IELTS Syllabus - Check Section-Wise Syllabus, Important Topics PDF

Updated by: Mrunmayai Bobade on April 28, 2022, 9:43 p.m.

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IELTS Syllabus

The IELTS Syllabus is divided into 4 sections: Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening. The syllabus is designed systematically to analyse a candidate's command of the English language in all aspects. As the format of the IELTS 2022 Syllabus is comprehensive and transparent, the IELTS Test Score is widely accepted by leading universities like DePaul University, Harvard University, George Mason University, Manchester Metropolitan University, Hofstra University, etc. 

Candidates should try their best at scoring well in all four sections so that they can meet the overall IELTS score requirement and section-wise IELTS score requirements of a specific university. To score well in an IELTS 2022 test, candidates must prepare well for IELTS based on the latest IELTS syllabus and IELTS Exam Pattern

 IELTS exam is conducted in two formats:

  • IELTS Academics

  • IELTS General Training

Both the tests are divided into four sections. The Listening and Speaking syllabus are the same for both IELTS Academics and IELTS General Training but the syllabus for the Reading and Writing section varies. Hence, candidates must prepare according to the type of IELTS test they plan to take.  

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Highlights of IELTS Syllabus

Details in the table below are some of the major highlights for the IELTS 2022 Syllabus:







Parts / Number of Tasks

3 Paragraphs (40 questions)

2 Tasks

3 Parts

4 Parts



60 minutes

60 minutes

11–14 minutes

30 minutes

2 hours and 45 minutes


Each question carries 1 marks

Scored out of nine IELTS bands

Scored out of nine IELTS bands

Each question carries 1 marks


IELTS Academic Listening Section Syllabus

In the IELTS Listening Section, candidates will be asked to attempt 4 parts, wherein, each part contains a recording. Candidates need to listen to the recording and answer the questions that follow. Varied types of questions are asked such as multiple-choice, map, diagrams, tables, flow charts, summary, matching etc. Know detailed IELTS Listening Syllabus here:  

Format of IELTS Listening Section

The format of the IELTS Listening Section is depicted below: 

Number of Recordings



30 minutes (10 minutes transfer time)


1 mark for each correct answer

Number of  Questions

40 (10 in each part)

      Part 1 (Audio 1)

An audio recording in which a conversion between two people in an everyday social context will be included.

 Part 2 (Audio 2)

An audio recording with a monologue set in an everyday social context will be included.

 Part 3 (Audio 3)

A conversation between people up to four, set in an educational or training context will be included.

Part 4 (Audio 4)

An audio recording with a monologue on an academic subject will be included.

Type of Questions in IELTS Listening Section

Following are the details of the types of questions asked in the IELTS Listening Section: 

 Multiple Choice Questions 

  • After listening to the recording, the test taker will have to attempt MCQs that has three options each

  • The candidate will have to mark one correct answer for each question. For each correct answer, he/ she shall be awarded 1 mark. In some cases, there is a possibility of choosing more than one correct answer

  • Instructions on answering the questions shall be mentioned at the beginning of the questions. Hence, the candidates should follow the instructions carefully. 

  • Test takers are required to have a detailed understanding of audio to answer questions on MCQs


  • The test taker will have to match the numbered list of items to a set of questions in context to the audio

  • These questions are used to determine the ability of the candidate to understand and interpret facts after listening to audio

Plan, Map and Diagram Labelling

  • Test takers are required to complete labels in a diagram, map or plan

  • Questions asked in this part is used to determine the visual representation of the candidate and abilities to interpret relationships and directions

 Sentence Completion

  • The candidate needs to read a set of sentences that summarises audio and then complete the sentence as per the information interpreted from the audio

  • Word limit is defined to complete the sentence

  • This part is used to determine the abilities of the test taker to identify key points from audio. The test taker must have the ability to understand functional relationships like cause and effect

Form, Note, Table, Flow- chart, Summary Completion

  • The test taker will have to fill in the gap in an outline of all of the listening text. The outline focuses on the main ideas/ facts in the text

  • The test-takers will have to select answers from a list on the question paper or identify the missing words from the recording

  •  Word limit is set in instructions

  • These questions are used to analyse the abilities of candidates to focus on main points while listening to any recording

IELTS Academic Reading Section Syllabus

The IELTS Academic Reading section includes three reading passages. The passages are generalised and are taken from books, journals, newspapers and magazines. Candidates need to read the passages and answer the questions related to them to demonstrate their reading skills.  

The format of the IELTS Reading section is as follows: 


3 Passages  


60 minutes 

No. of Questions 



1 mark for each correct answer 

Type of Questions in IELTS Reading Section

Following are the details of the types of questions asked in the IELTS Reading Section:

Multiple Choice Questions
These are questions in which you must choose the proper answer from a list of options that begin with the letters ABC and end with D. This sort of inquiry assesses your ability to comprehend particular, detailed information.

Information Matching
These questions ask you to identify particular information and place it where it belongs. You must have a thorough understanding of the text and be able to identify each paragraph and the information it includes.

