IELTS Exam 2021: Syllabus, Fees, Important Dates & More

IELTS is an English exam taken to study or work abroad where English is the native language of countries like the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. The exam tests the ability to communicate in English language. It mainly focuses on the basic skills of a candidate such as Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. IELTS is jointly owned by IDP, British Council and Cambridge Assessment English. The IELTS tests grew to a record of 3.5 million, and it has become a leader in the area of international higher education. It is accepted in 100% of universities in the United Kingdom and Australia. Also, it is accepted by 3400 institutions in the United States and thousands of institutions in English-speaking countries.

The IELTS exam can be booked by paying the IELTS exam fee. The IELTS exam price is 14,700 INR. The fee can be paid in various modes of payment such as Debit/Credit card- Master or Visa, Net Banking, DD, Cash Deposit- ICICI Bank. IELTS partners have launched the IELTS indicator, an online English language test for students who are affected by the Covid-19 and unable to attend the exam at the test center. The IELTS indicator will assess the same modules as in the regular IELTS exam. The exam can be given at their homes.

1. Why is the IELTS exam required?

IELTS 2021 exam is required for migration as well as for academic purposes abroad in English speaking countries like Australia, United Kingdom, New Zealand, USA and Canada. IELTS is the only English language exam approved by the UK visas and Immigration to candidates applying for visas.

A lot of students have a question about why an IELTS score is required. The universities, admission authorities and the immigration of the foreign countries need to understand your level of English and communication ability while you stay in the country. You need to show strong understanding and command of the English language.  IELTS score is not mandatory for university admissions but it is required by the visa authorities as the visa officers may not be convinced about your English proficiency. So it is safer to appear for IELTS and aim to score at least 6 bands overall. 

You can take the IELTS exam with British council or IDP. The exam schedule and the dates are mentioned on the websites. The IELTS Exam fee in India is also mentioned in the websites.

2. Types of IELTS Exam

The English exam has various formats as detailed

·        Academic: If you choose to study Undergraduate or Postgraduate program in an English speaking nation

·        General: Work or migrate to an English native country

·        UKVI (Academic): Take this test if an organization/university in the United Kingdom has requested to do so.

·        UKVI (General): Take this test if you want to migrate or study below a degree level in the UK.

·        Life Skills: to demonstrate English language skills as part of visa application to the UK Visas and Immigration for citizenship.

PS: IELTS exam cost varies from the type of test you take. The fee is different for UKVI and Life skills. The IELTS exam fee details are mentioned on the websites.  


Students are often confused between choosing IELTS or TOEFL. The universities ask for either of the exam scores. The choice of exam is totally up to you. The IELTS exam is more preferred in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and New Zealand while TOEFL is popular among universities in the United States of America.

4. IELTS Eligibility

IELTS exam can be taken by candidates by anyone irrespective of gender, race, nationality or religion. However there is no age limit to take the exam. Candidates above 16 years of age can register for the exam.  Anyone below the age of 16 years wishing to take the exam can attempt the test. There is no minimum eligibility criteria set by the conducting bodies. Any candidate who wishes to study, work or migrate abroad can attempt the exam (Academic for education and General Training for Work). You should always check the eligibility criteria set by the educational institutions while applying.

5. IELTS Registration

Keep your passport ready to register for the IELTS exam. You need a passport number at the time of registration. IELTS registration can be done in easy steps.

  • You need to visit any IELTS exam conducting body registration page.
  • Create an account
  • Find the nearest test center and dates
  • Register for the exam and pay the IELTS exam fee online.

Once the registration is complete you’ll get the test confirmation informing the test center details and speaking test details. Those candidates below 18 years of age need their parents or guardian to book the test for them. You need not pay any IELTS registration fee but need to pay only the IELTS fee.

IELTS Exam Fee

The IELTS exam fee in India costs 14700 INR. The IELTS exam registration fee will be updated. So, keep checking the IELTS exam fee on the websites.

IELTS Cancellation fee

If you cancel your IELTS application more than five week before the test date, there would be a 25% administrative fee deducted from the refund amount of IELTS test fee.

If you cancel the IELTS exam less than five weeks ahead of the test date, you will not receive the refund.

If you fail to appear for the test, you will not receive the refund but it is considered as cancellation. Those who can produce a medical certificate within 5 days of the test can receive the refund of the iELTS Exam fee after deducting the administrative fee.

If you want to change the test date, then you can request for the test day transfer at least five weeks before the booked test date. There would be deduction for the cancellation / postponement of the exam date. The new test date should be within three months of the original test date. You should pay an administrative charge of 3300 INR for transfer of the test date.

6. IELTS Scholarships

Studying abroad has its own advantages and disadvantages. Paying a high amount of tuition fee can be challenging. If you receive any scholarships while studying it would be an added advantage to pay your education fee. There is availability of IELTS scholarships and education loans. The availability of scholarships is mentioned on the university website. Go through the eligibility criteria and apply for the scholarships. 

