips to get ready for it

7 mins


IELTS Exam is an English Proficiency exam taken by many students across the country. Therefore, it is very important to know about the IELTS exam syllabus and pattern to learn more about the exam. It will help you score well and give you knowledge of the area where you lack. The IELTS Exam pattern consists of four major sections. These sections include Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking. These sections allow the IELTS exam Pattern to assess a candidate on various aspects of the English language and give them an apt score. This article will make you aware of the IELTS exam pattern and provide you with a list of tips to get buckle for the test.

IELTS Exam Pattern in India

IELTS exam is a very famous exam that many applicants around the globe take. In addition, many students interested in studying abroad are required to submit the scores of these exams to get admitted to a college successfully. These factors increase the competitiveness of the exam and make it very important for candidates to practice and learn about it. The best way to get an insight about any exam is by gaining knowledge of the syllabus and getting familiar with the exam structure.

Here is a description of the IELTS Exam pattern:

  1. Listening Section - The IELTS exam pattern consists of four major sections. The first one is the Listening section. It is 30 minutes long and requires the candidate to listen to four monologues and conversations. Then a list of 40 questions is presented based on the audios. This section not only tests a candidate's listening skills but also assesses their understanding skills.
  2. Reading Section - The second section you will find in the IELTS exam pattern is the reading section. This section is around 60 minutes long and requires you to finish reading three long passages. Then a list of 40 questions is put before the candidate based on the reading passage. The texts are generally taken from books, magazines, or newspapers. This section will test your reading and analysing skills and judge you accordingly.
  3. Writing Section - In this section, a candidate has to write a short passage or paragraph about a given topic of 150-200 words. The time given for this task is around 60 minutes and requires you to write and express your thoughts clearly. There are two questions in this section. First, you will have to summarise a given diagram or chart and next; you will have to write a short passage on a topic.
  4. Speaking Section - The last on the IELTS Exam pattern is the Speaking section. This section is 10-15 minutes long and is almost like a face to face interview. A series of short questions are presented to the candidates. This section will involve you speaking about a familiar topic and having a structured discussion. The total number of questions asked in this section is around 3.

IELTS Exam Syllabus for India

The IELTS has two types of formats. One is the IELTS academics system, and the other is IELTS general training system. A candidate can opt for either one of them depending on their requirements or the guidelines provided by an institute. As of now, there is no particular distinction for the IELTS Exam pattern for India. 

The IELTS Exam syllabus consists of four sections: reading, writing, listening and speaking. The reading section is 30 minutes long and requires you to answer 40 questions. Next is the writing section, which consists of 2 major questions and is 60 minutes long. Then, for the listening exam, the candidates are given approximately 30 minutes and have 40 questions. And lastly, we have the speaking section, which has three parts and is approximately 15 minutes long. All of these sections have been implemented in the IELTS Exam syllabus to test you on various aspects. The IELTS exam pattern will assess your hold on the English language and provide you with a score.

Computer-Based IELTS Exam Pattern

Learning about the IELTS exam pattern and syllabus, the next thing that you should know about is the computer-based IELTS exam pattern. There are two kinds of IELTS exams that an interested candidate could take. One is the paper-based exam, and the other is the computer-based exam. You would be happy to know that 90% of the IELTS exam pattern stays the same for the computer-based exam. Even the difficulty level and scoring remain the same for both types of exams. Thus, providing no advantage or disadvantage while attempting any of these exams.

The computer-based IELTS exam pattern contains four sections. These sections consist of reading, listening, writing and speaking tasks. You should know that the speaking task will still happen face-to-face with an official IELTS examiner. Here are some of the things that are different for the computer-based IELTS exam pattern:

  • The candidates are given some extra time to go through the questions of the listening task. After they are done, they are shown the recorded monologues or conversations. This helps avoid any confusion, as the exam does not allow you to play the recording again.
  • The candidates are also given at least 2 minutes to review all of their answers for the listening exam.
  • The duration of the listening test is also different from the paper-based IELTS exam pattern. The candidates are allowed 36 minutes to finish the exam, whereas candidates are only given 30 minutes to finish all the tasks in the paper-based test. Extra time is given to the candidates to read all the questions before starting the recording and later for proofreading their answers.

Tips to Prepare for IELTS Exam Pattern

After knowing about the IELTS exam pattern, you should know how to prepare for it. By doing this, you will stay prepared and have a lot of confidence while attempting the exam. Here are some tips that you can follow to prepare for the IELTS exam pattern:

  1. Practice test- You should set off your preparation by going through sample papers and learning about the IELTS format and the kinds of questions asked by the test. You should also try and attempt these practice papers to clear off your doubts and prepare yourself for the exam. After going through some of the sample papers, you will also figure out your weaknesses and make effective plans to counter them.
  2. Time constraints- Many candidates forget about the time allotment for each section of the exam and prepare it at their own pace. Such oversight creates a hassle while the candidates appear for the IELTS exam as they fail to attempt all of the questions in the given time. Therefore, you should try and keep these time allotments in mind and prepare accordingly. Doing this will help you finish all the sections on time.
  3. Figure out your strengths and weaknesses- After attempting some of the sample papers, you will learn about your strengths and weaknesses. It would be best if you kept these takeaways in mind, as it is advisable to focus on tackling your weaknesses rather than attempting all the questions you are already great at. This method will help you score well in the exam and leave no room for any panic.
  4. Improving your reading and listening skills- Many candidates focus only on the writing and speaking sections. However, it would help if you also put some time into improving your reading and listening skills, as candidates tend to mess up more in these sections than you can guess. You should try and read some books and listen to English conversations and analyse what they are saying. This is one of the best methods to improve your reading and listening skills.
  5. Developing a wide vocabulary- You should try and diversify your vocabulary to help you while attempting all the exam sections. Doing this will also help you avoid circumstances where you do not know the meaning of any word in a given passage.


The IELTS exam pattern consists of four parts of the exam are divided into groups to test the students' command of the English language. Reading, writing, speaking, and listening comprise these parts. For a high IELTS exam result, the students must practice all facets of the English language. IELTS test results are based on a candidate's overall success in the examination. A student attempting an IELTS exam should know the IELTS exam pattern first hand, that is how one can ace the exam. Most of the universities in the UK provide IELTS waivers, however, some universities like Durham University and London School of Economics and Political Science have IELTS exam as a requirement.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the passing score of IELTS?

There is no minimum score to pass the IELTS exam. Instead, the IELTS exam pattern provides you with a given score based on your English speaking and reading skills.

IELTS exam is not considered difficult compared to the rest of the exams like SAT, GRE, etc. However, a candidate needs to practice and learn all about the IELTS exam pattern if they want to score well on the exam. The test only lasts for 3 hours and can test a candidate on all the major sections of the English language.

You can start by attempting the previous year exam papers and learning about the IELTS exam pattern. You should also try and time yourself for each section to prepare the time allotments for each section. For example, record yourself while practising the speaking exam and work on your weaknesses.

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