What Topics Are Covered in The IELTS Academic Syllabus?

To pursue advanced learning in a foreign country, cracking this language competency test is crucial. The exam is readily accepted across numerous countries and is among the best assessment mediums to determine a candidate’s English communication skills when enrolling in a foreign university.

To prepare for the IELTS exam, you must familiarize yourself with its current syllabus (last updated on 24th March 2023). Doing so helps you plan your exam preparation and schedule the test per your suitability. Fortunately, noteworthy study abroad websites like AbroAdvice.com convey the IELTS academic syllabus to aspiring test takers.

Moreover, the platform helps the candidate prepare for their examination day and get excellent scores on the first attempt. So, if you’re searching for a place to jump-start your exam preparation, this is one option to consider.

That’s not all! The website (per its user feedback) also offers the best SOP writing services in India. Of course, if you’re eager to know the updated syllabus, the post below can help you.

So, keep reading!

IELTS Academic Syllabus For All Test Sections

This exam variant is specifically designed for apprentice wanting to study abroad in their chosen college/university and eventually make a successful and sustaining career. It features 4 key sections – Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking.

1. Let’s Start with The Listening Section.

In this section, there are 4 audio recordings of native English speakers. Based on the audio recordings, you answer the below questions.

  • Audio 1: A conversation between two parties in a typical social context.
  • Audio 2: A monologue focusing on a regular social context. For Instance – Speech recording in public facilities.
  • Audio 3: A conversation between 4 individuals in some training or educational context.
  • Audio 4: A monologue on any academic context. For Instance – University lecture!

Through each of these questions, the accessors will evaluate your ability to grasp main ideas, factual information in detail, the audio speakers’ attitude and opinion, the recording’s purpose and how you develop ideas based on your listening skills.

For each part (audio recording), there will be 10 questions. That makes 40 questions in the listening section. The questions are compiled so that the answers appear exactly as they are heard in the recording. The total time for the listening section is 30 minutes.

Each question will carry 1 mark and come in a variety – MCQ (Multiple Choice Questions), map/diagram/plan labeling, form, note, flowchart, short answer types, sentence and summary completion, etc. For answering, candidates can note down their replies on the question paper simply because they listen to the audio and get 10 minutes to present their answers.

NOTE – These recordings can only be heard once and may contain native speakers with vivid English accents (Australian, Canadian, British, American and New Zealand). So, focus on every uttered word carefully, even those minute details in the audio recordings. Also, be careful of grammar and spelling errors, or you will be penalized. Check everything properly

2. Next is the Reading segment 

The reading section will feature 40 questions. The total time duration is 60 minutes. It typically comprises 3 long stanzas taken from books, journals, research articles, academic papers, periodicals and even newspapers. Each passage will have 13-14 questions. The section evaluates a candidate’s ability to identify analytical, factual and descriptive concepts from the paragraphs.

Questions will appear in the form of MCQs, identifying and matching information, determining the stanza’s claims and views, matching headings, features, sentence endings, line completions, diagram labeling completion, brief-answer questions, flowchart completion, summary, notes and tables.

NOTE – When answering, don’t worry about accents. Speak plainly, using correct phrases. Don’t speak too fast. Focus on correct pronunciations, prepositions, commas and other punctuation when reciting. The examiner grades you based on your accuracy in all these key facets. So, keep that in mind.

3. Moving Over to The Writing Section

The IELTS Academic writing segment will have 2 tasks. The time duration will be 1 hour. You must write in formal language. Avoid using slang, jargon or any informal/casual language, as it will lead to mark deduction.

Task 1

You must write a 150-word report in 20 minutes. When working on it, add these crucial elements.

  • Introduction –You must modify the described task with correct synonyms and rich vocabulary, alter tense and sentence structures, and concisely describe what you see in the graphic presentation.
  • Overview –Decipher the diagram’s key features, changes, trends and other aspects and explain them in your own words.
  • Key Features –Identify and highlight all essential facts with the help of figures and percentages and alter the main elements depicted in the graphical presentation.

NOTE – The 1st task is given more weight age than the 2nd. Each of the below criteria holds 25% of the marked emphasis.

  • Lexical resources
  • Range and accuracy of grammar usage
  • Consistency and Rationality in Writing
  • Proper achievement of the task

Task 2

Here, you must compile a 250+ word essay in 40 minutes. It can be any of the below 7 genres.

  • Advantage and disadvantage
  • Positive and negative
  • Discussion-based
  • Opinion-centric
  • Multi-parted
  • Multi-parted opinion-oriented
  • Cause and solution

NOTE –Such write-ups can pertain to any industry: technology, education, global issues, environmental crisis, crime, etc. Plus, the essay must feature an introduction (of 2-3 lines), 2 body stanzas (of 6-8 lines) and a conclusion (of 2-3 sentences). Hence, it’s best that you polish your short essay writing skills on various topics. To do that, read books, essays and articles on vivid coverage.

1. Lastly, the Speaking Section

The final section in the Academic test version is the speaking section. You will have to sit for a face-to-face video call with the examiner. The time duration is 11-14 minutes. It will be conducted in 3-parts.

  • Introduction –In this preliminary step, you will be asked to speak about your work, family, education, hobbies and personal interests. This casual assessment aims to learn and understand about you through your words.
  • Task Cards –Next in line is the task card test. You must pick a task card having the oral topic. Based on that, you must prepare notes in 1-2 minutes. Then you will be instructed to speak on the presented topic for 1-2 minutes.
  • Detailed Discussion –The last part will be an in-depth discussion involving more intense/challenging questions. Here, you must present detailed answers on the given theme/topic. Through this part, the examiner tests your knowledge of the topic and ability to speak fluently on it in detail. The no. of questions will vary depending on your conversation with the assessor.

NOTE – Speak confidently. Don’t stammer when sharing your views. Prepare correct and relevant notes on the theme. Use vivid words, and don’t repeat the same thing. The examiner will

Surefire Success Tips For 1st Time Test Takers 

  1. Always become familiar with the test format.
  2. Practice diligently with sample papers every day.
  3. Improve solving skills in each section.
  4. Work on bettering your grammar, pronunciation and vocabulary.
  5. Read regularly to improve reading clarity and speaking fluency
  6. Speak in English whenever possible.
  7. Take timed tests to improve solving speed without compromising accuracy.
  8. Watch English media and movies with subtitles.
  9. Learn about marking parameters and band scores.
  10. Set your target score and aim to inch closer to it with every practice attempt.


Also consider joining for online IELTS coaching from a top coaching platform like AbroAdvice to boost your success changes immensely.