IELTS Exam Pattern 2021: Check Full Details Here

It is always an advantage to understand the IELTS exam pattern. It makes the practice easy for the test takers. The 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 both IELTS Exam patterns. The test pattern varies in Reading and Writing modules.

PS: Make sure you are preparing for the correct test.  

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.

In this article let us look at:

  1. IELTS Practice Test
  2. Listening
  3. Reading
  4. Writing
  5. Speaking

1. IELTS Practice Test

IELTS exam pattern is what one should be familiarized with before taking the exam. The IELTS exam pattern is very simple with four modules in total. It is always important to check your progress before taking the test. The IELTS practice tests will help you to

·        Familiarize yourself with the IELTS exam format

·        Experience the type of questions in the test

·        Test yourself being time bounded

·        Review and compare your answers with model answers

IELTS Test format is detailed below.

2. Listening

IELTS listening module 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. This section is the same for academic and general tests.

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:

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

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

Types of Listening Questions

·        Multiple Choices

·        Matching

·        Plan, map, diagram labeling

·        Form, note, table, flowchart, summary completion

·        Sentence Completion

·        Short-Answer Questions

3. Reading

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 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. It 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.

The IELTS Academic Test format in the reading module consists of three reading passages of medium length which are taken from journals, books, magazines and newspapers. The passages deal with issues which 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 Exam 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.

IELTS exam format in Reading module has various types of questions which are as follows:

·        Multiple Choices

·        Identifying Information

·        Identifying the writers views or claims

·        Matching information

·        Matching headings

·        Matching features

·        Matching Sentence endings

·        Sentence Completion

·        Table/flowchart completion

·        Short Answer Questions

4. Writing

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 assess on how well you write a response appropriately structure your ideas and use a range of vocabulary and proper grammar.


Academic 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.

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 from a point of view in a formal style.  


The IELTS General Test format 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. The letter can be semi-formal, formal or maybe personal in style.

Task2- Write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or a problem. This essay may be personal in style.


Make sure the no. of words is not short as you may be penalized if you are short of words.

Do not make notes or use bullet points in the essay. They will not be considered.

5. Speaking

The IELTS exam structure for speaking is same for both the IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training Tests. The IELTS speaking test is designed to assess’ 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 situations and interactive. The test is divided into three parts.

Part 1: Introduction and Identity check. There will be general questions on many familiar topics like home, family, work etc. This helps you to relax and talk.

Duration: 4-5 minutes

Part 2: 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. There will not be any interruption while you speak. Then two or three questions will be asked on the topic you speak.  

Duration: 3-4 minutes

Part 3: There will be further questions on the topic you spoke in Part2. This provides an opportunity to discuss more abstract ideas and issues.

Duration: 4-5 minutes


  • Relax before you speak
  • Talk naturally and fluently
  • Never fake your accent.

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