7. IELTS Important Dates

The two conducting bodies of the IELTS exam are British council and IDP. The test is available multiple times throughout the year. You are advised to book the IELTS test date which is the most convenient for you to write the exam. Keep the university admission date in your mind while applying. Plan to write the exam at least 3-4 months ahead of the deadline. The IELTS test is available across various major cities in India.

8. IELTS Exam Pattern and Syllabus

It is always an advantage to understand the IELTS exam pattern. It makes the practice easy for the test takers. IELTS exam pattern is of two types: IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. Both tests are evaluated in the same way. All the candidates take the same Listening and speaking modules in the both IELTS Exam pattern. The test pattern varies in Reading and Writing modules.

Both IELTS exam patterns complete Listening, Reading and Writing modules on the same day. The duration of any IELTS Pattern is 2 hours 45 Minutes. The speaking module can be conducted a week before or after the other module tests. Here is the IELTS exam pattern in brief:

ListeningIt consists of four audio recordings30 minutes40
ReadingThree long passages with questions60 minutes40
WritingTwo TasksTask1: 150 words- describe a diagram or graphTask2: 250 Words- a short essay60 minutes2
SpeakingA face-face interview- it includes introduction, short questions, a familiar topic and structured discussion11-15 minutes3 Parts


IELTS listening syllabus is designed to assess the listening skills which tests how well you understand the ideas and specific factual information, recognize the opinion and the attitude of the speaker and follow an argument. You can listen to the recording only once. IELTS academic and IELTS general test consists of the same Listening questions. A variety of questions like multiple choice, matching, diagram, and flowchart, short answer questions, etc.

This section consists of four tasks with a total of 40 marks. There will be a total of 40 questions with a time limit of 30 minutes. You will be given 10 minutes to copy your answers to the answer sheet. 

The IELTS test format for listening module:

The first two recordings are about everyday and social situation

Task 1: A conversation between two people set in a daily context

Task 2: A monologue set in a social context e.g.: speech about local facilities

The recordings 3 and 4 are about educational and training situation

Task 3: A conversation set among 4 people in an educational or a training context e.g.: a university tutor and students

Task 4: A monologue on an academic subject e.g.: a lecture


This module is to read quickly & efficiently and manage the time. This section has three different passages. You have to answer 40 questions in a time span of 60 minutes. You are supposed to note down the answers during the 60 minutes no extra time will be given. The question variants will be multiple choice, identifying information, matching information, and sentence completion, short answer questions and table completion

The IELTS reading test is designed to assess how well you read and understand the general sense of a passage and the main idea in detail. IELTS academic syllabus is also used to evaluate how well you understand inferences and imply meaning, recognize a writer’s opinion, attitudes and purpose and follow the development of an argument.

IELTS Academic Syllabus and pattern reading module consists of three reading passages of medium length which are taken from journals, books, magazines and newspapers. The passages deal with issues that are appropriate and accessible to candidates entering in undergraduate or postgraduate or professional recognition. The passages are written in various styles such as narrative, descriptive, discursive or argumentative. Texts may contain diagrams, graphs or illustrations. You have to recognize the purpose, attitude or opinions of the writers of these passages.

The IELTS General Syllabus and pattern in reading has three sections. Section 1 may contain two or more than two short texts. Section 2 contains two texts and Section 3 has one long text.

·        Section1- Social Survival- The text contains tasks mainly about retrieving and providing general information

·        Section2- Workplace Survival- The text focuses on the workplace context.

·        Section3- General Reading- The text involves reading more content with a complex structure. The emphasis is on descriptive and instructive rather than argumentative.


The IELTS writing test is a 60 minute duration module where candidates are required to write two tasks. The IELTS paper pattern in writing is designed to asses on how well you write a response appropriately structure your ideas and use a range of vocabulary and proper grammar.

IELTS Exam syllabus- Academic

 The IELTS academic writing pattern and syllabus has two tasks. You are required to spend 20 minutes writing approximately 150 words to complete task 1 and 40 minutes to write 250 words for Task 2.

Task 1- You are required to describe the given graph, table, chart or diagram or summarize and explain the data and the stages of a process on how something works or describe an object or event.

Task 2- You will be asked to write an essay in the form of an argument or respond in point of view in a formal style. 

IELTS Exam Syllabus- General

The IELTS General Test format and syllabus writing has two tasks. You are required to spend 20 minutes writing approximately 150 words to complete task 1 and 40 minutes to write 250 words for Task 2.

Task1- You are required to write a letter requesting information or explaining the situation based on the given situation. Task2- Write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or a problem.


The IELTS Course syllabus for speaking is same for both the IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training Tests. The IELTS speaking test is designed to asses skills on how good you can communicate opinions and information on everyday topics and common experiences, speak at length on a given topic, express your ideas, justify your opinions and analyze and discuss about issues.