Information Identification Questions
These are questions in which you must determine whether the information provided is genuine or untrue, or whether it is not provided at all. This question assesses your ability to comprehend the content of the text.

Sentence Completion
You'll notice an unfinished sentence in this kind of question. It's up to you to fill in the blanks with words from the text. As a result, in order to get the correct answer, you must rapidly map the partial text to a specific point in the text.

Head Matching
You must choose a heading from the list and insert it in each of the paragraphs in order to answer these questions. Generally, you should be able to build a header out of each paragraph if you have thoroughly absorbed the offered material.

Summary Completion
You will be provided a summary of the text. You must complete it by selecting words from the text within a certain amount of words.

Matching Sentence Endings
This is a straightforward question. A sentence fragment is chosen from a line of text. All you have to do here is find where it was derived from and finish the phrase, and you'll have the perfect answer!

Features Matching
These are the sorts of questions that demand you to identify and match precise information about supplied features. For example, you may be assigned to several persons who found various things at various periods. You must now match who found what at what time. As a result, while matching, you must be very careful.

Matching Information
All you have to do now is make sure you don't get this question wrong. All that is expected of you is to locate any provided data and place it where it belongs.

Short Answer Questions
You must exercise extreme caution in this situation! This is a question that requires you to respond based on the information provided in the text. You should also double-check the number of words because you have a restriction. There is always a limit on the number of words that may be used.

IELTS Academic Writing Section Syllabus

The IELTS  Academic Writing Section consists of two tasks. Topics covered in the IELTS Writing Section section is of the general interest of students getting enrolled in undergraduate or postgraduate courses professional courses. The format of the IELTS Writing Section is as follows:




60 minutes 

Task 1

Candidates need to describe, explain or summarise data, processes, or events presented through charts, tables, graphs or diagrams

Task 2

Candidates need to write an essay in response to a view, problem or argument.

Note: Candidates must write the answers in a formal format in both tasks.

Types of Questions in IELTS Writing Section Task 1

Following are the details of the types of questions asked in task 1 of the IELTS Reading Section:

Line Graph

  • You will be presented with one or more graphs in this type of question. An item is represented graphically in a line graph.

  • A line connecting points and representing the object's changes through time will be drawn for each object. It will be much easier to express if there is only one line. When the number of lines grows, however, it becomes more difficult since you must both describe and compare lines.

  • IELTS Writing uses a lot of line charts since they are so adaptable. You'll be expected to write at least a 150-word paragraph describing, contrasting, or highlighting the graph's trend.

Pie Chart

  • The pie chart is frequently split into several sections, each of which shows data (in percentages) for a certain factor.

  • All of these pieces combined represent components of a larger and more comprehensive thing. For example, in February 2016, the dietary ratio of Vietnamese persons in different age groups was 15 – 20, 20 – 25, 25 – 30, 30 – 35. As a result, this type of chart is used to study and compare items in general, calculating how much of the overall object each factor occupies. As a consequence, you'll be able to evaluate the significance or dominance of these aspects.

  • Each variable is represented by a distinct color. In a remark beside or below the chart, the name and color will be provided.

  • In a 150-word paragraph, you must describe, contrast, and compare the facts.


  • Maps occur less frequently than the other sorts of questions listed above. However, just because it's uncommon doesn't mean it won't appear on your exam. Take precautions.

  • You will create a 150-word text to explain the map in this type. There are two primary types of formats:

  1. One map: You've been given the task of drawing a map of an unknown location, generally in the current day. In fact, because there is only one map to compare and contrast, this style appears infrequently in IELTS Writing Task 1.

  2. Two maps: This format is more likely to succeed. You will be provided two maps of the same location, but maybe with two different project schedules.

Multiple Charts

  • Sometimes in IELTS Writing Task 1, you'll be asked to compose a paragraph of at least 150 words discussing two or more distinct types of charts and graphs. For example, a pie chart and a bar chart, as well as a line graph and a pie chart.

  • Test takers may be perplexed and apprehensive when confronted with this job in some situations. However, there is no need to be concerned because the charts will be connected.

Bar Chart

  • The question of a bar chart is whether there will be one or more charts with data shown in vertical or horizontal bars. It's typically used to accentuate a contrast between two things.

  • The vertical or horizontal bar will represent the data and compare items depending on the bar chart. Still following the same guidelines, you must write at least 150-word paragraphs to discuss, compare, or highlight the changes or trends in the bar chart.


There will be one or more tables giving data on a certain topic. Your task is to produce a 150-word paragraph analyzing and comparing the data in the tables (or describing patterns and changes through time, etc.).


  • The test will include a visual of a process; this process might be natural, such as an animal's lifespan, or artificial, such as manufacturing or nurturing. You need to write a 150-word paragraph describing the procedure.

  • You must list all of the stages or phases in order, without skipping any; the steps will be represented by arrows.

IELTS Academic Speaking Section Syllabus

The IELTS Speaking Section consists of 3 parts. Al three parts are designed to analyse the spoken English proficiency of the candidate. Answers to each part of the IELTS Speaking Section is recorded for assessment. The format and type of questions asked in the IELTS Speaking Section is explained below:


Oral Interview (3 Parts) 


11–14 minutes

Part 1 

The examiner asks general questions about the candidate and things associated with him/ her like family details, studies, interests, home and work etc. 