The duration is 11-14 minutes long. You will speak to a certified Examiner. The test is close to real life situation and interactive. The test is divided into three parts.

·        Part 1 (4-5 minutes): Introduction and Identity check. There will be general questions on many familiar topics like home, family, work etc.

·        Part 2 (3-4 Minutes): A task card will be given. You’ll have to talk about a particular topic and the points on which you’ll have to speak are also mentioned on the card.

·        Part 3 (4-5 minutes): There will be further questions on the topic you spoke in Part2.

9. How is the IELTS Score calculated?

The IELTS Academic and General Training tests are both graded to 9 band scales. For each section of the IELTS exam (listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking) the IELTS band score is from 1-9.

The overall IELTS score is the average of the four module scores. The scores will be rounded to the nearest whole or half band. The module scores are calculated equally.  If the average of the four modules ends at .25, the overall band scores are rounded to the next half band (.5). If the average ends at .75, the overall score can be rounded to the next whole band. The fraction band of .25 or .75 can be rounded down.

10. How to get a result?

Online Mode: The IELTS exam results are announced within 5 to 7 days. On the day of your result, you can receive the notification regarding the exam result. You have to Login with your ID, password, passport number and the test date information to view your result.

Offline Mode: The IELTS exam results are announced 13 days after the exam from the date of exam.

The results are available for 28 days after the result announcement.

11. IELTS Band Score

Here is the IELTS band score in detail.

Band ScoreSkill LevelDescription
9Expert UserUse of English is fluent, accurate and has complete understanding
8Very Good UserHandle complex and detailed argumentation well.
7Good UserGenerally handle complex language well and understand reasoning well.
6Competent UserCan use and understand fairly complex language in familiar situations
5Modest UserShould be able to handle basic communication in the field
4Limited UserNot able to use complex language
3Extremely Limited UserUnderstand only general meaning and have frequent breakdowns in communication
2Intermittent UserGreat difficulty understanding spoken and written English
1Non-UserNo ability to use the language except a few isolated words
0Did not attempt the testNo questions answered

12. IELTS Score Validity Period

The IELTS score validity date can be calculated once you get the result. The IELTS validity period is for two years. The IELTS score is not considered after the expiry date.

13. IELTS Results

The IELTS exam results are announced within 5 to 7 days for online method and 13 days after the exam for offline method from the date of exam. You’ll receive an email once your results are out. You can log onto the IELTS account on the IELTS result page to see your scores. IELTS score Validity is for two years from the date of receiving the score.

14. IELTS Cut-Off

IELTS exam is designed to assess the English language skills of students at all levels. Te IELYS score is based on each of the four modules on scale of 1-9 and would be awarded on overall band score. The IELTS cut-off score varies for different colleges and programs that students are interested. Not all universities and programs require IELTS exam. The overall IELTS band score is important to apply for a University work or migrate to an English speaking country.

15. Countries Accepting IELTS

IELTS exam score is accepted in more than 140 countries which include the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. It is required for work, immigration; you can sit for IELTS and score well to get admission into good universities. 

16. IELTS Preparation Tips

There are two ways to prepare for the IELTS exam. You can prepare by yourself at home or attend a coaching class. If you are confident enough and have a study partner you can prepare online at home.

Here are few tips for the preparation:

·        Learn the IELTS exam syllabus and pattern.

·        It helps to plan the study easily.

·        Practice more. More the practice more the score

·        Learn your weakness and work on it.

·        Know the difference between IELTS Syllabus Academic and General.

·        Take live mock test to familiarize the test environment.

17. IELTS Question/Sample Papers

While you prepare for the exam, you need to keep checking yourself. You have to keep practicing for the exam. It is suggested to keep taking the IELTS practice tests every now and then. It would also help in preparing the exam and facing and handling the questions well.

You can enroll for the courses and practice exams online for better scores. The IELTS course fees can be varied but you’ll have good access to the practice exams.

18. IELTS Test Centers in India

IELTS has test centers all over India. The test can be taken by you in 78 locations across India. Choose your nearest test location so that you do not travel on the day of exam. With so many locations, you will find the nearest test centre and book the test by paying the IELTS test fee online. You need to book the test centre in advance according to your suitable time.

19. COVID Update:

Candidates are supposed to sign a health Declaration form. Also confirm if:

·        You are under 14-day compulsory quarantine or self isolation

·        You have been in contact with person exposed to the virus

·        You have cold, flu-like symptoms, or shortness of breath.

*You are expected to wear a mask throughout the test duration and maintain a 2m distance from others. Keep yourself sanitized and follow basic hygiene practices.

Whether you go with self study or go to a coaching center, you’ll need good practice and the practice tests help you gain perfection. There is no limit on the number of attempts of the exam so don’t be scared even if you do not score well in the first attempt. Prepare well and give your best!

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