Part 2 

The examiner asks the candidate to pick up a card and speak on the topic mentioned on the card. The examiner will also ask one or two questions related to the topic.

Part 3

The examiner asks further questions related to the topics in Part 2. This gives the candidate an opportunity to discuss more and provide abstract ideas and issues.

Types of Questions in IELTS Speaking Section

Following are the details of the types of questions asked in the IELTS Writing Section:

Part 1: Introduction and Questions on Familiar Topics (4 to 5 minutes)

  • The examiner will ask you to state your name and provide identification as part of the first part of the examination.

  • You'll then be asked some general questions about yourself, such as where you reside and what you're doing right now (working or studying).

  • After that, you'll be quizzed on a variety of themes, such as your favorite music, food, weather, and favorite movies. In most cases, you will be quizzed on one or two subjects.

  • If your answer is too brief, the examiner will push you to elaborate with a "why?" or "why not?" If your answer is too short, the examiner will ask prepared questions and listen to your answer.

  • This section of the exam uses a question-and-answer style to assess your ability to convey thoughts and information on a variety of topics by responding to a series of questions.

Part 2: Individual Long Turn (3 to 4 minutes)

  • The examiner will assign you a topic to talk about for one to two minutes after Part 1. You will be given a piece of paper and a pencil to take notes on the topic that will be written on a card. The speaking prompt is printed on the card, along with some ideas for topics to discuss in your presentation.

  • Before you talk, you will only have one minute to prepare and take notes. When your time is up, the examiner will use a timer to notify you. 

  • The examiner will advise you when to begin your presentation and warn you that you will be stopped after two minutes. The points on the task card will help you come up with ideas for what to say, and you should aim to speak for the entire two minutes. Before moving on to the next portion, they may ask you a question regarding what you've stated.

  • This section of the exam evaluates your ability to speak for an extended period of time about a specific topic while using proper language and organizing your thoughts logically. You can utilize your prior knowledge of the subject to assist you in completing the lengthy turn.

Part 3: Two-Way Discussion (4 to 5 minutes)

  • The questions in Part 3 will be related to the broad theme that you discussed in Part 2. You will debate the issue in a more general and abstract manner, demonstrating to the examiner that you can articulate and explain your thoughts, as well as analyze, discuss, and hypothesize on the topic in greater depth.

  • If your lengthy turn was about a lovely spot to visit in your city, this part may start with discussing beautiful places, and the first question could be, "Do you believe it's vital to keep beautiful places in cities?"

  • In this phase, the examiner will speak with you longer and may ask you to defend your beliefs to determine how effectively you can communicate abstract ideas compared to the personal themes you discussed in Parts 1 and 2.

  • Part 3 assesses your ability to communicate and explain your thoughts, as well as analyze, discuss, and hypothesize on a variety of topics related to the overall topic you discussed in Part 2.

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FAQs on IELTS 2022 Syllabus

Are the topics for IELTS speaking section predefined?

No, the topics for the IELTS 2021 speaking section is not pre-defined. In the first part, the examiner will ask general questions. Meanwhile, in the second part, candidates will have to speak on any topic mentioned on the card picked up and in the third part, the examiners ask further question on the same topic.

Is there any specific topics to prepare for in the IELTS writing section?

There is no specific topic to prepare for in the IELTS writing section. It contains two tasks for candidates to write on topics, usually of general interest of students.

What is the duration for the IELTS speaking section?

The IELTS speaking section should last for a duration of 11–14 minutes.

Is there any negative marking for incorrect answers in the IELTS Reading Section?

No, there is no negative marking for incorrectly answering any questions under the IELTS 2021 Reading section.

How is the IELTS Speaking section scored?

The IELTS 2021 Speaking section is scored out of nine bands.

What is the IELTS 2021 Writing section scored on?

The IELTS 2021 Writing section is scored out of nine bands.

What is the syllabus for the IELTS 2021 Writing Section?

For the IELTS 2021 Writing sections candidate will have to submit two write-ups based on the general interests of the student.

What is the syllabus for the IELTS Reading section?

The reading section of IELTS 2021 contains paragraphs that may be taken from books, journals, newspapers, magazines, new research etc. Based on these paragraphs, candidates will be asked to attempt cerrtain MCQs.

Are there any changes in the IELTS 2021 Exam?

No, there are no changes in the syllabus of the IELTS 2021 Exam. However, a new format of IELTS is being introduced named as IELTS Indicator has been introduced for candidates to attempt the test at home.

What are the main topics covered in IELTS 2021 exam?

There are no specific topics defined under any of the sections of the IELTS 2021 test. The Reading section of IELTS 2021 includes random generic paragraphs based on which MCQs are framed. The paragraph can be from a book, journals, magazines, newspapers etc. In the Writing section, candidates will again be asked to write an essay on general topics. The listening section contains audio clips and for the Speaking section will ask the candidates to speak on certain generic topics as well, asked by the examiner on the day of the test.

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